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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 05-04-2004
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Standing Rigging

Can someone please educate me on the merits of stainless steel rod rigging vs. wire? e.g., Is it better? How and why is it better? Is it a little better, or a lot better? Are there any significant drawbacks?

Thanks!
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Old 05-04-2004
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Standing Rigging

For a given cross section, the rod is far stronger than the same cross section of wire. Designers realize this and use a smaller section of rod to perform the duties of wire, with the reduction in weight aloft and also the reduction of wind resistance.

Early on, the caveats were: "Sure its lighter and smaller, but will it last?" In general, rod lasts longer than wire, but with some very important caveats.

First is cost, it is substanially more expensive than wire.

Second is maintenance, a wire can handle some abrasion and kinks and just keep on working. A kink or abrasion on rod calls for immediate replacement, particularly an abrasion or "dent" in the rod.

Third, you need to periodically inspect the rod ends or "heads" as they are called. This is the main area for fatigue and failure of rods. Periodic inspection and possibly "Re-Heading" the rod will extend it''s life.

Fourth, the yard has to take care that the rod is not damaged during stepping/unstepping the mast. I had my backstay run over by a forklift, seriously gouging the rod and forcing me to replace it. Because no one at the marina witnessed the incedent, the yard took no responsibility, ouch!

Finally, for extended world-wide cruising, you should probably concider wire only. If you have a failure or need repairs in some remote portion of the world, everybody handles wire, but rods require specialized tools that may not be available in a pinch.

For racing, rods are the only way to go. For cruising the civilized world, rods make some sense. For out in the fringes, go with wire.
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Old 05-04-2004
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Standing Rigging

Rod has a couple advantages not always mentioned. A slip neighbor about dropped his rig last summer when his roller furler top fitting grabbed the wire headstay and unlaid it, breaking all but 2 or 3 strands. Less likely with rod. Rod is slippery. We have a rod backstay and the mainsail roach overlap slides by in light air easier than wire, and you''ll see less chafe. Cruising take a length of wire that will work for the longest stay with Sta-lok fittings that fit your rig. No rule against wire mixed with rod, especially in emergencies, just watch the tension as they stretch differently.
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Old 05-05-2004
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Standing Rigging

You guys are good! That''s just the information I was looking for. Thanks.
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