turnbuckle half a dozen times.
This is the place to talk about a most important subject: cotter pins. A very small
item, but a vital one. Most people use cotter pins that are too long, too light and that have
nasty sharp ends. Then they bend them back too far after putting them through the holes
in the end of the threaded bolts or clevis pins. This overbending makes it very hard to
take them out and put them back when you need to adjust the rigging
The right way is to have a pin that fits its hole snugly but doesn’t need a hammer
or pliers to put in and take out. Its length (below the head) should be 1 ½ times the
diameter of the threaded bolt or clevis pin it is securing, and then the ends should be
spread not more than 10 º to each side - a total spread of 20º. That’s all. The pin can’t
come out by itself, but when you need to take it out, you can. And you can put it back.
(If you’re really eager you can bevel the hole edges slightly to facilitate replacing the
If you make a big deal of bending the pin all the way back around the bolt, you’ll
never get it straight again. When you try to straighten the pin it kinks, which makes it
twice as hard to take out and harder still to put back in. Finally, be sure to file off the
ends of pin so they’re round, no sharp points to damage fingers, sails
, and lines.
Incidentally, I think those split rings are a poor substitute for cotter pins. They’re a pain
to take out and still harder to put back in.
To secure turnbuckle barrels it is important to turn the cotter pin so that its spread
ends are vertical - that is, lines up with the turnbuckle barrel. Then if the shroud
turn, as it will, the cotter pin’s two ends ill fetch up against the side of the turnbuckle
barrel at the same time. If the spread ends are horizontal, they may straighten out one at a
time when they hit either side of the turnbuckle barrel.
Finally, I like to put a blob of silicone sealer, which dries to a hard rubbery
consistency, over the ends of the pin to keep them vertical and to cover the ends of the
pin before I tape the whole thing. But silicone doesn’t set up well in cold or rainy
conditions, so if you can’t wait for a dry day, fold a piece of tape on itself six or eight
times to use as a pad over the pin ends before wrapping it with a few rounds of tape. This
makes a neater job and uses less tape than winding the tape round and round the