A marine surveyor can never look at a boat without a critical eye. Today in my marina, I walked past a sailboat and noticed something was off. The forestay was hanging on for dear life, and was only still attached to the boat by luck. If it had come out, the mast would have fallen over (likely under sail). The owner was incredibly fortunate that their mast was still upright.
The cotter pins had last been checked by the owner a few sails ago; I recommend checking the cotter pins on all stays before every sail. It is a small detail that when overlooked, can have catastrophic results. I was able to provide a fix that will keep the mast upright until the owner can go to the store to pick up the right pins; for less than $10 sailboat owners should have several of these laying around.
Before and after pictures of this very fortunate boat owner’s forestay: