Equipment Damage at ARC 2015 Transatlantic Cruiser Regatta
Almost 38% of all yachts who participated in the ARC (Transatlantic Rally) as well as ARC + boats reported any equipment breakdowns that occurred during ARC 2015, in fact, such a number of breakdowns turned out to be unexpectedly large, despite the fact that the whole year turned out to be more windy than previous years along the entire route of the rally. Even in years with lighter winds, boats participating in the rally can be damaged by grinding gear, and squalls can also tear the sails to shreds. As expected, the trade winds were responsible for all damage to the 56%'s sails, spinnaker booms, and frayed gear.
Wind-laden sails were the most likely reason for almost 22% all damage... A common problem was spinnaker rupture, sail clew and batten pockets, and damage to battens and lugs in the mast. A thorough inspection and repair of all sails before embarking on a transatlantic voyage is an absolutely necessary job. A good sailor will find minor damage and reinforce the most stressed areas of the sails.
Threefold amplification will be the most correct solution. Keep in mind that UV radiation will reduce the strength of your sail fabric over time. Make sure you have a good set of sail repair tools on board, thick dacron, spinnaker tape, needle punching arm, sail needles and threads. You should have a suitable board, or alternatively you can use floorboards to stretch the damaged section of the sail on a flat surface and secure the edges of the damaged section with pins during repairs. Very heavy sails will probably need an awl to push the needle through the thick fabric. Prevention is more important than treatment; it is best to take reefs in advance in order to meet the flurry with dignity.
After damaged sails, the next biggest cause of damage in the rally is frayed ends, 17% of all boats reported this issue. We draw your attention to the need to carefully check all of your running rigging before crossing the ocean, and during the crossing you should also inspect all ropes for damage.
Reinforcements in loaded areas of the mainsail, especially where reefs are taken, are also very important. The use of blocks and guides for the barber guy helps in working with the rigging and allows you not to confuse sheets, braces, and guys with each other. If it is enough to pull all the sheets and braces so that they do not dangle freely near the spinnaker pole, they will wear less. Make sure all blocks on the top of the mast are in good condition and installed so that the halyards do not overlap and there is no risk that they will fray and bind together.
Rigging & Fittings
Thirty-two boats reported a spinnaker pole breakage: it either completely broke in half, or its beaks failed at one end or two.
Rigging problems occupied in general 10% of the total number of faults... Everything on one boat broke, it was Dufour 34 Duffy from the racing yacht fleet Racing division, other breakdowns in this category related to things such as boom spurs, cable stay fittings, blocks and braces, shoulder straps and twists. Possible reasons related to the wrong selection of blocks or they were worn out. Remember that they should rotate easily and freely and be designed for the maximum possible loads in accordance with the displacement of your boat and also taking into account the fact that the boat will be maximally loaded before the transition with supplies of food, fuel and additional equipment.
The boom guy is especially heavily loaded with a tailwind; the load on the boom pull increases even more when the boat falls into the cavity between the waves on a full backstay course with a pure windwind, the load reaches its maximum values. Boats when sailing in the ocean are subject to significantly more stress due to waves than is usually the case during coastal sailing. The main boom luffs are very helpful, just make sure they are hooked on the boom leg correctly and then pulled forward before returning to the cockpit.
• four boats wrapped ropes or fishing nets on propellers;
• control cables broke on two boats (one cable was replaced with a dynema rope);
• at least three yachts were forced to use emergency steering at least until the steering was repaired at sea.
It is difficult to recommend anything in this regard, but the general advice is that it is not necessary to overload the boat before the transition more than its design load, overloading significantly increases the load on the steering system.
Service and check all elements of the steering system before going out - look for dust deposits on the cables, take a spare or at least a dynema rope.
• two boats lost their propellers, they were either crushed against an obstacle or simply lost.
Folding screws can cause vibration so check how they work before going to sea. sea. The loss of a propeller means expensive repairs and the inability to enter the marina without a tug on arrival in the Caribbean.
• fifteen yachts - 5% from the entire fleet reported autopilot problems.
Again, a general advice to check everything before sailing out and remember that your autopilot should be matched to your yacht's displacement and dimensions. At sea, do not use the autopilot all the time; give it a break at least once per watch. Manual steering will allow you to better tune the yacht and determine if the sails are out of balance. If you have two helms in your boat, select a windward helm as a spare for your electric helmsman.
Most of the breakdowns, with the exception of a broken mast, did not affect the boats' ability to safely arrive at Saint Lucia. They could slow down the speed of the yachts, or reduce the level of comfort on board, but in general all problems were solved by the crews on their own without assistance.
Steering problems and broken booms were the most serious cases in 2015, but in each of these situations the hull remained intact and the crew was out of danger. The inventiveness of the crews allowed them to solve problems and move on.
Having a good set of tools on board and the ability to find an independent solution to the problem or the possibility of using an alternative solution is the key to a successful sailing on a yacht across the ocean, and most importantly, constant monitoring of everything that can fray or wear out during sailing allows you to prevent the development of minimal damage into huge problems in time.
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