Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Spreader cracks

Ian Shepherd

Ian Shepherd SM2K Crusader (2003) Larnaca Cyprus

sorry to be late with this reply but I would like to add my input. Twelve weeks after taking delivery of my new SM2K I was at anchor off Cartright Labrador after a voyage from Ireland to Greenland. Whilst doing my daily walk around the boat I did notice a fleck of white paint on the deck. There did not seem to be any obvious source of the paint and being single handed, an up mast inspection was not possible at that time. I concluded that the fleck of paint may have been blown from the shore and continued my voyage to Newfoundland. A week later whilst on a broad reach with the port tangon poling out the genoa, I suffered a dis-masting after the port lower main mast spreader failed at the weld to the mast bracket.

Forensic analysis showed that the weld had not been properly prepared, too little heat had been used and too little argon used as well. It turned out that Amel had changed fabricators and the new company clearly had failed to do the job properly. The boat built prior to mine (413) also discovered cracks in a spreader just prior to starting a crossing to the Caribbean. By chance they had to go up the mast to re-rig a flag halyard and noticed the failure.

In my view, one of the least satisfactory design features of the Amel is the way in which they construct their spreaders. Unlike almost every other manufacturer they rely on butt welding the spreader extrusion to the mast bracket. Unlike almost every other manufacturer there is no insert into the extrusion with pins or bolts so if that weld fails, as mine did, it is not fail safe. The broken spreader will come off the bracket and the side support is gone. I did suggest to M. Lemonnier that an improvement would be to drill a hole in each end of the spreader and fix a tie rod between the end plates to at least keep the spreader in place should the weld fail, but he dismissed the idea outright.

To be fair to Amel they did change the spreaders on 30 boats that had been built with spreaders from the new fabricator. However, you should be aware that the welds are not normally subjected to NDT testing and so I would suggest that you keep a very close eye on your paint cracking. You may be heading for a spreader failure further down the log.


Ian Shepherd SM2K 414 Crusader (2003) Cyprus

On 15/10/2015 08:54, jamiectelfer@... [amelyachtowners] wrote:

Hello Olivier,

The port-side is much less visible and to my amateur eye really does seem only to be in the surface paint. 

Yes, the shrouds are the right way round (I have to confess I did just go up on deck to check!). The rigger who did it has worked with Amels before and we tried to replicate the same tight set up with me checking that there is no looseness in the leeward shrouds when on the wind.....HOWEVER during this season I had noticed a very slight new vibration in the upper section of the mast with certain wind angles over the rig when we are tied up to the dock (but not when sailing or at anchor).  When we replaced the rigging we set the mast up to be pretty straight with no bend aft-wards but I think I can now detect a very slight inversion (forward bend) at the top of the mast. The reason I had a rigger on the boat when we arrived in Brisbane was not only to check the whole rig but also to consult him about adjusting this, albeit only marginally. We certainly didn't seem to have any extra movement or pumping when sailing but I am now wondering if this may be part of the issue or at least an indication of it.

If the cracking does turn out to only be superficial (in the paint) do you think we should still take further action on the spreaders or just make sure the set up is absolutely correct and keep a close eye on it?

Bien cordialement

Bamboozle SM #388

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