Galvanized wire rope on a boat?? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-23-2010 Thread Starter
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Galvanized wire rope on a boat??

Hello!

How badly will galvanized wire rope corrode on a boat?

I was strolling through a steel yard today and found tons of galvanized wire rope in all sizes for extremely cheap!

Any concerns about using it for lifelines??

My complete refit is taking completely too long!
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingWebGuy View Post
Hello!

How badly will galvanized wire rope corrode on a boat?

I was strolling through a steel yard today and found tons of galvanized wire rope in all sizes for extremely cheap!

Any concerns about using it for lifelines??
A generation (or two or three) ago, it wasn't too uncommon to see galvanized rigging. If you look at some older editions of boat maintenance and/or surveying books you'll see it mentioned quite frequently. Commercial fishing gear is often (usually?) galvanized, and that takes a real beating. However, they lose stuff all the time, so investing in pricey stainless gear may just not be worth it. In some ways it's easier to deal with galvanized wire rope, since you can use hand tools (Nicopress, etc.) to fasten it. And, as you have seen, it is a lot cheaper. However, it's not as nice looking as stainless, and it needs to be replaced much more often. Also, as I recall, the strength to weight ratio of stainless is quite a bit better.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-23-2010
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I wouldn't use galvanized wire for lifelines. I'd look at synthetics, probably Dynex Dux which is also a great choice to replace rigging wire. Turnbuckles are not needed as lashings are used instead. If using wire use stainless without the plastic cover. Here's a link to Dynex. Home

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post #4 of 14 Old 09-23-2010
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If you really mean wire rope (galvanized wire with a natural fiber core) then stay away. It really sucks and is no longer in use for a good reason. If you mean galvanized wire (several strands of wire twisted together that looks like rope) then you can consider it. It is stronger than stainless. However, it is much more maintenance intensive since it has relatively poor corrosion resistance compared to stainless. It is much cheaper (even new). Check the alloy of steel being used under the galvanized coating to know the actual tensile strength of the wire to be sure and size it correctly.
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
However, it's not as nice looking as stainless, and it needs to be replaced much more often.
My understanding is galvanized rigging needs replacement much less often than stainless if it's maintained (rinsed with freshwater and oiled) regularly.

Stainless is subject to crevice corrosion, and can fail suddenly without warning if not replaced regularly, whereas galvanized wire won't fail until it's visibly rusted through, which takes a very long time when it's maintained properly.

As for strength- stainless and galvanized are virtually identical and can be sized the same for the same applications.

The downsides of galvanized wire as I see them are increased chafe on sheets and sails which touch them due to the rough surface, and rust stains on sheets, sails, and deck. But it's just as strong, cheaper, and longer lived.

IF you use galvanized wire, and learn how to do your own wire eyesplices it's possible to totally re-rig a large sailboat for well under $100.

I think it's an okay choice for rigging, but I can't see using it for lifelines due to rust staining and abrasion/chafe issues.

Last edited by casioqv; 09-23-2010 at 04:02 PM.
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-23-2010
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Galvanized wire was the rule until the late '60's and even through the mid-'70's on boats owned by "old salts". Generally galvanized wire rope that is well cared for and routinely "dressed" with boiled linseed oil will far outlast stainless. That said, the maintenance is the issue but if you are prepared for it, at least annually, it is a good inexpensive alternative for rigging, particularly if you learn how to splice it around a thimble, which isn't difficult but takes strong hands and fingers. A rigger that was capable of splicing wire rope never lacked for work when I was a boy.

FWIW...

"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
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post #7 of 14 Old 09-23-2010 Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone!

Here's my plan.. My current lifelines are shot. They're brown, cracked, and gross. The pelican clips are all bent. I stripped the PVC coating (real pain in the ass) and all of the stainless was completely covered in corrosion. There were a few breaks also but not too bad.

I'm gonna go with a galvanized/home brewed set up for a season and see how it works.

I was browsing around my dad's shop (he builds elevators) and noticed a bunch of 25' lengths of clear PVC (i think) tubing. They use it as a drip tube to collect hydraulic oil that may leak from the piston head.

Anyways, my thought was to oil the galvanized wire rope and then slip the tubing over it in an effort to protect it and reduce risk of chafing. Hopefully, I won't run into much discoloration in the tubing...we'll see.

My complete refit is taking completely too long!

Last edited by SailingWebGuy; 09-23-2010 at 06:10 PM.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-18-2010
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I read a discussion on another forum about galvanized rigging with about the same consensus. The only issue that popped up was in regard to the appearance being not as nice as stainless. One of the posters said that they coat their galvanized rigging with a 50/50 mix of "silver" paint and fish oil and it looks great. I'm thinking of going with galvanized to replace the rigging on a Mariner 40 ketch and having a little trouble finding info on what wire I need to buy and what fittings to use. I understand that there are many manufacturers of galvanized stranded wire and differences in quality and need a steer toward a suitable grade at the most reasonable price, preferably in the U.S., because of shipping costs.

I do all my own stunts.
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-18-2010 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageray View Post
I read a discussion on another forum about galvanized rigging with about the same consensus. The only issue that popped up was in regard to the appearance being not as nice as stainless. One of the posters said that they coat their galvanized rigging with a 50/50 mix of "silver" paint and fish oil and it looks great. I'm thinking of going with galvanized to replace the rigging on a Mariner 40 ketch and having a little trouble finding info on what wire I need to buy and what fittings to use. I understand that there are many manufacturers of galvanized stranded wire and differences in quality and need a steer toward a suitable grade at the most reasonable price, preferably in the U.S., because of shipping costs.
You could probably contact US Rigging with questions. Here is a link to some of their galvanized rope WIRE ROPE :: STAINLESS STEEL WIRE ROPE :: GALVAIZED STEEL WIRE ROPE : STAINLESS STEEL COATED WIRE ROPE

My complete refit is taking completely too long!
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-18-2010
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sailingwebguy i think putting the covers over the galv. wire is a mistake. i think water will get in and puddle keeping the wire saturated which will cause the galv to fail sooner than later i believe. if you look at thimbles and shackles left under water(salt) the zinc starts to change color in about 2-3 days and then slowly in about a yr you can spot tell-tale signs of rust coming thru. at least in my experience in the N.E.
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