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Old 25-03-2009, 19:44   #1
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Rerigging, old wire or new.

Getting ready to close on a 1985 Pearson and all except one wire are original. Rig passes visual survey, polished the swage fittings and inspected them with a magnifying glass. Also no fish hooks, corrosion or other obvious problems with the wire. Before going offshore I plan on replacing the whole rig but in the mean time is the rig OK for day sails, coastal cruising, down the ditch to FL, etc. And, just for sake of discussion, would anyone keep the old wire with new Stayloks for offshore work?

Many "experts" (riggers, boat yards, and the like) say all wire should be replaced after X number of years. I have read recommendations from 2-3 years for racing boats, 5-7 for boats in the tropics, 10-15 years for boats in northern waters and everything in between. I have read other opinions that the wire is good as long as it passes inspection and new fittings can be used with old wire. For reference the boat has been lightly used, kept in New England since new.

So, what are the opinions here?
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Old 25-03-2009, 22:07   #2
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I race on a Beneteau 40.7. The owner decided to replace all of the 10 year old standing rigging as a precaution before an off shore 300nm race using rigging professionals. What happened? One of the new swages let go at the first spreader and the mast snapped during a gentle twilight race a week after completion of the job. The 10 year old rigging was fine and the boat would still have a mast if the "old" stuff was left!
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Old 25-03-2009, 22:36   #3
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Would be a great question to post over at Brion Toss's website. They have a forum there called Spartalk.

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Old 26-03-2009, 00:12   #4
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a new mast cost some big bucks, wire is cheap, after ten years, I change them.
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Old 26-03-2009, 01:01   #5
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The problem with swages is the exterior appearance doesn't necessarily tell you the real story with the strength of the fitting. Having said that, a boat that's spent it's life in the NE has had about as little corrosion exposure as is possible in salt water. It will probably last for another few years in that environment. Of course, you have to keep an eye on the swages for any exterior signs of failure. Doesn't sound like it's going to happen anytime soon, however. You might think about end for ending the wire to rearrange the stress points and change the corrosion exposure of the terminals.

I would definitely change the rigging using Mechanical terminals as you head south. Warm saltwater eats into stainless right quick. Especially would change it since the wire is probably type 304 which is especially corrosion prone. Rewire it with type 316 stainless wire. It's slightly lower in strength but way more corrosion resistant.

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Old 26-03-2009, 01:56   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Portobello View Post
I race on a Beneteau 40.7. The owner decided to replace all of the 10 year old standing rigging as a precaution before an off shore 300nm race using rigging professionals. What happened? One of the new swages let go at the first spreader and the mast snapped during a gentle twilight race a week after completion of the job. The 10 year old rigging was fine and the boat would still have a mast if the "old" stuff was left!
But wouldn't it be fair to say that it was an improper swage and not the norm?
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Old 26-03-2009, 07:07   #7
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Thank goodness for rod.
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Old 26-03-2009, 08:22   #8
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Regarding the swages, I definitely do NOT trust 24 year old swage fittings. My question is aimed primarily at the wire. If the wire looks good, passes inspection; no hooks, no corrosion, no unlaying, then is it still serviceable or do you toss it?
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Old 26-03-2009, 10:34   #9
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FWIW,
Only wire failure I ever had on 35 years of boat ownership was a baby stay. Wire looked fine on the outside, but after it broke, I found that all the inside strands (this was 1x19x1/4") were brown and crumbly.
The mast survived, but I had to go aloft at sea to rig a replacement, and I didn't really enjoy that episode!

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Old 26-03-2009, 10:52   #10
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FWIW,
Only wire failure I ever had on 35 years of boat ownership was a baby stay. Wire looked fine on the outside, but after it broke, I found that all the inside strands (this was 1x19x1/4") were brown and crumbly.
The mast survived, but I had to go aloft at sea to rig a replacement, and I didn't really enjoy that episode!

Cheers,,

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Good point and in there lies the problem. Stainless needs to be exposed to oxygen in order not to corrode. Inner wires definitely do not get (as much) of that. So although the outside might look fine, you would never know what is going on with the inside wire group.
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Old 26-03-2009, 13:40   #11
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the cost of the wire would be less than the staylocks. New rigging is cheap insurance.
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Old 27-03-2009, 00:29   #12
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Most of the trouble comes from the lower swages and for some upper terminals that have a hook/ball that attaches to the mast. Swages that have been done right rarely fail at the upper end. Reason is that no water enters them.

If you have Norseman or Sta-lock at the lower end, you can open these (after taking tension off with turnbuckle) and inspect & re-caulk & close them again. The caulking is what keeps the water out.

As this boat is new to you with old rigging, I would replace it. You never know what happened with the previous owner. I would select new 1x19 316 stainless wire with single-pass swages at the upper end and Norseman fittings at the lower end. ask the rigger to do a couple of terminals yourself in his shop, both swage and Norseman so you know how it works and you can inspect the lower fittings yourself later.

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Old 27-03-2009, 11:00   #13
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Thanks all for the replies. I had pretty much decided to replace the wire since the cost would only be two boat bucks or so. I was just hoping someone could convince me that I could save and reuse the old wire. I will at least carefully inspect the old and if it looks good all the way through save the best pieces for spares and what have you.

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