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Old 26-10-2013, 20:05   #16
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

Scoobert, generally you want to replace the standing rigging after ten years of active sailing. Sooner, if the boat has been in warm salty waters, and perhaps longer if it's been in cooler, or fresh water. Before a big ocean voyage I visually inspect my rigging top to bottom, looking for cracks, rust, and other evidence of trouble. You also need to look at the fittings, the blocks and attachments, etc. I occasionally hire a trusted rigger to do a (hopefully) more thorough inspection. People use penetrating dyes and other more sophisticated methods if they are really concerned.

I know I shouldn't mention this, but in fairness old rigging isn't necessarily a death-sentence. There are at least some boats that go a long time without replacing the standing rigging. I know of one heavily-built boat that has spent the last 25 years sailing in the South Pacific and San Francisco, and the owner is still using the same standing rigging that he installed when he built the boat almost 30 years ago. However, I'm not going to be sailing with him anytime soon -- he's got too much deferred maintenance for my peace of mind.

His boat was built using the "oversize everything" rule, and that's probably why his rig is still standing. With more typically-sized rigging the story would probably be much different.
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Old 26-10-2013, 20:16   #17
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

Scoobert, why take a chance of problems! Much cheaper to replace rigging then to replace the masts, and possibly the boat if ya have a problem!! The area your going to be sailing in can and will test eveything on your boat! No one thats not a rigger, or at least has replaced rigging on there boats for years, can be sure that 10 yr old rigging is good to go !! For all you have spent so far, why go cheap now!! this is a area that will make or break your trip!! At least go down the river and get a rigger to ck it out !! Then you know your family and you are safe ! Just my 2 cents
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Old 26-10-2013, 23:29   #18
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

Scoobert,

I realy think you should have someone with a bit of experience look at that rigging. I have followed your posts from time to time and I have observerd that Union Pacific appears to be a very beautiful and very under maintained boat. I know you have been doing lots of work on her but in the few pictures and videos I have seen I got a very uncomfortable feeling about her state.

If you know the rigging is more than ten years old then you know it is of an age where it is outside its optimum life span, but if you don't know how much more than ten years then all you know is the rigging is no longer "good".

Before you risk your safety, and more importantly, the safety of your family, get someone who does this for a living to look her over.

There are lots of things you can learn and do with the internet, I just feel this level of understanding is not one of those things.

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Old 27-10-2013, 00:41   #19
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

The questions about the steering cables were nothing compared to the entertainment possibly coming up soon.....

Personally, we ignore the 10 year rule, but we check the rigging closely. You, or your proxy rigger, need to do a good check with a magnifying glass. Or just swap out the rigging for your own peace of mind.

All the best, Scooby mate! You are in for an interesting time!!
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Old 27-10-2013, 04:44   #20
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

I had planned to replace it all next year with amsteel.
The thought had crossed my mind to just go easy on the rig.
Run a single reef the whole way, and when the wind picks up, furl.
Bringing the load down will give me a massive safety margin.
And yes, the rigging is very oversized.
The uprights on the main mast are huge.
I want to carry a few of the do it yourself ends for the trip.
No idea what i would do if i had to climb the mast at sea thou.
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Old 27-10-2013, 09:35   #21
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

I agree with others—you can’t ever be dead sure. I’ve just upgraded all my standing rigging to 3/8”, but from experience I can still only be reasonably certain it will hold in all conditions.
You just have to be prudent, then get out there and find out.
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Old 27-10-2013, 10:16   #22
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

Scoobert, Again I don't know why yall ask questions!! Ya always say things like NEXT YEAR !! LOL As most all of us have said ck it out with someone who knows ! and if he says it needs work then do it ! if he say's go then go !! Simple ! Just sayin when ya don't know for sure then get someone who do know !! It will maybe save your life and your familys life !!
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Old 27-10-2013, 10:30   #23
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

Inspect the part where the swage and the wire interface with a magnifying glass. Look closely for even the start of a hairline crack. It seems rigging often breaks right at the swage. You could get some dye penetrant to inspect for cracks. It seems rare to me to see rigging wire break unless close to a fitting...unless it's extremely old and brittle. They make longer swage studs to replace the swage fittings on your old wire.
It's a tough one, like people say, hard to say how the chainplates are until you pull them. But close observation might give you some confidence. Can you pull a chainplate bolt or two to see their condition?
I suppose it's a matter of convincing yourself what the condition is....
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Old 27-10-2013, 10:50   #24
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

Rigging doesn't usually break from heavy, steady loads. It breaks from shock loads. This means that reefing down may not give you the safety margin you expect.

During the 2010 Pacific Cup race to Hawaii I was the communications boat (I was also racing), and I was in regular contact with all the other racers. By far the most rig damage occurred in the light-air portion of the race. There we were, practically drifting, with little wind and confused cross-seas. We had our sails up, both to try and at least stay pointed in the right direction, and also to attempt to stabilize our boats. As we rocked back and forth the booms slammed from one side to the other, and the shrouds would slacken and tighten. Even with preventers on the boom there was still constant shock-loading.

The overall damage was significantly worse than I'd seen during previous, more windy, races. I talked to boats with broken headstays, backstays, and intermediate shrouds. There was a broken boom, and broken goosenecks. And these boats were well-maintained and inspected. They weren't all lightweight extreme racers, either.

Shock loading is what breaks rigging. The instantaneous forces applied are much greater than you might think. Please don't think that it takes heavy wind and full sails to cause problems.
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Old 27-10-2013, 11:04   #25
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

I think the 10 year "rule" on rigging is like the change your car oil every 3000 miles "rule". It doesn't take any type of use into account, but sure is in favor of the rigger and oil change companies.

I estimate that in the past 10 years use my rigging has the equivalent of 173 of 24 hour days use. And I bet 75% of that is in wind less than 15 knots. Compare that to loading and time on the cables in the average suspension bridge and I just don't feel my rigging is in a lot of danger.
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Old 27-10-2013, 11:07   #26
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

I think it's more about age and corrosion than use... although as mentioned shock loading can cause failures.
But yeah, I suppose a "Marina Queen" that the rigging fittings get mostly fresh rain on and doesnt get doused regularly with salt water and experiences little shock loading could be considered to last longer. 10 years is bit ambiguous..
There are many things that last a shorter time with little use on a boat, but I suppose rigging is not one of them...
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Old 27-10-2013, 18:48   #27
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

20 year old ss rigging can be in better condition than 7 year old.

SS rigging failure is caused by {lack of oxygen + salt + stress + temperature(tropics) + cyclic loading(fatigue)} x age.
Lower swage area most vulnerable because; salt concentrates there, lack of oxygen under the swage, often wires are bent in this areas and contain residual stresses.(Don't tape over bent stainless and keep the oxygen out!) Good to wash down the lower parts of rigging if you live in a low rainfall area.
Don't put too much trust in 'experts' or the 10yr rule but satisfy yourself that proper checks have been made on the critical parts.
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Old 27-10-2013, 23:06   #28
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

So I guess there are some factors in my favor here.
First off in the last 10 years the boat has never been used.
It has set on a mooring 12 months a year that was in a very cold climate on Long Island.
On the 10 years prior that the boat was used for racing on at least eight different long occasions. In the 12 years prior to that the boat sat on a great Lake.
I know the rigging has been replaced at least one since about was new. I have a piece of the old rigging as an emergency backup.
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Old 28-10-2013, 15:03   #29
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

Remember that wire heat cycles, hot, cold, hot, cold, long, short, long, short.

Bu you don't get that on LI, right?
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Old 28-10-2013, 15:19   #30
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Re: How can I be sure my rigging is good?

If your boat was not used for most of the past 10 years was it well maintained during that time? If not there are probably multiple systems that may fail if subjected to the stress of an offshore trip. Are you prepared for handling a rigging failure at sea?
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