England Ireland Find Havens
England Ireland Find Routes


Jettisoning a demasted rig in an emergency situation

Be the first
to comment

What is the issue?
If a vessel is pitch-poled or rolled it is highly unlikely that the rig will remain standing. Once dismasted the remains of the rig are tethered to the vessel by the standing rigging. The only quick way to get the rig away from the boat is to cut the shrouds and stays with a bolt cutter.

Why address this?
The broken rig is a great danger to the vessel in violent conditions. Tethered to the boat by the standing rigging it becomes a giant pick axe within the seaway that could drive a cross tree through the hull. This could breach the water tight integrity, causing a total loss.

A quick decision has to be made at that moment of the two options available: lashing the rig down, in order to salvage as much as possible later, or jettison it for the safety of the vessel.

How to address this?
If the latter decision is required the fastest and most effective route to jettison the rig is to have an emergency bolt cutter to cut away the standing rigging - see figure one. Thus an ocean going boat should carry a bolt cutter that is appropriate to cutting the largest size standing rigging wire aboard as part of its standard safety equipment.

Bolt cutter's jaws are made from an unprotected forged metal and have a tendency to rust in the seagoing environment. We found the best way to keep it in top condition is to spray it liberally with a silicon based lubricant / water repellent and to place it inside a thick hiking sock as again presented in figure 1. Soak the sock by liberally spraying with a silicon based lubricant. If you do this from the outset the bolt cutter will remain perfect for decades as our example presents.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that illustrate this experience. If you have some images that we could use please upload them here. All we need to know is how you would like to be credited for your work and a brief description of the image if it is not readily apparent. If you would like us to add a hyperlink from the image that goes back to your site please include the desired link and we will be delighted to that for you.

Add your review or comment:

Please log in to leave a review of this tip.

eOceanic makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, you must read our legal page. However, we ask you to help us increase accuracy. If you spot an inaccuracy or an omission on this page please contact us and we will be delighted to rectify it. Don't forget to help us by sharing your own experience.