Not long after we bought Gee N Tee I noticed that the spreaders were a little loose fore and aft. On Gee N Tee the spreaders were bolted to a hinge that in turn bolted to the mast, this meant that there should be adjustment vertically and the spreaders were probably able to fold flat onto the mast when down but should not have any horizontal movement. I was replacing the rigging so had the mast down and checked to make sure. Over time the hinge had worn and created the movement I could see when wobbling the shrouds.
The spreader bases were riveted onto the mast, I drilled these out and had to drill out the ends of the hinges to get the bracket off as they were welded in place. I was drilling into marine grade stainless steel so it took a long time and I broke multiple drill bits over the course of the port and starboard fittings, in fact it was much work that I nearly gave up on it and had started trying to get quotes in for new brackets and spreaders. Thankfully for my wallet the companies I asked were either slow or just didn’t get back to me so I carried on drilling and finally managed to get the brackets ready to get back onto the mast. I enlarged the hole through the bracket to take a slightly larger rod, drilled the holes out in the base to match this same size and bought a stainless steel rod to slot through the base and act as a new hinge. Once I was happy with the rod, I cut this down to size, slightly shorter than the length of the hinge then welded using stainless steel welding rods with my arc welder to finish off the new hinge. Finally (because my welding isn’t that neat) I ground off the excess so that the spreader would fit back onto the hinge.
Going through it above makes it sound a lot less painful than it actually was, I hate trying to drill stainless steel and I was working in a garage with no electric so had to have my generator running all the time I was working. I was cold as well and amazingly frustrating. Once it was finally finished though I was happy with the result and getting the mast back on the boat with spreaders with no play at all was great, it was by far the most difficult and frustrating job I have done so far on the boat.