A few months after replacing the standing rigging, I noticed the spreaders were drooping below horizontal. Thousands of pounds of pressure from the top-shroud presses against that spreader, and if it isn’t pressing through the center of it the spreader can break causing the mast to come down! Do NOT sail the boat with a drooping spreader!
A few months later, however, the spreaders were drooping again! I noticed the flag halyard pulling down on the spreader, so maybe over time and with enough vibration it was pulling the spreaders down. In any case, enough of this. I’m going to ensure it NEVER droops and the mast lives a nice, long life. How? With bulldog clamps!
- Buy two stainless steel bulldog clamps that fit as tightly as possible to your shroud, one for each side. (Mine is 1×19 3/8″ wire rigging.)
- Climb the mast (See Tips and Tricks -> Climb the Mast) and remove the rubber chafe guards (you DO have chafe protection so the jib won’t shred itself on your spreaders, right?)
- Simply adjust the height of the spreader and install the clamp just below the spread to prevent future droop.
- Use a rubber mallet to bump the spreader up or down into position. Then you won’t have to remove and replace the safety wire.
- A friend on the ground can help by eyeballing the spreader angles.
- Ensure the spreader bisects the shroud exactly. You want all the force pushing inward to be directed through the center of the spreader or the spreader might break resulting in the mast coming down.
- Re-install the chafe guard with quick ties and rigger’s tape. Duct tape will gum up and not work in the sunny, salty air we all love and enjoy.