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Sail & Rigging - Turnbuckles, new or old?
18 July 2019 - 15:23
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Turnbuckles, new or old?

Dear Friends,

I am planning a complete rigging overhaul, during the forthcoming winter season, which will include new shrouds on my S&S Swan 47/069 Vanessa.

As far as I can see the original Navtec turnbuckles (on rod shrouds, fig. 1) are as perfect as new, and the original Lewmar, bronze (on wire shrouds, fig. 2) are perfect as well.

I told my rigger specialist, Franco Manzoli, from Velscaf, that I would like to keep all the old turnbuckles, and not buy new BlueWave ones.

Has anyone experienced a broken (original) turnbuckle on his/her S&S Swan?

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

Lewmar bronze turnbuckle

Navtec stainless steel turnbuckle

Blue Wave turnbuckle

19 July 2019 - 08:01
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Matteo

Not aware of broken turnbuckles, but it would be appropriate after such a long time to clean the spindle threads thoroughly, and inspect the thread bottoms with a magnifying glass for cracks.
This has been pointed out before:
Do not use cleaners containing ammonia on bronze, can cause cracking in the material.
Graphite-based grease is unsuitable, causes corrosion in a marine environment, as  graphite is very high in the galvanic series.
Kind regards

19 July 2019 - 08:12
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Lars,

thanks a lot, will do!

Fair winds

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

26 July 2019 - 11:13
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Dear Matteo,

This may or not be helpful , but when considering the rig on Sarabande, I was advised that the original turnbuckles should be replaced ( after dye testing?)by more than one specialist rigger. To me they looked fine and it seemed wasteful to discard them, but that and other areas of rig which was worn led me to consider the complete replacement which ,as you know , is the choice I made. Sheaves, spreader ends and pins were also areas of concern. I now have turnbuckles as in your picture.

Best regards


Sarabande ( 47/029)

26 July 2019 - 15:13
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Rob and Matteo

In some countries the insurance companies have set their own schematic limits for standing rigging age, and refuse to insure rigging older than this. A rather simplistic approach, probably based on statistics.
There are many factors affecting this, not only the sizing, but also alignment, pre-tension, as well as the fit and fatigue properties of the many components. 
The rig is not any stronger than its weakest part!
Kind regards

27 August 2019 - 11:19
Join Date: 20 September 2017
Posts: 3


I did some cleaning to the turnbuckels and after cleaning it is quite easy to inspect if there are any damages. In my tunrbuckels there wasn't any damages. I think they look also littlebit cleaner and nicer :) Treatment was done with glass blowing treament.

Best regards,


S/Y Zorro 41/054

before and after

also cover plates are new

27 August 2019 - 11:39
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Henri,

thanks for sharing the good news and photos, good job!

Fair winds

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

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