I like to walk the deck before every sail and set my eyes on all the pins, buckles, etc.... pull the rigging wires in little circles, testing how much play they have.... make sure shes sound before heading out. As I was inspecting the mast base I set my eyes on the boom and noticed one of the rivets that fastened the boom to the goose neck was tweaked a little sideways. I inspected the rest and was shocked to see that three of the five rivet heads were gone! That left just one intact rivet and the tweaked one holding it together...not good!
How did I miss this on previous deck-walks! It was a reminder to take my time and be thorough in the inspections. I inspected the other rivets on the boom and the heads looked good but we decided to replace em all to be safe. Jeff and I spent the evening replacing the rivets at both ends of the boom. Even though the aft end looked good I would never trust it without pulling it apart and inspecting it for corrosion etc.
After that I looked up the mast at the long row of rivets fastening the sail track. I hope I don't have to replace all of those!
Today I broke out my assender setup and inched myself up the mast a foot at a time on a special rock climbing rope. I wanted to inspect the rest of the rivets and fittings up the mast, if some of the forty year old rivets were bad.....what of the rest?
I got to the spreaders and immediately spotted some problems. The top rivets securing the port spreader plate had failed and the plate was separating from the mast. the starboard side looked intact but a thin gap that was not there before was evidence they were stretching out and needed replacing.
I swung around to the sail track and spotted six rivets with heads missing.
Ok.....a major rivet refit is required before sailing!
I descended on the grigri to the deck....no sailing tomorrow as planned......sigh.
If you have a "classic plastic" vessel with old rivets be sure to inspect them before every sail for potential problems. When things go bad under load it can really ruin ones day!