Don't let this happen to you!
One of the consequences of sailing with the optimally loose rig tension is that the Shrouds and Forestay are regularly shock loaded while sailing. Identifying when a shroud or forestay is going to fail isn't as easy as it may seem. Rust and wear happens at the end fittings and can be hard to identify.
Forestay failures generally do not result in collateral damage as the jib halyard tends to keep the mast aloft. When a shroud fails there is always additional damage. The tabernacle (by design) comes loose when the mast comes down and, as shown below, the bow fitting is sometimes a casualty.
As the 2014 season begins, we have witnessed shroud failures in two consecutive regattas. To help keep this from happening to you try the following:
- Inspect your shrouds and forestay every time you go out, pay particular attention at the fittings.
- Replace your shrouds every two years.
- Use one size up from the 3/32" standard.
- Remove your shrouds and forestay when trailering or coil and tape them so they don't kink at fittings.
- Do not through bolt the mast tabernacle. If a shroud does fail you want it to "break away" without compromising the deck beam.