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Old 25-11-2022, 21:03   #1
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when to replace rigging

The SS standing rigging on my 34 ft sloop is about 20 years old. It appears to be in perfect condition. No rust or swage cracks or meat hooks at deck level. Probably the same on top. Insurance companies say one should replace rigging avery 7-10 years . The cost of replacement seems to be about $3-5k. Even an "official inspection" by a rigger is about $600. I have heard that present day SS wire is not as good as in previous decades.
Q: Is this replacement business a scam? What about "If it ain't broke , don't fix it."

Why should it take 4 hours for a rigger to inspect 2 uppers, 2 lowers, a back stay and a forestay? what can the rigger see that I can't see? The rigger tells me they don't use penetrating die unless the mast is pulled. That is a lot more $$.
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Old 25-11-2022, 21:11   #2
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Re: when to replace rigging

Newer SS may or may not be as good as older wire, but I suspect it has more to do with where it is sourced than when it was made. But regardless of any difference in quality, 20 years is pretty old, it is due for replacement, regardless of appearance. I would save the $600 and just replace, not inspect.
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Old 25-11-2022, 23:22   #3
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Re: when to replace rigging

Most of the insurance company’s in aust only allow 10 yrs on standing rigging ,it may look perfect and fail tomorrow,20 yrs is long overdue,harmonics from wind and waves ,micro movements is the main destroyer ,an inspection is visual only ,going up a mast with a good magnifying glass ,clean and polish each and every piece ,but it still may fail without warning ,,thats s/s standing rigging .⚓️⛵️
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Old 26-11-2022, 01:42   #4
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Re: when to replace rigging

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Originally Posted by Searles View Post
Most of the insurance companyís in aust only allow 10 yrs on standing rigging ,it may look perfect and fail tomorrow,20 yrs is long overdue,harmonics from wind and waves ,micro movements is the main destroyer ,an inspection is visual only ,going up a mast with a good magnifying glass ,clean and polish each and every piece ,but it still may fail without warning ,,thats s/s standing rigging .⚓️⛵️


Pantenious donít care. They do not cover rig failure due to maintenance failure. Itís up to you to decide what the risk is.
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Old 26-11-2022, 01:59   #5
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Re: when to replace rigging

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Originally Posted by rpackard View Post
The SS standing rigging on my 34 ft sloop is about 20 years old. It appears to be in perfect condition. No rust or swage cracks or meat hooks at deck level. Probably the same on top. Insurance companies say one should replace rigging avery 7-10 years . The cost of replacement seems to be about $3-5k. Even an "official inspection" by a rigger is about $600. I have heard that present day SS wire is not as good as in previous decades.
Q: Is this replacement business a scam? What about "If it ain't broke , don't fix it."

Why should it take 4 hours for a rigger to inspect 2 uppers, 2 lowers, a back stay and a forestay? what can the rigger see that I can't see? The rigger tells me they don't use penetrating die unless the mast is pulled. That is a lot more $$.
probably not the best analogy when talking about masts & rigging !

imho the replacement business is NOT a scam

there is a concept called preventative maintenance. fairly popular in eg aircraft, where the cost of failure is high. same with rigging...a failure is not going to be a small thing...people could die or the boat be lost

the correct process is to replace items as they near the end of their safe working life. it's generally accepted that for s/s yacht rigging, 10 years is appropriate. sure, the rigging might last a lot longer (yours has) but do you really want to take the risk ? even if insurance is not an issue for you, how would you feel if the rig came down and killed somebody ?

think : do you climb without a safety line...ride a m/bike without a helmet...what is your risk acceptance like in all things ? why then be so willing to take a risk with your rigging ?

part of owning yacht is proper maintenance so suck it up and do it...replace the rigging !

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Old 26-11-2022, 02:26   #6
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Re: when to replace rigging

Its an interesting subject, almost no scientific research available on the life of SS rigging, mainly driven by insurance companies, where the incentives are obvious. Inspectors usually work for riggers as well, so again incentives are misaligned with boat owners.

The "generally accepted life" of 10 years seems to have no basis in fact or research, just an incentive driven narrative.

In nearly 60 years of boating the only failures I have seen in SS rigging were either very highly stressed racing rigs, or incredibly old and neglected rigs. Of course thats as un-scientific as the insurers and inspectors saying 10 years is the effective life!
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Old 26-11-2022, 02:28   #7
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Re: when to replace rigging

Quote:
Originally Posted by rpackard View Post
The SS standing rigging on my 34 ft sloop is about 20 years old. It appears to be in perfect condition. No rust or swage cracks or meat hooks at deck level. Probably the same on top. Insurance companies say one should replace rigging avery 7-10 years . The cost of replacement seems to be about $3-5k. Even an "official inspection" by a rigger is about $600. I have heard that present day SS wire is not as good as in previous decades.
Q: Is this replacement business a scam? What about "If it ain't broke , don't fix it."

Why should it take 4 hours for a rigger to inspect 2 uppers, 2 lowers, a back stay and a forestay? what can the rigger see that I can't see? The rigger tells me they don't use penetrating die unless the mast is pulled. That is a lot more $$.
You can make your own swage wire test , take a plier and grab the wire and twist it left and right just where it enters the terminal, without much force, if one of the wires jumps , its time to replace.

4 hours rigging inspection, depend of the rig size, short single spreader could be 1 hour, double spreader long spar with 2 furlers etc, could be 3 hours, scam?? no.

10 years? we dont make any personal recomendation to customers, is up to you , could be 10 years or 15, im more afraid of swage terminals, cotter pins , tangs , chainplates than the wire itself, wire its easy to inspect but we dont know whats going on inside of a swage terminal, micro cracks, banana form, rust or decoloration from a terminal may be suspicious.

The present SS quality its a matter of manufacturers and distributors.

Many cruisers tend to replace it for peace of mind and others found to expen sive the cost , a complete rig for Beneteau 50ft cost around 38000 Euros with sails , + - , worth those 5 or 6k in rigging replacement..
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Old 26-11-2022, 05:10   #8
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Re: when to replace rigging

You can save a lot if you DIY. West Marine and others make rigging to your specs. Or you can use a Sta-Lok type and really do it all yourself. It's best to avoid the chinese wire btw. The nice thing about this approach is that you can do it at your leisure. No hurry, no worry.
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Old 26-11-2022, 11:39   #9
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Re: when to replace rigging

My experiences- on my old Crowther ,the lee rigging would 'slacken 'and , to my mind would be the cause of failure due to movement. This boat is continually under stress, ( bow in mast ), and seems more 'normal' . That sounds amateurish ! However , I do have a professional inspection every (2) years also inject a few drips of oil in to each swage at low level. So far so good !!!
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Old 26-11-2022, 12:00   #10
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Re: when to replace rigging

I've replaced the rigging on two boats, including chainplates and fittings. Both times the rigging was roughly 20 years old. Both times I found scary stuff when I deconstructed the old rigging, especially in the chain plates.

Stainless is like that. It hides its flaws until it fails. Personally, I wouldn't trust 20 year old rigging offshore, especially if it has been in salt water.
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Old 26-11-2022, 13:18   #11
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Re: when to replace rigging

No, not a scam on the part of riggers, exactly. In some areas, every 10 yrs. is the minimum insurance companies accept, and that drives the business.

Sometimes rolled swages develop hairline cracks, and those you can see with sharp eyes. However, we one time had re-rigged the whole boat with sta-lok and new wire, except for the baby stay, which looked just fine, shiny, no rust or rust stains on deck*. It broke during a gale, at sea, and Jim went aloft to make a repair. It was dangerous, bruised him extensively (due to the motion of the waves). And it was not a critical wire: it did not cause a dismasting. We had a dismasting in that boat, and we lost not only the mast, and boom, but 5 winches (reefing winch on boom, and 2 on each side of the mast), the antennas and the radar. On a 36 ft. boat, the replacement costs came to over $25,000USD--in 1996. So the financial risk depends on your budget and on the worth of the boat, which will go to 0 really fast, if you don't ensure the rigging is up to the job. We'll never know for sure the cause of that dismasting: it happened when we were hove to, and in the dark. But what we think is that either the staysail sheet plucked out the cotter pin, or the pin failed.

Today, with the bizarre loads placed on wire by furling headsails, we have had one rigger tell us 4 yrs. for them. They seem to break below the top swage, 4- 12 ". Inspection at the top is essential, because the stay will strand first up there. If it is stranded, it is a replace-before-sailing again sort of event. If you're fortunate, losing a headstay won't necessarily lose the whole rig for you, either--we lost only that, one time--but it the whole drill of dealing with it in an undeveloped nation can keep you somewhere longer than you'd like.

If you're going cruising, re-rig now, while you're still working. If you're happy to accept the risks and aren't going out in storms to work out your storm tactics, and your insurance doesn't require it, then the choice and the risks are up to you and whoever crews with you. It is possible to be hurt during dismasting events, though we were quite fortunate both below when the mast broke. One could be in the way when it comes down.

By the way, we're from SF; I began to learn to sail there; and we're not accident-prone. It is just that we've lots of miles, and years spent sailing, so many "interesting" experiences.

--------------
* However, when we inspected the broken end, it was all brown powder, only the outer round of wires was left. This would have shown up if we had known about and used the twist-to-check method mentioned above by neilpride.


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Old 26-11-2022, 14:45   #12
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Re: when to replace rigging

10 years is all you can hold the manufacture of the SS liable fore, and in court it’s the factory build date* that starts the clock not the purchase date (so you could have a cable that sat on a shelf for 6 years before being installed. Life safety things are 3 years continuous use. Like a repel rope or a wire cable on a high angle confidence course you see at a lot of high schools.
That’s where they get 10 years from, it’s a standard obsolescence date for a great many things, not a consensus of accurate non-bias testing by 3rd parties to establish true degradation timeline.

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Old 26-11-2022, 15:10   #13
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Re: when to replace rigging

Mine looked great, but I replaced all of it a 20 years. It cost $6,500 in Connecticut from a first class rigging company. And if you sail San Francisco Bay, I believe it is windy there, so the rigging can get a work out. Just do it!
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Old 27-11-2022, 20:45   #14
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Re: when to replace rigging

Rod or wire? I finished my standing rigging replacement Dec 2021, old rigging was navtec rod from 1977. I bought the boat in 2019, so babied the loading the last couple years. Kinda scary as rod often shows no signs before failure. Wire you might push longer if you get a thorough inspection periodically.
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Old 02-12-2022, 07:48   #15
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Re: when to replace rigging

Alternatively you can find a rigger to rehead the rods as the cold-formed heads are what normally fail without side impacts on the stays themselves. Youíll maybe need the rigger to provide longer screws at the chainplates.
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