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 Ball-lock quick release cotter pin for forestay
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sfsmith
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114 Posts

Initially Posted - 10/06/2018 :  08:07:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The tight space between the stem fitting and furler drum on my C25 makes it very awkward to install and remove a regular clevis pin and ring. So I'm thinking a ball-lock quick release pin would be the answer. I had that setup on a C22 I used to own, and it worked great. But I'm wondering if the greater forces of a C25 tall rig would be too much for a hollow pin. It would be 5/16" diameter x 1" working length. Has anybody used this system? Any recommendations or warnings?

Here's what I'm referring to:

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-marine--ball-lok-quick-release-pins--P002_065_009_003?recordNum=1

Solomon Smith
TANGO 89/WK/TR/#5942
Petoskey, Michigan

Erik Cornelison
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122 Posts

Response Posted - 10/06/2018 :  10:24:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That’s the same pin on my Catalina 25 with hank on jib/Genoa.


That same pin came with my boat when I bought it & I too wondered if it’s strong enough, I only have one summer sailing with it.

I don’t know how many years the previous owners used it, but our winds in Colorado can be gusty - and that tests the strength more than constant steady winds. I do sail the boat in 20+ winds with gusts putting my toerail into the water sometimes to give you an idea of the stain my rig is taking.

One thing I wonder about, and it might make a difference between our rigs, is the difference between a roller furling jib vs. hank-on jibs -is the forstay tension very different? When I sailed Hobie Cats, we would tension the jib halyard to take the strain off the forestay so the jib was taking the strain. I have been doing this with the Catalina, not sure if it’s right or wrong and it’s a different setup than your furling rig.

I also don’t really know if the hollow pin is weaker than a solid pin as there are other factors for strength.

So for me ithe pin has been working ok, installed by previous owner to make mast stepping easier.. when I replace the standing rigging I will replace it along with every other part.

Hope that helps a little.
Erik

Erik Cornelison
6th Generation Professional Sailor, First Gen Submarine Sailor.
1986 Standard Rig SW. #5234
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Stinkpotter
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Djibouti
7974 Posts

Response Posted - 10/06/2018 :  19:16:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can only say I would never use a quick-release--especially with a hollow tube--for standing rigging. I've used them for a bimini--it seemed to me that's what they were intended for. I guess one of our participants, who had to lower his mast every time he returned to his dock, probably did. But that little ball and tube just wouldn't give me a good feeling for keeping the mast from falling on me in the cockpit. I used to change the cotter pins in the standing rigging clevis pins every 2-3 years, and I'd never use a tubular pin for that.

Curmudgeon out.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 10/06/2018 19:18:18
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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Response Posted - 10/06/2018 :  19:56:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I use one for the tack of the mainsail on my Cal 25. The idea is that the little balls spring in when you insert it and then spring back out, preventing the pin from backing out easily. I replaced it about 2 years ago and the balls are no longer springing back out, so that there's really nothing holding it in. They're too unreliable to be used for a critical connection like the forestay.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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Davy J
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1430 Posts

Response Posted - 10/07/2018 :  05:17:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had to lower and then raise my mast on every trip out and then on the way back in. I used this type of quick release pin for ten years with no problems. I made sure to keep the ball mechanism lubricated.









Davy J


2005 Gemini 105Mc
PO 1987 C25 #5509 SR/SK
Tampa Bay
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Voyager
Master Marine Consultant

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4109 Posts

Response Posted - 10/07/2018 :  07:44:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Seems like it might work out ok, however I’ve seen too many clever ideas go south because there are too many parts that must not fail. Springs, snaps, catches and shear pins. Even if the individual reliability of each part may be high (95%), when you do the math of 4 things taken together (joint probability) you get 81%. The odds that the same device will work for years go lower as we all know that “rust never sleeps”.

Even a simple clevice and cotter pin will fail eventually...
Add to that, there’s no backup if it fails - if the forestay lets go the lower forward shrouds don’t stand a chance in strong winds with churning seas.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain Stratford & Milford, CT

Edited by - Voyager on 10/07/2018 07:48:28
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sfsmith
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114 Posts

Response Posted - 10/07/2018 :  07:52:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the quick advice and expertise, everybody. I have all winter to mull it over, but I'll probably stick with the solid clevis pin. Weighing the awkward pinning/unpinning the forestay against a possible mast collapse, I'll deal with a few minutes of inconvenience at each end of the season.

Solomon Smith
TANGO 89/WK/TR/#5942
Petoskey, Michigan
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Erik Cornelison
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122 Posts

Response Posted - 10/07/2018 :  09:16:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Bruce, is there a backup on the forestay if a clevis pin fails? I only have one pin, no matter what pin I use, there is only one pin. Or did I read the post wrong?

Erik

quote:
Originally posted by Voyager

Seems like it might work out ok, however I’ve seen too many clever ideas go south because there are too many parts that must not fail. Springs, snaps, catches and shear pins. Even if the individual reliability of each part may be high (95%), when you do the math of 4 things taken together (joint probability) you get 81%. The odds that the same device will work for years go lower as we all know that “rust never sleeps”.

Even a simple clevice and cotter pin will fail eventually...
Add to that, there’s no backup if it fails - if the forestay lets go the lower forward shrouds don’t stand a chance in strong winds with churning seas.


Erik Cornelison
6th Generation Professional Sailor, First Gen Submarine Sailor.
1986 Standard Rig SW. #5234
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Stinkpotter
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Djibouti
7974 Posts

Response Posted - 10/07/2018 :  09:56:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Erik Cornelison


Bruce, is there a backup on the forestay if a clevis pin fails?
One could say the jib and its halyard are backup, in that the jib tack is attached to the stem fitting, and the halyard rides over the mast-head down to a cleat somewhere... But that assumes that the luff of the jib and the halyard have the tensile strength of a steel forestay, which doesn't sound likely to me. When the lateral force from the top of the mast is strong, and the only thing holding it up has a very shallow angle to the mast (approaching parallel as the mast-head moves back), the force on that thing is huge. I once saw somebody lower his mast using the jib halyard attached to the stem fitting, and when it got to maybe 15-20 degrees aft, it came crashing down--probably due to the halyard stretching just slightly. Fortunately it was a smaller boat and mast.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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1430 Posts

Response Posted - 10/08/2018 :  00:30:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just wanted to add a few comments based on some of the responses. First, there is a difference between the quick release pins used on a bimini and the pin that I show in the photo above.

Steve Milby referenced a bimini type pin. These pins have a ball bearing that is forced out by a small spring, they are made so that you can pull the pin, and then the ball will retract and the pin will come loose.

On the pin that I used, there is a shaft inside the pin. There are two ball bearings that are forced out by the shaft, not the spring. There is a spring inside the pin, however, that spring only forces that shaft out. To release the pin, the shaft must be pushed in by hand.



When I set-up my mast rig, I tried to pull the pin out by hand with pliers while not pushing in the shaft. I could not pull the pin out by hand without pushing the shaft in.

The one thing to be sure of, the pin must fit the hole on the U-strap, on the turn buckle, exactly. There shouldn't be any play at all.




Davy J


2005 Gemini 105Mc
PO 1987 C25 #5509 SR/SK
Tampa Bay

Edited by - Davy J on 10/08/2018 01:03:32
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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5155 Posts

Response Posted - 10/08/2018 :  05:21:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The pin in Davy's picture is the type I have, and the exposed cross-section helps me understand what's happening. There must be a small spring in the end. When you push the button, the block moves down, and that allows the balls to drop inside the shaft so that the pin can be pulled out. When you release the button, the spring pushes the block up, and that pushes the balls out, preventing the pin from being removed.

What is apparently happening is that dirt and/or perhaps salt gets inside the shaft through the holes and makes the block stick, preventing it from pushing the balls into position. If the balls aren't in position, there's nothing holding the pin in place. I suppose a remedy would be to lubricate the pin regularly, but the human flaw in that plan is that we often forget about such things, or just don't get around to it. I am very reluctant to rely on a device to prevent a disastrous result when the device can be defeated by human frailty.

By comparison, the human factor is the only real flaw in the swing keel. The design seems to be satisfactory, but the human flaw is that inadequate maintenance of the system defeats it. Too often, people don't appreciate the importance of maintenance until disaster strikes. I've never heard of one dropping that has been properly maintained.

With any system, people need to know the potential problems with the system, and how to avoid them.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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Voyager
Master Marine Consultant

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4109 Posts

Response Posted - 10/08/2018 :  07:07:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Eric, responding to your question. On boats with a roller furler, there’s really only one point that keeps the forestay pinned to the bow chain plate. It’s the clevice pin with cotter, nut and bolt or “ball lock quick release pin” if you have one of those. If any of these fails, you’re in trouble.

The primary failure modes are (1) pin shears or (2) pin works itself loose and falls out. Both are pretty remote but can happen either as a result of sloppy installation, substandard or weak materials or lack of maintenance.

Best hedge against disaster is a solid pin and yearly maintenance.

You could add a second backup, for example a short SS wire cable from the bottom of the furler to the chain plate. It would have to be very strong to resist the full force of the mast.
In my case I connected two small SS shackles through an opening on the bottom of the furler and attached them to the chain plate. This was intended to keep my furler bottom from spinning around but it also backs up the clevice pin. I’ve never tested it in harsh sailing conditions, only when the boat was on the hard.

Will it hold? I hope never to find out.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain Stratford & Milford, CT
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Davy J
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1430 Posts

Response Posted - 10/08/2018 :  09:35:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
but the human flaw in that plan is that we often forget about such things, or just don't get around to it.

Steve, in my case, I had to activate the Ball Lok pin on every outing. That totaled six times per sail, every sail. 1) Release pin to lower mast 2) activate pin to connect to a-frame. 3) Activate pin to connect back to stem. Then do it all again to get back to the dock. That pin got a lot of attention.

If I only needed to drop the mast a few times a year I would have just used a regular clevis and cotter pin.

I will add that in all the years of using that Ball Lok pin it never moved from the position you see in that photo. In other words, the ball bearings were never in contact with the turnbuckle.




Davy J


2005 Gemini 105Mc
PO 1987 C25 #5509 SR/SK
Tampa Bay
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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5155 Posts

Response Posted - 10/08/2018 :  10:29:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've never believed that there's only one "right" way to do something. The way that I prefer would be unbearably tedious for you, because of the particular way you use your boat. But each method has its benefits and drawbacks. If people understand them, then they can make an informed choice between them.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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