PSA - Check your rigging periodically! - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-10-2019 Thread Starter
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PSA - Check your rigging periodically!

Because I have already paid to drop my mast (see https://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-...pped-mast.html), I have been trying to get the most bang for the 1.5 boat bucks that the marina has charged me. I have therefore run new wiring in the mast and replaced the anchor light (the last incandescent bulb on the boat) with an LED. I have also pulled and polished the rigging associated with the shrouds (I'll get to the stays soon). For polishing I used a Scotch-Brite pad and followed up with a Magic Eraser.

I am glad that I did this because two of the toggles in my rigging are showing early signs of failure. You can see the hairline cracks raditing outward from the clevis pin on the toggle in the picture below.


According to multiple rigging websites, standing rigging has an anticipated lifespan of 10 to 12 years for wire rigging, and 15 to 20 years for rod. The wire and all of the swages look fine. There are no meathooks, cracks or corrosion, and the turnbuckles still have a lot of room for tightening. I believe that I can get another 5 to 10 years from it. However the toggles will need to be replaced.

Because inquiring minds will want to know; this is a 33-year old 50-foot Isomat NG-51 mast on an O'day 35. This boat has one cap shroud, one set of spreaders, and two lower (fore and aft) shrouds on both port and starboard. Much of the standing rigging on this vessel was replaced in 2003, and the forestay was replaced in 2008. I replaced the turnbuckles in 2010.

This is a friendly reminder to occasionally check your rigging!



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post #2 of 12 Old 12-10-2019
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Re: PSA - Check your rigging periodically!

This is a good PSA. I have some questions though.

Is this better done by a professional rigger?

Can you actually see all the surfaces which might show something of concern?

How do rigging failures actually/typically play out?

I did find a broken strand of two on one lower shroud after a tough 700 mile sail. I replaced the wire using a staloc. I did check it underway... it was the lee shroud and added a halyard as a sort of back up until I could effect the repair. Wire seems to break from movement (loose lee shroud). The shroud taking the load was fine!

My rigging seems way oversized (guess)... it's 10mm wire. the forestay is 8mm. The LOA is 36'.

Now I am all freaked out that the stick will collapse (it's deck stepped)!

pay attention... someone's life depends on it

Last edited by SanderO; 12-10-2019 at 07:51 PM.
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-10-2019
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Re: PSA - Check your rigging periodically!

If i planned just usa sailing, i wouldve gone with rod rigging.

Good post
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-10-2019
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Re: PSA - Check your rigging periodically!

I have rod rigging and have been told the rigging is about 12 years old. I figure rigging age (without proof of purchase) is about like that of trusting the sale of a horse to be the age they say (we bought a horse from someone who had papers, the owner told us the horse was 8yo, apparently they dont' age when you buy them, the paperwork showed it as 12).

Anyway, I am pretty familiar with aging of wire rigging (roughly every 10 years), but what is the life expectancy of rod rigging? I've been looking over the turnbuckles, and they have some miles on them but they look OK (for now), but I'm no expert.

32 foot C&C that I just purchased in October.

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Re: PSA - Check your rigging periodically!

We replaced our rod at the 12 year mark.


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post #6 of 12 Old 12-11-2019
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Re: PSA - Check your rigging periodically!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingUphill View Post
....Anyway, I am pretty familiar with aging of wire rigging (roughly every 10 years), but what is the life expectancy of rod rigging?.....
This much is clear. No one agrees on the answer to this question.

I was looking at a boat with rod rigging, so did some broad research. First, I spoke with the major supplier of rod components, NavTec, at the Annapolis Boat show, who said inspection at 6 years and replace at 10 years.

Most rigging vendors have said, dye penetrant inspect every 6 years and replace on condition. Some say replace on a life limit of 12-20 years. The inspection was the only standard answer.

The mushroom heads at the end of the rigging will fail first, in most cases. The advantage of rod rigging is the head can be cut off and a new one formed. As long as the turnbuckle is long enough, you're back in business. You can also get longer screws for the turnbuckle.

If there is any cause for all the confusion or different answers, it's possible that one's use of their boat and the relative sizing of the rigging is a variable. The lightest possible size, coupled to a racing boat that pushes stresses and puts extraordinary miles on the hull, is going to need time limited replacement long before the weekend warrior.

I still have wire rigging and generally pull the stick every 5 years. I always pay the local rigger to do an inspection and write a report for me. It's pretty cheap and I think their eye is better than mine.

p.s. my wire rigging is now 15 years old. I had it inspected two years ago, with no failures. I expect to get several more years out of it.
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Last edited by Minnewaska; 12-11-2019 at 08:26 AM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-11-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: PSA - Check your rigging periodically!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
This is a good PSA. I have some questions though.
Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
Is this better done by a professional rigger?
My experience is that you pays your money and takes your chances when you hire ANYone. I feel competent to do 99% of the work on my boat (sewing is the exception). I will be taking my rigging to a competent shop, and I may end up replacing the whole ball of wax after consulting with them. The toggles, however, are going to be replaced.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
Can you actually see all the surfaces which might show something of concern?
I would not have been able to fully inspect and polish the swaged fittings unless I had disassembled the rig.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
How do rigging failures actually/typically play out?
Crevice corrosion of swaged fittings and chainplates, and broken wire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
I did find a broken strand of two on one lower shroud after a tough 700 mile sail. I replaced the wire using a staloc. I did check it underway... it was the lee shroud and added a halyard as a sort of back up until I could effect the repair. Wire seems to break from movement (loose lee shroud). The shroud taking the load was fine!
The problem was probably caused by the age of the rigging. Shock loading caused the wire to break. It is a best practice to replace BOTH sides of any failed wire (if you must replace port, replace port and starboard).


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post #8 of 12 Old 12-11-2019
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Re: PSA - Check your rigging periodically!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Thanks!

The problem was probably caused by the age of the rigging. Shock loading caused the wire to break. It is a best practice to replace BOTH sides of any failed wire (if you must replace port, replace port and starboard).
corrosion is not failure... it may LEAD to a failure. My question was really how does crevice corrosion lead to failure? How much time does it take after first noticed?

I don't believe my strands broke from shock loads as much as fatigue from motion... where the somewhat flexible wire meets the rigid swaged eye.

I could be wrong and I usually am wrong.

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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Re: PSA - Check your rigging periodically!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Because I have already paid to drop my mast (see https://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-...pped-mast.html), I have been trying to get the most bang for the 1.5 boat bucks that the marina has charged me. I have therefore run new wiring in the mast and replaced the anchor light (the last incandescent bulb on the boat) with an LED. I have also pulled and polished the rigging associated with the shrouds (I'll get to the stays soon). For polishing I used a Scotch-Brite pad and followed up with a Magic Eraser.

I am glad that I did this because two of the toggles in my rigging are showing early signs of failure. You can see the hairline cracks raditing outward from the clevis pin on the toggle in the picture below.
Hmm, when I look at the picture, I would have thought that the radial structures are due to the cotter pins slightly impacting the toggle surface when they were at a different angle, which would make this completely harmless. I don't see hairline 'cracks.'

Is this due to my inexperience (a rigger I am not) or something with the photo?
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-11-2019
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Re: PSA - Check your rigging periodically!

I agree that the toggle doesn't look like it has cracks. However, toggles are one of the weakest points in rigging, they are relatively inexpensive, and easy to replace. They are the part of the rigging I pay particularly close attention to, and inspect more than other parts.

So replacing them regardless is a good thing.

Mark

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