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Old 04-03-2008, 08:47   #1
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Repair to Spreaders

Hi All, Just been told I have two cracks in my spreaders that need to be aluminium welded, and could do with some advice if possible.
This unforeseen procedure will apparently require:
Motoring to nearest boatyard with travel lift, favoured one about 20 miles from where I'm berthed.
Full lift of yacht (will facilitate cleaning and anti-fouling)
Removal of sails, boom and wiring disconnection.
Lift of mast with crane, and removal and repair of spreaders, welding repair, refit spreaders and stand mast, reconnect wiring, refit boom and sails.
Tune rig (fractional).
My questions are this - could the running backstays (visible in picture below) be employed to support the mast with the removal of the spreaders at low water alongside a quay wall? Would this be a risky venture? Would it make it harder or impossible to refit to mast and rigging? Should I just bite the bullet and get on the hard? Any opinions gratefully received, best to all, Mick
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:52   #2
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If you can reach the spreaders without going up the mast, I see no reason why you couldn't take them off while the mast is up. I replaced all the rigging on my boat (one at a time) with the boat in the water and the mast up.

Good luck
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:56   #3
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This kind of situation is what makes me glad to have a small boat. All I need to bring the entire mast down is loosen a couple of turnbuckles, take a couple of pins out and walk the mast down. Entire thing can be held by one person, although two is a lot easier.

The suggestion I would make, and someone will probably correct me. Take one of your halyards(preferably the biggest you've got but since you won't actually have the sails up, hopefully in this configuration, the halyard shouldn't have TOO much pressure on it.) secure it to one side of the mast in approximately the same area that the shroud is on. Do the quay thing. Then take one spreader off, fix it, replace it. Then turn the boat around, and do the same for the other spreader.

Edit, the halyard gets switched to the side you plan to take the spreader from. In case that wasn't clear.
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:57   #4
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Mic, if your mast is keel-stepped and the weather moderate, I would expect that you could slack the shrouds enough to remove the spreaders without removing anything else. Then just run the halyards out to the rails to steady the mast while you have the rigging slacked.

For a deck-stepped mast..."steadying" the mast may become more difficult.

But if there is a competent welding shop in the area (aluminum welding is more difficult than ironwork) and you get an early start, this shouldn't require clearing everything unless there's some trick to the way your spreaders are attached??

You might find that while you are at it, you want to make a very careful inspection of everything else aloft--and if that hasn't been done yet, it might pay to anticipate taking the stick down, depending on what you find.
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Old 04-03-2008, 09:04   #5
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Are the cracks in the spreaders or the mast where the spreaders meet it? If the cracks are in the spreaders it may be possible to remove one at a time with out unstepping the mast, it does depend on how the spreaders are joined to the mast or if there is corrosion with in the joins. How did the spreaders crack? That seems like more of a worry to me. You may need to look at the mast?

Jack
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Old 04-03-2008, 09:14   #6
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Spreaders cracks are both on the top surface, were not there in pre-purchase survey, mast seems ok, as do the spreaders at the joints. Worried that the deckstepped fractional rig may not take the strain of spreader removal as a keelstepped masthead - could do without all the expense, but hey, that's yachting I guess. Ongoing peace of mind may dictate the full inspection . . . thank's guys for the very prompt and salient responses . .!!
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Old 06-03-2008, 14:42   #7
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Mast maker?

If you know who made the mast a chat with them may be a good idea.

They might have a good idea of what caused the cracks and how to prevent them from recurring.

For instance, if the spreaders are being forced back as the mast bends then a more flexible mounting system could be indicated (this is a guess, as an example of what could be happening - don't rely on it).

I hate heights so my preference would be to get new spreaders fabricated and then get a rigger to install them.
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Old 06-03-2008, 14:52   #8
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Thanks Boracay, due to replace all standing rigging in two seasons time - best advice this side is go with the repair with a view to new fittings in two years time. Waited a long winter with two weeks to start of season, so want to be back in action. This would never have been spotted except I had a guy aloft for cleaning the green residue off spreaders (marina surrounded by woods), so I would have began the season in ignorance of the problem. Now I know about it it's a no-brainer to go to the trouble of fixing, but's it's a job I wasn't expecting. Thanks for the advice though, I have the contacts for every bit of gear in the onboard maintenance log so will contact the "makers man" for that extra advice . . fair winds!!
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Old 07-03-2008, 15:12   #9
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Aloha Mick,
Seems to me that your forestay, backstay and lowers will hold your mast in place just fine while you loosen the uppers and remove the spreaders. If you could have someone who welds standing by then you might be able to do it all in one day beside a quay. There should be very little pressure on the mast beside a dock or in a fairly calm bay. I really don't understand why someone would recommend you take the mast down unless they want to find more problems and replace everything for you now.
Kind Regads,
JohnL
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Old 07-03-2008, 17:05   #10
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I concur with SkiprJohn above. Should be able to remove spreaders with mast up, it can't go anywhere with the rest of the rigging intact. I wouldn't send a big guy up to the masthead in a rolly anchorage with the uppers removed though:-))

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Old 07-03-2008, 18:12   #11
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3rd one to concur in a row.
Unless you have spreaders that are welded to the band or direct to the mast (unlikely) you should be able to loosen every thing off to a point where the mast will stay up quite safety while to remove the spreaders for repair.

Use whatever halyards for extra support and all should be fine. I've done this a couple of times back in my sparmaking days without any problem. If you have good lowers combined with halyards you should be able to get up to put your spreaders back on safety. Pick a nice day if possible though.
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Old 10-03-2008, 03:47   #12
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Thanks to all for the advice. Just had a Force 10-11 blow through here overnight, cargo ships broke their lines at the quay wall, did a lot of damage. Won't have a nice day for about a week i reckon, so I'll keep you updated on spreaders progress . . .
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