Join Date: Apr 2006
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Re: rod rigging replacement
Navtec, who are probably "the" source on rod rigging, would tell you that rigging fatigues based on the number of cycles that it is loaded (stressed) and unloaded. Sitting on a shelf, it takes no stress cycles. Rigged on a boat, it takes "one" cycle every time you tack, every time the boat slams, every time the wind gusts, etc.
So you could literally put a stress guage and recorder on each piece and run a tally on it. Or, take all the hours logged under sail and use that with an average "per hour" figure. They have averages for cruising, racing, offshore, inshore, etc. but they'll still say after 20 years, it is time to pull the stick and do a close examination, with the thought of replacement in mind.
Fresh water, short season, rig out in the winter, all mean yours might well still be good, but it is time for a "Class C" inspection, where they pull and check everything. The first clue would be any galvanic corrosion, distortion, or wear at the cups. Apparently they are supposed to be kept lubricated and few people do, and if they are unlubricated and overtensioned in salt air they are more likely to stick and wear.
Dye checking ain't rocket science. All things considered, I would look over the rigging carefully. If it looks "mint" and totally undistorted, unquestionable, and you are just daysailing, I might say just clean it up and go, despite the 29-year clock. More conservatively, look into dye kits (McMaster, Grainger, etc should stock them) and consider doing your own dye check, because doing it correctly means TIME and everyone in a yard is always in a rush, so someone who takes the time to do a job carefully is not easy to find.
The right way to do it, at this point, would be to call a rigger. Ask Navtec who their authorized vendors are in your area, unless you find a better recommendation for someone who has the right equipment to rehead the rigging if that is needed. I'd be more comfortable having a pro do the inspection, watching what he does, and for the next couple or five years, do your own inspections using that as a baseline.
"Time" is just easier to measure than "cycles". Everyone picks their own comfort zone after that. Unless your insurer has something to say about it, like "20 years will void your policy".