Head Stay Replacment

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
I have thought about this a bit, as you can see from my post above. I don't know what kind of furler you have, and how it's rigged. I have a Harken furler which, at the bottom, has toggles to connect it to the headstay at the bow. From there it attaches to several aluminum pieces (I forget what they're called--extrusions, maybe), and at the top there is a furler piece that sits on the aluminum furler section. The headsail halyard connects to the head of the sail and the top furler piece and is hauled up those extrusions (?) til it gets to the masthead. The whole furler--bottom drum, aluminum extrusion pieces and the top piece all rotate around the headstay. So on my boat if the headstay breaks, it would no longer support all of this, the furler would fall, the headstay would hang loose and the mast would fall backward into the cockpit. At least, that's how I picture it all. The only thing that I think could prevent that would be running an additional line from the masthead to the bow, but it would have to be done in such a way as to not get wound up in the furler/sail as it turns.
If someone has another suggestion for how to prevent the mast falling in event of headstay failure, I'd love to hear it.

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Hi Frank, On our prior boat, with NO furler, we always stored the end of the spinnaker halyard to an eye on the bow pulpit. This kept it from banging on the mast, and it was handy to rig for launch.

Once we put a furler on the Olson, we suddenly found that rolling in the jib was likely to foul on that halyard so close to the headstay. I always did like the "belt & suspenders" idea of having a spare halyard to the bow, but fate and rigging geometry intervened. I guess that if I got really concerned I could lead the topping lift to the foreguy shackle in the middle of the foredeck, but that would make tacking more tedious. (sigh)

Sean Engle

Your Friendly Administrator
"By that logic you should probably replace the chain plate and all the bolts every ten years as well "
yes, chainplates should be replaced as a matter of course and preventative maintenance. Not every ten years, but every 20... and certainly 30. Or 40, as mine and most are. They as well as swage fittings suffer from fatigue and work hardening, and also invisible crevice corrosion where the chainplate passes through the deck.
I am doing bulkheads this Spring, I have been told the chainplates 'look fine' by two machine shops.... but it is only a cpl hundred dollars for piece of mind. When they go, there is no warning and they go catastrophically.
Yikes! :esad:


Member III
Pulled the mast today. Was able to remove all the masthead sheaves with some heat and an air hammer. Ordered new ones today from Ed at Zephyrwerks today... Didn't see any damage or surprises so Ill be sending the mast off to get sugar blasted and painted. Once back, I'll replace all the standing rigging, new radar install, along with a new Schaefer 2100 Roller furler. Nothing but work and a little money I guess. Should be back up and sailing in a month or so....