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Tips on safe sailing after a demastation


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Hi, I just bought a cat and have used it twice so far. Unfortunately the second time we used it a side stay broke and we quickly ended up in a sticky situation where we were drifting towards some rocky cliffs with the rigging hanging in the water. There was solid 15knots breeze with 3 medium/large blokes on board.

Needless to say we had no idea what we were doing, but we some how managed to get the sails and mast onboard the boat again with the only damage being a small hole in the front beam near the mast ball (I think the mast caused it when it lifted of the ball). Another cat off in the distance must have seen our mast go over and came to our rescue just in time to tow us when we were about 20m away from the rocks.

How can you tell when a stay is going to break? We heard crunching noises in the half hour before it broke, could those noises have been the individual strands breaking under the PVC? I have since ordered 3 new stays. Would the hole in the beam be considered dangerous? Its only a dent with a small hole in the centre, I was planning on keeping an eye on it to see if it starts developing into a crack.

Any tips on preventing this from happening again would be great!! I haven’t even changed the name of the boat yet (maybe it was an unlucky precursor lol)


owner of a Nacra 5.8 no 947. (my first cat)

[This message has been edited by Dennis5.8 (edited 17 February 2003).]

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click here to read about breaking stuff

Have a good read through this thread, most of what you ask is covered.

If I were you I would replace the main beam, and while you have it apart, replace the dolphin striker strap.

The front beam is under a huge load, and what you have done will weaken it.

If the beam breaks, the other damage it will cause: the rear beam will break, and possibly the traveler section. the tramp will be torn, and ther is a chance you will damage your sail's

When you order your beam, ask about the I-beam section that goes inside the front beam, it is standard equipment on later model 5.8's and well worth having.


Lauderdale Yacht Club


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Thanks for the link. It’s a sorry sight to see your boat in that condition. Do you know what gave way and why? Replacing all that stuff sounds very expensive frown.gif

I nearly fainted when I saw the $924 price tag for the beam. A mate of mine welds aluminium and he said he could easily fill the hole and grind it so you would never be able to tell. It’s a 4cm wide dent about 5mm deep with a very small hole in the centre located about 15cm away from the mast ball. Do these beams have a history of breaking?

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That day we broke a diamond wire, they cost about $30, It failed due to old age, and I was not aware they had issues. That little peice of wire caused nearly $4000 worth of damage, and almost 3 months between sailing.

The main beam fully assembled is $900 odd, but you can just buy the section for $300 the strap is $44 and the Ibeam kit cost $105. We broke our beams about a month ago, due to that $44 strap breaking. It would appear they need replaceing every few years.

If your stay's are failing, I would suggest your diamond wires may not be too far behind.

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The stays I would go with the dealer, the PVC coating is nicer on your hands, and doesn’t wear on the jib luff.

The size of the diamond wires is fine, its the metal fatigue that’s the problem frown.gif . If you can find a local rigger, that can swage those ends properly, then go for it. It is a $5-10k piece of equipment required, so there will not be a huge choice in those people who can do it.

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