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Old 08-11-2017, 11:15   #1
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Replacing standing rigging on anchor

I've decided to replace my standing rigging out of an abundance of caution before my Pacific crossing.

My current rigging is 6mm swage-terminated wire. I'd like to switch to Sta-Lok type fittings.

I have 4 lower shrouds, a pair of cap shrouds, and a back stay with a split near the bottom for adjustable tensioning. The forestay, luckily, was replaced in April. This would have been the most difficult piece of rigging to replace owing to the roller furler.

I would like to do this job without having to alternately take down wires and bring them in to get new ones cut. Is it possible to make the measurements with the rigging in-tact using thin line tensioned along the existing rigging?

When it comes to replacing the rigging itself, I feel fairly comfortable doing the lower shrouds without having to run a temporary line, but for the cap shrouds and back stay, I would definitely want to run a halyard or a line of dynema.

Though I hear of this being done frequently, the details seem important. Is it straightforward to run a line with the existing rigging still in place? I get the sense that there wouldn't be room at the spreader for the cap shrouds. How do I know if there's enough tension on the temporary stay? Should I reduce tension on my forestay when doing the backstay?

Any tips will be greatly appreciated!

Sailing S/V Tarka for Coral Reefs.
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:30   #2
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Re: Replacing standing rigging on anchor

I think if its only 6mm wire you should be fine using your topping halyard and your main sheet to hold the mast in place. Just done mine using Hi-mod compression fittings and very happy with the results. Did a friends boat a few years ago using norsemen fittings but they have discontinued them. I never loosened the forestay on either job. Good luck

Steve .. It was the last one that did this !
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Old 08-11-2017, 13:17   #3
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Re: Replacing standing rigging on anchor

I've replaced all the rigging on my boat in the slip. Did it mostly solo except for headstay. Removed one wire at a time for a pattern. Could have done it all at once if I'd trusted my ability to measure the wire while the rigging was standing.

I did the lower shrouds by removing a forward lower from one side and an aft lower from the other. made up all four wires and replaced the previously removed wires with new and then replaced the other two.

For the cap shrouds, ran a halyard to a hard point on deck on each side and heaved it pretty tight with a winch. Didn't use the spreaders, went from mast head to a hard point on deck, think it was a lifeline base. Went up the mast and pulled one of the cap shrouds for a pattern and made up both shrouds. Went back up the mast and changed out the shrouds.

The headstay took the most work largely because I forgot things on deck and was working mostly solo so had to go up and down to the tune of 7 times in a morning to swap it out. Used a halyard to steady the mast without the stay. Loosened the headstay and pulled the lower pin then went up to the masthead. Tied a halyard around the stay and went back down on deck and lowered it with the help of one friend to keep from kinking the roller furling extrusion. I controlled lowering the sail with the halyard and and supported the extrusion as it came down. The helper walked out the roller furling spool along the dock. A 3rd hand would have been a bonus with one person on the extrusion and the other on the furling spool at the base but I only had one person for both lowering and hoisting the stay. Raising it was the reverse after remaking the wire. Hoisted it up standing on deck with the halyard while supporting the extrusion then went up the mast to reinsert the pin and back down to do the lower turnbuckle/furler attachment.

Backstay was much the same but didn't need help.

Redoing the rigging is a good excuse to buy an ATN Mast Climber. ATN Mastclimber | Single Handed Bosun Chair | Climbing the Mast Makes mast work an easy to do affair without the need of a production crew. It does take a bit of effort to go up. If this overweight 73 year old can do it, you'd better seriously consider your conditioning if you find the effort too taxing. The ATN Mast Climber is the best piece of gear I've bought for the boat. Paid for itself the first time I went to the masthead and discovered two broken strands on the forestay. Without the Mast Climber wouldn't have gone to the masthead right after buying the boat and could have lost the stick sailing in SF Bay's blustery winds. You can do home brew with mountain climbing ascenders, harness or bosun' chair, and foot straps. The Mast Climbers combo seat/harness is worth the price of admission for me. FWIW, get the newer model Mast Climber with gold ascenders. They can be fitted anywhere on the line so internal halyards with snap shackles aren't an issue. The old style have to be fitted on to the bitter end of the halyard. Works with external halyards but will need a separate climbing line if you have internal halyards with shackles. You can't thread the ascenders on the bitter end with this set up. That really hasn't been a big issue with me as I tie my halyards on and don't use shackles. Low stretch halyards are a big plus as they greatly reduce wasted climbing effort from line stretch.
Peter O.
'Ae'a, Pearson 35
American Pie, Sabre 28
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Old 29-11-2017, 05:34   #4
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Re: Replacing standing rigging on anchor

Peter, that was an excellent overview, and very helpful. I think I'm going to be pretty nervous when I do the cap shrouds. I have just two halyards rigged, and a spinnaker halyard on a plate forward of the forestay -- but I wouldn't trust this as a temporary stay.

I use a pair of ascenders, some climbing foot-loops, and a climbing harness to climb the mast -- it's basically a home-brewed ATN Mastclimber. However, I always put the ascenders on two different halyards, and both are attached to my harness -- that way if a halyard fails, I'm backed-up. If I'm using one of the halyards as a temporary stay, I'll loose that back-up. Maybe I'll rig a giant prusik around the mast.

On the rigging front, I've got good news! Sta-Lok has graciously offered to provide the terminal fittings I need in support of my efforts to raise money for the Coral Reef Alliance. I'll still need to get the cables cut here on island, though, or just buy one large length of cable and do the cutting myself.

Any sage advice on how to ensure that I end up with the right length of cable as measured from terminal eye to the end of the thread that goes into the turnbuckle?
Sailing S/V Tarka for Coral Reefs.
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