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.

The evolving riddle of Duet’s mast rake – Part 2 (How to take roller reefing apart)

June 26, 2014 at 7:00 pm

For a recap see Part 1 here

So the mast came down, aided by gravity rather than skill… and once we had the forestay off  it became apparent that not only was the forestay too long (as it was tightened on the bottlescrew as far as it would go) but the roller reefing foil that it fed through was also too long!  The ‘foil’ is basically a long aluminium tube that runs up the stay that the sail is would on and off of when using the roller reefing.

Forestay too long Hurley 22

This is the top end of the foil that’s attached to the top of the mast. The swage fitting on the wire is only an inch or so clear of the foil.

I was hoping that it would be a quickish job of taking the roller reefing drum off the bottom, sliding the forestay wire out, taking it up to Bussells and having them shorten it… but no, I now needed to shorten the foil as well!

First, the black end cap at the top end needed to come off.  It was “encouraged” using a hammer, and luckily one of my boatyard neighbours had a kind of flattened chisel with a squared blunt end.  We also helped it on its way by heating it with a blow torch… and slowly millimeter by millimeter it was indeed “encouraged” off the end.

Underneath the cap it had a couple of horizontal slits that had helped the tube compress as the cap had been fitted, and it was pushed on about 2 inches.

Measuring the genoa luff Hurley 22

After a lot of deliberation, looking at the foils on the other boats with binoculars, and even measuring out the genoa against the foil to make sure the sail would still fit, I decided to take 3 inches off the forestay and 5 inches off the foil!

This was actually quite easy to do.  I measured it and cut off the end with a junior hacksaw, and re-cut the slits and smoothed the cut edge with my new £20 multitool from Lidl. It’s aluminium, relatively soft and the hacksaw cut it without too much effort

Shortening the foil hurley 22

At the other end it was a matter of logic and patience in figuring out how the drum came off the end.  I couldn’t find a makers mark anywhere so didn’t have much to google… But first I unscrewed the the bottom part of the bottlescrew and pulled out the big ‘R clip holding the drum in place.

Roller reefing drum Hurley 22

At this point I admit to getting pretty stuck… But luckily my boat yard neighbours were able to assist!  First the fairlead was wiggled off and the drum was unscrewed to reveal the spindle.  There was also a circlip in there somewhere and as the drum was removed a handful of loose ball bearings dropped onto the floor.

But once it was apart the spindle could be unscrewed from the bottom of the stay and the stay pulled out from the foil from the top.  I took it to Bussells and had it shortened and a new swage fitting at the top, which cost about £14.

Roller reefing Hurley 22

Hurley 22

I cleaned up all the bits with white spirit, ready to re-grease and reassemble

Hurley 22 roller reefing

The bearings greased and reassembled

Forestay Finished Hurley 22

The bottom finished and back together again, complete with a new furling line.

Forestay Finished Hurley 22

The top finished and back together again. The foil is 5 inches shorter and the stay is 3 inches shorter

To be honest it took a couple of goes to get it all back together.  I hope to god I’ve done it right…

How to monitor your 12v battery

June 15, 2014 at 11:41 am

Now I’ve got some progress with Duet’s interior refit, my focus is starting to move towards her electrical systems.

She currently (no pun intended!) has one 70AH leisure battery fitted, which was new last year as I fried the predecessor charging my phone and using the autopilot one sunny afternoon, totally discharging the battery and it wouldn’t re-charge.  I learnt a lesson there, and am keen to make sure that it doesn’t happen again… mainly because batteries are expensive!

I have already done a quick calculation of what power I need for cruising and have recently bought a 20w solar kit to replace the knackered 10w panel I removed earlier in the year.  However, because I’m not really sure how much juice I need I’ve gone for just a 20w panel, and I still suspect that I might need another battery but haven’t decided where I will put the bank as there’s currently only space for one.  I have no experience of boat 12v electrics so I’m just going to try it and see where we get…

Anyway, all this needs careful monitoring as if you discharge a battery below 40% it will fry it (or at least shorten its life).  I’ve been looking at the NASA BM-1 which retails at about £90 though it does show the battery draw when something is turned on (which helps with calculating power needs I suppose) and it shows the current voltage and percent charge.  However, like I said, it’s £90 which is more than the cost of a(nother) new battery, and it needs wiring in which is a bit intimidating as to be honest I’ve never done electrics.

However, there is a drastically cheaper alternative: I’ve bought a plug in 12v voltage meter, on eBay for about £4 delivered.  It looks like this:

12v Voltage Meter hurley 22 duet

Really easy to use, you just plug it into the cigarette lighter and it tells you what the current voltage is, by which you can work out the percent charge of the battery.  Couple of caveats though; always test batteries when they have stood without charge or use for at least 30 minutes. Batteries just taken off charge will have significantly higher voltage until the surface charge decays over 30 mins or so.

I have done a chart on what the voltage means, that I will be printing off and laminating for the boat.  It’s pretty self-explanatory… basically try not to discharge below 12.42v (80%) and never discharge it below 12.06 (50%). Please help yourself to the image if it would be useful to you too!

12v Voltage Charge table hurley 22


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