Turnbuckles - Stainless versus Aluminum - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 10-05-2007
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Turnbuckles - Stainless versus Aluminum

Okay, $50 for marine grade turnbuckle versus $5 for aluminum at Home depot. Home depot one rated for 400lbs. How much better is that marine grade turnbuckle. (I am dealing with a $500 sailboat that is 23 feet long.) Will the side stays require more than a 400 lb durability ?
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Old 10-05-2007
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Yes. Holding a mast up is hard work.
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Old 10-05-2007
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Cool

Fresh water sailing? Not so bad from a corrosion standpoint. I'm guessing you'll be using the turnbuckles for the stays? If that is so, gust loading could exceed the working value of the aluminum turnbuckle followed by disaster.

I got my 22' swing keel boat free but it is best to invest in the proper hardware from a safety standpoint (possible demasting situation) and with respect to the cost of replacing a broken mast.

Turnbuckles are one of the cheaper items when it comes to hardware.

I should read more carefully- you did say for the sidestays. Sorry.
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Last edited by capngregg; 10-05-2007 at 04:34 PM. Reason: Note
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Old 10-05-2007
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Absolutely! The turnbuckle should match the strength of the rigging wire. 1/8" SS wire has a breaking strength of 2200 lbs and 5/32" wire is rated at 3300 lbs. How much does your boat weigh? When the boat is heeled way over in a blow the strain on the shrouds could conceivably be as much as the boat weighs! Of course this is distributed between the upper and lower shrouds, and there are other factors involved. But clearly 400 lbs is not nearly strong enough.

I am presupposing your boat is a small trailerable cruiser weighing 2000 - 4000 lbs. If it is a daysailer weighing much less you might be able to get by with the lower strength turnbuckle. Much will depend on how large the sail area is.

Also, what are the consequences if the turnbuckle breaks and the mast comes down? Would it be just an inconvenience or would it be a major disaster? Could anyone get hurt?

Henry
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Old 10-05-2007
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I agree that you should not compromise in this area. But if finances are that tight, get down to your local marine consignment store and pick up a set of stainless fittings at bargain prices.

Most coastal areas with a concentration of boating activities have one or two of these places. There are three or four within five miles in my area - bins and bins of used sailing hardware at each place - a sailing flea market.
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Old 10-05-2007
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GO with the Aluminum ones

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Hmm, hadn't realized the stresses on the side stays were that high. Would probably strip the threads right out of an aluminum turnbuckle in a hurry. Stainless it is then.

Not really a budget issue, but it seems so many items when purchased for "Marine" purposes have elevated prices when compared to standard duty products. In many cases this can be explained, in others....

Last edited by Finallybuyingaboat; 10-05-2007 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 10-05-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finallybuyingaboat View Post
Hmm, hadn't realized the stresses on the side stays were that high. Would probably strip the threads right out of an aluminum turnbuckle in a hurry. Stainless it is then....
I think you'll find the marine turnbuckles are actually made of bronze, or a bronze alloy, often chrome plated. They provide a good example of why boat stuff costs a lot, as they are subject to a lot more stress usually in a salty environment than the turnbuckles used around the house.
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Cool

Boats, Trains and Airplanes (etc) all have let's say a "unique" pricing structure. TB is right on - there are plenty of surplus marine equipment houses around-give it a whirl on Google and you'll be amazed.

Some of the pricing is acceptable and some is just plain ridiculous, liability or not.

What kind of boat did you end up getting?
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Old 10-05-2007
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You really don't want to use aluminum turnbuckles on a sailboat. Aluminum, aside from the corrosion issues, has one other issue that makes it extremely unsuitable for sailboat rigging, which is dynamic in nature rather than static—fatigue. Aluminum will fatigue under the loading and unloading cycles as your boat tacks and gybes. Stainless steel has to be strained beyond a certain point before it starts to fatigue. The turnbuckles will fail without any warning once they pass the fatigue limits of the material they're made of.

You really need to get marine grade stainless steel or bronze turnbuckles.
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