Standing Rigging Renewal

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Standing Rigging Renewal

Post by Jabulani »

The standing rigging on my Konsort Duo is now at least 10 years old. Should it be renewed? I have heard that stainless steel rigging suffers from chloride embrittlement and can snap without warning and that 10 years is about the average lifespan before this could happen. Is this pessimistic? Should I be worried? More to the point should I go to the expense of renewing the rigging? (It looks perfect.)
Jabulani KD80
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Re: Standing Rigging Renewal

Post by mikebuggy »

Reference your rigging. I'm a yacht surveyor so I've got the odd view on this subject. Youl'll be glad to know I don't go with the pessimistic (change everything at great expense now) party line though....we've got to be much more pragmatic and realistic than that.
Rigging 'goes' for many reasons....not always age related. It can be as simple as incorrect set-up, too loose, too tight, poor design, over-stressing, misaligned etc. Can also be bad materials, bad or misaligned or bent swages, poor stainless steel source material etc. A host of scary spectres waiting to get you! Can last 5 years or 25 years! As you are aware often impossible to tell when 'it' is about to happen. Failures are as often to do with the fittings and set-up as with the wires themselves. Straightforward wire failure in the actual wire runs are relatively rare. Failure of the swage, or of the wire close to or at swage entry are more common. Failure of pins, cotters, fishplates, chainplates, U-bolts, deck bolts, bottle-screws etc are also more common than straight wire failures.
Examine all you wires very closely with a magnifying glass at all the swage/splice entry/exit points. Look for heavy staining and scaling...ok if it wipes off...not if it stays. Look for spiral staining down the wires. Look for uneveness in the lay. Look closely for any signs of tiny breaks or cracks in wires in the lay. Close fitting plastic tubes will prematurely age your wires. The furling gear will prematurely wear thin the outer lays of the forestay wires. Mast vibration over the years will age the aft lowers and their chainplates on larger masts.
My advice...if you DONT know the full history, but can't afford to do the lot is to start a rolling replacement programme NOW. Main priority is forestay...swage or wire failure at the top is the commonest of all failures. Depending on your rig, aft lowers next, then ALL the other long wires in one hit (on a basic rig this would be backstay and main shrouds). On a big rig, backstay and uppers one year and intermediates later.
You MUST start a 'Riggers Logbook' Keep a record of all wires, and chain plates and deck fittings and spreaders and spars and running rigging. Record all bottlescrews, pins, cotters etc and their conditions and when last checked/changed. Every 10 years check/tighten/replace/rebed etc chainplates and bow and stern fittings etc. Hope that helps!!
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