Forestay Weakened

31st October 2010

Forestay Weakened

Initial Report

Report Text:

Preparing to enter harbour I attempted to furl the roller reef jib.  It jammed at the mast head.  In attempting to free it, I alternately heaved on the jib sheet and roller reefing line.  Unsuccessful, the jib was lowered to the deck. In harbour the jib was re-hoisted into a higher position in the roller foil and all was well for the next 10-12 day sails.

The mast was lifted out prior to the annual boat lift out and storage ashore for the winter. During the spirited attempt to roll up the jammed jib, the forestay strands at the masthead had untwisted and were nearly straight. Common sense dictates that the strength of the forestay was severely compromised. I was lucky that my subsequent sails put no undue strain on the weakened stay, which could have failed and caused a dismasting.

Lessons Learned: Inspect rigging wires immediately after any unusual strains have been imposed.  If in doubt – review.

CHIRP Comment:

Dismasting has the potential to cause injury so the reporter was correct in identifying the weakened forestay as a hazard. We would be rather surprised if the damage to the forestay had been caused entirely by the attempt to roll up the jammed jib and wonder whether the stay had already been weakened. In any event, it does highlight the importance of regular inspection of rigging.

We would welcome any thoughts from other mariners on this report.

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