Spreader Boots and Cable Ties

Moderator: GreenLake

Spreader Boots and Cable Ties

Postby tomodda » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:32 pm

Hi Folks:

This just a random note prompted by an equipment failure this past weekend. I'm using cable ties (ordinary white ones from HD) to hold my rubber spreader boots together. One tie on each end (on the stays) and two around the "neck" where it goes over the spreader itself. Works great. But....

OK, true confessions, "genius' here thought that cable ties works so nicely that I'll use them to hold the stays onto the spreader. Under the boots, thru the little hole at the end of the spreader and around my side-stays. What you ordinarily do with a bit of steel wire. It's just so the stays don't pop off the ends of the spreaders, all the forces go up and down or in towards the mast, so cable ties should be fine, right?

Wrong! I dunno what happened, but I do know that I finally got my rig tightened up to where I wanted it (by turning the mast jack as far up as I could). Worked great till the first good >15kt gust of wind. Then BANG! something popped up aloft. I looked up, everything looked fine, so I kept sailing. But on the next tack my spreader boot dropped straight down the stay and the stay itself was off the spreader, completely loose. Fortunately, it was now on the lee side (after the tack), because it popped thru the spreader cabletie on my previous tack (when it was on windward side). I was nearish to the boat landing - which was upwind, of course - so I limped home on a port tack, pinching all the way since I couldnt take a starboard tack anymore.

No harm done BUT don't do what I did! Use a wire to secure the stays to the spreaders. The ties on the boot itself were fine, but somehow the side-stay cut thru the cableties holding it to the spreader.My guess is that the mast flexed to the lee during the gust, enough to shove the spreaders out against the cable ties and pop them. Be that as it may, I'm just going to grab some plain steel wire.
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Re: Spreader Boots and Cable Ties

Postby GreenLake » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:28 pm

Make that stainless steel wire and you're good. :D

The wire not only holds the spreader against the stay, but also holds the spreader in position along the stay. Easy to achieve with a few tight turns of wire above and below the spreader; wouldn't know how to achieve that with cable ties.

(Ironically, my boat does sport a successful spreader-related jury-rig that uses cable ties. But on the other end. I have spreader hinges that look like the ones in this photo by @MarcusG:
The spreaders are drilled to take the pin, but that hole is so close to the end that it's liable to be torn out if any pressure is put on the spreader during rigging/mast raising.
Second time that happened, I decided to "repair" the end of the spreader instead of going home and missing a week of sailing waiting for another spreader. Used tail of a big cable tie to make two U shaped straps that I could fit behind the pin and lash against the side of the spreader with four of the same ties pulled very tight. Done. Wrapped in electrical tape for UV protection this repair did not only last that day on the water, but several seasons since. I now consider it more durable than a new spreader -- but it does get inspected every so often.)
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