See anything wrong in this picture?
How about now?
Still no? OK, let’s look closer:
Q: When is an eyebolt like a neutered dog?
A: When it has no nuts.
That’s right. The eyebolt that our inner forestay is connected to is being held in place strictly by habit, friction, and good luck. I don’t even like to think about the mayhem that could have ensued if the bolt had come completely out of the hole in the bowsprit while we were close hauled in 15 knot winds, much less anything higher. I have no idea when the nut worked its way off the bolt. I’d like to think I would have noticed it if it was gone before we left San Carlos but I can’t be sure I would have. The only reason I happened to notice it here was that I’d been reading an account of a sailing adventure in one of the old magazines up in the marina office and the author happened to mention the eyebolt that his inner forestay was connected to. Don’t remember the context but it caused me to look at mine when I returned to the boat later. I was aghast at what I found. The bolt had worked its way a good 1″ out of the bowsprit and there was only about 5/8″ of thread still sticking out the bottom.
I checked my stash of hardware but didn’t have any 1/2″ stainless nuts. Might have a couple bronze ones in the lazarette that I can use in a pinch but I’d rather avoid using dissimilar metals if possible. A foray into town on New Year’s Eve day showed that, harbor or not, this is not a particularly boat-y town. I did manage to find some SS 1/2″ nuts at one of the larger ferreterías but he didn’t have any washers to along with them. Fortunately, I did have a few appropriate washers in my stash.
The eyebolt is now resecured and double-nutted with Loc-Tite Red to hopefully keep things where they belong.
We might have to consider a new bowsprit one of these days. There was a little bit of water damage around the eyebolt’s hole as would be expected after 37 years. It’s not too bad yet but will bear watching. When we replace the sprit, I think we might just go for a nice stainless steel one. But for now, our old Douglas Fir pole still has a few good years left in her.
Happy New Year and check your nuts.