Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
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SSMR Inc. Rigging Services Review
Iím posting to comment on the work we recently had performed by Steve Smith (Knothead) and Jennifer Smith at SSMR Inc. Rigging Services in St. Petersburg, FL. Let me start by saying that they were exceptional!
While inspecting Carolenaís rigging earlier this year, we discovered some hairline cracks in a couple of the turnbuckles (old Navtec fittings with a screw rod instead of the traditional open body turnbuckles). To make matters worse, when we pulled the mast boot for resealing, we noticed that the mast was rubbing against the forward end of the partner. A little more inspection lead us to discover that the forestay was too short Ė it had been installed by the PO along with a CDI roller furling. Since we knew from Knottyís posts what could happen when the mast is subject to a pressure point at the partners, we quickly decided that new rigging would be a priority and that it had to be done before we even thought about bending on the sails for the season.
We knew from prior contact with riggers in Annapolis that it would be very expensive to have them do the rigging. This was due in large part because of the distance to our boat, which resulted in almost double the normal labor charges just for travel. We already had a good climbing rig, had been up the mast several times, and so we decided to do it ourselves. At first, we considered mechanical fittings so we could cut the wire to size, but since we donít expect to have this boat long enough to need another rigging replacement, we decided to compare the cost of having rigging made by a professional and then installing it ourselves. Despite what some may think, it turned out to be much less expensive to have the professionals at SSMR make us new swaged rigging than to use mechanical fittings!
From the AS and SN forums, we were very familiar with Knothead (Steve) and Jen, knew they had a rigging shop in FL (SSMR), and we also knew that Knotty had given tons of free advice on the forums, so we decided to give SSMR a shot at providing our new rig. That was the best decision we could have made! Steve spent quite a bit of time with on the phone and email discussing our issues, how to get proper measurements (since we couldnít rely on the current forestay length), and going over hardware options. Throughout the process, Steve was always there to answer questions and to help us avoid any costly mistakes. In the end, he saved us money by making sure we were measuring from the right points, and by helping us identify the proper t-ball fittings for the shrouds (you would be amazed how many slight variations there are between companies, and the backing plates are not compatible across manufacturers). Without Steveís assistance, Iím sure we would have made mistakes if we had just sent a bunch of measurements to one of the bit online rigging shops. I also firmly believe that there is no way we would have gotten the same level of service from those outfits. Anyhow, once Steve had the measurements, he was able to turn around our new rigging in a matter of days. And once it was done, Jen drove it to the Post Office herself to make sure we had everything in time for the Memorial Day weekend. The rigging arrived within 48 hours! Thanks Jen!
We installed the rigging last weekend, and everything fits like a glove. The swages look perfect! Steve even pre-lubricated the turnbuckles, and included both cotter pins and split rings so we could choose which to use (we went with the rings). All in all, our experience with SSMR was ideal, the workmanship was flawless, Steve and Jen were very accessible and always willing to assist, and the cost was much more reasonable than I anticipated. For anyone thinking about replacing your rigging yourself, or if you are near SSMR and want it done by a real professional, we HIGHLY recommend that you check with SSMR first.
In the interest of full disclosure, neither my wife nor I have any connection with SSMR other than being very satisfied customers.
Admins and Moderators - I searched the forums and hope I have posted this in the right place. If not, please feel free to move it to another forum.