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Old 15-05-2022, 19:56   #1
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We ran into a bridge!

We were sailing around between two bridges today, lost steering and got pushed into a closed highway bridge. We got pulled off and the mast is still up, but the forestay and backstay are now much looser than they were.

I'm concerned about the rigging. We don't have 8k dollars to replace it.

I'm planning on tightening them tomorrow. The wind will be 10-13 mph.

The side stays - the lower cable stays. Are still tight. The mast is keel stepped.

Advice greatly appreciated!
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Old 15-05-2022, 20:09   #2
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

Sorry to hear of your mishap. I donít think think it is wise to try tightening the stays until you figure out what happened to cause the issue. Stays donít just stretch like that. So if both the forestay and backstay seem slack but not your lowers, it suggests something may have happened to the mast at the top. First sight up the track and see if you see anything obvious. If not, you can risk going up the rig yourself or get your rigger involved. Good luck.
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Old 15-05-2022, 21:44   #3
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

My 2 cents: donít go up the mast in these conditions. Please.
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Old 16-05-2022, 00:19   #4
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

SailingAround,

Please wait. People are going to need to know what kind of a boat and rig this is, and what you have available to help you. It is certain that your forestay and backstay turnbuckles didn't just whirl, unloosening the tension on the fore and back stays. Wire could have stretched, or fittings pulled out. You'll want to look at your forward and stern chainplates. Tightening something broken won't help it.

If fittings are broken, they will need to be repaired or replaced. You're not going to be sailing safely till ALL is fixed. Sorry to bear sad tidings, but unless you are an extremely experienced skipper with a life threatening emergency, you should not sail the boat till she's "fit for purpose" again. You might even be criminally liable. It's time to learn about rigging. If you like books, Brian Toss's are well thought of in the US.

I'd also ask you to fill in more on your profile: generally where you and the boat are, the type of boat, and a bit about your experience level. That will help all of us figure out how to talk to you about the problem. There are a number of things to do and ways to address the problem if you cannot at this time afford new s/s rigging, but we need to really know what the situation is. If you're new to sailing and sailboat problems, the answers will be different from what they'd be if you were an old hand wanting to know how to fabricate galvanized rigging, and then tune that rig. We've learned a lot from riggers we've talked with.

One option is for you to hire a rigger and ask him/her what they think of it.

Ann
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Old 16-05-2022, 00:35   #5
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, SailingAround.


You've received some good advice.
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Old 16-05-2022, 00:51   #6
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

A good pair of binoculars may reveal all just look up at different angles .⛵️⚓️
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Old 16-05-2022, 02:15   #7
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

Sorry for you.
May you go near a place (peer, something else) from where you can have a close look, may be helped by binoculars, as said before ?
If you go up, do it from another mast, for example. NOT YOURS, as said before also.
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Old 16-05-2022, 03:39   #8
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

Lots of good advice here from people smarter than me.


I would like to suggest that if ,after inspecting the rig, you decide to sail you should reef the main and us only partial head sail to lessen the stress on the rig and mast. 10-13 knot's is a fair amount of wind and if your boat can still make respectable way while reefed it may be a good idea to do so.


You may also want to avoid running an inlet when there is chop or waves. Perhaps you could keep the sails down and let the tide push you out the inlet.



Best of luck,


Tom
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Old 16-05-2022, 04:22   #9
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

Hi All,
Thank you so much for the great replies!

My lady and I have been living on our 30 foot boat for a year and a half, traveling up and down the east coast. We recently got a 40 foot Bristol this one -- that we had the mishap on.

Normally I do all of the engineering / maintenance activities. I've never done rigging before and we really don't have 8k for a new rig - so I guess it's time to learn. We may be able to pay a rigger just to do an inspection.


Right now we are in North Carolina.

We got towed to the other side of the bridge - where we can more easily sail away. The engine does not currently run.

I will check with binoculars and post back. What are some things that I should look for?
Cracks, breaks, fittings pulled loose....

Before going to sleep I did check what I could with the flashlight. Chainplates, stays up to about halfway -- nothing looks broken from here... but like JPA Cate mentioned -- they didn't loosen themselves.

For the time being I have halyards connected to the for and aft chainplates -- tightened just a bit. The stays are wobbly and it made me feel better.

Our old boat is anchored closeby-- maybe we can raft up and go up the mast of the 30 footer to take a closer look.

I will fill our our profile. I created the account just last night.


Thank you all for your advice. Keep it coming
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Old 16-05-2022, 04:28   #10
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

As much of a pain in the arse it may seem to be; dropping a deck stepped mast for an inspection is really not hard- provided you have access to a marina or YC with a mast crane or gin pole.

I suggest that after an event like this; thatís the bare minimum you need to do (along with detailed chain plate inspection).

In my opinion, it is extremely difficult to do a thorough rig inspection with it in the boat. You need to be able to pull shrouds and stays back and away from their seats to inspect for deformation and cracks. You need to be able to rotate and twist tangs and toggles to see all mating faces. You need to pull all the Clevis pins and roll them on a flat surface to see if they are bent. This js impossible to do when they are still under tension.

As other comments- more info on the boat, rig type, location, age, mast section, connection details (I.e swages or mechanical terminations, etc) are all needed to be any more help.

But seriously - buy a few buddies a beer at the local marina bar and get them to help you drop the mast. You should know how to do this anyway.
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Old 16-05-2022, 04:29   #11
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingAround View Post
...We may be able to pay a rigger just to do an inspection....
This! (There is too much at stake for this to be an "on-the-job-training" project).

Bob
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Old 16-05-2022, 04:52   #12
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

Is this your boat? What year? https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/bristol-40


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Old 16-05-2022, 05:16   #13
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

First thing to do is get in contact with your insurance company to let them know that you have a claim. I would unstep the mast and inspect the entire rig, and the chainplates and structure of the boat around each chainplate.

Unstepping the mast is not difficult or expensive. at the marinas in my area it costs around $300 to do. at my Yacht club, Free.
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Old 16-05-2022, 05:29   #14
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

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Originally Posted by SailingAround View Post
so I guess it's time to learn. We may be able to pay a rigger just to do an inspection.
This. If you don't know what's wrong, it could collapse while you are up there. A rigger in a marina can take precautions. Yes, this will cost a bit of money.

Stays don't just stretch.

Most likely a fitting or attachment point has partially failed.
Even if the attachments were strong enough and somehow the stay stretched enough to become loose without breaking, that stay is drastically weakened.

Do you have a dingy with motor that you can use to hip tie and get to a marina? Even reefed, it's a risk trying to sail. Otherwise, check into the cost of getting a tow.
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Old 16-05-2022, 05:34   #15
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Re: We ran into a bridge!

Let start with the basics. The wire rope used in boat rigging does not stretch. So if the stays are loose, something broke. While binoculars are good, a modern cell phone can get you a decent view.

But IMHO you need some professional help. Spend the money on having a competent rigger look at the mast. (S)He will likely not go up, but 30 minutes of a good riggers time is money well spent

If your DIY assessment is wrong, the mast can come down and cause serious injury to someone on board.
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