This week's sail was exciting to say the least. First of all I apologize for posting
twice in a row to this topic but we had a pretty exciting Sunday.
We are continuing to explore our new boat and decided to do a run around a nearby island. About a 4 hour sail involving beating upwind, a short reach, a long run followed by a 2-3 mile beat back home.
We had 15 knot
winds and the first three hours we somewhat uneventful. On the first part of the sail the autopilot
refused to power up and so I stuck a meter on the bulkhead plug
and it had no power. I started tracing the cable and found it basically falling apart from age with chafes and bare wires all over. I clipped it off, taped it over and decided it was something to be fixed back home.
On the first beat we were pulling on things pretty hard and the starboard pulley for the jib
disintigrated with a large twang. We robbed one from the spinnaker
track and continued on our way with the best yet to come.
On the final beat the wind
was a little stronger and we were really pulling hard on a starboard tack when we heard an almighty bang and that winging sound that high tension wire makes when it let's go and is looking for someone to decapitate!
I was running the jib sheets
and my partner was on the tiller. I immediately looked up and the mast
looked like a fishing
pole bent about 20 degrees. I immediately shouted to him to point up and I let the jib fly. He froze a bit so I grabbed the mainsheet and let it fly as well. He finally reacted and got the got the boat pointed and thank God the mast
was still up.
After starting the motor
to get some steerage I furled the jib and lowered the main. Then I went to have a look. The D ring on the deck
plate for the innner shroud
let go completely! I did a cursory check of the mast and it doesn't appear to have cracked anywhere.
We are thanking our stars that the mast didn't go down but it was very sobering. I previously noticed a small amount of corrosion
where the rings attach to the deck
plate and was wondering to myself how long between replacements
for stuff like that. I should have gone with my gut and put them on the sooner than later list.
I have decided to replace all the deck fittings and all the pulleys and anything else I can find that looks like it might be tired.
So what is anyone else's experience with shrouds letting go? I would be interested to hear how frequently this sort of thing happens.