Do you want to be informed on new Posts on this Thread? (members only)

Sail & Rigging - Replacement Uppers/Lowers
29 August 2012 - 11:25
#1
Join Date: 12 June 2007
Posts: 39

Replacement Uppers/Lowers

Dear Professor

Had a look at old threads but couldnt find relevant information:

Standing rigging replaced on my 38 in 1999. I replaced fore and backstay in 2011. I am due an insurance survey , but have heard the electronic wire tester is unreliable , with false positives and negatives.

Would you advise mast out replacement of uppers and lowers - we do a bit of racing so get fully loaded up on occassion - or can they remain sound for 20 years ?

(is  there a way to replace them with mast in situ ?)

Thanks

Alasdair

Billyon

GBR9315

29 August 2012 - 14:26
#2
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Alasdair
Provided the insurance accepts it, a thorough inspection of the standing rigging is recommended. If the insurance applies an age limit which has been passed there is not much incentive to do it.
Not sure which tester you refer to, but the most important points are finding broken strands in the wire, and cracks and corrosion in the terminals and rigging screws.
It would be possible to take out the shrouds for inspection or replacement with the mast in place provided the top is secured sideways with the halyards, and the mid part with lines around the spreader roots, and the harbour is calm.
There may be difficulty getting the top shrouds out of the spreader ends, and it would be advisable to drop the spreaders too.
If the spreaders are left in place and do not hinge along the mast they need to be supported in their normal position.
Best regards
Lars

29 August 2012 - 16:42
#3
Join Date: 12 June 2007
Posts: 39

Thanks Lars

There is an electical tool which assesses strand/wire integrity - attenuation of current = broken strands -  which therefore need replacing. My Rigger used one of these on some other yachts and got a lot of current drop , so put it across a new wire and found it also  failed , thus has no faith in its diagnostic provenance.

If I commission survey and all areas you describe are found to be sound , is it sensible  to sail on with 13 year old shrouds even if the insurance company is happy ?

Alasdair

30 August 2012 - 07:16
#4
Join Date: 16 May 2009
Posts: 252

Alasdair:

Many boats have sailed with standing rigging older than 13 years. If it was good stuff when first put in, and if it hasn't been abused or overloaded, it might well hold up for some years yet to come, again more likely if you aren't driving the boat too hard. But you have to ask yourself - of all the gear you have aboard, what's more critical to safe and successful sailing than the rigging? What I'm saying is - if you have questions about the integrity of the existing standing rigging, and if you have the money to replace it, I would recommend you do so. Then at least you know what you've got, and with good installation, tuning, use and care, you can maximize life of the new standing rigging. Almost any experienced surveyor types would recommend replacement of salt water standing rigging by 15 years at the latest, some say 10 for salt, 15 for fresh. Certainly some owners push it to 20, but when you get that far out, you are getting into a very gray area. You need to ask yourself if a failure would be worth it? (easy answer - never).

My boat had the original rods and wires when I bought her in 2009. I test sailed the boat in very light conditions (good thing). After I bought the boat, I had her taken apart and shipped by truck to her new home, having already started the order for the new standing rigging. It was taking a long time to get the new stuff, so I inspected the old to see if I could put the mast in with it and sail until the new arrived, but there was no way. Most of the end fittings were permanently frozen (no amount of penetrant, heat, and or pounding would free them), and had lost all their degrees of freedom, which is how a lot of ultimate failures begin. The rigging in that story was thirty years old, and that might be some kind of record, but the previous owner hardly sailed the boat - I am convinced if he had sailed her hard at all, he would have had a failure. Now, it's all new and I never worry about a thing.

Fair Winds, Good Luck,

Geoff
Corazon, 411 #41

30 August 2012 - 10:59
#5
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Geoff
Well said! In reference to Swan 38 I would like to add that wire rigging usually gives a warning well in advance, a broken strand reduces the strength by some 5 %, this is not a cathastrophic problem requiring immediate attention, but replacement recommended.
Swageless wire terminals generally have a longer life span than swaged ones.
I would suggest regular inspection yearly even if the insurance does not require this, or more frequently if you sail a lot.
As an extreme example I know of a sail training vessel doing 25000 miles every year, she has wire rigging with swageless terminals, and the rigging served well for 20 years before it was replaced, then by recommendation, not by necessity.
Inspection takes some time and effort, however, and if the rig is insured the thinking may be that a failure is covered anyway. But also consider what it is worth to avoid all the associated hassle and change of plans.
Best regards
Lars

01 September 2012 - 19:06
#6
Join Date: 12 June 2007
Posts: 39

Dear Geoff ,Professor
Thankyou both for the advice, l have annual rig inspection, but will bite the bullet for peace of mind and confidence when loading the rig up
Alasdair

03 September 2012 - 19:16
#7
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 162

We too will have to change the standing rigging soon. We too have been "advised" that the rig is insured, and if worse comes to worst, just to let the whole rig go under, and get the sum for a new one.
However, I sincerely doubt that anything will happen on a day with a force 3 blowing, and I also doubt that it will safely happen when nobody is on deck. How could we ever be insured against losing the rig in a situation where we might desperately need it to save the boat, or how could we ever be insured against losing one of the crew through rig failure?
As I said, the rigging is up to renewal ...
Best, Martin (Age of Swan, 48/039)

18 September 2012 - 08:50
#8
Join Date: 25 July 2012
Posts: 30

Hi everyone,

 

Without trying to upset an applecart I would like to mention that chainplate failure is probably the most common factor associated with loss of masts.  Where they  (the chainplates) pass through the deck, they are not only out of sight for inspection but in a perfect place for crevice corrosion to do its work.  

If you go to the trouble and expense of changing the rig to satisfy the insurance, maybe it is worth clarifying if chainplates are part of the rig (or if failure occurs you may not be covered ! ) David  43/12

 

 

21 September 2012 - 17:18
#9
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 234

Hi Everyone.

My 411 was re rigged 14 years ago with swage terminals. I recently asked Pantaneus about the cover on my rig if it came down. They are in my opinion and I speak from experence in dealing with them the best yacht insurers around.

The message was change the rig and be sure you are fully covered. The cost of new a rig, new sails, any damage to hull caused by the demasting, electronics that need replacing etc is huge relative to the sales value of our yachts. Not to mention the problems if it comes down far away from your base. So I have just re rigged using sta lock terminals. I now feel at peace when I go out.

John B 411 -010    

11 October 2012 - 17:44
#10
Join Date: 15 April 2011
Posts: 393

Dear All,

I have the original standing rigging on my boat with the exception of the fore- and back stays.  I am loathe to replace this beautiful rod rigging - at about 6 1/2 feet above the deck it becomes a foil shape. 

Having had rod rigging on my last boat with the typical ball at the tip, I think the threads of this rod rigging offer longer service and afford better inspection. 

Professor, do you have an opinion?  Am I crazy? 

Chris Mabel's Casse Tete 43/003

11 October 2012 - 20:19
#11
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Chris
I agree that the lenticular rods are pieces of art, and suggest that you inspect them closely for damage and cracks. This includes the threads which need to be cleaned very thoroughly, and the thread bottoms inspected with for example Spotcheck dye penetrant. Also the terminals and pins need checking.
Are there terminals at the spreader ends, separating the upper and lower part of the main shrouds?
Kind regards
Lars

11 October 2012 - 20:36
#12
Join Date: 15 April 2011
Posts: 393

Dear Professsor,

Thank you.

I do not know what is at the spreaders.  I plan to step the mast this winter so I can do a thorough inspection of the entire rig and replace what needs replacing; at that time I will inspect the spreaders and report back. 

I cannot see going out in the ocean without taking care to be sure the rig is in excellent condition.

Chris

12 October 2012 - 02:51
#13
Join Date: 16 May 2009
Posts: 252

Dear All,

I have the original standing rigging on my boat with the exception of the fore- and back stays.  I am loathe to replace this beautiful rod rigging - at about 6 1/2 feet above the deck it becomes a foil shape. 

Having had rod rigging on my last boat with the typical ball at the tip, I think the threads of this rod rigging offer longer service and afford better inspection. 

Professor, do you have an opinion?  Am I crazy? 

Chris Mabel's Casse Tete 43/003

Chris:

There's no way around the fact you've got 40 year old hardware. I am operating on the assumption that most, if not all, of that life was in the salt water environment (I'm on Lake Michigan right now, so it can happen that we're out of the salt air). The most careful inspection still could miss a small or just initiating defect. There's just so much to lose. From a corrosion and mechanical engineering perspective, I would stress that the best play is replace it. If you get out in a blow and the rig goes over, the lovely shape of those rods dragging half the stick along the side of your boat won't mean so much (and since the foil shape starts at nearly 7 feet above deck, who besides you gets to appreciate it?). I replaced all mine with new in 2009, and while the set up was a little different here and there (end fittings and turnbuckles mostly), the result was excellent for not only fit and function, but looks, too. If you do keep the rigging you have, I wish you all the best most sincerely - but I will worry about you just the same.

Whichever way you go, fair winds and safe travels.

Geoff, Corazon, 411 #41

12 October 2012 - 11:06
#14
Join Date: 25 July 2012
Posts: 30

Chris,

I am afraid I have to agree with Geoff sentiment will not keep your mast up.  Stainless steel is both good and bad and when it is bad you seldom know it; it breaks down from the inside in many cases.  As Lars said you can dye test and if you go to the next level you X-ray, but at the end of the day you are still putting your trust into something that has passed its expiry date.

Such a shame, it really is beautiful.   Good luck Chris.

David  Swan II, 43/12

 

12 October 2012 - 15:26
#15
Join Date: 15 April 2011
Posts: 393

Dear David and Geoff,

Thank you for your concern and thoughtful notes.  You both make good arguments for safety which cannot be disputed.  Like you, I am concerned about the safety of the rig, which implies the safety of the crew - my family. 

This fall, I have sailed my boat a few days in protected waters under controlled conditions.   When it comes time to sail in the Atlantic, I need to know that the rig is sound. 

My current plan stands to the extent that I will step the mast and examine the standing and running rigging in detail.  That may lead me to replace it all.  I know, for certain, that at least some of the running rigging needs to be replaced.

With regard to the standing rigging, for those who have replaced it, have you used wire rope or rod?  My preference is for rod rigging, however, that means someoone else does the rigging while using wire rope means that I can install everything.

Thanks again.

Chris Mabel's Casse Tete 43/003

12 October 2012 - 15:50
#16
Join Date: 16 May 2009
Posts: 252

Chris:

When I replaced my standing rigging, my spec to the yard was 'as original, as close as possible' which meant a mix of rod and wire. The main shrouds are rod from Navtec all the way to the top, the diagonals, forestay and backstay are wire. Even though the end fittings from that era were no longer available, we were able to get fittings that allowed the original spreader end plate fittings to be used. Aside from that, the deck and D2 turnbuckles are very clean and nice looking. In the end, the job was as close to original as new material allowed, and quite fine. At the time, Navtec had a very bad reputation for getting things done in any kind of a hurry, I am not sure how that's gone since.

Geof

12 October 2012 - 18:43
#17
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Chris
A comment if replacement is considered
The original lenticular rod rigging was supplied by a UK company named South Coast Rod Rigging, unfortunately they went out of business around 1970.
Their pins are rather small because hi-strength material was used, and the dimensions may differ from presently used sizes, meaning new fittings do not always fit. It is then tempting to modify some parts, but this may weaken them, and the effects should better be evaluated before it is done. Kind regards
Lars

12 October 2012 - 21:21
#18
Join Date: 15 April 2011
Posts: 393

Dear Professor,

Thank you. 

I spoke with a rigging company today and was pleasantly surprised about the "ballpark" cost of replacing the rod rigging.  Despite this, I still plan to carefully examine what I have before making any hasty decisions.  For example, if I plan to sail only in the Chesapeake this coming season, I would not be concerned about the rig - assuming a positive inspection.  Alternatively, a sail to Bermuda or the northern east coast of the US would force me to be very sure about the decision.

If I do decide to make the change, I will surely contact you, as it seems I always do, before making any decisions.  To complicate issues, the chain-plates have been replaced and need to be examined for size - they seem a little small to me - very scientific, I know!

With warm regards,

Chris

16 October 2012 - 15:02
#19
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 162

Hi all,
does it make sense to replace the Navtec Norseman terminals themselves (the cones naturally will be replaced) if there is no corrosion or cracking visible? Put the other way around, is it sensible enough to keep the used terminals? Does anyone know the lifespan of a Norseman?
We will be changing the standing rigging and thought of changing the terminals too, as their age is unknown to us (even though the boat has not been raced). On the other hand, the money we don't spend on the rigging can go into other parts of the boat ...
Best, Martin (Age of Swan, 48/039)

17 October 2012 - 02:49
#20
Join Date: 16 May 2009
Posts: 252

Martin:

If you're doing the job, I'd say do it all, soup to nuts. Don't leave any component in question. While you will save a few dollars, true, the savings relative to the whole job, the ultimate elimination of risk (which is what this job is all about) and finally your piece of mind, won't amount to that much. The terminal fittings are 316, and as good as the alloy is, it still has vulnerabilities and limited life (at least not infinite life), and can experience abrupt failure in the absence of visible indications, the risk of same increasing with age and exposure to the seawater environment.

Anyway, that's one man's opinion for whatever it's worth. All the best to you with your project, and...

Fair Winds,

Geoff, Corazon, 411 #41

24 October 2012 - 18:37
#21
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 202

Dear all, our 41 dates back from 1975. Referring to a discussion we had with Lars back in 1987 he was warning us about the risk of cracks with old Norseman terminals (on wire), and we could experience that with our backstay changed in 1996 were there was a nice big crack along the whole top terminal... Lucky we did not lose the mast!
So beware...
But, we are still with the original turnbuckles after checking for cracks with dye, and getting the opinion from a rigger that indeed they were very strong.
Fair winds to all.
Philippe. 41/022

  • Threads : 1701
  • Posts : 10215
  • Members: 820
  • Online Members: 4