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TQA

The story of my inner forestay failure and repair LONG

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Short version the fitting between the threaded Norsemen and the overcenter lever failed and I got a similar fitting and adapted it to fit

 

Long version. My boat is a 44 ft cutter built in the USA in 1978. I have sailed her around the Eastern Caribbean for the last 9 years. We were sailing up to Guadeloupe from the Saintes on a fairly boisterous day. Just off the Southern tip of the high island the wind speed increased which I was expecting because of the compression and the seas got a bit higher and definitely more confused. I was bot worried as I had been in similar conditions before and had had the rigging professionally inspected by a rigger 3 months ago. There was a big bang, the boat lurched and the staysail luff developed a large belly. We were a 100 yards from getting into the lee of Guadeloupe so I just kept going but let out the staysail sheet a bit. In the lee I dropped the sail and rolled some genoa.

 

We dropped the hook at Anse La Barque and had a look. The forestay terminates at the bottom in a male thread Norseman. With a female threaded eye which attached the forestay to the overcenter lever. It was obvious that the head of the eye fitting had come off the stem. There was clear evidence of corrosion at the break with only a little ring of bright metal near the surface. So it looks like it has corroded from the inside out. My inspection also came up with three cracks in the head. All of this should have been spotted by me and certainly I feel the expensive 'expert' should have found them

 

Anyway I need a new one. Calipers and thread gauges establish that it is a 7/16th UNF thread and the eye diameter is 9/16ths.

 

A search on the internet comes up empty. I post some forum queries with pics and go to bed thinking that someone somewhere will know where I can get a new one.

 

On the internet no one has come up with a definitive answer but a couple of people suggest that it might be a swage end. We drive over tp Pointe a Pitre and visit the rigger and other machine shops. Now they talk metric here and I am somewhat sanguine about my chances of getting an oddbal Imperial fitting but it is a nice day for a drive and we will stop off and do the tourist rain forest things on the way back.

 

We come away with this fitting The hole in the stem is too large but it should swage down to the correct ID for tapping 7/16 UNF the eye is very close to 9/16th. None of the fittings that could have been tapped 7/16th had a large enough eye. He could not swage it down for me as his machine was broken and no one else had one.

 

So no worries Antigua is the next island and they have a good rigging shop there.

 

We sail up to Antigua and go visit the rigging shop. Now I have been cruising the Caribbean for 15 years now and always found the engineering shops to be very knowledgeable resourceful and willing to help out in any way possible to get you back sailing. I was surprised to find disinterested staff who did not see how to help me and told me to wait and see the boss. When I eventually got to speak with the boss he said that he had not seen an overcenter lever like mine for 25 years had nothing that would fit and he would not use his machine to swage down my new fitting.

 

No big deal I thought as I was due to fly out to Salt Lake City for my annual holiday off the boat to go skiing. Someone in Salt Lake City will sort me out. On arrival I got the Yellow pages out and went looking for an engineering shop with a metric swaging machine or at least an imperial one that might do the job. Nope nobody could swage that size.

 

It was time for some lateral thinking. I had grown up with blacksmiths shoeing my sisters horses and had recently seen how a blacksmith using just a hammer anvil and forge could turn a piece of flat bar into a gunbarrel [seen on youtube]

 

so as my new eye had to be malleable perhaps a smith could reduce it down to the point I could get it tapped to the size I needed.

 

The first two I spoke to only did decorative scrolls but then I found a real blacksmith Matt Danielson at Wasatch Forge Initially he was somewhat reluctant as he said stainless was often brittle and would crack when forged. I said I thought this piece would be malleable as it had to flow when swaged He agreed to have a look at it and maybe give a go and we arranged a time. He looks like a smith and must be around 6' 6”. He decided it did not look brittle and when I said if it breaks or cracks so be it I would not hold him responsible in any way. So he got the forge up to forging heat and started.

 

The blacksmith's motto is “ Get it hot. Hit it hard “

 

I was expecting him to use a blacksmiths swaging block but he worked just on the anvil. Over and over he bought it up to a bright cherry red took it to the anvil and pounded on it. It took 40 minutes but when he was done the 3/8th mandrel would slide in and the exterior was round and showed almost kn evidence of hammer marks. It was black from the forge but he soon polished it up on a sander. He said that while he could hand tap it at the forge I should take it to a machine shop he used as they could machine tap it with a much smaller risk of breaking the tap and scrapping the piece.

 

The machine shop did a good job with a nice clean thread and I set it aside and went skiing.

 

Back on the boat I tried it on the thread and it ran on smoothly. It needed a little filing to fit the overcenter lever but we are back in business.

 

Now I am impressed with your staying power if you made it here. Perhaps you know about overcenter tensioners. Are they really old hat or do they still get used.

 

Also my old set up used a swivel snap shackle to connect the lever to the deck loop. This had some wear so I have replaced it with a screw gate carabiner. Is this OK?

 

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Those hyfield-type levers are great for removable staysails. Had one on my previous boat.

Used to be made by ABI, no longer in business. Definitely an item to obtain and store away if you ever come across one at a used parts shop, etc.

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  Yes the broken fitting was a swage fitting for 3/8" wire. That  -12 is rigger secret talk, it means 12/32 's, so 3/8".  The lever builder did the internal tapping.  I would not use the carabiner as it (and the snap shackle previous) are quite a bit understrength compared to the wire size,

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Why not just get a normal male threaded eye terminal and connect to the Norseman fitting with a turnbuckle?

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13 hours ago, xyzzy said:

Why not just get a normal male threaded eye terminal and connect to the Norseman fitting with a turnbuckle?

Because it would require a new wire stay or at least the existing stay shortened.

Also I like the ability to release the inner stay and tie it back in seconds. Tacking my big genoa through the gap between the inner stay and the head stay is a total bitch especially when I am singlehanded.

Re the use of the carabiner well it has to be stronger than the snap shackle used previously for at least 9 years.

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3 hours ago, TQA said:

Because it would require a new wire stay or at least the existing stay shortened.

Also I like the ability to release the inner stay and tie it back in seconds. Tacking my big genoa through the gap between the inner stay and the head stay is a total bitch especially when I am singlehanded.

Re the use of the carabiner well it has to be stronger than the snap shackle used previously for at least 9 years.

It's a norseman fitting, so you could shorten the stay and put it back on.  Got to be easier to cut a stay shorter than forge a fitting to a smaller diameter to internally thread it.

The threaded stud eye fitting would be attached to the offset lever the same way you have the swage eye fitting converted to internally threaded eye fitting attached to it.  So it would remove in the same manner.  The turnbuckle would be the extra part.

Or get one of these, 435.jpg

Norseman threaded stud goes in the top.   Eye attaches to lever.  But I bet it doesn't come in a large enough size.

An eye fitting for 3/8" wire (we know that from the "12") would have a 1/2", 5/8", or 3/4" eye.  So if that's the pin size in your lever, then you'll be stuck with threaded eye fittings with a thread of at least 1/2" if not larger.  But the norseman fitting has a 7/16" stud (stay is 1/4"?), which wouldn't match a threaded eye or eye end turnbuckle that is going to be 1/2", or larger.

Assuming your stay is 1/4", that's 7000+ lbs breaking strength.  What your gate fitting rated for?

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On 11/6/2018 at 12:33 PM, TQA said:

Short version the fitting between the threaded Norsemen and the overcenter lever failed and I got a similar fitting and adapted it to fit

Fucking short?? My guess is your pitching to Netflix a script about fixing shit on boats.

To be accurate you missed the bit about whether you flew business or coach, whether the Norseman flew carry on or checked in, but more importantly you have airbrushed out the words of the rigger 3 years prior saying to you should swap out that old S/S shit for a "soft" inner forestay.

PS. If you have any say in the name of this Netflix title avoid one including the word "Noresman" otherwise it will be bracketed in with the Viking "rape and pillage" genre, and after watching yours those viewers will hunt you down seeking retribution. 

Me...I'm just happy you give me back those 10 minutes you stole reading your short post.

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Looking at the cracked fitting, it looks like it has a restricted range of movement inside the lever in one plane when the stay flexes.

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The 12mm maillon type carabiner has a maximum load of 11,250 lbs.

The inner forestay is 5/16th wire so maximum load is 9,000 lbs

Both of these will be considerably stronger than the snap shackle used before to connect the overcenter lever to the deck fitting and the through deck fitting which is tied into a front bulkhead with an adjustable stay.  My new eye fitting should be stronger than the inner forestay even allowing for some loss of strength incurred in the repeated heating required for forging. As the one that failed also had cracks around the eye I am happy that I found a new fitting with a little extra meat around the eye. 

As the eye fitting is not allowed to move much when it is in place with the lever in the tensioned mode I am at a loss to see why the old one should have developed all the cracks around the eye. Maybe it was just 40 years of use?

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age could have a role in it. I'd also suspect the internal thread on that eye playing its part with some water as well.

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Hmm... I have an ABI hyfield stashed away in my project bin, so I puzzled over this to see if it's something that I should be worried about.  But... mine has an externally-threaded eye fitting in that position and a turnbuckle.  Seems like it would be quite easy to replace.  Yes, you might have to shorten the stay a bit, but it would certainly be an easier job than having a custom fitting made. I've been assuming that I could find a swageless stud that would screw in there...  Guess I'd better do that this winter.  

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Two years ago I replaced Malaya's inner stay with a synthetic stay and replaced the release lever with a Colligo deadeye set up. Been very pleased with this new set up. Removed at least 25# of SS rigging, no more wire removing paint from the mast and spreaders when the stay is disconnected. Still have the lever in our spares kit.

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6 hours ago, TQA said:

752 $  US  Ouch

That’s list price. You can probably get it for around $1,100 online.

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13 hours ago, Malaya said:

Two years ago I replaced Malaya's inner stay with a synthetic stay and replaced the release lever with a Colligo deadeye set up. Been very pleased with this new set up. Removed at least 25# of SS rigging, no more wire removing paint from the mast and spreaders when the stay is disconnected. Still have the lever in our spares kit.

And if you want to go "soft" but still have a Highfield, the connection is simple via a "soft deadeye".

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Jack, nice bit of kit. I'll try and get a pic of my setup to post too. Soft is good!

 

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On 11/8/2018 at 10:49 AM, Malaya said:

Two years ago I replaced Malaya's inner stay with a synthetic stay and replaced the release lever with a Colligo deadeye set up. Been very pleased with this new set up. Removed at least 25# of SS rigging, no more wire removing paint from the mast and spreaders when the stay is disconnected. Still have the lever in our spares kit.

Do you have a hank on staysail? Is there a wear / chafe issue with the hanks. 

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12 hours ago, TQA said:

Do you have a hank on staysail? Is there a wear / chafe issue with the hanks. 

With high wear and HV resistance and the slippery characteristics of say uncovered dynema, it is excellent for hanks both soft or traditional bronze. Covers are employed mainly for hand held controls, torque resistance on furling torque lines and as protection for use with jambers and or winches creating heat etc, non of which is needed for a rigging application using hanks.

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Bronze hanks on both staysail and storm jib.

I took time to polish them with my dremel carefully after the change to dyneema. No problems to date. I did discuss this with the team at Colligo. Changing to soft hanks would be easy if ware is a concern, the are easy to tie and relatively inexpensive too. 

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