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sailjunkie 03-24-2010 03:27 PM

Standing Rigging: Some Questions
Late last year, we purchased a 1987 Mirage 29'. At the time of purchase, I checked both the rigging and turnbuckles and felt that they were in very good condition.

However, I am astonished by our just-completed professional rigging survey, done by a rigger who I respect and trust. While he agrees that the rigging is in very good condition, he also thinks that it is ORGINAL. :eek: WTF! :eek:

I never thought that the rigging had been changed recently. The PO never struck me as the type that would worry about that stuff. So, I'm thinking 2004 and probably earlier--quite likely be my rigger (Paul is checking his records).

So this leads to 2 questions for the more experienced community members:
  1. If the standing rigging is truly 23 years old, shouldn't it be showing a significant amount of wear and tear? I've seen stuff as a broker and on our Co-op boats that is obvious. However, you would never know that our own rigging is that old from looking at it.
  2. At what age should the rigging be completely replaced? My own research suggests between 12 and 15 years. What do others think?

I have to say that spending the money doesn't bother me. Our co-op has used the same rigger for the last 10 years, and he is simply the best. Now, we're talking about our own boat, and we want to sail her for at least another 10 years. I simply won't cut corners on safety.

I am just blown away by the fact that no one ever replaced the rigging before. Amazing!

Thanks in advance for your help.

tommays 03-24-2010 03:37 PM

My orginal 1981 J24 rigging was OK when i bought the boat in 2007 BUT it was all top shelf NAVTEC

After one season i did NOT wish to push my luck and mailed it way to HALL and had a compleat new set made WHICH was well worth the piece of mind

I am looking at the stuff on my CAL 29 right now and while it also looks OK i feel towards the end of the refit i will just replace it as the 1000 to 1500 is nothing compared to having a part fail

mitiempo 03-24-2010 04:02 PM

I think it is quite common to find a 20 or 30 year old boat with original rigging. It is something that is often ignored by the original owner and subsequent owners. My 1977 CS27 has original rigging and will get a new rig including turnbuckles this year. If a boat is not raced or run hard there is a good chance that the rigging will look ok to a casual eye even after many years. But as Tommays says replacement is good for piece of mind. 12 to 15 years seems about right for a boat that is used seasonally.

AdamLein 03-24-2010 04:04 PM

My rigging passed survey in 2008, and when I unstepped the mast in 2009, one of the shroud studs snapped off inside the turnbuckle. When I brought it too a rigger to have it replaced, the rigger said it was built by a company that went out of business thirty years ago.

Still sailing on the other seven pieces of original standing rigging... but at least I've inspected them personally :) And I will never buy a barrel-type turnbuckle.

Faster 03-24-2010 04:36 PM

Agree that original rigging on many boats that age is the norm rather than not.

If you're using Ocean Rigging, and he says things are OK then I think you can relax and enjoy the boat for now.. As the others have said, though, to be absolutely SURE you're good, a replacement is in the cards.. just in case.

BlueLagoon 03-24-2010 05:11 PM

My 1981 Pearson 53 has original rigging and I do not plan on replacing it until I get close to my blue water adventure, in about 7 years. If you’re not competitively racing and your survey has not uncovered any safety issues, save the money. If you’re still concerned, have the rigging surveyed every year or two to determine if there are any safety issues. Another suggestion is to replace the rigging in stages. Replace opposite shrouds every quarter until all the rigging is replaced. This spreads the cost over a period of time.

sailjunkie 03-24-2010 05:38 PM


Originally Posted by Faster (Post 584830)
If you're using Ocean Rigging, and he says things are OK then I think you can relax and enjoy the boat for now.

I am using Paul, and he is good.

Everyone is reinforcing my own feeling that the money is a very small price to pay for piece of mind. Many thanks for the very good advice. :)

That said, I was astonished to learn that our rigging was original. It's mind boggling to learn that this is far from isolated.:eek:

sailingdog 03-24-2010 05:51 PM

I'd point out that a boat that is stored for part of the year, used only on weekends and such could easily have rigging that old that was in relatively decent shape.

The chronological age of the rig is not the only determinant of condition. Hotter climates, saltier waters, etc will generally accelerate the aging of the rig, and cooler climates, fresh water, etc, will delay it. Hard use, like bluewater sailing or racing will accelerate the aging as well.

I'd recommend shipping the rigging off to and having them make up replacements.

I also recommend using Hayn Hi-Mod mechanical fittings over StaLok or Norseman, as they're usually far less expensive and better quality IMHO. I also recommend that the top fittings be swaged and the lowers be mechanical fittings. This is because the lower fittings generally need the ability to be inspected and re-built more often, due to the greater exposure to the water.

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