The entry about wire sheets reminded me of an incident while sailing on Intrepid in 1979. If you read far enough back in my blog there is an entry about my two seasons aboard Intrepid with Gerry Driscoll. It was an attempt by Gerry to come back in 1980 with Intrepid. It was contingent on finding financial backing. We were sailing against France 3 everyday, as Intrepid belonged to Baron Bic at the time.
We had no budget to speak of, so I would try to get an extra day or two out of the runner tails. They were 1/4 inch galvanized wire and took a great deal of abuse, particularly upwind tacking. Typically a set of runner tails would last 4 days, before they broke down.
Racing upwind on the fifth day of a set of runner tails; the windward tails exploded. Gerry,without a word, calmly tacked the boat. My arm was filled with small “splinters” of rusted wire, it stung. When we sorted out I looked at Gerry, who was still steering, not only was his arm covered with the same spikes, but one side of his face as well.
It was the last time I economized on runner tails.