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Old 09-05-2008, 04:46   #1
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Rigging- Stainless vs Galvanised??

Hi All,

I hope you lovely lot can help with this problem- whether to re-rig our boat with stainless or galvanised rigging.

We have a 36' ferro which at the moment has galvanised- it had been on for 13 years and although it seems to be going strong, we think it's time for 'better safe than sorry'. We sail on salt water in the UK at the moment, but will soon be moving south to warmer climes.

Our problem is, everyone we speak to has a different opinion. A lot of the local sailors prefer stainless because it stays 'shiny', but most of the rigging guys advise galvanised because "It is less likely to snap, it will just stretch". Im not at all sure which I believe, and the more research I do online, the more confused I get.

What do you guys all have, and why (or more to the point, what would you choose to have and why?)

Thanks for all your help and instruction!
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Old 09-05-2008, 04:54   #2
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VERY good question.

Generally, galvanized should be better able to withstand the stresses and corrosion than stainless. What happens with stainless is that anywhere where there is no air (in between strands, down by the turnbuckles, etc...) there is a chance of it corroding. Galvanized, while maybe it doesn't last as long in general, has less chance of that "hidding corrosion."

Having never seen galvanized rigging on a private pleasure craft, I think it's a great idea and question why more people don't use it. It costs less, can be re-galvanized when it's getting rusty, stretches better, and generally makes more sense to me. It just isn't shiney and pretty.

I'm going galvanized when I re-rig eventually. Good post.
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Old 09-05-2008, 05:05   #3
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I used galvanized on commercial fishing boats for years with no problems, however on my shiny boat I think I prefer stainless. If I were to replace the stainless with galvanize there would be some raised eyebrows about and probably some flak from the Admiral which might sound like " why you cheap s.o.b......." LOL
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:20   #4
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Aloha Miss-M,
I think the real reason that most folks went for stainless vs galvanized in the first place is that it has a higher strength to weight ratio and less wind resistance and weight aloft for racers. And, for yachties it looked better all shiney and that.
My friend who built his wood boat in his backyard used galvanized and covered it with a black rubberized paint. It was very serviceable.
In your case I think weight would not matter that much and galvanized would be a good cheaper route.
Good luck in your choice.
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Old 09-05-2008, 14:37   #5
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Galvanised lasts longer. On average, 15yr service as against 10 for SST. But in saying that, you can get even longer as long as the Galv does not show signs of rust. Galv does not work harden and that is the main reason behind a service life of 10yrs for SST. SST may look quite OK, but it can not be trusted after 10yrs. Galv is as good as it looks.
Galv is cheaper, substantially.
Galv has more stretch than SST. On a racer, SST would be the better choice for rig tension. On a Cruiser, you do not notice the issue.
The only major concern today with Galv is the swaging. If you use eyes and Talurits you will have no problem. But swages that rely on the wire fitting into the swag end is becoming more difficult to find the fittings that fit Galv wire sizes.
I am not sure I would want to paint the glav with anything. Galv needs to breath. Trap water, it can rust. If you can't see a potential problem, it could be an issue. A light oil with lanocote once a year will allow protection of the galv down inside a swage or crimp.
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Old 09-05-2008, 14:55   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Wheeler View Post
Galvanised lasts longer. On average, 15yr service as against 10 for SST. But in saying that, you can get even longer as long as the Galv does not show signs of rust. Galv does not work harden and that is the main reason behind a service life of 10yrs for SST. SST may look quite OK, but it can not be trusted after 10yrs. Galv is as good as it looks.
Galv is cheaper, substantially.
Galv has more stretch than SST. On a racer, SST would be the better choice for rig tension. On a Cruiser, you do not notice the issue.
The only major concern today with Galv is the swaging. If you use eyes and Talurits you will have no problem. But swages that rely on the wire fitting into the swag end is becoming more difficult to find the fittings that fit Galv wire sizes.
I am not sure I would want to paint the glav with anything. Galv needs to breath. Trap water, it can rust. If you can't see a potential problem, it could be an issue. A light oil with lanocote once a year will allow protection of the galv down inside a swage or crimp.
I was also thinking galvanized turnbuckles might be bad because as you adjust them from time to time, you might scrape zinc off the threads.

Then there is also the stainless chainplate you have to attach the galvanized rigging to. Hmmmm... could be a little deeper than first glance suggests.

I still like the thought of it.
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Old 09-05-2008, 15:01   #7
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I di originaly have Galv turnbuckles. All of them had frozen solid and I replaced them with SST. I have three Bronze bcukles and they are far supperior IMO. I will eventually replace them all with Bronze. Plated Bronze of course.
Chain plates are all Galv on my boat. You don't have any of the issues as you do with SST. Probably over engineered, but I will never have to worry about them. Besides, like most chainplates on boats, a royal pain to get to them or the bolts to replace.
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Old 09-05-2008, 15:17   #8
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The traditional method of treating galvanised rigging is to imerse it in Boiled linseed oil until it is soaked through and then up hung to drain off the excess, This should be done once a year, If done properly its life is indefinite, once it has stretched you can forget it, it doesn't continue stretching. I agree with Alan eyes and talurits are the way to go unless you go back to the cast type of fitting and use white metal to fill the void. It can be sticky in hot conditions, but if you want to be traditional you could spend some time parcelling it to above where you would touch it so as not to be sticky on the hands. It is all related to how much time you have. Stainless was the most fabulous invention for the rigging of pleasure sailing craft in the 20th century, until it broke that is, often sooner rather than later and with potentialy catastrophic results. By that time it had become established as what was acceptable and the demise of galvanised wire began. So the trade off is you spend more, worry more, but don't have to get all messed up with sticky oils or perhaps tar if you want to go back even further to the 19th century. I do believe that if you use mechanical ends (norseman, stalok etc.)rather than swage fittings some of the problems with stainless go away, you still have the work hardening though.
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Old 09-05-2008, 15:38   #9
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VERY interesting thread!
Wheels - you say you have galv. chainplates? I am, as I write this, in the process of getting prices on 316 stainless from which to make up new chainplates on La Nostra. The current ones (possibly 32 year old originals???) are heavy stainless. They run through the cap rail, then through the edge of the deck and are throughbolted to the hull. The portion against the inside of the hull is triangular, with the triangle pointing up, and the tangs are welded to this. Of course they tend to leak and they are nearly impossible to inspect. I am planning on replacing them with simple stainless straps on the outside of the hull thereby eliminating the possibility of leaks and making inspection simple. However, the stainless is EXPENSIVE. I had not considered galvanized. How much heavier (thicker) would the galv have to be to equal the strength of the 316?
Also, I have plated bronze turnbuckles and stainless standing rigging ... which is about 9 years old. I am intrigued by he possibility of using galv. when I replace the rigging. Is the wire still readily available?
Finally, I'm not familiar with the type of terminals you mentioned. What are these and where would one obtain them?
Thanks -
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Old 09-05-2008, 15:56   #10
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Galvanised turnbuckles...

I used galvanised wire rigging on the ferro boat that I built. No worries.

Where I did encounter a problem was with the galvanised turnbuckle on the forestay. I was not up to the cyclic loads imposed by sailing and broke one fine day.

First I knew about it was seeing the bottom of the sail fly up (we were running at the time).

Lucky not to loose the mast...
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Old 09-05-2008, 16:23   #11
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SS and mild steel have similar strengths, you can always go to more higher tensile steels for more strength. Try googling norseman fittings, Suncor SS fittings, and Swagelok fittings.
Here is a how to fit swageless fittings.<http://www.s3i.co.uk/swagelesstechnical.php>
Just be aware that not all wires and fittings are considered equal anymore, you need to know where it was manufactured, the small print may say designed by but made somewhere else. Until we can be sure that quality control is equal no matter where it comes from you need to be cautious. Caveat Emptor.
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Old 09-05-2008, 16:56   #12
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Best to paint your galv with epoxy tar. When steel corrodes the rust is many times the volume of the steel that created it, so it will be obvious. I epoxy tared mine, then wraped it with hockey tape , then more epoxy tar then the split black poly tubing . Figure I have a rig for life.
Galv turnbuckles are so cheap, it is easy to replace them when they rust . Paint them with epoxy tar and that will take much longer.
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Old 09-05-2008, 18:25   #13
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Quote:
How much heavier (thicker) would the galv have to be to equal the strength of the 316?
Steve has already answered the question. But I can expand. The strengths are not much different to worry about. The main difference to SST is that it is harder due to Chromium in the mix. The hardness makes it more brittle. Steel has the ability to stretch a little so can handle high shock and cyclic loads better. The fact that steel is cheaper than SST means you can often go a little heavier in thickness and over engineer the fitting to ensure it is safer.
My rig has never been coated with anything. I have no rust anywhere. The rig has been up for a long time now. We know the boat went in the water in 97, but I have no idea how long before hand the rig was standing for. I imagine it would have been fitted when it went in the water. So that make it 11yrs at least.
You do need to be very careful about trapping water in a Galv splice. Epoxy tar or oil or what ever as others have said, will stop water from being trapped. But don't wrap up Galv splices in a plastic wrap where the water and the splice can not breath. The Tallurit (how do you spell that?) is often copper or aluminium and will be a dissimilar metal and it will corrode.
The idea of boiling wire rope in Linseed oil came from the days where the inner core was fibre and the wire ropes were used in winch use etc. so the oil helped lubricate the wire. Not really necessary today.
I have a delema myself. My new rig I want to be in Galv. But Seldon do not make fittings for Galv wire. So I am stuck with SST.
Oh and an important point on Forestay's. If you have or intend to fit a furler at some stage, you MUST have SST. Otherwise the bearings that run on the stay will bind up on Galv and it wears the Galv away. So SST is the only way to go for a Forestay with a furler.
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Old 09-05-2008, 19:00   #14
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I have to hand it to you, Wheels. You are very good with alternative materials. I still credit you for helping me to discover the wonders of tung oil. This is a great thread.
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Old 09-05-2008, 19:20   #15
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And here I thought synthetics and fibers were supposed to replace metal standing rigging Real Soon Now.
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