Sunday, November 24, 2013

Forestay and Furler Fixed

Two days ago, I visited Papillon with the bits and pieces of the Profurl furler. Erik had assembled the necessary tools - circlip pliers, regular needlenose pliers, a ball peen hammer,  and a wooden plug usually used for plugging broken through hulls in emergencies. Two hours later, with the use of these tools, a brief interlude to modify a circlip plier with a dremel grinding wheel, and some colourful language, Erik had the unit re-assembled and greased up. Erik grew up on a farm and can fix pretty well anything. He loves a challenge and enjoys helping out other cruisers with their problems. I think his generosity sometimes gets him in hot water on his own boat where there are plenty of projects awaiting his attention!

Up the mast removing the damaged furler and stay.

The mast has slight ripples in the tapered section. I am currently trying to find out if these have always been there (apparently the welding of tapers in aluminum masts can cause slight regular ripples) or if this occurred when the forestay broke. 
I returned to Ladybug in her slip at the marina and with some neighbor's help we lifted the furler off the rails and place it on the main dock. Rani and I removed the mainsail and I took the furler apart into sections, by undoing a series of little grub screws with an Alan key. The sections came apart effortlessly, being joined by well anodized joiners and the screws being bedded in Loctite. One thing I will say for Profurl furlers is that the are fairly easy to work on and fix using non-proprietary parts (the bearings are standard steel ball races and the seals nitrile lip seals with non-stainless springs). Next we laid the old forestay and broken swage alongside the new 7mm wire and Norselock fittings. Some of the foil sections were slightly bent from the loads imposed when the forestay failed while beatings. These were easy to straighten out using gentle pressure with part of the section placed under a dock cleat.

Assembling the Norseman eye fitting. This will attach to the masthead. 
We taped the forestay wires together to make transferring the measurement more accurate. I added an inch extra so that if and when we replace the furler with a new one, we can simply cut off one of the end fittings and re-use the new wire. There is enough slack in the tensioning turn buckle to allow this.

Attaching extra halyards to lift the repaired furler foil and forestay into place
The next day I woke early, re-assembled the furler foil over the new forestay wire by sliding each section on with the bearing unit/joiner  at the end I first inserted. The Profurl foil has plastic bearing sleeves inside each section joiner. This makes it impossible to slide a new wire through a complete foil unless one has the foresight to use the old stay to feed a messenger line, hence the need to disassemble the foil. The re-assembly went smoothly and I used Loctite to refasten the little screws that hold everything together.

Putting on the Norseman end fittings proved to be very simple. You un-lay the outer wire strands for a few centimeters, insert a tapered hollow cone over the core wires to a precise distance from the end and then re-lay the outer wires evenly around the cone, making a bulge in the wire. Then, if you are me, you undo all this because you forgot to put the body of the Norseman fitting on the wire first (I made this same mistake at both ends!). Once this is done, you screw the head onto the fitting and tighten it with two wrenches. You take it all apart to make sure the wire strands are evenly space and re-assemble with a sealant to keep out water.

The sky was quite spectacular yesterday.

Up the mast for the last time, fitting the Windex wind indicator.
We asked our Polish neighbor, Voytek, to help us raise the foil and with three halyards and two control lines, we soon had the foil raised to the masthead. The rest was relatively easy, requiring two trips up the mast to fasten off the forestay and set up the halyard anti-wrap and our new wind indicator. I slid the furler drum over the bottom and tensioned the forestay by feel because we have no gauge.

Everything back together!

We will head out to anchor today and await a good weather window for New Zealand. It looks like we may be another week here because there are low pressure systems and troughs moving across south of us for much of this week.


Ann Adams said...

Wow, what an accomplishment! Well done!

hotspur said...

Really great news about solving your very big problem!!