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From: Ron Nicol
Date: 04 May 2005
Time: 05:26:02 -0400
Some tweak their rigs for optimum performance, as well as safety should pay attention to the condition and tuning of the diamonds and spreader arms. The most common cause of dismasting is diamond and/or spreader failure. Therefore updating and replacing old diamonds is of critical importance for a safe rig.
The early 27's built before 1980 had straight spreader arms with adjusters in the spreader tips (basically useless) and no jumper or turnbuckles. They cannot induce pre-bend because they are not raked back. The spreaders were then redesigned to have more rake, and eventually they were made a standard 30 degree rake which allows for a good amount of pre-bend, up to 3" if necessary to flatten a very full mainsail. The jumper merely limits the amount of bend fore and aft put on by downhaul and mainsheet tension. It also creates a tripod effect that limits the mast from pumping and getting out of column in choppy conditions. To bring your spreader system up to date and be safe, the diamonds should be replaced and install turnbuckles at the lower terminals, if you have the old straight spreaders, you should upgrade to the raked spreaders, the jumper is optional, but a good idea if you sail in choppy conditions. Standing rigging should be replaced every 3-4 years as well. This will make the sailing experience a fun and safe time for your family and friends, with a relatively small investment compared to the alternative of dismasting.