Need tips on keeping mast
Result of misaligned "T"-ball
Click any picture to see a larger view
Last Summer, I demasted
my boat by running into a power line in Florida. That shortened the sailing
This Summer, while under sail, the
"T-ball" of the forestay popped out of its slot at the head of the
mast and the jib slowly floated down to the water.
Of course, with nothing to keep the mast
upright, after about 30 seconds the mast began a slow descent into the cockpit.
We were able to catch it as it came down. I radioed ahead to the marina for help
and we then motored back and tied up without any further problem.
starboard solid mast strut bowed a few inches, they did a great job keeping the
mast straight as it came down and there was not any damage to the
mast or the struts. As far as I can tell, the only damage to the boat was a
small rip in the main, and a bent "T-ball".
This summer a
friend had a similar thing happen on his H260 but in his case the furler
turnbuckle came unscrewed from the forestay bolt. Apparently, the forestay bolt was never pinned as shown in the picture
below. I've also heard of a
couple of other cases where the forestay came undone for various reasons. The
solid struts kept the mast from being ripped off the base. They are useful for more than
providing a secure hand hold when
I sent the forestay to Seco South 727-536-1924
in Largo FL to have it evaluated. They contacted US Spars to see if the
slot had to be replaced. Both recommended replacement. I purchased some
"T-ball" plugs at the same time. The new forestay was $32, the plugs
were $1.35 each and the slot was a whopping $25 !!
Nobody was hurt.
The event happened slowly enough so that
we were able to react without panic.
This was probably the last sail of the
season. Will need a main sail repair and a new forestay.
My friend took it in stride, but I doubt
he'll ever sail again with me again. The look on his face as the mast and main
settled into his lap was priceless!
Wife is sure we should go back to a
main problem is that the roller furler pulls the forestay sideways when
trailering (see picture below) and if you are not really paying attention during
mast raising it the "T-ball at the head of the forestay can become
misaligned and was not seated properly. When the mast is up it is hard to see if
the head of the stay is secure. Over time, it worked its way out. I contacted US
Spars and Dwyer Mast asking their view on this problem. US Spars' view is that
the T-ball is quick and easy to remove for trailerable boats but does have
itís drawbacks when used with a furler -- When the hardware was selected for
the H26/260 series it was not anticipated that a lot of these masts were going
to have furlers on them. A Tang system that slots in the mast with a toggle eye
on the forestay would also work. US Spars also offers what they call call
a combi-box on the Z -230 mast which incorporates a sheave box and a
toggle combination. The draw back to these systems is that you have a clevis
& cotter pin that you could drop and lose. Also, a toggle arrangement also
can get twisted and misaligned and bent. US Spars' view is the key to not having
problems is to keep the forestay tight and in line as the mast goes up. Dwyer
said that for the mast of the size we are talking about they prefer a T-ball or
a hound setup.
Early this year I helped a friend step the mast on his '96 H26. The furler
"T-ball" kept coming out so we taped it down with electrical tape.
That seemed to work. There has been some discussion regarding the
grey clips that are supposed to hold the "T-ball" in place and there
are several sources for an alternative "T-ball" plug. I've also had
trouble keeping the side shroud "T-balls" in place and will look at
I've tried several ways to keep the stays
in line with the spar when raising the mast. I've tried tape and cable ties.
These work fairly well. The
most successful is to rivet a eye clamp in-line with the spar and tie the stay down with
a light cable. The cable tie easily breaks when the mast comes vertical and the
forestay is pinned.