Service life of a Sta-Lok fitting? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 45 Old 12-08-2015 Thread Starter
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Service life of a Sta-Lok fitting?

All of my standing rigging uses Sta-Lok fittings on top and bottom. It is coming up on 15 yrs old. I planned on replacing the rigging last winter but ran out of time, so I'm planing to do it this winter.

I understand that 15 yrs is a little longer than recommended. I do inspect (with an uneducated eye) the rig a few times a year. There is no sign of cracks, broken strands, or rust anywhere.

My plan was to replace all of the wire rope assuming that I could/should re-use the Sta-Lok fittings (with new cones or "formers"). But now I am wondering, what is the reasonable life of these fittings? What is recommended replacement interval? and should I be replacing these fittings as well?

FWIW (relevant to corrosion I suppose) The boat is in NC and I sail in the sounds and Ocean off of NC. I'm doing more and more Ocean sailing and have a goal to sail to Bermuda at some point in the next couple years.

I see this fairly non-committal statement on the Sta-Lok site:

"However, it is important you are always vigilant and careful with your rigging. As reliable and reusable as Sta-Lok fittings are, nothing lasts forever. All Sta-Lok fittings will eventually need replacing with a brand new terminal to ensure maximum safety. Be sure to always keep an eye on your insurance policy as there may be a condition on how often your fittings need to be replaced."

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post #2 of 45 Old 12-09-2015
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Re: Service life of a Sta-Lok fitting?

For 15 year old stainless with the intention of an offshore leg coming up, I would recommend replacing the fittings completely.
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post #3 of 45 Old 12-09-2015
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Re: Service life of a Sta-Lok fitting?

If the reusable fitting needs to be replaced anyway then are they the thing to use on a stay replacement? Why not just use swage fittings. I understand the ability to make or repair underway but to rig whole boat would you use reusables?

I don't mean this from a second guessing standpoint I am considering a backstay adjuster and wondering whether to cut or replace.
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post #4 of 45 Old 12-09-2015
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Re: Service life of a Sta-Lok fitting?

We had a rigging survey done in 2000 on our 1972 catamaran. She had the original Sta-Lok fittings and the rigger was sure he would finally be able to find a Sta-Lok fitting that wouldn't pass survey. Though the Sta-Loks were 28 years old he could find nothing wrong with them.


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post #5 of 45 Old 12-10-2015
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Re: Service life of a Sta-Lok fitting?

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Originally Posted by albrazzi View Post
If the reusable fitting needs to be replaced anyway then are they the thing to use on a stay replacement? Why not just use swage fittings. I understand the ability to make or repair underway but to rig whole boat would you use reusables?

I don't mean this from a second guessing standpoint I am considering a backstay adjuster and wondering whether to cut or replace.
Your last sentence in the first paragraph is the reason why, you just don't lend it the gravity that it deserves. The ability for quick and easy owner repair and modification is a huge leg up over swaged fittings.

I find Sta-Lok to be the Cadillac of reusable compression fittings, but after 15 years, I'd replace them.

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post #6 of 45 Old 12-10-2015
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Re: Service life of a Sta-Lok fitting?

The USCG Hawaii station just finished a big review of standing rigging for commercial inspected vessels. Their rigging replacement intervals are...

6 years - replace the wire
12 years - replace the terminals
18 years - replace the chainplates.

Obviously this is going to be on the conservative end of things. But it is industry best practice.

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post #7 of 45 Old 12-10-2015
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Re: Service life of a Sta-Lok fitting?

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Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
The USCG Hawaii station just finished a big review of standing rigging for commercial inspected vessels. Their rigging replacement intervals are...

6 years - replace the wire
12 years - replace the terminals
18 years - replace the chainplates.

Obviously this is going to be on the conservative end of things. But it is industry best practice.
In the process of replacing my chain plates with Titanium. How long should they be good for?

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post #8 of 45 Old 12-10-2015
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Re: Service life of a Sta-Lok fitting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
The USCG Hawaii station just finished a big review of standing rigging for commercial inspected vessels. Their rigging replacement intervals are...

6 years - replace the wire
12 years - replace the terminals
18 years - replace the chainplates.

Obviously this is going to be on the conservative end of things. But it is industry best practice.
I don't think the CG 'standards' for COI vessels is in anyway related to reality. After more than 30 years of operating COI vessels (yearly inspections), I've found very few of their 'standards' for sailing vessels to have been established by anyone in the with even the slightest experience on sailing vessels, other than the Eagle.
The CG sets their 'standards' by pure guess work until there is an incident that they can then use as a base line, and then they just go crazy with overcompensation.
For instance, after the unfortunate loss of life when the Lady D pontoon boat capsized in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, they sent a notice to all, repeat ALL COI vessels that they should (voluntarily) reduce their passenger capacity by 30%. I was operating an 84' steel schooner built to CG specs for the COI of 49 passengers and 3 crew.
What similarities could there possibly be between a small aluminum pontoon boat with 25 passengers and an 84' steel schooner at least 20 times it's bulk, yet only twice the passengers?
I don't question the CG's sincere desire to insure all passenger carrying vessel under it's umbrella are safe, but I do question how they arrive at some of their decisions regarding sailing vessels, when they have few if any, personnel knowledgeable of sailing, operating or maintaining sailing vessels.
As for;
6 years - replace the wire
12 years - replace the terminals
18 years - replace the chainplates
is this for galvanized wire, terminals and chain plates, 1 X 19 stainless steel or the other possible materials these items could be made from? This list is very unspecific and none of these materials has a similar lifespan.
It also doesn't seem to take into account the different areas a vessel could operate in. A vessel in the NE could have a lay up period of six or 7 months, whereas a vessel in the southern states or Hawaii could operate a full 12 months a year, though few do as the tourist (passenger) seasons are rarely 12 months a year. Some vessels even derig for lay up. How does this affect these calculations and was any of this taken into account when these 'standards' were set?
Hawaii is hardly the PNW or the NE.
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Last edited by capta; 12-10-2015 at 03:37 PM.
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post #9 of 45 Old 12-10-2015
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Re: Service life of a Sta-Lok fitting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
In the process of replacing my chain plates with Titanium. How long should they be good for?
Titanium chainplates will have a service life of about 1,000 years based on the USN prediction of titanium fittings service life aboard combat craft. It could be more.

In all honesty titanium really is a lifetime part.

The two places where a service life may be shorter are heat exchanger tubes and exhaust pipes. The elevated temperature could cause service life's of <100 years, but it depends on the internal temprature of the parts.

Greg
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post #10 of 45 Old 12-10-2015
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Re: Service life of a Sta-Lok fitting?

I have seen commercial fishing vessels with current USCG inspection stickers on them with a boatload of electrical and rigging issues. IMHO a USCG inspection is worthless.


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