There are two reasons to use swageless fittings. First, they are easy for almost any clutz to do. Second, they aren't swages.
I rigged our Westsail with absolutely no prior experience in a little over a day using Norsemans. That's a lot of fittings on W32 as you've got boomkin stays, whisker stays and bobstay on the bowsprit
and the staysail stay over and above the stays/shrouds on a typical sloop
. The first fittings took a bit of time because I was worried about a wire strand getting in the groove of the cone. It's a pretty needless worry as I've never had a wire fall into the groove in doing over 50 Norseman/StaLoks. Have never had a problem with any of the wires I've fitted the swageless terminals and have sailed a lot miles on them.
FWIW, the Norsemen terminals tested by Practical Sailor were old style terminals. Don't know when they changed them but definitely more than 10 years ago. The new terminals don't have a lock nut and use a different cone than the older version.
As far as unlaying the wire and fitting the cone, it's not a big thing. Just unlay the outer wires back a few inches, slip the cone on and relay the wire around the cone. If you are so worried about the skill involved that you won't even try these terminals, you probably don't have the skill to own a boat without hiring out 100% of the maintenance
and hiring a captain
. You can also reuse the terminals pretty much indefinitely. Don't know what alloy they use in the swageless terminals, but it holds up extremely well in the salty tropics where swages have a way too short life. The Norsemans I installed on our Westsail almost 40 years ago are still on the boat though with the third set of wires. That boat has been sailed long and far with three cruises to SoPac, a hurricane
, and more than 5 years of daily use doing sunset cruises.
Swages are SCARY. Someone did a test of old swages that had been pulled off of boats that were rerigged. They found little indication from appearance of the viability of the fittings. Some swages that looked perfect failed way before the breaking strength of the wire. Other swages that had really nasty cracks exceded the breaking strength of the wire. In short, you can't tell without destructive testing what the condition of a swage is. Cracks will indicate a swage that may need to be changed but the absence of cracks is no guarantee of their strength.
I'm really nervous sailing on a boat with swage fittings. Would much rather sail on a boat that I've redone the rigging
with swageless terminals. At lelast I'll have the comfort of knowing that the boat is rigged with fittings that have never failed me.