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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 37 years of service I have decided to retire the standing rigging on my 26' fractional rig swing keel sloop. The rigging that was original to the boat was 1/8" 19 strand stainless steel wire rope. I have now acquired almost all the tools and materials necessary for replacement with 3/16". Comparing the 3/16" 7-19 stainless steel wire rope to the 1/8" 19 strand makes the 1/8" look so wimpy. This makes me wonder if I have made a mistake and are reaching into the overkill territory, concerned about creating problems because of the larger size Wire rope. I will also be replacing the turn buckles and the rope ends will be nicopress as I have purchased the crimping tool and sleeves. I have watched all the instructional videos and am very confident in my skills but would still welcome any advise on how to be more successful with this retrofit.
 

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to answer your title question yes

way too big and you mess with boat balance, windage and performance, weight aloft can be felt greatly on small boats...

do you have a pic of the 2 wires? side by side

you can also weigh equal lengths if you think weight is an issue

Im not too familiar with those sizes, its easier for me in metric but say going from 1/4 inch to 5/16ths wire the difference in weight and size is HUGE.

On my boat standard is mostly 1/4 inch...some 9/32 but somebody went 5/16ths on some and its massive.
 
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Oversizing rigging is not a good idea - especially on a boat that is not going offshore. Rigging is tensioned to a percentage of its breaking strength. The larger the wire the bigger the loading. It puts more strain on a boat that wasn't designed for it. All told a waste of money.

If you do oversize the rigging make sure the mast tangs, chainplates and other fittings are also beefed up or they will be the weak points, especially the mast tangs.
 

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The standing rigging provides a quite 'predictable' mechanical platform for the sails. All such wire is elastic and a windloaded sail on a foil or attached with hanks will quite predictably cause wire sag under this 'load' from the sails.

The luff shape of all jibs/genoas that are attached to forestays, etc. is not 'straight' but are cut to compensate for the sag in the wire that develops due to a wind-loaded sail - called 'luff hollow', a smooth curved shape cut from the leading edge to compensate for the wire sag.
A sailmaker 'depends' that the rig tension be quite close to the OEM values set up by the designer - usually 12-15% of wire tension for sailing in 12-15kts. Replacing rigging with 'stronger or thicker cross section' rigging wire, will cause more SAG of the wire to occur. The net result is that if you increase the 'strength' of the wire (and the new 'heavier' rigging delivers the same force into the boat), you will have to have all your jibs/genoas 'recut' so that the sail leading edge shape will match the NEW and different sag that develops in the wire.

Here's a more detailed explanation of 'matching' the sag in the forestay, etc. wire to the 'luff hollow' shape of a jib/genoa: http://www.ftp.tognews.com/GoogleFiles/Matching Luff Hollow.pdf
 

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Oversizing the standing rigging can put strains on a boat that it was not designed to handle. For the mast, stronger shrouds can mean that instead of bending off in a puff and releasing energy, the mast stays stiff, fills the sail with wind, and pulls the turnbuckle right out of the deck. Imagine "improving" an arresting cable on a carrier by installing an I-beam instead, because it was stronger. The plane would still stop...catastrophically. Boats are delicate balances that the designer worked out. Though there is some leeway with changing things, it is also possible to go overboard.
 

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So how can one find out the original, as-designed, wire sizes?

My boat is 37 years old and has been re-rigged at least twice before I owned her. So at this point I don't *really* know if the current rigging is as-designed, undersized or oversized. who knows what the POs (there were 2) have done right?
 

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look up your boat model and or forums...I did for mine

few things to consider

if original your wires were probably 304 stainless its common to slightly upzise when going to 316 wire as recomended by most riggers

its hard to get good 304 wire now, so just bite the bullet

going next size up to me is not bad...2 or 3 and you have to look at pin sizes, tangs, bulkheads, chainplates and all ese standing rigging related

in my case I had mixmatched parts...so in order to use the the oversized wire to an advantage I upsized chainplates, reinforced bulkheads, made new ones, etc...


not needed in most cases but not bad in general to do so...

now simply upsizing wire, substantially on stock turnbuckles, pins plates etc...is of absolute no good, in fact detrimental, weight aloft, stress on other parts as mentioned and developing week links that were not intended as so per the designer

case in point mast tangs...attachment points...turnbuckles etc...the mast itself like mentioned...

anywhoo
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My question still lingers. I went up in size by 1/16" from what was original to the boat. the old nicopress sleeve's have a date stamped on them of 76 and I'm very sure that they are original equipment as the boat sat for many years before I acquired it from the 1st owner. The manufacturer was Luger which was a kit boat and they have since went out of business. I cant find any info on what was recommended by the manufacturer but the boat has been totally reworked by me, including many structural improvements. I sail exclusively on lake Erie and am a fair weather sailor. I will never try to race this boat. I raise the mast and set up all the rigging myself in the spring. There is no measuring the tension. I snug up the turnbuckle's until the slack is out and the mast looks straight. I am a pleasure cruiser that only travels out side of the break wall when the weather is perfect and there is nothing in the forecast. Do I stay with the materials I have or do I scrap it and buy new smaller stuff?
 

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Oversizing rigging is not a good idea - especially on a boat that is not going offshore. Rigging is tensioned to a percentage of its breaking strength. The larger the wire the bigger the loading. It puts more strain on a boat that wasn't designed for it. All told a waste of money.
Another thing to consider, because the rigging is tensioned to a percentage of breaking strength. If you have a deck stepped mast the extra rig tension may cause deck cracks allowing water into the core.

I know someone who over tensioned their rig and had exactly that happen. The fix was ugly and expensive.

As for tensioning by "feel" a Loos gauge isn't really all that expensive when you consider the possible cost of repairs and that you'll have it a lifetime.
 

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My question still lingers. ..................... Do I stay with the materials I have or do I scrap it and buy new smaller stuff?
1/16" difference in wire diameter isnt going to make that much difference on a 'coastal' or 'inshore' design boat. Just set up to PROPER tension and observe, especially observe the amount of 'sag' in the forestay when beating in ~15kts.
If that isnt satisfactory, look at similar boats with similar weight/sail area/depth and imitate their wire sizes - Pearson 26, Catalina 27, etc.

Dont 'guess' with rig tuning.
Racing boats sail much better, heel over much less, are less 'cranky' and are 'safer' because they usually have precise rig tension adjustment.

Here's probably the most comprehensive rig tuning guide available on the internet, including how to precisely set up proper tune (including 'pre-bow') WITHOUT a tension gage: http://www.riggingandsails.com/pdf/selden-tuning.pdf
A SUMMARY of that rigging manual is presented here on Sailnet by Guiletta: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance/42542-adjusting-your-rig.html

Dont guess with rig tension. ;-)
 

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My question still lingers. I went up in size by 1/16" from what was original to the boat. the old nicopress sleeve's have a date stamped on them of 76 and I'm very sure that they are original equipment as the boat sat for many years before I acquired it from the 1st owner. The manufacturer was Luger which was a kit boat and they have since went out of business. I cant find any info on what was recommended by the manufacturer but the boat has been totally reworked by me, including many structural improvements. I sail exclusively on lake Erie and am a fair weather sailor. I will never try to race this boat. I raise the mast and set up all the rigging myself in the spring. There is no measuring the tension. I snug up the turnbuckle's until the slack is out and the mast looks straight. I am a pleasure cruiser that only travels out side of the break wall when the weather is perfect and there is nothing in the forecast. Do I stay with the materials I have or do I scrap it and buy new smaller stuff?
use it:)
 
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