The evolving riddle of Duet’s mast rake – Part 4

July 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm

See Part 3 here

So by this time, I had lowered the mast on the tabernacle but at was pretty precariously balanced on the coach roof.  We had propped it up and lashed it as left to its own devices the weight of it dented the coach roof. Also, it seemed that the yard I was in had no capability to restep the mast as they only have a travel hoist and not a crane, but suggested I make contact with a local rigger who had a pneumatic lift thing (!)

So the rigger arrived and together we took the mast off the tabernacle and moved it forward on the deck so it was resting on the pushput and the pulpit, and lashed it down again safely.

He also looked over my rigging for me, and although it had been replaced in 2009 (and 2011 for the back stay) he deemed that it was of poor quality and needed replacing really…

Duet’s mast is supported by 4 wires to the top of the mast.  The one from the top of the mast to the front of the boat is called the forestay, and the one to the back of the boat is called the back stay.  The wires running to each side of the boat are called ‘shrouds’.  The cap shrouds run each side from the top of the mast to the deck, and then there are what are called ‘lowers’ which run from just under the cross trees to the deck, with one forward and one aft, giving you what are called the the forward and aft lowers.

Basically, the forestay is used to control the rake of the mast (which is why I have shortened mine to correct Duet’s mast rake).  The cap shrouds (from the top of the mast down the sides of the boat) run through the cross trees and are really important in supporting the mast laterally.  The lowers are important for supporting the bottom half of the mast and keeping it rigid.

The rigger wasn’t happy with the quality of Duet’s rigging as although the fore and back stays had been made with swage fittings (where the wire is fed into a proper eye fitting and compressed), the cap shrouds and lowers had what are called talurit splices (where the loop at each end is made using a compressed copper band).  Ideally, a boat my size and above would use swage fittings all round as they are stronger.

Rigging Splices

We also took the spreaders off and found them to be really heavily corroded, especially at the ends where the cap shrouds run through them.  He suggested that I have some new ones made up by a local fabrication company and as they were just aluminium tube they shouldn’t cost much.  In fact, in the end they cost £26.

Corroded Spreaders Hurley 22

Duet’s corroded aluminium spreaders

The rigger looked at the bottom of the mast, where the work had previously been done by a professional yard to remove the corrosion and he also said that this was of poor quality.  The mast was not sited squarely in the shoe and A2 bolts had been used to secure it, so it needed to come off and be re-sited and then properly riveted on again.

Hurley 22 Mast Foot

The mast foot is not square on the foot. One edge has a wider gap than the other end (and one bolt has been removed here)

Finally he looked over the mast cap which was wobbly and also needed refurbishment…. So in a nutshell, he pretty much condemned it all and started talking in terms of a new mast and rigging.

Oh crap.