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Headstay side movement

Aug 29, 2014

To the editor: I wanted to make an observation on the recent article on roller furling (“Roller furling maintenance,” Issue #218, May/June 2014). Wayne Canning’s article was very thorough. But there is one thing that should be noted that could cause a headstay failure.

On page 40 there is a photo showing a Profurl unit with a very loose furler line on the drum. If you look closely at the photo you will notice the attachment point of the headstay to the deck does NOT allow the headstay/furler any side-to-side movement. The two anchor rollers pinch the toggle. The headstay attachment can easily move fore and aft, but not side to side. This will put excessive pressure on the toggle and possibly cause a failure that could drop the mast.
Please keep up the great work. I never miss reading an issue of Ocean Navigator.

Chuck Houlihan lives aboard the Allied 39 sloop Jacaranda and is currently in NW Panama. His website is: www.jacarandajourney.com.

Wayne Canning responds: You have a good eye Chuck. I missed that in the photo and you are 100 percent correct. Whether using a furler or not, it is imperative that the headstay be allowed to move in a side-to-side direction. In the photo you noted a toggle should have been installed to allow the stay to flex sideways without putting pressure on the swag fitting. I often see this problem at the masthead rather than the stem. In any installation it is important to allow the stay to move freely side to side. Thanks for pointing this out, it is an important reminder whether using a furler or not.

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