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J28

Unbending a bent bale

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Below is a closeup of the stern pulpit upper lifeline bale we bent.  The damage was caused when the webbing strap for the Bimini caught on a dock piling, bending the bale up and back.  The insurance company has written off the entire pulpit, but if possible, I'd rather just attempt to bend it back to (close to) it's original shape.  Any suggestions for going about doing so - tools, methods, etc.?  BTW the insurance adjuster (who I found to be helpful and knowledgeable) suggested this as the first option. 

Second option would be to take it off (a royal PITA) and send it off to Whitewater Marine to weld on a new bale.  WM is related to the former Tops-in-Quality, who are experts in stainless steel tubing fabrication and repair.

image.thumb.png.bc30583d8177c2c65e5716a5282eca62.png

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Where are you - is there someone who can come and weld on the boat?

I'd cut those bales off and weld tabs with holes in them made out of plate instead. The wire bales are barely adequate to hold a lifeline, and bend easily. Tabs could be welded on in place in a short time. There is a small possibility of cold working that back into shape but it will be hard and brittle when you are done. It could be heated with a torch and bent back, not as much work hardening, but everything will be discolored and need to be polished. 

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58 minutes ago, J28 said:

The insurance company has written off the entire pulpit,

My guess is they did that because they believed that there was enough force to damage the whole structure.

If it were me, I'd probably pull the whole pulpit anyway, just to make sure that the fasteners through the deck and the structure they go through weren't damaged.  Or new leak-sources.

...and then it would be an easy decision to send it off to be fixed right, on the insurance-company's dime.  I mean, as long as it's off...

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Totally repairable. Cut it off, grind it smooth and then find a local welder to replace it. The only drama will be if there are wires in the pulpit within a foot or so.

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Gee, I don't know... would you still be happy to have saved a few bucks by banging and wrenching that back into shape, when it suddenly fails because somebody washed up onto the lifeline? Would your insurance cover the liability if you had not replaced it? 

Either get a new pulpit as your insurance has paid for, or get a competent fabricator to repair it, including a stronger tab. 

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Removing the pulpit for repair will also provide some feedback on how far tweaked the rest of the pulpit is, beyond this simple tab. You may find that the whole shebang has residual stress and sits distinctly off-level (or not). All this is repairable, but I think there's real value in removing the pulpit and taking it to someone with expertise in stainless steel fabrication.

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56 minutes ago, DDW said:

Where are you - is there someone who can come and weld on the boat?

I'd cut those bales off and weld tabs with holes in them made out of plate instead. The wire bales are barely adequate to hold a lifeline, and bend easily. Tabs could be welded on in place in a short time. There is a small possibility of cold working that back into shape but it will be hard and brittle when you are done. It could be heated with a torch and bent back, not as much work hardening, but everything will be discolored and need to be polished. 

According to the go-to guy at our clubs who knows the folks to go to in a situation like this, there isn't anyone who would be able to reliably weld it on site in our area.  Regarding the strength of the bale, the fact that it bent but did not break under a load much higher than it would see in use (the boat weighs 14000# and we were pulling away from a dock under power when it caught) is a testament to just how strong it is.  Additionally, as you might notice I use lashings for the lifelines, and in the future plan to have the lashings go around the whole tube rather than just lashed to the bale as in the photo below (from Chicago Yacht Rigging).  Irregardless, I'll probably take it off and ship it to WM.

image.png.879c6d0d20e2377f3409408a4d8efd81.png

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Those little lifeline bails have such low strength that a strong dude pulling up on the lifeline could almost bend it. The pulpit tubing is much stronger and I would not be worried about it unless it shows some really gross deformation. Do not try to cold work it back into place. Too much deformation.

If the tubing bent and stayed in that shape it yielded. But pulpit tubing is always cold bent into shape anyway. There is no real concern about "residual stress"

Hard to imagine any insurance company paying for a new pulpit for such a tiny amount of damage. 

+1 to cutting off the bail and welding a plate tab on it. Much more weld area.

Google Maps "Mobile Welding" in your area. Any competent welder could fix this without any drama.

Good idea to lash the ends around the tube as you've shown except don't tape the ends. You can't see if the end of the lashing is creeping (it shouldn't but I'd rather see it)

 

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23 minutes ago, Zonker said:

Those little lifeline bails have such low strength that a strong dude pulling up on the lifeline could almost bend it. The pulpit tubing is much stronger and I would not be worried about it unless it shows some really gross deformation. Do not try to cold work it back into place. Too much deformation.

If the tubing bent and stayed in that shape it yielded. But pulpit tubing is always cold bent into shape anyway. There is no real concern about "residual stress"

Hard to imagine any insurance company paying for a new pulpit for such a tiny amount of damage. 

+1 to cutting off the bail and welding a plate tab on it. Much more weld area.

Google Maps "Mobile Welding" in your area. Any competent welder could fix this without any drama.

Good idea to lash the ends around the tube as you've shown except don't tape the ends. You can't see if the end of the lashing is creeping (it shouldn't but I'd rather see it)

 

I have googled Mobile Welding, but the only return was a guy a friend had do some welding on his boat that didn't turn out so well.  I guess it's better to just bite the bullet, take it off and have the pros at Whitewater Marine fix it.  They made a binnacle guard for me a few years ago that is a very nice piece of work, so I have high confidence in their work.  I don't tape the ends, and I use Marlow Excel Vectran for lashing rather than uncovered dyneema because it's easier to grip when doing the lashing and holds the knots better.

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1 hour ago, J28 said:

I have googled Mobile Welding, but the only return was a guy a friend had do some welding on his boat that didn't turn out so well.  I guess it's better to just bite the bullet, take it off and have the pros at Whitewater Marine fix it.  They made a binnacle guard for me a few years ago that is a very nice piece of work, so I have high confidence in their work.  I don't tape the ends, and I use Marlow Excel Vectran for lashing rather than uncovered dyneema because it's easier to grip when doing the lashing and holds the knots better.

Vectran is VERY BAD with U/V and salt build up, and doesn't take bends well.  Dynema is okay with U/V.  

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5 minutes ago, silent bob said:

Vectran is VERY BAD with U/V and salt build up, and doesn't take bends well.  Dynema is okay with U/V.  

Excel Vectran is actually a double braid with a Vectran core and a polyester cover.  Made for Optimist and Sunfish sail ties.  Used it for about 3 years now with no issues.  Since I'll be needing longer lengths because of going about the tube, I'll probably switch to a small diameter dyneema core db.

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5 hours ago, Zonker said:

Those little lifeline bails have such low strength that a strong dude pulling up on the lifeline could almost bend it. The pulpit tubing is much stronger and I would not be worried about it unless it shows some really gross deformation. Do not try to cold work it back into place. Too much deformation.

I saw an impact to a sailboat that bent all 4 stanchions and the lifeline pelican hooks, but didn't bend or damage the bails at all.  I was very surprised because I always expected them to fail first.  The dyneema lifelines also showed no real damage.

Most lifelines are secured with welded D rings on the pelican hooks that also have little surface area (like the photo in post #8), so I'm not sure that bypassing the bails is that important.  I bypass the bails at the front of my lifelines (going around the pulpit tubing too), but still have the pelican hooks tie into the bails at the stern end of the lifelines.  I guess I could lash a heavier duty ring to the pulpit tubing vs using the bail.  I've never seen this addressed in the tons of lifeline articles that I've read.

 

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I could also add that I have dyneema lifelines with dyneema chaff covers and 2 of the stanchions caught on the pilings also, which bent the stanchions, but the lifelines showed no damage.  But that's a whole other topic... 

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If you get it welded on site, look into passivating or pickling the stainless around the weld.  Otherwise, it will always look repaired. 

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If you're going sailing before getting it fixed you can do what my dock neighbor has been doing for years:  hose clamp a small shackle to the tubing and lash as above.  Good temporary fix, kind of tacky as a permanent solution. 

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3 hours ago, ibanezplayer said:

If you get it welded on site, look into passivating or pickling the stainless around the weld.  Otherwise, it will always look repaired. 

Just needs to be polished. Easily done on the boat. 

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3 hours ago, Leeroy Jenkins said:

If you're going sailing before getting it fixed you can do what my dock neighbor has been doing for years:  hose clamp a small shackle to the tubing and lash as above.  Good temporary fix, kind of tacky as a permanent solution. 

Thanks to all posters for the suggestions.  Unfortunately it’s winter here on the Great Lakes, so she’s on the cradle with the winter cover on now.  My plan is to take the pulpit off as soon as the cover comes off and have it repaired then.

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