busy home [deleted] 9:20am, 7 July 2008
After the gale (Friday Sat) I went aboard Sunday , to check Chille .
The tiller did not feel right .(still attached to mooring) had a check
On removing tiller found the ally headstock had fractured.
It looks like an old crack had broken .
It would not be possible to do any repair at sea (unless you were in the Atlantic!) so it would be sensible to remove the tiller and check yours! Chille 324 has a round shaft top .Goskar 147 has a square one , so it would be possible to make a repair to Goskar at sea.
A new stainless steel one is bein.g made for Chille.
Skykomish E29 Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Skykomish E29 (member) 10 years ago
I think Ron that bearing in mind most of our boats are around 30 years old it is a timely reminder that nothing lasts for ever and that aluminim alloy fittings are starting to fail (my hinges, your rudder stock, etc) so as you rightly say we should all have a good look at those fittings for potential impending failure. I'm also contemplating changing my stanchion posts for S/S but that will have to wait until next year.

I wonder if Neil can advise as to the life expectancy of alloy fittings and their potential failure. My hinges don't appear to have been subjected to high impact which I would have imagined would usually be the cause of casting failure,

My major concern being that big casting at the foot of the mast with the four cast pulley blocks for the halliards, I reckon that would be close on impossible to replace should that fail!
rothwell_neil 10 years ago
The use of aluminium castings can have age related problems due to the very nature of the way in which they get their strength. Pure aluminium is too soft for much so it is alloyed to make it harder. This produces precipitates in the metal and these make it harder. But they continue to grow with age and can lead to long term problems with the aluminium getting brittle. Without chopping this up and analysing can't be sure but in general the following should be applied.

If wrought like the stanchions, boom and mast they should be OK until they corrode away. They will be more brittle than when new but should be OK. If cast then there is every likelihood that they will age. This is not a big problem as most applications are low stress. If there are cracks radiating around a hole then over drill the hole and then ream the hole to make it bigger. case of under drill then expand the hole mechanically. This puts the surface in compression and stops the cracks forming again. Even the mast foot is in compression and thus just there to locate whilst the stays take the stress. If the rudder stock then more stress and may be worth checking. Materials can take a load of compression, tension tends to do the damage.

Most of the failures will be fatigue cracks caused by cyclical stress. Check out around bolts or any casting. If there are cracks then you can stop them by removing the stress concentration at the tip of the crack. Sounds daft but drill a 1mm hole at the end of the crack, if in doubt allow a bit from the end that you can see as want to get drill into clean metal with no crack. this will stop the crack continuing and the hole will spread the stress and stop propagation for a while (how long for, don't know but there is a Nimrod flying round with an 18" crack in the wing root arrested with a hole!).

The long term for the aluminium castings depends on the stress, one of the bolt holes for my rudder stock has a crack in it but this is now free from stress so I am not concerned about it although would look nicer without it. Again really down to the use, if it sees stress then it will eventually fail if it is not of sufficient size. Again my mast foot has a crack in it but as I have it bolted together I am not concerned and again it is in compression no so should be fine. If concerned about the rudder stock then use an elastic to centre the rudder as this will lower the stress that you get with waves acting on the rudder.
Skykomish E29 10 years ago
Thanks Neil, I am sure that this will get a lot of people out this weekend checking their fittings.

I have what maybe a hairline crack in the Tiller bracket that connects the tiller to the headstock. I have already had this repaired once in a different place, so I think it may be time to consider a knew one.

It is an interesting point about this age related deteriation, fortunately most of the affected parts on the Achilles can be replaced with something.
NormanKlipspringer Posted 7 years ago. Edited by NormanKlipspringer (admin) 3 years ago
Having had to get my aluminium cast headstock on Klipspringer welded again I noticed that there were even more hairline cracks so decided to do something about it and have had a new one fabricated in stainless steel. I am well pleased with the job.
Cost £125+pp
I will put a link to the supplier on the main Achilles web site.
Link is on this page:
Link now removed. Unable to contact supplier.
NormanKlipspringer 7 years ago
Have now fitted this to the boat. It was a delight to fit as the stainless steel nips up tight without any problems unlike the cast alloy. There is now no play whatsover and it looks just great.
Vidwatts 7 years ago
Norman - interesting, particularly given Malcolm's comment regarding the headstock on Aelous which I'd forgotten about - nearly four years later this hasn't been replaced yet and as I've not checked it recently I shall inspect it carefully this weekend...
Red Marlin 7 years ago
Have just ordered one for my 9 metre here in Turkey. I have been quoted 200 lira which is £73 BUT I have yet to see it - he said he will also shim up the wobble in the tiller head. Communication always being a problem have to wait and see. I will post photos. Doubt it will be as good.
andygreen115 Posted 3 years ago. Edited by NormanKlipspringer (admin) 3 years ago
Mike Kelly of Bespoke Boats Ltd made me up a beautiful replacement tiller head for Solva, our 9m. He also remodeled the bull nose. It now takes two mooring lines and carries a ring for the bow sprit to the cruising chute furler.
Contact details to follow. I had not been successful trying to contact the Swansea or Glasgow links for tiller heads.
This is the headstock: (inserted by Norman - hope you didn't mind)
NormanKlipspringer 3 years ago
Yes a lovely piece of work. Swansea supplier is not to be recommended as you have found out. How much was the headstock and does he do the bracket that this attaches to? If acceptable I will put info on web.
andygreen115 3 years ago
I expect Mike would be able to manufacture a stock. For ours he machined a slight taper on the sides of our original stock to match the head. This should rule out any play.
Price was rolled in with some other work, so not really able to break it down. He works closely with Northspar at Deganwy Quays. Byron the proprietor did a great job sorting our rig out.
pjbharrison 3 years ago
Hi Andy
Got any more info or photos of the bowsprit. I'd like to make up something for Boomerang as I have an asymmetric spinnaker?
andygreen115 3 years ago
Contact details for replacement tiller head and other work in stainless: Mike Kelly, Bespoke Boats, tel 01905 333232 or 07753 884010. Mike is happy for these details to be available on the website.
andygreen115 3 years ago
I am adding some photos of the bowsprit set up. Sorry for the delay, I've only just come back to this site.
andygreen115 3 years ago
Would recommend Byron at Northspar on Deganwy Quay for assistance. We sailed home last October having set this up in Deganwy with Mike and Byron. Had the chance to spend a day trying it out before getting craned out.
So far very pleased. The ability to hoist the asymmetric on its furler and set up the lines before leaving the harbour and have it ready to use is a real advantage.
andygreen115 3 years ago
Photos of Bow Sprit set up are in the main album.
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