Subject: turnbuckle danger! BEWARE!!
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Al Schonborn 
To: Abbott Boats 
Cc: Porter, Ian & Mike W7588 ; McNamara, Mike W8668 ; Selden Masts 
Sent: Friday, October 05, 2001 10:12 PM
Subject: turnbuckle danger

FLASH!! Ian Porter recommends: "The Wayfarer shroud length that we use is 15ft 10.5ins.  (4.839 metres), and we use Holt Allen HA 4272 adjuster plates."

George Blanchard, the grand old man of Wayfarers who just turned 88 this year (2001) broke his mast at the Pumpkin regatta when a shroud turnbuckle suddenly snapped - see photos below:

George asks that we remind everyone that the turnbuckles which in many cases connect Wayfarer shrouds to the chainplates are not a good proposition. In this e-mail, I am asking our mast manufacturers to make shroud plates standard equipment to replace turnbuckles which have a number of disadvantages:(see images below for sample of a shroud plate on left and photo of Uncle Al's older shroud plate on the right where you can also see a nice cheap adjuster guard bought at a plumbing supply house) 


  • they need to be taped or wired to prevent them from coming loose 
  • they tend to get bent (in collisions, at docks, etc.) and made prone to the result pictured above 
  • they make shroud length adjustment unnecessarily complicated 
  • I would guess they cost more than shroud plates
Once a mast is provided with turnbuckles, the shrouds are too short for shroud plates and need to be replaced (Al's note: see recommendation from Ian Porter: The Wayfarer shroud length that we use is 15ft 10.5ins.  (4.839 metres), and we use Holt Allen HA 4272 adjuster plates."). I suspect this is major reason why many Wayfarers keep the turnbuckles that came with their mast. This has certainly been my finding in the extensive coaching that I do with Wayfarers. I believe that most serious racers use shroud plates.

So, the question is: Why would anyone want turnbuckles? I am at a loss for an answer. If there is no reason that it has to be turnbuckles, I would earnestly ask our mast providers to switch to shroud plates - and suggest that our Wayfarer sailors with turnbuckles replace them.

I will welcome (and post!) comments from any of the addressees or any fellow Wayfarers. Best regards,

Al Schonborn, a.k.a. Uncle Al (W3854)
CWA Class Coach and Web master of the Whiffle Web ( where this letter will be posted in the Weekly Whiffle on Monday 8 October.

----- Original Message ----- 
To:  (Uncle Al is now at
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2001 8:18 AM
Subject: Shrouds and shroud plates

Hi al, 

I just read your whiffle web page and came acros the misfortune of George Blanchard. I was planning to replace the turnbuckles tomorrow, only problem is I don't know how long my new shrouds should be for use with a shroud plate. I can measure, but from Ian Porter's reaction during the worlds, I got the impression there is a standard length. Do you happen to know what it is? (Al's note: 

BTW, if you talk to George give him my best whishes on his 88 birthday and tell him I am looking forward to beat him (along with 81 others) during the next Worlds. 

Thanks in advance,

Ton Jaspers (W5011) 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Al Schonborn 
Cc: Porter, Ian & Mike W7588 
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2001 5:38 PM
Subject: Re: Shrouds and shroud plates

Hi again, Ton:

I don't know the length that shrouds to be used with plates should be. I could measure it by unwrapping my boat but, as you point out, Ian Porter is likely to know what the length should be - so I've copied him this note and hope he'll let you (and me!) know. If not, I'll go out and measure my shrouds. There are various makes of shroud plates, so it might be best to get a recommendation on what shroud plates Ian uses with his length of shrouds, just to be on the safe side.

I'll try to remember to pass your birthday wishes on to George, and we'll all look forward to seeing you at the 2004 Worlds. By then, I hope to have given SHADES another coat of paint and varnish!!

Best regards,

Uncle Al (W3854)

PS: I hope your first Dutch Nationals this weekend is a wonderful success and that you have lots of fun and do well if at all possible!

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 3:38 AM
Subject: Wayfarer Shrouds

Dear Tom,

Uncle Al has forwarded your note to me.

The Wayfarer shroud length that we use is 15ft 10.5ins.  (4.839 metres), 
and we use Holt Allen HA 4272 adjuster plates.

I hope that  is of assistance.

Best regards,

Ian Porter