Thunderstorm 1, Gooseneck 0

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zuma hans 1
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Thunderstorm 1, Gooseneck 0

Post by zuma hans 1 » Tue May 09, 2006 7:53 am

My three day solo sail on Lake Mead was great. Saw another Mac - Tropico - and the remnants of the Las Vegas regatta.

Until the little bitty thunderstorm snuck up on me from behind a butte. I mean, there were a few very small clouds with typical desert virga. No thunder or any portent of a sudden squall.

In less time than I had to drop sails, heavy variable winds and rain hit me. I mean, I barely had time to drop the engine, start it and swing the nose into the wind.

But the sails were up, and snapping in the squall. The boom was oscillating wildly, and I did not want to bring it taught due to the variable direction and high winds.

The boom went up vertical, and then snapped off the mast. By this time the storm was abating.

Inspection showed that the gooseneck broke. This is the small pieces of black pig steel that the hardware connecting to the mast bolts into. It is held into the boom tube by a bolt that goes thru two holes in the boom, and two matching holes in the flange of the gooseneck.

The amount of weak metal between the holes and the flange is less than 1/16 inch. Not much torque at all to break thru that metal ... incredibly poor design.

I'll post pictures.

[I can't believe anyone would sail one of these boats much further than the nearest Vessel Assist, but that's another thread.]

But: the boat and the sails were otherwise undamaged. it sure was nice to have that engine to motor back 45 miles out of the desert wilderness.

And the Macgregor trailered well over Cajon Pass, sailed well on Lake Mead, and was a blast. Still the perfect boat for me.

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Post by Catigale » Tue May 09, 2006 8:02 am

The boom was oscillating wildly, and I did not want to bring it taught due to the variable direction and high winds.
I wasnt there, of course, but I think this might have been a mistake. I would take an excessive loaded sail, sheeted in tight, over the shock loads of a loose boom on my rigging any day of the week....especially if you can keep the sail even partially luffed up with the motor.

zuma hans 1
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Post by zuma hans 1 » Tue May 09, 2006 8:13 am

You may be right, but for two factors:

(1) The squall was shifting. I started with a taught mainsail, but the boat quickly would catch wind, keel to 50 or 60 degrees, and sail forward. I was afraid of snapping a rudder.

(2) I was running out of lake: there was a beach about 50 yards ahead of me, rocks everywhere and I wanted to keep that nose in the wind. I made the conscious decision to risk a gear problem to keep the nose in the wind.

And I think the sacrifice of the boom would have been worth it. For all I know, the snap of the cheap pig steel on the gooseneck may have purposefully prevented serious destruction to the sheets or other hardware. Maybe ol' Roger wasn't being cheap, and he designed the gooseneck to fail before the boom did serious damage.

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Post by James V » Tue May 09, 2006 8:32 am

Thanks for the tip (sorry for your problems). The gooseneck is custom made for MacGreggor. The M I am sure of. The M's can be gotton from the factory or from BWY. The X's and eariler try BWY.

I will have to get 1 or 2 and the tools to install in my spair parts box.

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Post by Catigale » Tue May 09, 2006 8:36 am

Zuma - squall with limited space onto a lee shore...hmmmm..i think you were indeed SOL.....keeping the boat off rocks would indeed be the first order of business, even risking gear failure ...

The first time I got caught in a thunderstorm on Lake Ontario I pulled a 'Mac' on it and outran it back to Wilson Harbor...it did get me thinking about what happens if you are caught just as you are coming in......

Ugly......

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Richard O'Brien
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Post by Richard O'Brien » Tue May 09, 2006 8:49 am

Zuma , What kind of boat do you have X or M?

zuma hans 1
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Post by zuma hans 1 » Tue May 09, 2006 8:50 am

Well, it was a snap decision.

This was real Wily E. Coyote topography. There was a large butte to the windward, that totally blocked any sight of the approaching storm. No other thunderstorms anywhere within 80 miles. A tiny little cloud, and the squall passed in 10 minutes.

Part of the charm of desert sailing, I guess. I mean, a thunderstrom in May in Nevada? Freak with a capital PH.

Just talked to Bill S. at the mothership. The piece of the gooseneck that snapped is called the end cap, it is cast alumunium.

A new gooseneck (including the two pieces of stainless steel, end cap and bolts) is $27.12 including shipping and CA sales tax.

Need to get a money order, of course.

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Post by zuma hans 1 » Tue May 09, 2006 8:51 am

Richard O'Brien wrote:Zuma , What kind of boat do you have X or M?
Right now it's a motorboat.

Hah hah.

A 99X.

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Idle Time
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Post by Idle Time » Tue May 09, 2006 8:52 am

We got caught in one on Lake Stockton MO a few years back. Snapped a shroud and the mast toppled into the water. (Catalina 22) I had already put a lot of stress on it trying to stay off the rocks so when the last gust hit the shroud gave way. Found out that night that it had taken down a bunch of trees too. micro burst or something. A few minutes before that we were doing a nice down wind sail out of the cove. Nailed us just as we were getting into the lake.

Glad no one was hurt and minor damage. Took us 3 days to get back on the water. Had to get the mast welded where it bent in half before it went over the side.

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Post by Helaku » Tue May 09, 2006 9:00 am

We had a squall hit us on Lake Monroe, came out of nowhere. We could see the wind lifting the water off the lake as it was approaching. It took a couple of seconds to recognize what it was. Bright sunny day, the wind hit first and only after the wind hit us did the clouds and thunder and lightening hit. It was very freakish. The wife was completely white knuckled through it. Very shallow lake so it made it even worse. We had no damage but when you are trying to get through something that nasty, you are just happy to get your boat back on the trailer and lick your wounds later.

Frank C

Post by Frank C » Tue May 09, 2006 1:11 pm

zuma hans 1 wrote: ... A new gooseneck (including the two pieces of stainless steel, end cap and bolts) is $27.12 including shipping and CA sales tax.
Here's a story others have seen before ... I've snapped two of those cast AL caps just using the Garhauer rigid vang in heavy winds. The shoulder insert into the boom is only half the depth warranted. I'd suggest it's an inadequate design, but I'm unsure any of the commercial spars offer much more.

I'd surely avoid spending $30 bucks to replace it. The boom cross-section on 26X is basically a 2-inch circle. I'm planning to go to Metals Supermart this week to find a piece of thick-wall AL pipe, barely sub-2-inch OD, and have my welder tack a flat AL plate to it. Presto, a custom gooseneck cap, a 2-inch pipe with 2-inch depth into the boom that can now be pinned with twin thru-bolts. :wink:

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Post by Richard O'Brien » Tue May 09, 2006 3:31 pm

[quote="Right now it's a motorboat.[/quote] :D

The reason that I asked Zuma is I was curious what kind of systems you had to tame your boom? The M has a traveler, and sometimes a vang to act as boom preventers. I suspect that you had only the vang? The preparation and handling of sudden microbursts is a topic worth pursuing I think?

Last week there were a lot of fast moving storms sweeping the west. In our area according to our local NOAA scientist: Clouds form over the cool mtn. tops, kinda like your buttes. As they drift east the air drops suddenly sweeping off the mtn. as verga cools the air more. The hot air on the plains below is driven sideways and up. The front edge of the storm that hit me saturday was traveling at 10-15 kts. When that was combined with the cool downslope wind of 10-20 kts. you get a ferocious boat-flattening front. on the back edge the air is being driven west and it cancels the forward moving wind. One minute your scrambling to save your shorts, and the next it's a bright sunny day with a light breeze. Whacko huh? this pattern gets repeated several times as each thunderhead passes. It's like a doughnut shape with wind going down the center and up the sides. It is very difficult to tell which way the wind is blowing, and it changes at the edge of every cloud. Does this sound like what you experienced?

I was single handed trying to put my downhaul together with a light breeze when it hit. Too little too late. I centered my main with the traveler as best I could, and uncleated the genoa. boy did that get away from me :? I had a 150 genoa hung out while I tried to steer into the wind. holding the genny was like holding a sheet of plywood on the roof of my Jimmy down the interstate. I don't think my genny got wet? Frankly , I was so adrenalined that I just grabbed that furler line and pulled for all it's worth, and got it down to storm jib size. Now, to get the main down without leaving the wheel? I released the halyard and the next time I jibed it came down. My sail slug stop broke and the sail poured onto the deck. I was afraid the main was going to get blown into the water, and began tying it back with bungees. I was long past trying to do a neat reef. I was just trying to keep the boat on it's feet...., then it stopped. Birds came out. I looked around to see who died? Nada! What the F#@&*%, I began to wonder if maybe I was just incompetent, and couldn't handle a little breeze...and then the next one hit :cry: When I returned to the dock I did notice that even the powerboaters were being blown about, and that a few big sailboats were calling it quits, but it was hard to resist not going out again, with only a light rain sprinkling and bright sunlight.

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Post by Chip Hindes » Wed May 10, 2006 6:59 am

Three years ago I broke the same part while lowering the mast without removing the boom. It was less than a week before our cruise to Bimini and I didn't even bother trying to get a factory replacement; I did a quick fix by simply attaching a piece of aluminum billet to the hollow I.D. of the broken fitting with two bolts tapped into the end cap, then drilling the billet for the original cross bolt (or was it rivets?) through the boom.

My quiick fix is probably stronger than the original and I never felt the need to replace it. I don't normally recommend "stronger than original" stuff because it just moves the failure point to something more expensive or more difficult to replace (Frank :wink: ), but in this case I agree the orignal design is probably inadequate.

If you can get an original end cap quickly I'd do that.

If not, I might be able to talk you through it; send me a PM. As it was three years ago the exact details are a little hazy. Too bad I didn't see this yesterday, as I was at the boat last night and could have taken a look; but it's 45 miles away and I won't be able to get to it again until at least the weekend.

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norbert
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Post by norbert » Wed May 10, 2006 10:22 am

zuma, i broke my "end cap" like chip did, and was i europe, and the replacement part 10,000 miles away. put it back in the boom, drilled 4 small holes (X-wise) and fixed it with rivets. lasts sice 5 years and several hard baltic storms.

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Post by Dimitri-2000X-Tampa » Wed May 10, 2006 6:49 pm

Microbursts can be deadly, like the one that pulled a 737 out of the sky back in '94 I think it was. We get some good squalls in Florida but you can usually see them coming and get the sails down in time. If it looks really bad, I think I can furl my headsail, start the motor, turn into the wind and drop the mainsail all in about 30-40 sec. It takes a few more minutes to go up top and lash the main to the boom but by then you should be stable. The worst part is the sideways rain pelting you at 40mph that the dodger won't stop. Feels like you are getting sand blasted. :D

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