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old rigging

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Jun 8, 2004
48
hunter 27 Savannah
Here is the question. (Excluding the the obvious like visible damage,
fish hooks, etc.):" When do you decide to replace old standing rigging?"
I'm hoping for helpful hints, like what to look for. I do not believe
in fixing what ain't broke just because it is old.
 
Feb 6, 1998
11,353
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
Here is the question. (Excluding the the obvious like visible damage,
fish hooks, etc.):" When do you decide to replace old standing rigging?"
I'm hoping for helpful hints, like what to look for. I do not believe
in fixing what ain't broke just because it is old.
I do mine between 10 & 14 years in salt water depending upon condition and satisfactory rigging inspection.

I've witnessed to many rigging failures and been on a boat that suffered a dis-masting. If you can't inspect it yourself it is a good idea to hire a qualified rigger for a rig survey..









 
Oct 2, 2006
1,517
Jboat J24 commack
It depends My J24 uses 3/16 wire which allows a HUGE safety margin compared to my Cal 29 which uses the same 3/16 wire with MUCH more load

And while my J24 wire looked fine at 28 years i SURE felt safer when i replaced it

I think the fact that the original J24 parts were all high quality NAVTEC had a lot with the lifetime also
 

KandD

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Jan 19, 2009
193
Hunter 40 Corpus Christi
We replaced it with the purchase of our boat, as part of the surveyor's recommendation. We were actually told NOT to hoist the sails until it was done. Some of the wires had broken strands and numbers of cracks. I've heard, inspect the fittings and look for cracks. I know with the AL block on my VW you can hit it with a hair dryer and the cracks will seep oil, might get a similar effect if you polish the fitting and look for rusty water?? There is also UV dye for the purpose.
 
Oct 22, 2008
3,502
- Telstar 28 Buzzards Bay
I'd point out that many riggers suggest replacing the rigging and having the new rigging with swaged fittings for the upper end, but mechanical fittings for the lower end. The mechanical fittings are more easily inspected and repaired and the lower end is the end that generally will go first, as it is exposed to more salt water than the upper end fittings.

MS— Where's the chainplate photo you normally post in threads like this? :)
 
Oct 25, 2005
735
Catalina 30 Banderas Bay, Mexico
Here is the question. (Excluding the the obvious like visible damage,
fish hooks, etc.):" When do you decide to replace old standing rigging?"
I'm hoping for helpful hints, like what to look for. I do not believe
in fixing what ain't broke just because it is old.
This is a very tough question to answer. I've worked as a rigger and had this conversation with labs that to testing.

The service life remaining in the wire cannot be tested with certainty without destroying the wire. That's fine if you have 50-100 cables on a bridge. Test one to failure every year starting at 5 years and you get to a pattern for wire under those conditions. Not really an option if you are looking at 8-6 wires on a boat.

The corrosion and cracks are one thing and easy to spot. The unknown is how many stress cycles the wire has gone through and the magnitude of those cycles. Standing rigging acts just like a big spring. Depending on what loads are applied the service life can be near infinite or can be limited severely.

30,000 miles. Is a good yard stick. That is 6000 hours at 5 knots.

How long does it take to spend 6000 hours sailing your boat? 20 weekends at 10 hours a day is 200 hours, ad a 10 day cruise and you get 300 hours a year for a 20 year service life. The rig is stressed all the time it is in the boat, every passing wake that rolls the boat is "using up" the rigging.

Bottom line I don't trust wire more than 10 years old unless I know it has been off the boat and stored properly in the off season. For year around boats I suggest the mast comes out every 5 years for a complete inspection and the rigging replaced at 10 years if there are NO warning signs at 5.

Ask anyone that has lost a mast ... it ruins your day. Many people think that rigging is a forever thing, do they never service their cars? Wire is a machine, it wears out just like any other machine.

Maine Sail's 10-14 years is a decent range. Particularly for NE boats that are laid up in winter. I'm always amazed at how "new" a boat from that area looks compare to one from the west coast.

Randy
 
Dec 1, 1999
2,391
Hunter 28.5 Chesapeake Bay
If you have rigging of an indeterminant age and condition, I think it's worth the cost (usually around $150 in this area) to have a professional rigging survey. Such a survey will give you a real sense of the safety -- or lack thereof -- of your rigging.

I replaced the standing rigging on my old C&C, which was oversized and seemingly in good condition to the naked eye, after I guessed it was 25 years old. Whenever the wind was up, I always used to worry about whether this was the day the rig was going to fail. It was really worth the peace of mind. After replacement, I inspected the old rigging and found the start of crevice corrosion in the upper fittings....
 
Jul 17, 2006
75
Oday 302 Port Henry
My boat is on a lake ( fresh water ) and has a four month season.
Is that 10 to 14 years still a good estimate? The rigging is 20 years old and still looks new. Should i be worried about metal fatigue on a boat that probably sails a hundred hours a year and really is not subjected to the forces that a boat doing blue water or coastal sailing is?

Regards,

Larry
 
Oct 22, 2008
3,502
- Telstar 28 Buzzards Bay
Your rigging is probably going to be good for a good while longer... Why??— it is only used 4 months or 1/3 the time... and in fresh water, so not exposed to the corrosive effects of sea water....

My boat is on a lake ( fresh water ) and has a four month season.
Is that 10 to 14 years still a good estimate? The rigging is 20 years old and still looks new. Should i be worried about metal fatigue on a boat that probably sails a hundred hours a year and really is not subjected to the forces that a boat doing blue water or coastal sailing is?

Regards,

Larry
 

druid

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Apr 22, 2009
837
Ontario 32 Pender Harbour
Hmmm.... AFAIK, my standing rigging is 37 years old. Guess I should replace it...

druid
 
Sep 27, 2009
3
Pearson 23 Erie, PA
Are there any thoughts about additional stresses caused by leaving the mast up while the boat is on the hard during winter (real winter, as in Eastern Lake Erie)? I've heard that the stress on the rigging is actually greater since the boat has no "give" as it does when in the water.

Bg
 
Mar 2, 2008
406
Cal 25 mk II T-Bird Marina, West Vancouver
My rigging is 30 years old. Had a rigging survey done when I bought the boat three and a half years ago and they did not report any problems. I will have another rigging survey done when I'm ready to make my "bucket list" Vancouver Island single-handed circumnavigation in a couple of years.
 

BobM

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Jun 10, 2004
3,269
S2 9.2A Winthrop, MA
Wow some of you had rigging inspectors actually inspect your rig? I called a local rigging house after they quoted me $1500-2000 to do the whole rig, which seemed reasonable. After they "inspected" my rig they told my because of its age (as I recall they used 5-7 years as a reasonable maintenance period) they would essentially have to condemn it out of hand, especially because of my Hood Seafurl, which bumped their quote to about $6K...totally ridiculous. I plan to change out my closed turnbuckles, which are likely the weakest link and then drop the mast in a few years and change it all myself. With even the riggers using mechanical terminals at the bottom there is no reason for me not to after doing the back stay successfully last year. Besides the ordeal of sending someone up the mast in a Bosun's chair it was a piece of cake.
 
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