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Old 22-02-2020, 19:24   #1
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Forestay has 7 broken strands!

Weíre preparing to replace our standing rigging in April - itís 10 years old (last replaced May 2010) and 1x19 wire. Last full rig inspection was June 2018 and all was good. Visual inspection last October before our return to NZ from Tonga and all looked fine.

Just went up the mast to measure the fittings for the shrouds and running backstays as we want to rerig with Dyneema. Checked the forestay and see that 7 of the outer strands are broken right where the wire enters the swage!

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Holy cow poop! So, a few questions.

1/ Is this rig still safe to sail in light to moderate coastal conditions?
2/ What could have caused the broken wires?

Iím not sure that we can bring forward our rerig, so what are our options for sailing in the next two months?

At least the mast hasnít collapsed (yet) and we havenít had to test our insurance coverage, especially given the conditions we had on our return passage from Tonga. Maybe the rig pumping in the breaking waves that broke our running backstay fittings also caused the forestay strands to break?

Sigh.
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Old 22-02-2020, 19:39   #2
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fxykty View Post
Weíre preparing to replace our standing rigging in April - itís 10 years old (last replaced May 2010) and 1x19 wire. Last full rig inspection was June 2018 and all was good. Visual inspection last October before our return to NZ from Tonga and all looked fine.

Just went up the mast to measure the fittings for the shrouds and running backstays as we want to rerig with Dyneema. Checked the forestay and see that 7 of the outer strands are broken right where the wire enters the swage!

Attachment 209262

Holy cow poop! So, a few questions.

1/ Is this rig still safe to sail in light to moderate coastal conditions?
2/ What could have caused the broken wires?

Iím not sure that we can bring forward our rerig, so what are our options for sailing in the next two months?

At least the mast hasnít collapsed (yet) and we havenít had to test our insurance coverage, especially given the conditions we had on our return passage from Tonga. Maybe the rig pumping in the breaking waves that broke our running backstay fittings also caused the forestay strands to break?

Sigh.
Hi, there is no way I would consider further sailing with that significant number of broken strands, could you have the forestay done ahead of the rest of the rig? I even think that it may be worthwhile to bring forward a halyard to act as insurance for the rig while waiting.
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Old 22-02-2020, 19:41   #3
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

Quote:
1/ Is this rig still safe to sail in light to moderate coastal conditions?
2/ What could have caused the broken wires?
1: No! The rest of the strands are also compromised and could fail without further warning.
2: This is a common failure point for forestays, especially when roller furling is fitted. The additional mass of the sail adds considerably to the fatigue loads, even at anchor, and all too often the toggles have so much friction that they fail to articulate enough to take the bending loads away from that exit point, and thus fatigue failures develop there. Had it happen to us, and have seen quite a few others.

As to your options, motoring looks good to me... bummer that it is.

You have narrowly dodged a bullet, fxykty.

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Old 22-02-2020, 19:41   #4
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

You might find somebody here who will say, "That's fine, I'd sail around the world like that." But holy crap! There is NO good reason to believe the the inner wires are unaffected by the same problem that caused the outer wires to fail. I'd keep a spare halyard tensioned AT THE DOCK to support the rig.

Visual inspections of stainless steel are WORTHLESS at identifying incipient failures. Without close-up careful inspection of the ends of the wires it is impossible to accurately determine a true cause, but a bad swage is a good suspect on wire only 10 years old that set up unusual stresses that resulted in stress cracking.

Many (Most? ALL???) insurance policies would not cover the loss if you left the dock knowing this problem existed. Do NOT test this.

Just in case I am not clear: Do NOT sail the boat. If you need to motor to where the rig can be fixed, rig a safety line to support the mast.
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Old 22-02-2020, 19:58   #5
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

you need to install one of these:
https://www.stalok.com/product/sta-lok-long-eye-inch
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Old 22-02-2020, 20:02   #6
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

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NO. These are to fix length problems NOT to repair broken wires.

You need to replace the wire! Why would you think the wire 3 inches down is OK?
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Old 22-02-2020, 21:05   #7
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

That is one scary photo.
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Old 22-02-2020, 23:23   #8
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

Thanks for all the feedback. Yup, scary. I came down the mast and rigged our spinnaker and gennaker halyards to either bow, hard. Or would it be better to attach one of the halyards to the bow pole to be online with the forestay?

I get nervous thinking about all the sailing weíve done recently. A bit of motoring wonít kill us. That said, we returned from our weekend away with a 50% furled jib and no main in 25 knots on the beam for 2 hours. Stupid? Oh well, itís done.

Looking forward to some chats with riggers tomorrow.
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Old 23-02-2020, 00:10   #9
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

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NO. These are to fix length problems NOT to repair broken wires.

You need to replace the wire! Why would you think the wire 3 inches down is OK?
The Staylock will give you a temporary fix as the wire 3" down will still be OK.

The problem with roll form fittings is that where the wire transitions into the roll form socket the wire transforms from a nice flexible multi strand into a solid bar . The inclusion of the most probable failure point is inherent in the design. This cause the stress of flexing to be concentrated at the transition point.

The flexure of the wire is exacerbated on forstays with furlers because the bending of the wire above the end of the foil caused by the stiffness of the furler foil tends to generate more bending in the wire and sail flogging creates high value stress reversals.

On my last boat I went one size larger on the wire and extended the foil up over the rang on the fitting and put a bush in the end so that it could not flex the wire at the vulnerable point.
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Old 23-02-2020, 02:04   #10
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

Re Question 2, what could have caused the failure?
Do you have an upper toggle fitted? Without toggles fitted to the upper end and lower end of your Forestay you can expect a shorter life for your forestay.
I prefer to renew forestays at the rest of the rigs half life when furlers are fitted! Therefore at around 7 years. The rest of the rig should last up to 15 years with annual inspections depending on use.
Take note, when you are not sailing ie moored, the forestay will orbit due to the foil and sail furled around it. This continuous orbiting due to wind and especially wave action, fractures the outer strands because the toggles don't quite keep up with the harmonic movement.

To ensure a longer forestay life when not used, you should load up your headsail sheets once furled. You can lower and stow the headsail but do insert a triangle of fabric with a bolt rope up the groove of the foil then load that up to the mast base perpendicular to the forestay. If you don't have a triangle, tie a rope around the foil and load that up instead. This will help stop the forestay movement.

Consult your rigger and ensure he adds toggles to forestays. It isn't uncommon for the rig to fail first at the upper forestay swage entry.

Good luck on the re rig.
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Old 23-02-2020, 10:38   #11
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

I'd be very uneasy sailing Fiji to NZ with the bad weather they can have enroute. However has my standing rigging totally replaced at Norsands Whangerai 18 months ago. Excellent work and feel much safer!.....but that's if you can make it there
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Old 23-02-2020, 11:01   #12
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

Don't see how tensioning the sheets on a furled headsail will make much of a difference. The broken strands are the result of a stress riser at the swage fitting exacerbated by sideways loadings inherent to headstays. May be more of a problem with roller furling because of the stiff extrusion making for a more pin point loading at the top fitting.

When I bought my ATN Top Climber used it to climb to the masthead just to check out how climbing with it worked. Lucky I did as I found two broken strands on the headstay at the masthead. A look at the top end wire fittings should be on everyone's list to check annually.
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Old 23-02-2020, 13:07   #13
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

Glad you caught that, fxykty. On a cat that size, you probably have huge forestay loads. It can't hurt to use another line from the masthead to the center as you suggest, and that forestay---well keep the piece, and then investigate it. Show us pictures, of the condition of the wire inside, if you can.

Anyhow, stay safe. You guys dodged a bullet. We replaced a forestay that broke in Vanuatu, and I'm here to tell you, it's better to fix it in NZ!

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Old 23-02-2020, 13:42   #14
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

I had one part under full sail but because it was a Profurl furler with an upper swivel and halyard to the masthead I did not notice the failure until I furled the genoa. As the boat had both inner and outer forestays the rig would probably have survived anyway but without the masthead halyard I would probably have lost the furler section and maybe lost or badly torn the sail.

I was on a coastal passage at the time close to the Whitsundays and it's large boating infrastructure and repairs were readily implemented but from then on I carried a length of rigging wire long enough to replace any shroud with a roll form turnbuckle stud on one end and a spare re-usable fitting for the other. Not the sort of repair one would want to carry out in the middle of the ocean however.

And;

I'm not sure about whether taking the load on a tight halyard would exacerbate or alleviate the fatigue failure problem. A looser forestay with a furler section over it whipping backwards and forwards or laterally may cause larger stress reversals than one being under greater tension. It's the flexing at a stress riser not pure static tension which causes the failures.
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Old 23-02-2020, 14:30   #15
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Re: Forestay has 7 broken strands!

watch this video, he explains what you need to do to splice repair your rig. your part starts about minute 40:00 but watch the whole thing!!

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