Monday, July 10, 2017

Selden in-mast furling system halyard swivel blowout

So our first real broken part on SeaGlub since leaving the USA was a broken halyard swivel.  Huh?  What?

So..... on our boat we have an inside-the-mast mainsail.  The sail literally rolls up inside the mast.  I'm not trying to start a debate on best or better systems (we happen to like ours) but all systems have some flaws.  With our system we've had trouble with the sail not rolling up correctly and bunching up or folding as it goes in.  In an attempt to remove one of these 'folds' I tightened the halyard to straighten out the luff of the sail.  A week later the swivel at the top of the mast which allows the sail to roll up literally blew up sending ball bearings down the mast and scattering across the deck.  We were entering Mazatlan when this happened and still wanted to be in Puerto Vallarta three weeks later.  Good thing was the next 200 miles was downwind and so we just sailed with our big genoa and still made 5-6 knots towards our destination.

Top halyard swivel cracked and separating
So if you look closely, where the blue circle is drawn in, you can see there's a missing piece cracked off.  Also at the top you can see the two rings are separated and where the bearings began to fall out. 

So how did we fix this?

Well, first we called around to rigging experts and were told that the normal fix was to remove the mast!!  Ouch.  Money and time we didn't want to spend.  After several email and phone call exchanges with Selden (very helpful btw, thank you!) we figured that we could possibly remove the furling motor and drop the top swivel all the way down and out the hole where the motor was installed.  But success wasn't guaranteed.  What we had up our sleeve??  Our very good friends, the Kepner family, who operate Tradewinds Sailing in Richmond Ca, were visiting and not only delivered the part but helped to install it.  Thank you so much Matt and Brandy!

Tools and parts all laid out

New on the left, old on the right

Game planning the attack strategy

Furling motor was where we hoped to remove and replace the swivel

Furling motor and mast removed

Thankfully we were successful, in much less time than I would've predicted I might add.  One item crossed off that infinite boat project list!