My forestay broke, anyone else?

During the Selby bay races ( 15 knots wind) this summer I got dismasted. The head jib grommet, the internal wire in the jib and the forestay extension all broke in the incident. I suspect that the forestay extension snapped first ( pretty old, broke at the bow plate hole) followed by the head grommet pulling out of the jib and then followed by the wire in the forestay.
Bill Draheim of Gus Sails fixed my jib very nicely and said that the internal wire, since it is slack in order to get luff tension, gets a snap load and breaks. He has repaired several jibs from Scots and other classes. He recomends a beefier forestay for the Scot. Do away with the wire in the jib as several other classess have done. In my and several other cases it did not act as a safety device.

By the way, another boat also got dis-masted (forestay issues) at the same regatta and I read of a boat in Sarasota that was dismasted due to forestay failure.

When I purchased the Scot ages ago the literature that Sandy Douglas wrote indicated he designed the twin stay and toggle system to share the load and that the toggle should be level when hoisting the jib in order to equalize load between the forestay and jib.

Today we set up the boat differently for racing. Virtually everyone tensions the forestay jamming the toggle and races with less jib tension in order to get just slight "crows feet" off the jib snaps.

The Scot is supposed to be reputed to be sturdy as evidenced by the number of gracefully ancient Scots still sailing.

My question is: How many of you have been dismasted as a result of foestay / jib failures? and

Should the class do something about this?

Thanks Gabor Karafiath FS 3512

I lost my forestay during in the last race of 2008 NAC. However, the internal jib wire held and I was able to sail in (i.e. I retired from the race) so I didn't lose my mast but I was worried that if I kept racing that I would. The weak link was at the bow plate hole just as you described. Afterwords, I replaced the wire and toggle with the next size up which requires both a replacement of the wire and toggle. Flying Scot, Inc. had all the parts and quickly shipped them to me. Very easy to replace.

Before I did, I considered the potential cost verse benefits of switching to a larger wire size. Some people reminded me that the smaller wire is there in part to fail in order to prevent the mast from bending like when the mast hits a tree limb or other structure when you are not paying attention. Ok, I tought about that. It's very expensive to replace a new mast but I also considered that a falling mast may hurt someone including me and it can do serious damage to your boat or someone else's boat so I went with the upgrade in the wire size.

So far so good.

WJ #5639 and 2979

It has been recommended that for Scots left on a mooring for an extended period (longer than overnight), utilize the jib halyard (in addition to the forestay) to stabilize the mast and eliminate the 'slop' which causes the wear on the forestay extension. The halyard gets attached to the hand hold and snugged up fairly taught.

Harry also recommends replacing the standing rigging every FIVE YEARS.

With almost certainty, one can assume all of the failures occurred with rigging that exceeded this recommendation.

The 'looks good / no rust & my boat is hardly used' arguement does not apply.

My forestay extension (at deck plate) and jib halyard broke during a capsize this spring. Both were old and I had planned to replace them, so my dismasting was somewhat self-inflicted. I agree that replacing the standing rigging is important, and I would add that you have to consider the jib halyard as part of the equation. Because of the sequence of the failures, my jib was ripped at the second luff grommet, adding insult to injury.

Those who have not dismasted are well advised to take the necessary precautions to avoid doing so. In my case, it caused considerable damage and had the potential for serious injury.

I've never lost rigging or had the mast come down, even on the older Scot we owned years ago FS# 3856. Why? Regular maintenace and replacement of any parts that even hint of poor condition. Always have bought my parts from Flying Scot Inc. They are built to proper size with all required parts at a fair price.

Michael Mittman
FS# 5804, Fleet 23
Corinthian Sailing Club
White Rock Lake
Dallas, TX

It is not practical to pick a fixed period of time to replace standing rigging. There are too many variables to be considered that make it impossible to say how long the rigging will last in a blanket statement.

The biggest enemy of the standing rig is vibration. A loose rig allows the wire in the standing rig to vibrate a lot each time the boat rocks. The vibration terminates at the swages and work hardens the stainless wire so that it breaks just above the swage usually just one wire at a time. A boat that is left to sit in the water with the rig loose can easily break a shroud or forestay inside of a few weeks. Put the jib halyard on either the jib tack shackle or the bow eye and crank it tight to eliminate any play in the rig. I do this even if I am going leave the boat for just an hour or so while I have lunch.

Harry Carpenter, FS 5248

I just replaced my forestay extension. It parted just as we started our Sunday races. The mast stayed in place and we just sailed in. This is the 2nd one I have replaced in 25 years. Is it possible that the rough edges that appear in the hole in the bowplate from "rubbing" of the extension is the culprit-abrading the extension wire? I have seen Thistles with fairleads in their "bowplates" to address this issue. Is there something similar that would work on the Scot?

I store my boat on the trailer and keep the jib halyard tensioned on the bow plate.

John Lewis

When I did my "immediate-emergency-mast-take-down" with the help of an overhead cable, the forestay extension sheared clean right at the bowplate fitting. I am not sure of the shape of a new fitting but the hole in mine has a bit of a right-angle rather than a rounded hole. I think that's a weak spot in the rig. As it came down it made a 90 deg. turn (bending the hinge) so the mast landed on its side. The force of it falling caused a fatal crease in the mast. The point being I don't know if the weaker "forestay breaks so the mast doesn't bend" theory holds up. In my instance a stronger forestay extension would probably have kept the mast up. I would like to see the Thistle fairlead idea adapted.

"If the sea did wild or wicked things, it was because she could not help them." - Hemingway