Well, it looks like the good news is that you didn't lose the rig. Though breaking rigging
while sailing isn't exactly on the top 10 fun things to do list
I haven't had any coffee yet this morning, so I'm not sharp as yet. But I'm not clear as to where things failed when I look at the pics. To some degree you make it sound as if there was a failure in the mast component of the headstay. Correct? Or did the headstay fail just below where it attached to the mast? Also, how old is the standing rigging
& the headstay? Do you have a furler
? And if you have a furler
, is there a retaining piece which alters the angle of the halyard
which holds up your jib
It would help to see pictures of all of the other broken pieces, plus the top parts
of the furler if possible. And both ends of your stays are properly toggled, I hope. Though if the headstay itself broke, then it could be time to swap out everything. But that's a call that's tough to make via the internet
If you have a furler, I'm guessing that things failed just at or right below where the wire entered the swage/terminal. That happens with headstays in furlers as it's the only place that there's room for the stay to flex in a seaway. And things fail there due to the rest of the stay being much more rigid, as it's stiffened by the furler's foil section. Plus there's also a lot of weight on the headstay that's constantly moving, between the furler's weight & that of the sail. So the fatigue cycle is magnified at that location.
The above happened to another CF member
, with more serious results. And later on, a rigger told them that he has people swap out their headstays after 4 years, vs. 10 for the other standing rigging. For the reasons of accelerated fatigue on them, caused by furlers, as mentioned.
Such a headstay failure happened to Ellen MacArthur in one of her solo round the world record
attempts. Even though her headstay was a size or two larger than was evenn suggested by the riggers. Though fortunately it didn't cost her her rig, or the record
One other thing which sometimes happens to headstays, is a halyard
wrap. Sometimes it even wraps around the stay more than once. And that puts a lot of stress on the stay, which can lead to premature failure. This can happen if the halyard retainer breaks, if it's lead angle is poor, or if there's a long length of halyard below it where it's affixed to the mast. So getting the dimensions right with its mounting, & the height of the hoist(ed sail), etc., can be critical.
It also sometimes happens to boats which don't have furlers, with the same nasty results. But it's less common on such boats.
Also, another possible failure point is a broken/bad swage or rigging terminal. Or, that the wire got unknowingly damaged when the end fitting was put onto it. So seeing that fitting now might be helpful, as would knowing what type of wire ends you're using.
And there's slim chance that a toggle or pin failed. Due to age, fatigue, or a flaw in the metal itself. That, or rarely, a ring/split pin breaks & slips out, & you can figure how a gravity storm happens not too long afterwards.
It'll be easier to form a hypothesis with more pics, & a more concise description of what failed. Along with the requested rigging description info. Though I hope that the above helps.