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 Ripped my main sail...
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canadiansailorkid
Deckhand

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Canada
11 Posts

Initially Posted - 06/20/2021 :  09:24:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So... mistakes were made!!! Let's me broadcast mine to the internet for judgment! Maybe someone will learn from my mistakes! Who knows its possible!

1. Had passengers on a day that I should've had Crew.
2. 20-25+Knt winds with substaintial gusts.
3. Forgot the storm jib so I struggled with a 110% jib before I decided to drop and switch to just a main like I should've done from the start.
4. Incorrectly reefed the main
5. Fought old weathered lines which constantly fouled up
6. Inexperience with this particular boat and its set up

RRRRIIIIPPP

dropped sail, motored in with my perverbial tail between my legs.


Lessons were learned, and nobody was hurt (except my ego)

We will see what the sail makers estimate is on this old sail now that it resembles Pac-man like shape.






1978 Catalina C25 Standard Rig Swing Keel

dmpilc
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
4553 Posts

Response Posted - 06/21/2021 :  12:26:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So sorry you had this trouble. Just guessing, likely mistake was tying the small reef lines in the middle of the sail tight. They are meant to gather up the loose material, not take the strain of wind on the sail above the reef points. The two reef points along the luff and leech of the sail (the two larger reinforced grommets at the edges of the sail) should handle the stress. Maybe also, it was just fabric fatigue.
My policy on shortening sail was to reduce the headsail first, then reef the main. If I knew it was going to be strong winds, I might start off with a reefed main and jib. I never had or needed a storm sail.
Hindsight is almost always 20-20. I've gone out in strong winds with inexperienced people, never again!

DavidP
1975 C-22 SK #5459 "Shadowfax" Fleet 52
PO of 1984 C-25 SK/TR #4142 "Recess"
Percy Priest Yacht Club, Hamilton Creek Marina, Nashville, TN

Edited by - dmpilc on 06/21/2021 12:28:18
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5574 Posts

Response Posted - 06/21/2021 :  13:41:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Been there and done about all of that, as have many of us. It looks like a good sail and a sailmaker should be able to repair it. They'll have to rebuild the batten pocket, which will cost more than if the batten pocket wasn't involved, but it still shouldn't be too bad.

Don't let the pressure of guests cloud your judgment. If weather is too rough to sail, tell them it's too bad the weather didn't cooperate, and you hope they'll come back when it's nicer. Suggest any local alternative, like antique shopping or visiting a historic site. Maybe the conditions will abate after a couple hours.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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canadiansailorkid
Deckhand

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Canada
11 Posts

Response Posted - 06/22/2021 :  09:35:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dmpilc

...Just guessing, likely mistake was tying the small reef lines in the middle of the sail tight. They are meant to gather up the loose material, not take the strain of wind on the sail above the reef points. The two reef points along the luff and leech of the sail (the two larger reinforced grommets at the edges of the sail) should handle the stress. Maybe also, it was just fabric fatigue...


In fact, the smaller middle reef lines were never tied up around the boom yet with all the loose sail material. It probably had had little consequence as it would've torn regardless as it ripped above those grommets. I'm leaning towards fabric fatigue.

I was pointed into windward with the motor running, I hauled the main halyard and raised with the 2 reefs already in place, the downhaul on the luff grommet, and the outhaul on the leech clew grommet. I went to remove the topping lift and sheet-in when I realized that the boom was sitting a lot lower then it should have been while reefed. It was low enough that I was concerned for the possibility of hitting people sitting in the cockpit. I thought that I had not fully hauled the halyard but both the halyard and downhaul were taught. When I was inspecting this situation is when I heard the rip (maybe 5 seconds of observation). Then immediately shifted into re-installing the topping lift and dropping sail to minimize the damage.

The outhaul was somewhat on an 45 degree angle rather than straight down (although I think it is correct to have some angle), which I believe contributed to the boom being so low when reefed. Almost like the leech of the sail was longer then necessary or the leech side reefing clew was in the wrong spot (very unlikely). I have yet to get it to the sail maker advice. (there are very few in Canada, mine is 1.5-2 hours drive)

Does anybody end up raising your gooseneck stopper slug up the mast when reefing? seems odd that the sail hung as it did prior to ripping.

1978 Catalina C25 Standard Rig Swing Keel
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JohnP
Master Marine Consultant

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1519 Posts

Response Posted - 07/21/2021 :  08:44:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
When I reef the main, I set the reefing lines with the sail down on the boom, and then raise the main as high as it will go. I do not raise the boom more than an inch or so when it is pulled up by the sail. My boom has a line holding the gooseneck fixed in position.

JohnP
1978 C25 SR/FK "Gypsy"
Mill Creek off the Magothy River, Chesapeake Bay
Port Captain, northern Chesapeake Bay
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8702 Posts

Response Posted - 07/21/2021 :  20:47:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JohnP

...My boom has a line holding the gooseneck fixed in position.

John's "boom downhaul" from the sliding gooseneck to a cleat that is typically attached in the bottom of the mast slot, must hold the gooseneck from rising too far as you tension the reefed sail. If the gooseneck rises too far under halyard tension and the mainsheet is holding the boom-end down, the leech starts taking all of the tension, as it appears yours did. Do you have a downhaul on the bottom of the gooseneck, and do you leave it set while relaxing the mainsheet somewhat as you set your reef? And do you have a topping lift from the mast-head? The pigtail from the backstay is an accident waiting to happen.

Your list suggests lessons learned the way most of us continue to learn similar ones. The ones involving judgement are more important than those involving rigging, and it looks like you've learned them. In those conditions, an upright motor tour may have been all your "passengers" needed--sailing in a blow can be distressing to non-sailors.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-USCG-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5574 Posts

Response Posted - 07/22/2021 :  05:24:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's hard to isolate the cause from photos, but I suspect the cause was a manufacturing defect. The sailcloth doesn't look like it's old or sun damaged. The tear is straight, not ragged. Take an old piece of cloth for an example. You can make a small cut in one edge and then tear it in line with it's weave, and it will tear easily and in a fairly clean, straight line. If, however, you try to tear it diagonally, across the bias of it's weave, it will be very difficult to tear it, and it will be a very ragged tear. Accordingly, wherever the sail will be under a heavy load, a sailmaker should either cut the cloth for that panel on the bias, to ensure it's strength, or reinforce it with an extra layer of cloth. I'd guess from that clean, straight tear, that the sailcloth tore along the weave. The tear followed the line where it was reinforced.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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