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We're about to replace the standing rigging on our "new" Ericson 39-B. We will not be racing but I wonder if rod rigging might still make sense from a durability standpoint.

The hint that the existing rigging needed replacement was the telltale dark spots all over the rigging, indicating internal corrosion between the strands of wire. The rigging surveyor confirmed our suspicions without even leaving the deck (he saved us the $200 survey fee, but we'll be paying someone else a lot more :) ).

Rod rigging wouldn't have the internal corrosion problems of wire rigging, but what are the downsides ?

Thanks,


-Sven
 

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Rod rigging in some senses, has more positives than the wire, ie stronger for its size, lighter etc. But, from what I understand, it in reality does not last as long, or at least from what I have heard compared to wire. A boat your size, going to rod vs wire is like putting an extra 200 lb person on the rail as to how much lighter it is vs wire. So you will sail more upright with rod than wire.

There is not a right or wrong answer, just an add up the positives and negatives of ea, and decide what is best for you.

Marty
 

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The rod ends can crack and fail without warning... as can rod rigging when it gets older... If you're planning on cruising longer distances, then carrying a spare piece of rigging is much more difficult.
 

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I've had rod rigging for twenty years. The boat came with it new and it's still the original rod except for the forestay which got kinked when removing the mast one year and had to be replaced. I like it. I guess the first downside is the cost. Folks say you can't see a failure developing in rod. The ends have to be inspected every so often. Check here.
NAVTEC Rigging Solutions
 

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I like rod for the good reasons mentioned, but for cruising I'd stick with wire. Easier to inspect, easier to replace in the field.

We had a rod forestay part without warning on my brother's NY36. Some quick thinking saved the rig, but it could have been ugly. Upon inspection, the rod itself had failed within the swage. This was not detectable until after the stay parted.
 

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Rick,

Good article, in reality, what they mention is true to point about wire rigging too, especially when relating to a racer vs a cruiser, tightness of the rig, sailing in heavier air vs lighter air.

It is also nice to know a rod rig will go 20 yrs, most I've heard is 8-10 yrs, but that is probably more on the race end than a cruiser end too! Cost is more, but again relative to what you want to achieve when rerigging the setup. SailingWorld had a good comparison article in the last 2 yrs or so of wire vs rod, costs vs wt saved, how it worked on a given sized boat etc.

Marty
 

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I am in the process of swapping out all of my wire to rod. My forestay was rod when I bought it but, replaced it, as it was 23 years old - but still 'looked' fine. Look into a good rigger.

I can tell you that just from the 1/3rd of wire replacement project - that has now been replaced with either synthetic or rod - has made a difference on my boat in responsiveness. So - don't just think rod - pair it with synthetics where you can. For instance my upper shrouds are rod the inner are synthetic. The running backs were wire now synthetic - the backstay was wire now rod.. etc..

Rod is the most expensive out of the bunch and the longest lead time from order to fit on the boat if ordering from NavTec (its been three weeks for my order and I expedited it) and you do not have a rod specialist in the area.

Once you do get it all replaced - you are going to have to dial in your trimming practices a bit, as the dynamics of the boat will change even if all you do is cruise.

Just my random thoughts on it.
 

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Rod, wire and ?

Hi,

I have had boats with rod and boats with wire. Both have positives and negatives. A lot of those were mentioned in previous posts. Two things I didn't see noted are that wire is much more elastic than rod. It stretches more. In an old boat this stretch may be a good thing as it helps some with the high loading and unloading involved. If a rod doesn't stretch it unloads everything into the chainplates and ultimately the hull structure. Great for boats designed for this and boats wanting no stretch to impact their tune. I'm not familiar with the Ericson internals but you may want to check with someone who is before making your decision.

The other point is about a good compromise between the two called Dieform rigging. It is much stronger than conventional 1x19 wire in the same dimension so that it can be downsized to the equivalent strength of a larger wire, thus saving weight. It has stretch characteristics much better than conventional wire but not quite as good as rod. It is much cheaper than rod and can use standard fastenings. I believe the wire is 8 stranded but that may be wrong. There is a center strand wrapped by several outer strands. it may be something you might consider as an upgrade from conventional wire, with most of the good properties of rod.

Good luck,

121 Guy
 

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FWIW, the wire that 121 Guy referred to is actually spelled Dyform (which might help you find it faster if you go looking for it).

Dyform® is the registered trademark of Bridon International.
In any case, rod rigging is not a do-it-yourself proposition, so you will need to talk with a qualified rigger who has the appropriate equipment to make the rod heads.
 

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Dyform is 1x19 wire rigging, but the strands are not round, they're shaped to leave less space between them—resulting in a stronger wire rope for the diameter, since it has more steel in it for the same diameter.
 

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I've had rod rigging for twenty years. The boat came with it new and it's still the original rod except for the forestay which got kinked when removing the mast one year and had to be replaced.
At 20 years; the rigging on a boat rigged with rod should probably be replaced or at least x-rayed for fatigue. The problem with inspection is that for the cost of having it inspected; you could probably have re-rigged with wire. Wire is more forgiving in terms of ease of inspection and knowing when it is time to replace. When a strand breaks or when a swage starts to crack you know it is ready to be replaced with new wire and hardware. Not so easy with rod and it's much more expensive to replace. It's not a DIY job since the heads have to be machine formed.

On an Ericson 39-B for a cruising application I would go with wire as a replacement; It won't make your rig too heavy because at 19,000 lbs the boat is not a ULDB to begin with.
 

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The rod rigging on our 1981 J/36 is original, AFAIK. We check it carefully every year, especially years when we pull the mast for storage. I have been lucky so far to have been on one boat that had a rigging failure. After cruising transatlantic, the wire lower after shroud on a boat I was on dropped to the deck one day. It had been checked (with dye) before our departure. No one seems to have mentioned in the above posts that even for a boat with rod rigging, you can carry easily stored wire as an emergency spare.
 

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having sailed recently transatlantic with an old boat with rod rigging, we lost the D2 shroud mid way. Dont like rod , very difficult to make repairs, unless there is a overriding reason, I'd stick with wire
 

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Sven, go with wire and spend the savings on Norseman or similar swage less terminals. Normally I would say the extra expense would be negated on your next wire change, but it would be way cheaper than rod rigging.
 

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For all your point's it's interesting that Yachts doing The Sydney to Hobart can't get Insurance if they have Rod Rigging the biggest problem is when it fail's you loose your entire rig where with wire you get one strand sticking out which warn's you it need's replacing I know what I'd prefer if I was 100's of miles from no where
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi Simon,

Sven, go with wire and spend the savings on Norseman or similar swage less terminals. Normally I would say the extra expense would be negated on your next wire change, but it would be way cheaper than rod rigging.
Based on the inputs here and a bunch of other on-line searching that is what we'll do. Now we are just waiting for the rigger to give us an estimate.

BTW, Sailingdog's suggestion to look at Dyform was interesting - kind of like wound rod rigging. It's tendency to unwind is what nixed that option.

Did you replace the standing rigging on GODDONYA ?

Thanks to all for the insights and suggestions,


-Sven
 

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Sven, I only replaced the top shrouds the rest were fine. I also have traveling backs made of plastic coated dynema. so my rig may be bullet proor, maybe!!
 
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