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Thread: Alternatives to cotter pins in turnbuckles

  1. #16
    Contributing Member II
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    When I was racing Tartan 10s we would adjust the rigs before and going out dependent on wind and wave conditions. Then de tune everything after racing to relax the rig. We used these as the turnbuckles do move. They make adjusting easy and no tape is required.

    https://www.westmarine.com/buy/c-she...34?recordNum=1
    Randy Conner
    “Antares”
    1985 E35-3 #217
    Universal M25
    Waukegan, Il

  2. #17
    Contributing Member I Mark Roberts's Avatar
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    Add me to those who use split rings. I have on occasion found some split rings deformed after a summer of sailing. I assume from pressure as the turnbuckle attempted to turn. I like the look of the pins with the Velcro, looks like a nice tidy solution.
    1990 E-34 Hull # 304
    Whirlwind
    Kingston, Ont

  3. #18
    Principal Partner Bolo's Avatar
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    Good solution!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Roberts View Post
    Add me to those who use split rings. I have on occasion found some split rings deformed after a summer of sailing. I assume from pressure as the turnbuckle attempted to turn. I like the look of the pins with the Velcro, looks like a nice tidy solution.
    I too like the Velcro pins since it looks neat, allows for a quick inspection on the turnbuckle (no tape) and won't rip the side of my leg open when I've gotten too close to a pin. I end up with part of me on the pin and blood on the deck. Especially bad if you're on blood thinners. I think I'll install the Velcro pins this season.
    Bob Skalkowski
    1987 E32 III (#722) - "Vesper"

  4. #19
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    We used to buy various types of velcro (double sided, adhesive, etc.) at work in 50-100' rolls for less than $1/ft. The thin double sided velcro would work well I think, as an alternative to the pre-made pins.

  5. #20
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    Just remembered another solution: some of the race fleet uses plain zip-ties. Looking at the price of those velcro wrap pins I can see why. Of course, we're tuning about twice a week, so UV isn't an issue. Wouldn't use it for cruising.

  6. #21
    Continuously learning 907Juice's Avatar
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    I guess I never thought about it. I just used cotter pins because that is what everyone else was doing. I really like the bolt with a locking nut or the rings. I’ll try and be less like a lemming...
    Juice
    1982 Ericson 25 plus

  7. #22
    Contributing Partner Ian S's Avatar
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    I admit that I did not read all the replies, but I as usual will add my $.02

    The cotter pin IS supposed to keep the turnbuckle from rotating (and they will rotate ) typically when slightly slack on leeward. Just set your turnbuckles mid way between the pins and go look at them after a few weeks of sailing and you will see most likely the turnbuckle body will be tight against the pin where it has rotated. The usual problem is that if you use the proper dia. pin (maximum size that will fit) the head is large enough to keep the body from rotating but the legs are so long that they become an issue. all this really depends on the size of the turnbuckle body and manufactures differ even for the same size fitting. You just have to find the right pins or cut what you have. A 3/32 x 1" is not always an easy pin to find as the larger the dia. the longer the pin tends to be, but they are made in every conceivable configuration. In regards to safety wire technique single / double wrap etc. This is a pain in the ass and I would reserve this for a boat I was using for serious off shore work as opposed to a costal cruiser. Tin kicker is right on the money and the ultimate solution is safety wire. Of note too is the best place to buy quality safety wire is an aviation supplier such as aircraft spruce. Also IMO the single wrap, image (D) is generally sufficient.

    Last note of upmost importance. NEVER NEVER EVER USE SPLIT RINGS! They belong on your ignition key and that's about it. I can personally attest to at least two rigs lost from the use of split rings. I can hear the pushback now. On a turnbuckle go ahead and take your chances but on a rigging pin it's foolish! Even when taped I don't like them because the time will come when the tape delaminates or falls off. Everyone inspecting their rigging tape every time before they go out? I doubt it. I really need to post a video on how easily a sheet can catch and pull out a split ring and one would never even notice! They peel out so easily that even when line is retrieved by hand you probably would not notice! I have demonstrated this to many clients over the years and their jaws drop. Just barb the line and pull, the ring peels out with ease. I may possibly consider their use in conjunction with a high quality amalgamating tape but what's the point? just use cotter pins as indicated and please replace old bent ones, their cheap!


    Capt. Ian
    Last edited by Ian S; 03-17-2019 at 07:58 AM.
    Capt. Ian
    1990 E32-3

  8. #23
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    I can personally attest to at least two rigs lost from the use of split rings. I can hear the pushback now.

    Hmmm.
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
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  9. #24
    Contributing Partner Ian S's Avatar
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    I must say that response put my britches into a tight knot. Now instead of responding as I was initially inclined; such as using wise remarks in kind, or employing anatomical references analogous to ones character I calmed down a bit and tried not to take it so personally.

    Christian, I have worked in the past as a professional rigger and have rigged and worked on hundreds of boats!
    When I say attest to, I mean that I personally saw the damage and that the events were disseminated to me by either the skipper or crew member.
    The pushback I referred too, is all those who say "I use split rings and there's nothing wrong with em"

    You should be interested to know that one of the boats I'm referring to was a mid eighties Ericson 38 that had split rings in all her lower pins. They were racing at the time. The boat had apparently lost the pin on the leeward cap shroud whilst close hauled. I'm guessing it was just barley hanging in there so the shroud was not flailing around and no one noticed. They tacked over in high wind and immediately after tacking the load (now unsupported) bent and ruined the upper section of the spar above the intermediates. The lowers and intermediates were intact so they only bent the upper section. The mast was junk! It did not break but it had serous wrinkling and was buckled. They were lucky to have not had the upper section break and likely bring the rest of the rig down. They were also smart enough to ease off the backstay and somehow get the jib rolled in. I believe it was the shock of the headsail more than the main that precipitated the bend. I would say the mast was bent about 10 or 15 degrees maybe more?
    For those who don't like my advise, don't use it! No skin off my nose. just know that my intension is to be helpful, give good knowledgeable information, and promote good seamanship. Half assed approaches and just good enough solutions are NOT indicative of good seamanship. Thats my opinion, unless I'm no longer entitled to it here.

    Respectfully, Capt. Ian
    100T USCG Licensed master
    Capt. Ian
    1990 E32-3

  10. #25
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Electircal Everyone, Keep Clam

    As Jimmy Buffett once said about recovering from the Hurricane, "Breath in, breath out, move on"....

    Most of the solutions used have plusses and minuses. Some are safer than others. There are 'best practice' methods. Even split pins have ways that they should and should not be used.

    I still use a large 'ring ding' on the the turnbuckle for our backstay. Given their known limitations I would not use one on a shroud, or in very many other places.
    And I have indeed seen one get straightened out by being caught on a piece of running rigging elsewhere on the boat, so I learned to be vary careful about using them.

    Aside: in our trailerable sailboat days, we would sometimes use a clevis with a quick release ball detent. Nothing I want for a larger boat, but pretty slick.... albeit costly in comparison.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  11. #26
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    My response was hmmm. I don't think "half-assed approaches" accurately sums up our forum discussions.
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
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  12. #27
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    Christian, I gotta say I use cotter pins exclusively (no way would I ever use a split ring) and my turnbuckles cannot rotate, it is physically impossible. Drawing of the technique I use is attached.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  13. #28
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    Ian S - Thank a lot for that point about the split rings. You know, it *never* would have occurred to me that a sheet would grab one and pull it straight out, but now that you mentioned it, it is actually pretty darn obvious. This is the type of thing that makes me keep coming back to this site! A lifetime of sailing and nearly every time I come here I learn something new.

    I talked to my rigger this weekend and he said "no.. never ever use split rings on your rig". He prefers the velcro-strap pins, or cotters. He would use the bolt-and-nut method but only with nylocs, with the important addition of "always use new nuts when replacing, because the nylon lock gets banged up with repeated pushing against the turnbuckle body". Also mentioned the bolts are a pain because they're easy to lose on the deck and if you lose one its a trip to the store vs. into the bag for pin.

  14. #29
    Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm Sati's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parrothead View Post
    Drawing of the technique I use is attached.
    Glad this isn't sailinganarchy.
    Geoff W.
    s/v "Delightful"
    1987 E32-3
    Hull #712

  15. #30
    Grizz Grizz's Avatar
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    Rig Tuning and Web Pins: The Evolution

    2˘ added to the turnbuckle discussion...

    The Web Pin option fits perfectly with how we sail & race this Olson34. Each spring the mast is stepped, plumbed for in-column true, with a Loos Gauge confirming shroud tension on upper and lower shrouds* are equal, which we call 'Base Line Numbers', which are kept under lock and key (not really, but kinda).

    From this point forward, throughout the season, we'll spend @ 30-minutes before each race to retune the rig, either from 'stiff' to 'soft', depending upon the predicted conditions for that day. There's small whiteboard by the Nav station that lists what the rig tension is, mostly so it's not left to the whim of accurate memory. For Distance Races, especially Long Distance marathons, we tend to err on the stiff side, as we're not allowed to retune once we start.


    The Web Pins make this retuning procedure far easier and eliminates the presence of 'snaggers' at the turnbuckles that are never good.


    *the diagonal intermediates are tested with a hand tug at the dock, with just a bit of tension deemed to be 'good enough' (i.e. - loose), so that the offwind side while under sail is very slack, inducing a bit of belly to the main. At least that's been the thinking...
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Grizz; 03-18-2019 at 10:25 AM.
    1989 Olson 34 #9
    Sail #34109
    Shoe String
    Chicago, IL USA

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