For replacing standing rigging
, our double spreader rigs have an advantage. We can climb the rig and carefully remove the uppers from a bosun's chair, (lowering them with a messenger string), while the intermediates hold the mast
up. Then, once on the ground, duplicate them, (preferably with 316 wire & StaLocs), and put them back up. Next... just work your way down the mast
the same way.
I originally rigged ours with NO wires holding up the mast. I had just 4 Polyester ropes, tied from the mast head
to the 4 corners of the hull
, and pulled sorta tight with a truckers hitch. Until I got the upper wires rigged up, my trips aloft with a 3/1 block & tackle, were quite exciting! If a dinghy
went by, I would be swinging around in a springy 2 or 3' circle, as the ropes stretched.
This temporary system worked fine for our first time rigging. On the upper wires, we started out with the "upper ends only" rigged up, and the lower ends left 4' or so too long. Then, using a crane, we stood the mast with just rope
holding it up. After careful measurement to get the upper wires correct in length, and exactly the same, we rigged the bottom StaLocs & turnbuckles.
Assuming you have the old wires, you only have to duplicate them as described.
316 grade SS is weaker than the old standard 304, but highly recommended nonetheless. I would ask John Marples if the old dia is still sufficient, or whether the upgrade to 316, necessitates an upsize in the wire.
In discussions about synthetic VS SS wire, the often omitted problem with DUX is if the boat must go through a large temperature range. Where I live in NC, it can change 100 degrees F over the year, and my actual sailing temperature range might be 60 degrees F of change. (45-105 degrees)
With "wire" on a metal mast, they expand and contract
more or less together, so the tune of the rig doesn't change with the seasons or time of day. At least not where I ever noticed it. This is not true with DUX.
We built our boat and launched her in '96, and after > 20,000 sea miles, are about due for a wire change. Still, using 316 SS wire, with all StaLocs, (Properly sealed), we have no rust or meat hooks. The wire looks "perfect", but it has been 17 years, so is on my list, nonetheless. I will re-use the StaLocs...
A couple of years ago I replaced my SS running backs with DUX, and love it for that application. Being so light, it doesn't flop around when in the slack "stored" position.
I considered it for the rest of the rig as well, until I noticed this coefficient of expansion incompatibility between DUX stays and the mast's aluminum
I can make up my running backs, and really snug them up good with the folding handle "quick adjust" turnbuckles. I mean TWANG! This is with an afternoon temp of say 90 degrees. IF it was in the mid 50s the next morning, these same runners would be sloppy loose and with two fingers go in a 1' circle! THAT'S how much difference in tune you get over 40 degrees!
With my runners, it is no problem, as I can adjust them by hand in 30 seconds. Also, I change their tension regularly, depending on whether they are being used or stored.
IF I used DUX on the rest of my very tall / skinny double spreader rig, (which is quite tune sensitive), it would be a disaster unless I re-tuned her regularly. (With SS wire, I have re-tuned the rig only twice, in 17 years).
To keep my mast in column, I need my uppers really tight, compared to the intermediates and lowers. Keeping her in tune is easy with wire, year round, and in any temperature, she stays straight. This could not be said with DUX, IF it is stressed as much, over as broad a temperature range, without re-tuning.
Many rigs, (like front stayed triangular rigged rotating masts and such), have slack leewards, OR such a stout extrusion, (often with SS wire diamonds), that these changes in tune could be tolerated. I know that a lot of boats do fine with synthetics, and for some, there is a lot to be said for the stuff.
I just want to point out that IF you plan World cruising, with a broad temperature range, (or locally for that matter), AND you have a tall "tune sensitive" rig, like we do, then wire is still the better choice IMO... from hot season to cold season.
On my most important wires, the uppers, I will be switching up a size, and to "Compact Strand" as well. In a fun daysail situation, I can then fly full sail in up to 35 knots of wind
, and being a tri, the boat will stand up to it. I don't want any surprises, because it is a colder day than when I tuned the rig!
BTW... When comparing "weight savings aloft" of synthetics, it is a moot point to compare it's weight to SS wire alone. With all of the radar
, steps, lights, antennas, etc., that go onto a cruising boat's mast, PLUS the extrusion, the shrouds and stays are a very small portion of the weight of a complete rig. I may over time, switch to lighter running rigging and sails
, for a similar weight advantage...