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Old 20-03-2011, 16:46   #1
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Assessing Rig Condition: Second Hand Boat

Hi all,

I'm looking at some cheap boats in Florida at the moment between 35' and 40' between 18-25k USD(with a lot of fixing up to do obviously) to do a Pacific Crossing. I feel comfortable assessing almost all of the other qualities of second hand boats but I feel like the condition of the rig is a real unknown. THey say you should replace standing rigging every 10 years, I'm sure the boats in my price won't have had this regular work done. I have in my mind a figure of about 10k USD for a rigger to replace the rigging on a 40' boat.

I am planning the route carefully to reduce the risks of serious weather on my passage but the idea of being dismasted somewhere in the Pacific does make a little concerned. I know I'm not pounding through the southern ocean but its probably the thing which worries me most about selecting and preparing the boat.

Any thoughts ideas, can I rely on a thorough survey, should I look at replacing certain key items? Do I need to limit my choices to boats who can show a recent rig replacement/thorough service?

Phil


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Old 20-03-2011, 20:20   #2
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

The 10K figure is not far off for 40 foot, but you have to consider that in addition to the tangs, bolts, terminals, swaging and wire, you may also want to swap out the sheaves, the sheave boxes, do a rewire of the mast and maybe install little eyes for various sail handling gear, or maybe put in a trysail track...well, it adds up.

You can't rely on a survey (unless the rust is weeping out of the wire or stuff is visibly corroded) without having the rig off the boat. Dye testing and even X-rays reveal crevice corrosion or microfractures in work-hardened metal. Florida's waters in particular, being sometimes brackish and warm, seem to eat rigging, so you are right to be concerned. The 10 year rule may seem severe (I'm not in Florida, but I sure hear a lot about it) but it also seems logical.

Factor in the cost of a rerig on the basis of peace of mind and resetting the odometer. In this sense, it's like a rebuilt diesel. BUT, if it's a consolation, you can keep and possibly recycle the rig you take off the mast as spares or tradeable, sellable items.

My rig looks pristine on my steel 41 footer, and has never seen salt, but I have never considered not renewing it, because it went on the boat in 1988 and has spent 23 years getting rained on in Ontario. It might be fine, but I'm not going to risk that on passage.
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Old 20-03-2011, 21:05   #3
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

You should be able to rerig for way less that $10,000. I have a 42' Pearson cutter and bought everything new: wire, turnbuckles, even chainplates. Will install it myself but cost for materials was well under $4000.00. Labor cost to install it would not be anywhere close to $6000.00.

This does not include the mast tangs which I'm looking at but for now think I'll keep them.

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Old 20-03-2011, 21:54   #4
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

My "close to $10,000" was based on all tangs, wire, bits and pieces and up to and including chain plates, which technically are part of the rigging and can actually look worse than the wire/terminals, etc. after hard service.

I agree it's a lot and probably too much, but it's realistic to assume that the poster will choose to replace everything but the actual spar, which should be OK unless it was introduced to the underside of a bridge or another spar.
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Old 20-03-2011, 23:44   #5
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

You can easily rerig the boat using Norseman/StaLok mechanical terminals and 316 wire. N/S terminals are super easy to fit and the savings of doing it yourself more than makes up for the extra cost of the terminals. The first time I rigged a boat with Norsemans took me little more than a day, mostly because I went real slow learning how to do the terminals. Now can whip out a Norseman in around 15 minutes.

You can get chainplates made at a machine shop if you don't want to drill them yourself. Just buy the proper width and thickness 316 SS strap and have the machine shop cut the pieces to the proper length and bore the holes using your old chainplates for a pattern. You can pull the chainplates and inspect them as it's relatively easy to see crevice corrosion or die penetrant check them. You may need to replace them, just remove, inspect and reinstall. If the chainplates were glassed into the hull, figure that they are all going to have to be replaced and budget in the headache of getting them out.

If the boat has all Bronze turnbuckles, they should be good for the life of the boat. If you have stainless screws, might think about replacing them but keep the Bronze center section. If the Turnbuckles are all stainless, you've got a big expense and should figure that into the purchase price of the boat.
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Old 21-03-2011, 05:56   #6
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
My "close to $10,000" was based on all tangs, wire, bits and pieces and up to and including chain plates, which technically are part of the rigging and can actually look worse than the wire/terminals, etc. after hard service.

I agree it's a lot and probably too much, but it's realistic to assume that the poster will choose to replace everything but the actual spar, which should be OK unless it was introduced to the underside of a bridge or another spar.
On my rerig I replaced:

Chainplates (except fore and back stays)
All toggles
All clevis and cotter pins
All turnbuckles
All new Stalok terminals on bottom ends
Swage top ends
All wire

This is on a cutter so an extra stay and fittings is counted. Essentially I replaced everything in the rig except the mast tangs and the two chainplates mentioned (and of course the mast).

I looked into new tangs and think they were about $30-$50 each including mounting hardware. If I replaced all the tangs including the two for the running backstays that would be 9 at $50 each so about $450 more in parts. That still keeps my total cost for every single bit of hardware except the mast under $4000. Also I did not go cheap but purchased good grade wire from a reputable rigger so these numbers are not for cheapo grade stuff.

It has been a while since I rerigged a boat but should be able to do it easily in a weekend so professional labor I am guessing under $1000, certainly less than $2000. So even with a very liberal estimate and paying a rigger to do the work you should come in under $6000.

BUT, as we all know, everything on a boat always cost twice what you estimate and takes twice as long to do as you planned.
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Old 21-03-2011, 09:34   #7
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

Yes, my first thought was $6,000, too, but I've found that there is a huge variable talking to people on the Internet when it comes to pricing in their own labour. Some people take it as a given that they will do as much as possible themselves (which is cheaper until you screw up out of ignorance!), while others "know they don't know" and leave the entirety of the job to a pro. Still others have money and their time is better spent making more.

So there's several ways to price this...but $10K is the gold-plated service number!
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Old 21-03-2011, 12:50   #8
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

Not in Annapolis its not. Standard labor rate here is $95/hour. Depending on the boat, pulling chainplates, even just for inspection, could run 4 hours per chainplate. When I was selling rigging (about 5 years ago in Annapolis) you could figure on 7-10k for a rerig on 35-40 foot boat but that did not include chainplates. It really depends a lot on the boat. Some are very simple to get chainplates out of, some (tayanas for instance) are a nightmare that require all sorts of belowdecks surgery. It is because of this that so many owners dont pull and inspect chainplates. The area where they pass through the deck is the worst. This is where you have water intrusion that gets trapped with no oxygen and starts crevice corrosion even though the inside visible part of the chainplate is nice and shiny... They should be pulled and then polished most I have seen had at least one that showed cracks.. If you are looking in FL talk to the folks at Sailing Services for materials. If you can do all of the work yourself you are probably going to get done at 3-5k for materials maybe better.
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Old 21-03-2011, 13:02   #9
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
So there's several ways to price this...but $10K is the gold-plated service number!
Gold plated is right. If a rigger wanted $6000 labor to install rigging on my boat I think I would have to politely decline the offer.

On the other hand, I did purchase my boat in NY and moored in RI and CT. Based on the prices I paid for services in the local boat yards and marinas maybe that labor rate is the norm for that part of the world.
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Old 21-03-2011, 13:13   #10
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

Ye gods those figures are high. We have just had a rigging company do the lot including running rigging in Dyneema for 2k sterling, that's $3200 for a 31 foot yacht and includes stepping the mast. She has twin spreaders so other than longer stays isn't any more complicated.

We didn't change the chain plates, folks don't seem to change these in the UK.

Certainly worth shopping around at the moment, the boating industry is hurting so there a good half week steady work for a rigger.

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Old 21-03-2011, 13:23   #11
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

Just to see if I was completely off base I called the rigger that sold me all my parts. Of course this is just a rough estimate without knowing the exact boat but he said typically take them a day to completely rig a 40 sloop probably would use a couple of guys most of the time. So very roughly $1000-$2000 in labor.

Tangs if needed might add a little. Doing the chainplates is another matter. Labor costs depends on how they're installed, how accessible (or inaccessible) they are, glassed in or not, etc. Cost me about $500 to fabricate new ones including the SS, about 8 hours to remove cabinet work and pull out the old ones. If you have the rigger do it all maybe a little more, assuming plain bar stock and not a fancy welded and machined job.

Call Sailling Services in Miami. They've been in business at least thirty years, do a good job and use quality wire.
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Old 21-03-2011, 13:32   #12
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

You don't say where in Fl. you are but if you are around Indiantown it would be best to ask one of the Mack Sails crew to give you an estimate. I't less than an hour from their office to the yard and they know what they are doing.
All the best,
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:57   #13
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

Thanks for the information!

Yeah, from looking at different threads I was thinking my 10,000 estimate was a bit high! Maybe it was a rigger that told me that to uphold the view that anything involving rigging is expensive.

When the time gets closer I'll contact Mack Sails and Sailing Services and see what they can offer on the work done. I'd like to do as much of the work myself as possible but having not touched the rigging on any of the boats I've sailed on would be fairly hesitant. I'd like to get the rig done straight away after purchasing the boat hopefully Nov/Dec this year, then scoot down to Rio Dulce in Guatemala to do the rest of the refit work before crossing the Pacific.

Any recommendations on good books on the subject of rigging and rig repair? I'm going to look for Norseman info on the net, see what I can dig up.

Thanks for the contributions!
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:37   #14
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Re: Assessing rig condition on a cheap second Hand boat

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Originally Posted by clifford sloan View Post
You don't say where in Fl. you are but if you are around Indiantown it would be best to ask one of the Mack Sails crew to give you an estimate. I't less than an hour from their office to the yard and they know what they are doing.
All the best,
Clif
Second the recommendation for Mack Sails. They have also been in business many years, are competent and nice people. Don't think you could go wrong with Mack or Sailing Services.
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Old 02-04-2011, 13:36   #15
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Re: Assessing Rig Condition: Second Hand Boat

If I was going to take a boat on a sail of more than a few days, I'd want to go over the rigging MYSELF and replace any rigging that was suspect and/or just old. It is a matter of how much my life is worth. A rigging failure at sea is a life threatening situation no matter how benign the conditions.

You can do the rerig yourself with mechanical terminals without any prior experience or mechanical ability. I did my first total rig with my only experience being adjusting rig tension with the turnbuckles. It is simple to do a total rig and really really easy to do it if you have the current wire for a pattern. You'll needs something to cut the wire. I've used Felco C12 wire cutters, a hacksaw and an angle grinder with a cutting wheel. The Felco cutter is the easiest but they are are expensive. If you use a hacksaw, slide the norseman fitting over the wire to hold the strands in place while you saw. If you use an angle grinder, it will generate a bit of heat so be aware if you use one. Once the wire is cut, slip on the inboard section of the terminal then unlay the outer layer of wire and slip the cone over the inner wire bundle. Adjust the cone to the proper depth and relay the outer wires. Use a little anti-seize compound on the terminal threads and screw the terminal together. Cinch it up tight but do not use too much torque as it could actually weaken the terminal. Unscrew the terminal, inspect the wire wrap around the cone, goop up the wire with sealant, screw the terminal back togther and you are done. SIMPLE, SIMPLE, SIMPLE.

I'd buy a Top Climber/Mast Climber ATN Mastclimber to make getting up and down the mast easy no matter what you do with the rigging. You can do a similar rig from mountain climbing gear if you've got the time and a little sewing ability. The Top Climber is something everyboat should have. It allows me to go up to the mast head without any outside help. No waiting around for someone to crank me up and much safer than a bosun's chair and winching you up. With the Top Climber, I've rerigged my boat, added fittings to the mast, untangled flag halyards, painted the spreaders. With the exception of the roller furling headstay, did it all with no need for anyone else's help.

Go Mack!!! Got a new internal reefing boom, triple reef main, 135 roller genoa with foam luff, and an asymetric spinnaker from Mack sails. Great people to deal with, outstanding service fixing the few problems even when they weren't responsible for the error, and the sails have worked great with a TransPac under their belt. Handled the purchase across the country with ease.
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