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  #1  
Old 04-05-2013
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Standing rigging longetivity

I have heard conflicting opinions on when to replace standing rigging. I know ideally it should be done every ten years. But for my peace of mind when I am out in a heavy blow help me out.

I have a 23 foot masthead rig. 3/16 forestay and uppers. 5/32 split backstay and lowers. The chain plates are very burly, wrapping around the bow an transom and going very far into the bulkhead with a lot of bolts. The deck is solid and not raised at all around the chain plates, so I am not worried about them.

I'm in the process of taking a scotch brite type pa an rubbing any brown off and polishing the rig. The forestay I have done and it really looks good once polished. No visible cracks or corrosion. No broken or frayed wires.

On the split backstay there is a delta installed to tighten things and it kind of seems to me that its not how the boat came. I might be wrong but where the split backstays meet the single that goes to the top of the mast is what I think is an extender or adjuster bar. It is a rectangle with hole cut every inch. I think that a previous owner added the delta and since it shortens the backstay to lengthen it they added this extender bar. I'm wondering how sturdy it is.

Otherwise. As long as I see no obvious signs I fatigue should I just sail it and not worry? Tell me not to worry, that these systems rarely fail as long as inspected for fatigue. I don't know the age. I'm thinking not original 1974 since it polished so new looking, but also I think over 10 years easy.

I am quite interested in standing rigging in general so any advice is appreciated.
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Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Standing rigging longetivity

It's really all about the terminal ends, The wire is generally good for 15, but can last longer if it's .316 1x19 cable, which is most likely what you have. I'm guessing you have swage fittings, the ones on the bottom generally go first and from the inside out. This is from moisture collecting in the fitting like a cup. If you can see grooves on either side of your swage fitting it was done in a hand crank swager, with is common on wire as small as yours, if it's smooth, it was done in a Hydraulic hamer rotary swage, this makes a tighter fit and will last longer. Ideally you would use sta-lok on the top and bottom, Better grab on the wire instead of just pressure and will last longer, mine is 15 years old and still in good shape. To save money, a popular sell is swage on top and sta-lok on the bottom. Also, I like a lot of toggle action. If you have solid forks, they go sooner than a toggle fork or an eye. probably on the bottom you have swage threaded right in to the turn buckle. If you re-rig, think about going up a size all the way around, turnbuckle and all, that's what I did and I'm still going strong. An affordible way to do it is one wire at a time. One wire a week, or a month, this spreads the cost over a period. You may have to get creative on how to pull the wires, that is a small mast to climb, but a skinny teenagaer can do it. Other wise you have to take the whole thing down, and you may as well do all the wires at once.
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Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Standing rigging longetivity

For piece of mind you might have a rigging inspection done by a reputable local rigging company. There is a die process you can use on the fittings to find crevice cracks that won't be seen by the naked eye but the rigging needs to be down. Your right to be concerned and should address this before a failure. Chuck
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Old 04-06-2013
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Re: Standing rigging longetivity

For peace of mind, guess the age and start replacing, oldest first. We replaced our back stay first. Then the lower shrouds. This year I did the upper shrouds. Next year the forestay and I'll be good for 10 years plus. Since your boat is 23 footer, is she trailered? Exposed to salt air and spray on a continuous basis? These could shorten the life. Biggest thing is the inspect the fittings, as mentioned. Look for broken strands within, discoloration, bend turnbuckles and the like. If you do have them replaces, figure about $80 per cable/fitting setup. So, both upper shrouds would be about $160 . . . ish.
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Old 04-06-2013
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Re: Standing rigging longetivity

There is big difference in fresh Vs saltwater

There is wide variance in the load VS size of wire in the original design, for example my J24 and Cal 29 both use 3/16 uppers BUT to balance it out the Cal uses double lowers which carry more than 50% of the load



And then fore people like me my rigging is only working 6 months a year and i am able to eyeball everything yearly

The biggest problem i have seen is when head stays are hidden by furling gear
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Old 04-06-2013
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Re: Standing rigging longetivity

No furling. One wire at a time is the best way. I can learn something in the process. Maybe I can put in a new lower.
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Re: Standing rigging longetivity

You can use a hallyard in place of any of the wires you pull. You'll need it to duplicate in swage. If you go sta-lok you can put the top end on, and cut the bottom to fit with the wire hanging in palce. this is where people save money by going swage on top. and do the sta-lok on the botttom. I use to run one of the only rotary swage machines in Miami, it would take day's to fill an order some times. You really don't want the hallyard holding your mast up for the better part of a week. Note how far into the turn buckle the threads go, you want one third to a 1/4 of the threads sticking into the body of the turn buckle, this gives you room to tighten, if it's half way or more now when It's tight, this is an opportunity to shorten a little bit. If you have closed face turnbuckles, take the opp. to switch to open faced. PM me if you go the sta-lok route, I can help you put the first one on and then it's easy from there.
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Old 04-07-2013
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Re: Standing rigging longetivity

I was just looking at sta lok. Why does it say 5/32 wire. 1/4 thread. How do I know what I need or what I have?

I had just read in the practical sailor article on r23 that I had 3/16 upper and 5/32 lower. Do you think that's the wire? If so how do I know what size thread and what is the thread and does it matter?
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Re: Standing rigging longetivity

Quote:
Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
I was just looking at sta lok. Why does it say 5/32 wire. 1/4 thread. How do I know what I need or what I have?

I had just read in the practical sailor article on r23 that I had 3/16 upper and 5/32 lower. Do you think that's the wire? If so how do I know what size thread and what is the thread and does it matter?
You can pull off a turnbckle, take it down to west marine and screw it into the size styd you think it is. This will tell you if it's left or right handed thread as well. that sounds about right in the wire size. I never go by a book, who knows what people have done to it since the factory. Best way is to pull the wire and match it. Buy some callipers and measure it.
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Re: Standing rigging longetivity

I read an article about sta lok so I understand a bit about how that works. Do you still have to use swage eyes to connect the wire to the top of the mast?

I found out what that extender bar I have on the split backstay. It is a Schaefer link tang. So I guess it is a proper rig.

Ok in short. If I want replace my standing rigging I:

Get whatever turnbuckles I want.

Get swage eyes for the top

Take down and measure my existing wire

Buy wire cut at store

Have whatever needs swaying swaged, or go home and assemble the sta lok fittings.

Install new wire.
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