Early spreader brackets were aluminum castings which fail without warning in one of three ways:
1) The original aluminum castings can and do simply break.Inspecting doesn't help because they don't bend or distort before failure. They simply fracture and fail all at once even if they looked perfectly fine the day before. (see example of failure in photos below) Stainless steel doesn't crack and fail without warning under the load a C-22 normally subjects it to. (Drive under a tree with the mast up and all bets are off!)
2) The assembly also features an improved method of attaching the lower shrouds to the mast. When the castings were used, the lower shrouds hung from one end of a pin extending from the inside of a cast tab on the bracket. The uneven load on the tab sometimes causes a failure of the tab and complete loss of support to the mast from the lower shroud. Our retrofit includes inner and outer tangs which are bent concentric with the original oval mast. The eye at the top of the lower shroud is inserted between the two tangs. A pin passes through all three parts and the load is supported evenly between the two tangs.
3) The method of attaching the brackets (and therefore securing the lower shrouds to the mast) are also vastly improved. The casting was originally fastened with six self tapping screws. In fact, an early factory stainless retrofit was also fastened with these same six screws. However, it is not unusual for the screws to pull out of the mast, sometimes resulting in the complete loss of the rig. Our new retrofit is fastened to the mast with two very secure through bolts.
If your boat has the old aluminum brackets, replace them before you have to replace your entire mast.
The retrofit kit includes:
Use the Tef-Gel to prevent seizing of the fasteners and galvanic corrosion between the aluminum compression tube and stainless steel bolt to aid future disassembly.