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Old 11-19-2001
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Spare the Rod

I have a 1977 Mirage 26. I am considering re-rigging the boat with a split backstay (so that it can be adjustable), and perhaps going with rod rigging. Is this practical? And if I stick with wire, what kind of cost am I looking at? 

Sue & Larry respond:
We think that the addition of a split backstay is a smart rigging upgrade. An adjustable backstay allows you to alter the tension of the backstay underway, resulting in having the proper sail shape for a given point of sail and wind strength. Most noticeably, youíll be able to point higher in a blow, and conversely keep your boat speed up while sailing downwind in light air.

We donít believe that rod rigging would be right or necessary for your boat. Primarily, this type of rigging is used on go-fast, high-tech racing boats due to its low stretch, and it usually carries a price that reflects this high-end application. While rod rigging itself may last longer, the terminal fittings do not. When rod rigging eventually fails, it goes all at once. The only way to inspect it in advance is by the use of x-rays. Practically speaking, itís harder to deal with if you step and unstep your mast frequently. Unlike wire rigging, rod rigging is difficult to coil and very unforgiving if kinked.

To re-rig your Mirage with wire, you have three options. First, you can order the wire and swageless terminal fittings, like a StaLok, and do all the work yourself. Second, you can carefully measure all your rigging while off the boat, and send your measurements to a rigging shop (like SailNet's). And lastly, you can ship your rigging to the shop and let them recreate it with new components. The last option eliminates any chance of error.

SailNetís Custom Rigging Shop is well equipped to help you with each of these options and the folks there can give you an accurate estimate of the cost for your project. Good luck.

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