Bow mooring post failure

  • November 04, 2021 4:32 PM
    Message # 12100663

    Subjected to 60 knot winds my Westsail 32 broke its mooring posts while on a swinging mooring on the South Coast UK last Sunday. The twin posts were 4x2 inch Sapele, 18yrs old and with no rot as I've always taken care to keep the base of the posts sealed.. I'd mainly attached the mooring ropes to the port post which appears to have snapped first and the cross bar then split the right post which also failed. The lot flew forward and jambed  inside the port bow roller on the bow platform and so the boat never broke free. Very lucky me!  I've posted this as a warning to others as 18 years ago when I bought the boat  not liking the look of the mooring posts I'd renewed them exactly as original which is now shown as a flawed design. Suggestions on the best timber for replacement and ideas for a new design would be most welcome. Apart from broken posts the only other damage is the bow platform is slightly bowed down by the event on its port side. The boat was lifted ashore for the winter today, how lucky I am it wasn't  mid season or at anchor far away from home port.

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  • November 08, 2021 8:00 AM
    Reply # 12110242 on 12100663
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Thanks for the image and information about the samson post breaking and very glad your boat didn't drift away or to shore in the 60k winds! 

    I am also interested in seeing more of your bowsprit installation as it seems quite different from that I usually see. 

    Your caprails look very substantial - is leaking from the caprails an issue?  

    I've added a few pic's from Pygmalion #567 from 2017 when I found rotten plywood core in the deck and anchor locker bulkhead.  I replaced the samson posts and bulkhead at that time. 

    The attached pics show two SS samson posts that are thru bolted to a SS supporting plate under the deck.  I have also replaced the plywood core in this area as the area had become discolored due to water.  The SS samson posts are also bolted thru the SS bowsprit which has three bolts vertically thru the deck and backing plate. 

    The extra holes in the samson posts are for tying off lines but the placement should be lower to clear the top area for wrapping my 5/8" braid anchor line. 

    When I secure the boat in a slip, I cross the bow lines so that the port samson post line goes to the starboard slip cleat and vice versa.. The side load on the samson posts now pulls them together. 

    I'm hoping other members chime in with their ideas. 

    I also hope that Pygmalion is NOT in 60K winds to test the arrangement :).  

    Fair Winds

    Jay Bietz

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    Last modified: November 08, 2021 8:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • November 09, 2021 1:03 PM
    Reply # 12114032 on 12100663

    Hi Jay

    Thank you for the pics of your mooring arrangements. It looks very substantial and a better set up than I had. I attach a pic of my bow platform which has proved not strong enough. Five years ago I had it made to replace the original from 1973 and the fabricators bending machine would only bend the tube you see which has proved to small a gauge of tube and it has bowed down with the shock load at the stem post failure. When the posts failed they caught on the inner forestay and bent forwards both bottlescrew and chain plate. I also have concerns for the stay attachment plate on the mast. The capping is Sapele which I fitted six years ago after glassing over the gunwhale as my boat number 86 has the teak batten Hull deck joint arrangement which was leaking badly. My boats been mistaken for a Hans Christian !! I'm  quite proud of the curley bits at the bow and stern which were cut out first by a shipwright on a scrolling bandsaw then fitted myself. 3rd pic shows bent bow platform

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  • November 10, 2021 11:31 AM
    Reply # 12116977 on 12100663
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Thanks for the reply and more information on your boat... 

    I don't have enough experience to recommend what to do going forward about reparing / replacing the existing bowsprit.

    If you want to go back to the original bowsprit and bow pulpit arrangement -  I would recommend talking to Bud Taplin about options. 

    It may be that with a set of plans for the SS bowsprit et al - a local marine fabricator could make you a SS bowsprit with the Samson posts. 

    Attached are jpg files from original Westsail plans in 1973-4.. you can find all the construction files at the top of the Ask Bud forum 


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    Last modified: November 10, 2021 11:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • November 10, 2021 12:19 PM
    Reply # 12117092 on 12100663

    If you are on a mooring or at anchor, and expecting a heavy blow and a storm conditions, best to use a bridle on the mooring line.  That will put an even strain on both sides, instead of a strain on one side only.  The bridle can be 5/8" or 3/4" braid or three strand nylon rope, and the tail that goes on the mooring line can be attached with a rolling hitch.  The original mooring line should be back up on the boat and secured, but with a slack in it so the bridle takes the load.  In case the bridle also fails, at least the original mooring line is still attached.

    Just my humble opinion after about 10 years of skippering boats in Mexico in the 1960s, and riding out two hurricanes anchored in harbors in Mexico on different boats and in different years.

    Bud Taplin

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