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Sail & Rigging - Removable Forestay Hardware
16 June 2018 - 18:39
#1
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 124

Removable Forestay Hardware

Dear friends,

when I prepared the inner forestay on our Swan 48 for removal, I found the big aluminium lever broken, torn and distorted. While in place, it looked normal at a glance, so I admit I did not check meticulously -- when we rigged the mast 15 months ago, everything was in order. I have attached two pictures. Unfortunately, the lever (a) looks very much beyond repair and (b) seems to be an integral part of the big fitting sunk into the foredeck.

We use two furling systems, one on the genoa and one on the staysail, so instead of roller-reefing the genoa we take it in and unfurl the staysail once the wind picks up. That means that everything above 20 kts of true wind speed usually is a matter for the staysail. It also means that I am looking for a solution that can take a lot of wind, and can do so while close-hauled too.

So far, we have come up with a small number of options.
1) replace the lever fitting with a spare, if we can get/make one;
2) install a turnbuckle for the inner stay instead, if the forces allow that;
3) install a new base fitting for a free furling system and get rid of the stay altogether.

Has anyone of you replaced the lever fitting with a spare part? Or has anyone experience with a free furling system for the staysail used as heavy weather jib (I recall that it was discussed in this forum as a plan, but I cannot recall an evaluation)?
Or does anyone have any further ideas/solutions?

We are, of course, grateful for any ideas ...

Martin (and Age of Swan, 48/039)

The lever fitting

Detail of the broken part

17 June 2018 - 07:21
#2
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1350

Dear Martin

Too bad if the lever has broken.
It is suggested you remove laminate locally on the outside of the recess and check if the pins holding the lever are accessible from below deck. If not, the deck box needs to be removed for a repair.
Is the toggle fitting into the lever still on the jibstay?
If the jibstay diameter is 7 mm a Wichard babystay tensioner would be an alternative. Also see Hooklever NZ, but unclear which wire sizes it can handle.
Kind regards
Lars

17 June 2018 - 13:50
#3
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 123

Hi Martin,

This is a really interesting question, and one I often thought about, but have not made any change yet as I still carry the heavy weather hanked staysail. But I would also like to experiment with reaching staysails which would mean modifying the existing system if I wanted to be able to deploy quickly/or when shorthanded with furling etc. 

The quick tension on that inner stay using the the original system ( we call a Highfield lever) is something I would be reluctant to lose, and for heavy conditions I wonder if a modern heavy staysail with integral dyneema stay on its own furler could be hoisted on a good dyneema halyard and tacked on the Highfield lever? So the wire stay could be left in its stowed position. It would require a bespoke fitting on the bottom of the furler to attach to the lever which should be possible. A good halyard should allow you to get the required tension. what do you think?

Rob

Sarabande 47/029

 

17 June 2018 - 14:34
#4
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1350

Martin and Rob

I think the staysail halyard sheave can not take the load required by a staysail with integral stay, and suggest you use a 2 to 1 halyard for this.
Lars

18 June 2018 - 20:06
#5
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 124

Dear Lars, dear Rob,

thank you very much for your input!
I have an appointment with a sailmaker later this week (and hopefully can get a rigger as well). I hope the sailmaker can enlighten me regarding the windward qualities of a free furling system, but so far I have only found arguments against such an installation: Lars' advice regarding the halyard sheaves, and it seems that a free furling sail cannot be reefed. Bad idea ... that is my heavy-weather wardrobe.

So for the moment, we are looking at a replacement for the deck attachment of the Reckmann jib furler. How does one calculate the load that is put on the fitting? I seem to recall that the breaking load for a sail calculates as (sail area in m²) * (wind speed in kts squared) * .1, but that would probably be split among tack, halyard and sheet. So I am not sure at what load to look ...

In any case, I will keep you informed.

Best regards,
Martin

19 June 2018 - 04:19
#6
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1350

Martin

The required deck attachment strength is determined by the wire stay size. If you remove the lever, the remaining pins could possibly be used for the attachment
Lars

20 June 2018 - 07:23
#7
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 124

Dear all,

here's the update.
The sailmaker I asked advised against a (free-furling) sail with integral dyneema stay, at least for the purpose I have in mind. The upwind qualities seem to be low, and such a sail can definitely not be reefed. So I will go with one of the other options, either refurbishing the lever or replacing it with a simpler fitting. Below deck, the lever box is bolted to a metal bar which in turn is fixed to the bulkhead, so the load of the lever is distributed -- and this bar can still be used to strengthen any new fitting.

Lars: the pins are still there but not accessible as long as the box is in place. I am wondering if a special fitting would do the job; it would need to look like an upside-down "T" with the stem of the T, pointing upwards, forming the attachment fitting for the stay, and the crossbar ends of the T shaped semicircular so they fit the pins. If the fitting can be slipped underneath the pins and then tightened, the fitting should be pulled against the pins. All that would then be needed is a feature to tighten the stay for a bit more than half the diameter of the pins, and that can probably be integrated into the Reckmann toggle.

Rob: do I understand correctly that you contemplate using two alternate removable staysails, a hanked sail on the wire jib for beating, and a free-furling sail with integrated dyneema stay for reaching? They would then use the Highfield lever alternately as well? I think that would be quite an interesting idea, but it will leave you with a higher number of sheaves on the mast as the new sail takes two, as Lars advised, and the wire stay would still be there.
It would be interesting ... but to me the big advantage of the two sails is a very quick and very safe reduction of sail area done from the cockpit, and that is the part you would give up. I single-hand a lot, and if the wind picks up quickly, the boat needs to be reefed fast but safely. To me that always meant to furl the genoa and unfurl the staysail (both can be done without leaving the cockpit, and that alone reduces the sail area by almost 50m²). Then to reef the main I can heave to with the smaller foresail and with a lot more safety. If I still had to prepare and set the smaller sail, I'd lose that advantage. Personally, I would not like to do that while single-handing or sailing with a very small crew.

Best regards,
Martin

20 June 2018 - 12:08
#8
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1350

Martin

I had a simpler fitting in mind, consisting of three plates with the same shape but different thicknesses. The outer plates have the same thickness as the pin lengths, and a hole fitting the pins. The center plate fills the space between the outer plates when they are on the pins. The three plates bolted together above the recess.
Would you need a sketch?
Lars

 

20 June 2018 - 14:47
#9
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 123

Hi Martin,

 

Very interesting to hear this conversation, and well done you for going into the detail, and good luck with your new lever.

I wouldnt challenge your Sailmakers comments on windward ability of a furling staysail, I havent actually tried, but I would have hoped to have the integral stay at no less tension than your removable wire one, but perhaps a dyneema stay has more bend?.

I fully agree with Lars comments on the 2:1 halyard requirement to halve the sheave load, but you only need 1 sheave, with the bitter end of the halyard made off on a padeye the correct distance below the mast sheave. When using the same halyard for the hanked sail - it may prove problematic though as the pull may be away from the top of the stay, so that would need thinking through.

On a practical level, I imagined the furled staysail could have the halyard eased so much so you could lash it toward the mast, leaving the foredeck clear for tacking the genoa until you need it - so you only have to pull the last bit of the staysail back up when you want to unfurl it. However this may be too complex if your plan is not to leave the cockpit, and I sense you have more solo experience than I do.

Look forward to more on this as you make your decisions.

Best

Rob

Sarabande 47/029

21 June 2018 - 15:14
#10
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 124

Dear Lars and Rob,

thank you very much for your ideas!

Lars: I think your design is even easier to build than what I had in mind, and it is probably the safer variant as there is no possibility for the construction to slip off the pins. Mine could, but only if the stay slackens considerably -- and on the other hand, I could have the extrusions extended a bit so they form deeper grooves. I made two drawings, one for your design as I understood it, and one for my idea. Please check if I got you correctly, but I am confident I did -- your explanation was clear as always. Both designs would allow us to install the inner forestay without a lot of work.
Stefanie by the way does not like the idea to have the construction made of stainless steel due to corrosion issues, but I am not sure if I would trust the load to an aluminium design.

Rob: I would agree with you that the dyneema stay could probably compare to the wire stay regarding slack, and I would also agree that the halyard could simply be made long enough to store the sail on deck without being in the way of the genoa. Reducing the sail area however remains an issue. Otherwise the sail would have to be smaller from the start, but that reduces the "overlap" at the lower end. When using the headsails alternately, the genoa and the staysail have an "overlap" of some knots of true wind speed, and with a smaller staysail that would be reduced or lost. But then, I don't have a second staysail ready to use as you would have.

Best regards,
Martin

 

Possible designs to replace the lever

22 June 2018 - 11:12
#11
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1350

Martin

You understood me correctly.
The fitting can well be made of aluminium if sized accordingly. Anodizing suggested. The recommendation is to put in a stainless sleeve in the upper hole to reduce chafe effects from the stainless pin.
Kind regards
Lars

24 August 2018 - 18:20
#12
Join Date: 18 August 2015
Posts: 1

When I had my Swan 44 redecked the alloy recessed lever was removed and replaced with a screw- in eye. I do have the fitting kicking around somewhere - surplus to requirement. Maybe it is the same as was fitted to the 48.

25 May 2019 - 16:04
#13
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 124

Dear all,

here is a follow-up and hopefully a conclusion to the Highfield lever problem. I did a lot of thinking about the two possible designs mentioned earlier, and finally came up with a third option. It is a simple U-shaped toggle that fits snugly around the two remaining bolts (the pivots of the lever). Two holes allow for pre-adjustment of the stay tension, and tensioning is then done with the built-in adjuster of the Reckmann furler. We'll see how it works, but I certainly love the elegance ...
Seems we're getting closer to sailing!

Fair winds,
Martin (Vellamo, 48/039)

new toggle in place

seen from aft

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