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Forestay Failure at Sea: A Video

Mar 11

Written by:
3/11/2011 10:18 PM  RssIcon

Awhile back I posted a blog about losing my forestay at sea.  It was a nightmarish experience.  I limped into Tonga under jury rig and found some cruising friends who had a long length of Dyneema line which is stronger than steel.  After much fussing about I finally got the rig tuned with the dyneema forestay and limped the rest of the way down to New Zealand.  I am currently in the process of replacing all of the standing rigging on Jargo.  As I go through this process I remembered a very rough cut video I shot the day I lost my forestay.  This is pretty low production value so pardon the edits, but it’ll give you a little bit of an idea of what I was up to out there 80 miles North of Rarotogna.


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5 comment(s) so far...


Re: Forestay Failure at Sea: A Video

Good Job working under pressure!

How old was that rigging? I always hear about how prone to failure swaged fittings are, but that was a mechanical fitting, and it broke at the wire? Can you tell what the cause was? Corrosion? wear? etc..?

Nice vid man, you should really post more :)

By david on   3/11/2011 10:37 PM

Re: Forestay Failure at Sea: A Video

Thanks David. That rig was around 20 years old. She was due for replacing, I pushed it, and I lost on that one. Was lucky it went on a day where the sun was out at 7:00 am with plenty of time to work out a fix.

Swaged fittings have a bad name, but are a sound means of connecting your rig. The difference between a good swage and a bad one really comes down to the rigger. My fittings were all sta-loc courtesy of the previous owner. They do make it nice as I am reusing almost all of them on this new rig and I can do all the work myself. The failure was just about an inch above the lower sta-loc. Of the several forestays I've seen fail out here they almost always go next to the fitting be it mechanical or swage.

I think the failure was simply the age and wear and tear of the wire. it's always the forestay that goes first it seems as well. Furling systems are great, but do put the stay through some rough going.

Nice site man. Keep your head up and out of the forums. I quit them years ago as well. Too many egos for me.

By Lee on   3/12/2011 1:20 AM

Re: Forestay Failure at Sea: A Video

that's our boy... Lee " MacGyver Winters... Good recovery brother. love the videos.

By Huelbig on   3/12/2011 8:39 AM

Re: Forestay Failure at Sea: A Video

Checking my standing rigging is the first job on my Spring list.
Very good job Lee under pressure! My rigging is the original 1972 from Allied A little stronger than yours Lee it has a 5/16ths wire cable sewn in instead of a bolt rope, this hooks to a drum on deck and is pulled up the mast by a wire halyard through a swivel. In effect this gives me two head stays
Great video Lee like to see more
May the wind be at your back

By Captbill2 on   3/13/2011 8:35 AM

Re: Forestay Failure at Sea: A Video

Great job recovering your jib and saving your rig.
Steel wire always seems so strong until it fails. It really brings home how much force is generated by those sails to move tons of boat through the water. In the end the steel wire is not that far from a paperclip that as kids we bent back and forth until it broke. Put a furling system on the forestay and there will be someplace that the force is causing a little bend back and forth over time. Even with hanks there is a force generated where the first hank clips onto the forestay. Throw in the salt water bathing the wire to make a little corrosion and it is a wonder things don't fail more.
On my boat it was a fight against the bolts holding in the deck plates. I pulled one of those "so-called" stainless bolts and it looked like swiss cheese inside where you couldn't see it.
All in all though there is more to wonder at out there than there is to worry about.

By marcus on   3/15/2011 12:08 PM

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