E30+ Spreader Movement

Dave G.

Member II
Hi all, Recently acquired new old boat and yesterday while checking standing rigging tune I noticed I can move both lower spreaders fore and aft by push/pulling on shrouds. Should that movement be present ? If not any ideas on the fix ?
 

nquigley

Member III
Nope - not normal.
Have a look at how the spreader roots are attached to the mast - anything there to tighten? (e.g., if spreaders are bolted to a stub that's welded to the mast). If they slot into a cup-like fitting that's just riveted to the mast, is that fitting loose?
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
On our 1984 E30+ the spreaders are attached with visible bolts on each side of the mast. Ensure they are tight. Also inspect the seizing wires under the spreader boots at the end of the spreaders, and replace as necessary, adding some dielectric grease to minimize corrosion.
Everything should be tight when done. If not, carefully inspect the welds at the spreaders for any cracks.
Let us know what you find.
Frank
 

bigd14

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Definitely not normal. Each spreader is sandwiched between two metal tabs welded to the mast and held in place by two through bolts. On my boat they are rock solid. The tuning guide indicates that the spreaders are constructed very robustly to handle the high tensions of the fractional rig (most fractional drugs have aft-swept spreaders). Any looseness should be investigated.
 

Dave G.

Member II
The plates attached to the mast look fine, the movement is just the spreader itself. Both lower spreaders have about an 1" or so movement out at the ends. I am guessing the through bolts are loose, guess its time to go up and have a close look.
 

Dave G.

Member II
Curious if anyone thinks the spreaders can be repaired with the mast up or should I be planning to pull her out and drop the mast ?
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Dave,
I think you can check the bolts, and tighten if needed, and replace the seizing at the outer end of the spreaders without hauling the boat and dropping the mast. If you need welding at the mast/spreader joint, it will depend on the welder. But I suspect the welds are probably fine, so do the other checks first, with mast up at a mast tower or with a good bosun chair. I think this problem is likely easier to fix than you think, but it's important to get it right and have spreaders and shrouds right, and the rigging well tuned.
Frank
 

bigd14

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
If its just that the nuts have come loose then it should be a relatively easy fix with the mast up. If there is something else going on like the holes are egged out, bolts stripped or cross-threaded or something is broken then it would be wise to pull the mast as it wont stand up well on the boat if you have to remove a spreader to repair. I would first attempt to go up a with a couple wrenches and some loctite and see if the bolts are simply a bit loose before pulling the mast. On mine the nuts were nylocs. Take a phone or camera up and photograph the spreader root from all angles, sometimes you notice things in the photos later that you didn't when you were up there (especially when hanging onto a pitching mast). If you are planning other work anyway (bottom paint thru hulls, shaft seal, etc.) it's not that much more expense to have the mast pulled, or you could just pull the mast in the water and lay it over the boat on some custom made wood braces.
 

Dave G.

Member II
Thanks Bigd, I'm hoping simple for sure but somehow I doubt it. If there are locking nuts then don't know how they could work loose. Well I'll have a look see tomorrow weather permitting and try to get pics for review. Thanks again.
 

Dave G.

Member II
Frank and Bigd, I went to the boat today and looked at the spreaders through binoculars but couldn't see where the bolts were. Are they on top of the spreader or? Also do you guys happen to know what size bolts as I would like to have a new set in hand when I go up there.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Frank and Bigd, I went to the boat today and looked at the spreaders through binoculars but couldn't see where the bolts were. Are they on top of the spreader or? Also do you guys happen to know what size bolts as I would like to have a new set in hand when I go up there.
Hi Dave,
I'm not at the boat, so going from memory. I think there are two bolts per each side spreader, on the short piece welded onto the mast, with top of bolt on the top side and nut underneath, visible from the deck. I'm guessing a 1" bolt might be long enough, guessing it might have been 5/16" diameter. The washers on top were a plastic/nylon material, and regular lock nut on the bottom. It's been 6 months since I've been up there, so recall is sketchy.
Frank
 

Dave G.

Member II
Thanks Frank, closer look and my spreaders have black tape wrapped around the spreader at the mast end so I am guessing the bolts are under that tape which is why I can't see them from the deck. Reason for tape there is another question I'll soon get answered...argh
 

bigd14

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Frank, it's been a few years since I put eyes on this area, but 5/16 bolt diameter seems right. But I think the bolt might be longer than an inch. If I remember correctly, the bolts pass through the two tangs welded on the mast and the spreader that slots in between them and that entire sandwich is about an inch deep. So I would guess a 1.5-2 inch bolt to have enough thread to get the nut on.

Dave, you should be able to see the two bolt heads or nuts in a fore and aft position on each spreader base. If not, it might be a different mast section, a repair or maybe they have just been painted to match the mast and aren't easily visible? Photos would be helpful.

Doug
 

bigd14

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
By the way I have always wondered if it would be possible to reach the lower spreaders with a ladder section lashed to the mast and the toerail or somewhere else on the deck but I have never tried it. This might be easier than a bosun's chair for this application and would make multiple trips up and down easier.
 

Dave G.

Member II
Doug, As there is tape wrapped around the spreaders at the mast end I'm sure that is obscuring the bolts( and who knows what else). I have the same thought regarding a ladder and am preparing a ladder with a foam " V shoe" that I will lash to the mast top and bottom, then cross tie to toe rail area. It's only 14' at the most to the lowers.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
It's a Kenyon mast and appears to be the original black anodized one.
Hi,
bigd14 may be right about need for a longer bolt, and as the additional length would only protrude on the underside, this would not cause a problem.
I don't see any good reason for black tape there, as it would only trap moisture, so I would definitely remove it to inspect carefully.
A ladder would work for the lower spreaders, but given your concern, I would also want to inspect the upper spreaders to ensure nuts are tight and all is well.
Frank
 

Keith Parcells

Sustaining Member
We once got hammered by sudden gusts and virtually knocked down. It’s a long story but the impact was that some sail slugs were ripped out and the spreader was knocked down lower at a skewed downward angle which allowed the shroud to loosen. We limped back to port and I had a rigger inspect the rigging. All he did was take a rubber mallet to the outer end of the spreader and knock it back up into place. He inspected all and said that the seizing wire was fine and all was good. Definitely check that seizing wire. I don’t think the base of the spreader needs to be bolted down so much that it cannot move. I think the flexing rigging might move slightly at that point, but the seizing wire At the outer end and the tension of the shroud hold the spreader in place.

Dont forget that the spreaders should bisect the angle made by the shrouds after they pass over the ends of the spreader. So lowers should be perpendicular but uppers should angle upwards slightly to make that angle bisection.
 

Dave G.

Member II
Thanks all, so I climbed up a ladder and removed the tape....and didn't see what i expected at all. There is only one bolt/pin through each spreader. I say bolt/pin because starboard side has a pin and port side has a 1/4" bolt. Don't think I could stop the movement no matter what I do with a single fastener. Obviously I have different spreaders than both Frank and Doug, now just need to find out what they are. I attached a pic for your perusal and thoughts.
 

Attachments

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Hi Dave,
The spreaders in your pic look quite different from those on my 1984 E30+, maybe because of different year boats. I can't quite see how the spreader is attached to the mast, but I would want to ensure that it is solid there, then that the single bolt is tight, then proper seizing at the end, and for sure the right tension in the shrouds to hold everything in place. Just my thoughts...
Frank
 
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