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Old 12-04-2017, 11:06   #1
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Cape Town dismasting story

https://lisablairsailstheworld.com/b...l-to-cape-town
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Old 05-05-2017, 21:59   #2
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

Dramatic story and makes you think carefully about your rigging. Would be nice to have Dyneema rigging in this situation.

I've got nice big bolt cutters but haven't tried to cut 12mm wire with them.....
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Old 05-05-2017, 23:41   #3
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

Impress work by the master of both the ship and the yacht.
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Old 06-05-2017, 18:39   #4
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

Ugh...such a heartbreak. we havnt heard from her in a couple of weeks. i hope its because she is so busy installing a new mast. much...much respect for her. very difficult voyage.
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Old 06-05-2017, 22:08   #5
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

Yeah, she did a fantastic job of getting the boat back safely. Yet another reason to avoid stainless rigging. 14mm compact strand that was 3 months old... Prehaps staylocs would have been better, but even so it doesn't inspire confidence!
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Old 06-05-2017, 22:50   #6
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

Wouldn't a Dremel be the perfect tool to cut your rigging free? Either battery operated or with an extension cord?
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Old 07-05-2017, 05:26   #7
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

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Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
Wouldn't a Dremel be the perfect tool to cut your rigging free? Either battery operated or with an extension cord?
I would rather have ridiculously large bolt cutters, much faster than a Dremel if you need to free the mast quickly, and that's the point of cutting it, to free it quickly. Bolt cutters big enough to handle your rigging diameter and more, with long handles, light coat of oil so they don't rust up before you need them.

Even much larger wheel cutting tools wouldn't go thru rigging as fast as large bolt cutters.
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:45   #8
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

Lisa Blair tried using bolt cutters to cut her rigging. Here is what she wrote:

"Back at the back stay I set about trying to cut the wire, It was no good I would not have a chance of cutting with these bolt cutters. I was only making a dent in the wire with all of my body weight behind it, so I abandoned that plan and went back to Plan A of undoing the split pins."
The long description of the dismasting and her efforts to free the rig are found on this page:

https://lisablairsailstheworld.com/b...reeltrdkw5ti8e
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Old 07-05-2017, 07:23   #9
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

I have cheapo 18V Ryobi tools, including a 12V car charger for the 18V batteries. I keep my batteries charged all the time. I plan on getting one of their angle grinders with a cutting blade, that should do.

Backup plan is a good hacksaw with a good blade, which I used when we replaced all standing rigging and it worked rather quick cutting 3/8" 19x1 wire.

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Old 07-05-2017, 07:29   #10
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Lisa Blair tried using bolt cutters to cut her rigging.
I'd be interested to see exactly what cutters she had on board. I'd keep bolt cutters longer than my leg on board, something cheap with short handles will not get the job done.

The smart thing to do would be to test whatever cutting tools you choose on identical wire to make sure it can be done. I still think entirely relying on battery power or extension cords is a mistake.
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Old 07-05-2017, 07:35   #11
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

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I still think entirely relying on battery power or extension cords is a mistake.
Fair enough, but also think about needing two hands for the bolt cutter. Friends got dismasted of French Guyana, had a good bolt cutter, but couldn't cut the headstay due to violent motion of the boat, stanchions and pulpit gone, no way to stay on the boat while using both hands for the bolt cutter. Mast hung by the headstay for several ours until the fitting gave way.
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Old 07-05-2017, 08:20   #12
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

Pull out the splits, hammer out the clevises, job done.

She did very well. Very very well. She tried, thought, regrouped, acted. She is a great doer.

A lion angle grinder can be used to cut stuff fast. But if you cut too fast you may effectively cut loose elements that were your prospective emergency rig!

So. Cut well. And save as much as you can.

Cheers,
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Old 07-05-2017, 08:35   #13
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

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Originally Posted by LeaseOnLife View Post
Fair enough, but also think about needing two hands for the bolt cutter. Friends got dismasted of French Guyana, had a good bolt cutter, but couldn't cut the headstay due to violent motion of the boat, stanchions and pulpit gone, no way to stay on the boat while using both hands for the bolt cutter. Mast hung by the headstay for several ours until the fitting gave way.
Similarly, the Blair account of cutting her rig loose mentions that she felt she had to go out beyond the stantions to the bowsprit (she calls it a "prodder") to be able to reach the forestay pin. She describes in detail that this was very risky, as she had to be in front of the boat (with her legs dangling in the water as she sat on the bowsprit) while the boat was pitching due to swells, and that if she fell off the bowsprit she would probably not be able to get back aboard the boat, despite a safety tether.

One of the things I think is most apparent in this example of a dismasting is the amount of stress it caused the sailor (she admits she was very worried and emotional) and that it took her a long time to cut the mast free, even while she was taking risks and working quickly. The time involved is critical too, as that mast could have caused more damage (poking a hole in the hull) while it was attached and over the side.

One more thing I noted was her description that some of the rigging was sweeping back and forth on the deck as the mast moved with the boat's motion. The moving wire cable which could strike a sailor who is working on the deck to free the rig is something that added risk during the incident.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:33   #14
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

The mast digging a hole in the hull is partly a lore. Remember this was so true when masts were solid, heavy wood vs hulls that were also wood.

Not to say there is no risk today, just that it is a different risk and that jumping to the cutters and cutting off the whole mess can be a good choice at times and a very bad choice at other times.

The first thing up is to make a good situational assessment. Only then cut, or (quite often) not.

It is interesting she had such a challenge with the fitting on the prod. In many new boats this one is a soft fitting that can be hauled onboard (or at least all the way to the bow fitting). I must look up her boat again.

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Old 07-05-2017, 10:52   #15
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Re: Cape Town dismasting story

In this image:

https://static1.squarespace.com/stat...g?format=1000w

It looks like there is nothing out there - thus suggesting a typical soft setup.

https://static1.squarespace.com/stat...2/?format=750w

http://www.sail-worldcruising.com/ph...ison_53881.jpg

Yep. Typical soft attachment that is in normal operation retrieve'able from the bow. Something must have jammed if she had to go there to set it free.

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