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I am considering a boat with rod rigging. I understand the benefits of rod, but it is a 1983 boat and is all original. I don't even think they have pulled it and have had it inspected since the current owner had the boat. I am wondering about replacement rigging, could I go to wire? It seems like it would be considerably less expensive and seems to work for most boats. The Boat is a C&C Landfall, and I will be cruising with it, some offshore and no racing. What are the options. Sounds like replacement rod would be in the range of 8,000 and that would push the boat out of my range, unless the owner came way down price wise. How about dynema? would that be an option?

So would I be turning the boat into a turd by changing out to wire? I like the idea of the long term value of rod but it would push the boat over my budget.
 

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Landfall 38?.. nice cruiser. I can't see any reason not to go with wire, not sure about Dyneema or composite, cost and terminals might be the biggie with those.

The fact that rod can fail with little warning - esp old rod (don't ask...) and wire can usually let you know when it's getting close I'd think that esp for cruising wire would do just as well. Use mechanical fittings at deck level and you've got some DIY-ability too.. But I'd expect you'd be looking at somewhere around $3-4K for complete standing rigging even with wire???
 
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Wire rope will be just fine. It won't make any difference to the way the boat sails, or the strength of the rig. Rod was a popular option for racers back then, but for the average cruiser it is not worth the additional expense IMHO.
 

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We replaced our rod...with rod to the tune of 7400 five years ago so 8000 sounds aboiut right. We could have gone with wire, but the savings was that much if I remember. Its usually the fitting which fail anyway. I was told by the C&C designers that the rod led to the stiffness of the boat vs wire, Some Sabres are also rod rigged too.

You can replace with wire. Not sure I would do dyneema.

dave
 

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There are options. Talk to a rigger. Change to wire, re-heading the stuff you have, mail order, maybe the rigging is just fine?

My next big project might be to try to do my own changeover to wire by using swage-less type fittings. It won't be cheap but I could also do it over time. A high end, full service, changeover to new rod rigging probably isn't in my budget.

I'm no expert but at $4 a foot for wire and $50 for a terminal, it seems pretty reasonable to duplicate your own and have the ability to do your own repair if you plan on cruising/offshore. ...then again, I haven't tried it yet.

I have a split backstay. I think I might try fabricating that with wire and hayn just to see how it works out.
 

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the conversion is not always easy to do one wire at a time. it depends on the type of tang you have on the mast. if it is a tang and fork with clevis pin it is not difficult. if they used the stem ball tangs with the threaded cross bar then it means the removal of the mast. have it inspected as it might be possible to re-head the rods. the rod itself will last forever.
 

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The one issue with switching to wire as opposed to rod is that you have to have someone re-engineer the rigging size. Rod is lighter, stronger, and has a smaller cross section than the wire that it would replace, as well as being more corrosion resistant. You really need to know what you are doing to get this right.

If I was considering this, I would give Brion Toss a call and ask his opinion on it, and let a real rigger design it for you. Messing around with masts and standing rigging is no place to just guess.

The second option you raise is to switch to dyneema. It is absolutely doable. Give John Franta a call at Colligio Marine about it. You will save massively on weight and increase the strength. Figure a reduction in weight by more than half compared to wire. The cost tends to be about the same as wire the first time, with subsequent rerigs being a fraction of the price.

The down side to dyneema is that the rope will wear out long before wire would typically need replacing. Most wire is pushed to 15-20 years of service, while the dyneema is currently at about 8. The upside though is at 8 years you don't replace the while system, just the rope, the fittings since they are aluminium can be replaced forever. So the rerig at 8 years is more like $200. This is why a lot of new performance boats are switching to Dynex rigging.

Most cruisers seem to think that weight isn't their problem, but it really is. Reducing the weight of a rigging system by more than half can make a huge difference in how the boat sails, as well as how a boat rides at anchor. She will be stiffer, carry less heel, meaning less weather helm, ect.. All for about the price of switching to wire.
 

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Paul-
I would suggest that if you convert, and eventually sell the boat, you will lose the value of the difference between the two. Plus the buyers will be asking why you removed one of the features C&C's are known for, what was wrong. What else you cheaped out on, perhaps?
It certainly CAN be done, but personally I wouldn't. And while rod can be reheaded, etc., if it is original it is probably time for a whole change. You'd have to have someone who works with rod actually pull the rigging, inspect it, and see if it can be reheaded but I suspect they'll advise against it, purely based on age.
Dyneema and other synthetics are also an option, but I think you'll find them more than double the cost of rod rigging. Wire if you must, knowing that can raise questions down the line. But it is, after all, a key feature of the boat. C&C must have had some reason for it.

Paul, just a thought: Wally Bryant has a marvelous web site up about his C&C "Stella Blue" and all the work he did bringing it back from the dead. A MARVELOUS resource to explore what a Landfall can be hiding, or how to deal with the common problems and surprises they can have. Wally is one of those guys who didn't just fix things--he fixed 'em right. And nicely.
 

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I had the rod on my 83 C&C re headed by a reputable rigger. He never suggested replacing it.
 

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Paul,
Strongly recommend Dynex Dux through Colligo. I recently completed replacement of original rods stays on my '76 C&C 38. Did the install myself in an afternoon and had the mast stepped the next day. John Franta was terrific to work with, especially making some custom parts to deal with the original Navtangs. (They shouldn't be custom for you now!) I decided to use Colligo after seeing how easy the product was to work with and reasonable in terms of cost. I'm hands on and liked the idea of being able to do this on my own. If a problem surfaces later on, I know I can deal with it without needed specialized equipment or help. It sure attracted a lot of attention in the yard, too!
 

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js-
Navtec talks about "load cycles" rather than "years" for replacing rigging. Every time you tack, every time you bounce, every time the rigging takes a load and then slacks off, you add one cycle to the rigging. To REALLY know when to replace your rigging you would have to record load cycles, which used to be a really absurd thought but these days the little accelerometers that are in every smartphone could actually be adapted to do the job very nicely--and cheaply. Which doesn't matter, you can't buy a "load cycle meter" off the self yet anyhow.

So Navtec estimates load cycles based on type of use, on miles sailed, on age, a variety of criteria. After 30 years a dock queen might have no load cycles and if a rigger actually looked the rig over, saw no signs of stress, saw the heads hadn't eaten into the sockets, etc, a rig certainly could be re-headed and kept. But I suspect the more conservative folks who make the rigging would just say (perhaps not so objectively) that 30 years was "enough".

Question is, will your rigger give you a guarantee that the reheaded 30+ year old rigging won't fail during the next year? Or two? Odds are it won't fail, but will he back that up?

Trillium-
How does that Dynex compare to rod, for cost and durability?
 

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We have rod on our '81 J/36. We replaced the forestay two seasons ago when we put in roller-furling and discovered that we'd been sailing (who knows for how long) with a kink in the original one. The rest is still original. We don't baby it: three day beats up to Maine - and back, and racing in 30 knot Nor'easters, and whatever else happens. We do inspect it carefully each season however.
 

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Paul,
Strongly recommend Dynex Dux through Colligo. I recently completed replacement of original rods stays on my '76 C&C 38. Did the install myself in an afternoon and had the mast stepped the next day. John Franta was terrific to work with, especially making some custom parts to deal with the original Navtangs. (They shouldn't be custom for you now!) I decided to use Colligo after seeing how easy the product was to work with and reasonable in terms of cost. I'm hands on and liked the idea of being able to do this on my own. If a problem surfaces later on, I know I can deal with it without needed specialized equipment or help. It sure attracted a lot of attention in the yard, too!
Is the Dux covered for UV protection? What is the 'life expectancy' vs wire or rod?
 

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Is the Dux covered for UV protection? What is the 'life expectancy' vs wire or rod?
The last time I talked to John at Colligio about Dux they are seeing 8 years in the tropics on the line itself. At which point you splice in a new line at a fraction the cost of wire, and god forbid rod. When I priced out replacing the rod on my Olson 30, Dynex was about the same price as wire (+/- 5%), and about 1/2 the cost of rod. The terminal fittings are milled, then anodized aluminium (I keep trying to get him to switch to titanium :D) and at the loads they see should last forever, particularly since they are galvanically insulated by the rope.

Technically wire is only supposed to last for 8-10 years, and rod is 6-8. But no one I know has ever replaced it on that interval. The advantage of Dux here is that the Dux is specced for creep control not strength. So you generally wind up with line that is more than twice as strong as the wire it would replace. So even if you have pretty severe UV damage, you likely have more actual strength than the wire that would be specced.

The major advantage of Dynex over wire is weight savings. The line itself is about 1/6th the weight, and the system is probably more like 1/4 to 1/2 the weight. So you take a huge amount of weight out of the top of the mast. On the Olson switching to Dynex was the equivalent to having one 250lbs person on the rail when we did the stiffness calculations.
 

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Rod fails at the head on the ends which formed in a machine as part of the assembly process

The ONLY way to see if the head has work hardened(which is why it fails) is to remove it and try and form a NEW head

On Zzzoom it failed this test at about 15 years
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Paul-

Paul, just a thought: Wally Bryant has a marvelous web site up about his C&C "Stella Blue" and all the work he did bringing it back from the dead. A MARVELOUS resource to explore what a Landfall can be hiding, or how to deal with the common problems and surprises they can have. Wally is one of those guys who didn't just fix things--he fixed 'em right. And nicely.

Wow what a job he had done! I was reading about his Rig Restoration, he really does the job right!
 

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I'm reviving this thread to get an opinion on Rod Rigging in the Great Lakes, since this months Sail Magazine put my rod rigging back on my radar...

Win Fowler responded to an "Ask Sail" question about Rod Rigging with the following (summarized):

Inspect and re-head after 40,000 miles, this adds 20,000 miles.
95 percent of failures are head failures.
Replace after 20 years regarless of use.

First of all, my rigging is 29 years old this April (1984 C&C Mkiii, boat is new to me this winter). However, the boat will have no where near 40,000 miles on it. Boat is sailed May - September and has never left the anything-but-tropical, fresh water enviroment of Lake Michigan.

So I look at this two ways: 1) "regardless of use" means no matter the enviroment or use as racer/cruiser, etc. In this case, I'm at 150% of the rigs recommended life, period.

2)or I can reduce the age of my rigging by some factor based on it's short, four month sailing season per year and fresh water. The boat has raced; beer cans and 7 or 8 Mac races, so I'm sure it's experienced significant loading at times, but was used mostly as a family cruiser in the 90's.

The mast is down and stored inside (boat is outside). I will inspect heads thoroughly before rigging this spring. I'm aware you can apply a magnaflux dye penetrant to SS, but I'm not sure if this something most yards offer for rigging?

Basically, I've searched previous threads and the internet and haven't seen a specific answer about fresh water or augmented sailing seasons. I understand that the passage of time is itself a factor, regardless of use.

So... Any feedback would be nice. Do I get any bonus points here for Lake Michigan, or is my heart rate gonna jump a little extra bit when it's blowing stink?
 

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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".
 
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