SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am going to be replacing the standing rigging on my PSC40 soon and was wondering what the group had to say about using mechanical fittings. I currently have swaged fittings and was contemplating using swaged fittings at the top of the rigging but changing to mechanical (Norseman) at the lower end. Any pros and cons? I know there is the cost factor to consider and I can install them myself? I'm sticking with 1 x 19 wire. Thanks for the comments!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
I prefer the Norsemen fittings as they can be reused (and considering the cost, should be). You don't need special tools to put them together, you can disassemble them completely for detailed examination, and can be reused.

I've never had a swaged fitting fail even after a Cat 5 hurricane passed through the anchorage (the rigging broke well above the fitting).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,192 Posts
Here's an article you might be interested in.

Good Old Boat, Quick Attach, Sta-Lok, Norseman, swasless fittings

A couple of excerpts.

(Test 1), you will see that the swage fitting held onto the wire to a peak load of 4,112 pounds before slipping. The wire did not break; it pulled out of the fitting. This was a successful test as the wire breaking strength was rated at 4,000 pounds, and the fitting exceeded that load. The other two fittings were tested to verify the baseline. One test was satisfactory, and one tested well below the braking strength of the wire (This terminal brand was retested at a later time with an assembly made up by the supplier. It also failed the second test.)


The swaged terminal, as well as the Sta-Lok and the Suncor swageless terminals, passed the initial round of tests by breaking at a load slightly in excess of the wire’s rated ultimate breaking strength.. The Norseman terminal failed at 69 percent of the wire’s rated ultimate breaking strength. When the supplier was contacted concerning this, they offered to supply another terminal and wire assembly made up by their own staff. This terminal and wire assembly also failed the test, breaking at 80 percent of the rated breaking strength of the wire.


Here's a thread on the same topic.

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance/48077-sta-lok.html

I'd like to point out...:rolleyes: that I still prefer swage fittings over mechanical for the typical rerig. Even those where the owner is doing the actual installation. The money that you save by doing the lower terminals yourself will not be enough to offset the cost of the fittings.

Mechanical fittings are great for emergencies and I think that every wise cruiser will carry enough to make repairs in far off places, but to me it doesn't make sense to use them for rerigging when you have access to a rigging shop with a swage machine.

Mechanical fittings are significantly more expensive v swage fittings.
Mechanical fittings may have a longer life, but the life of the wire is the limiting factor on most rigs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
rerigging

For what it's worth:
When I replaced the wire rigging on our C37 (1982) 5 years ago my rigger suggested and I concurred that I would use swag fittings at the top end and Hayn mechanicals at the bottom.The reasoning being that swag fittings can and do fail when seawater penetrates deep into the swage running down the lays of the wire and can cause corrosion in the air starved atmosphere.The Hayn mechanical fittings dont present the same situation and were very easy to install.In my riggers opinion and in my experience the Hayns are the superior fitting.
Hope this helps,
Dianne and Chuck Burke S/V NiftyNickers C37 #139
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
362 Posts
As knothead said:

...
Mechanical fittings are great for emergencies and I think that every wise cruiser will carry enough to make repairs in far off places, but to me it doesn't make sense to use them for rerigging when you have access to a rigging shop with a swage machine....
you might consider this relatively new option from Colligo for emergency repairs:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,192 Posts
swage fittings can and do fail when seawater penetrates deep into the swage running down the lays of the wire and can cause corrosion in the air starved atmosphere.
By the time that happens, the wire has served it's recommended life and should be replaced anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
FWIW I favour Staloks
- I can buy a roll of wire and redo my stays for a few hundred dollars
- We broke a forestay off shore, and could repair it without removing the profurl. It broke at the top.
- I have seen more failed swages than swageless failures (none)
- You can inspect inside them
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
There's a bunch of anecdotal 'evidence' on both sides.

In the end, using modern polyfabulous fiber rope (dyneema et al) for emergency desert-island type repairs is the way to go. It's inexpensive, effective, stores _extremely_ easily and takes up little space. It also stores much better than stainless anything, because the fiber rope is most susceptable to UV, while wire rope is most susceptible to corrosion. Corrosion is going to happen on a sailboat.. UV can be controlled. (yes, fiber rope can be damaged by saltwater given enough time, but not nearly as quick/easy as stainless).

So given that the 'emergency repair' option is taken care of, it rather simplifies the conversation. Sure, 10 years ago before dyneema and it's cohorts weren't available, that wasn't the case. but these days, using mechanical fasteners because they can be repaired/used in a repair is unnecessary.

Given that you can machine/hammer swage an entire shroud for the cost of one stalok fitting, and given that machine swages have worked for a few decades, it's hard to argue that it's unwise to use them.

I think, in the end, we really are lucky that we have a number of good options. Which one is best? Frankly, all modern 'good' swage options outlast the wire they are attached to. So it seems to me that simply picking the one that feels good and running with it makes sense.

It's not unlike debating which gauge of shotgun to use when assaulting soda crackers. They all do a pretty good job. The debate is more religious than factual.. pay your money and takes your choice.

One last thought... inspecting the fittings every month does way more for security than spending a ton of money on 'bullet proof' fittings and never looking at them again...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
Also, while manufacturers of mechanical fasteners claim their products last a long time, most of them have yet to prove it. I mean, a product that's only been widely used for 5 or 10 years has a hard time proving that it has a 20 year useful life, you know? (sure, they've been used by a small segment of the population for a long time.. but the widespread acceptance they have now is pretty recent)

So if you are in the camp of "I don't replace it till it's broken", then keep reusing those mechanicals when you replace wire. But if you try to replace things _before_ they are broke.. such as replacing port shrouds when the starboard shrouds give out (even when the port shrouds look fine), then you are probably the kind of person who wouldn't be reusing those mechanicals too many times anyway.

New wire, new fittings.. keeps me sleeping soundly at night.

and you can hammer on machine swages two, three, or sometimes even four times before you spend enough to buy a single mechanical swage.

So there's that. For me, I guess it just comes down to cost. the 20 gauge is cheaper than the 10 gauge. They both make powder out of crackers just fine.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,753 Posts
Given that you can machine/hammer swage an entire shroud for the cost of one stalok fitting, and given that machine swages have worked for a few decades, it's hard to argue that it's unwise to use them.
And when you're on the receiving end of a mast toppling towards the water, on a 12 year old vessel in well off shore in the fall on the cold and stormy Northern Atlantic, you might think other wise. Lower swage failure, wire was still fine, mast furler and sails were all toast and had to be cut away to save the vessel.

In the NE we get temperature cycling which when water gets into a swage can cause it to freeze and eventually split and/or crack. I've seen lots of cracked or split lower swages. I have four stays in my shop right now where three of the four lowers are split but the wire is still serviceable.

I think, in the end, we really are lucky that we have a number of good options.
Thank god!

Which one is best? Frankly, all modern 'good' swage options outlast the wire they are attached to.
Please, if you are going to state something as a fact, to prove your point, the least you can do BACK THE FACTS UP WITH THE EVIDENCE or don't state them as factual. I for one would love to see some data on this because it has not been my experience here in the NE. It is out of line with what myself, or the four riggers I am friends with, see here in the NE and why none of them want to install swages on the bottom unless specifically asked to. Their preference, based on real world experience, here in the NE, is mechanical on the bottom swage on top.


So it seems to me that simply picking the one that feels good and running with it makes sense.
I guess it all depends where you sail and what you've seen and whom you've spent time talking with. For me I will never again use swages on the deck end of a stay in the NE. Been there done it seen and experienced my own failures. Even being the weakest mechanical fitting I have yet to seen a Norseman fail though I am sure some have. OTOH I have seen LOTS of swage failures. My rigger has seen one failure of a mechanical fitting but it was due to installer error.



One last thought... inspecting the fittings every month does way more for security than spending a ton of money on 'bullet proof' fittings and never looking at them again...
So you have a dye kit to catch these weaknesses at their earliest? I agree 100% that visual inspection is good to do, but you'll never see it all. The boat I was delivering had JUST gone through a complete rigging survey and showed no signs of failure until the mast went overboard..

Outlast the wire, maybe, maybe not..




If I was in an area where it never froze then I would probably consider swages on the lower end but not up here. Once you personally experience the loss of a stick due to a swage fitting failure you begin to consider all other options. I have been using mechanical fittings since 1991 and still re-rig every ten years and I don't re-use them..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
Evidence is key, right? Well, I would point to Hansen Rigging.. they've been around a while, and they suggest that any wire/component more than 10 years old is highly suspect and likely needs to be replaced. ("For recreational users, we feel that wire rigging should be changed as soon as failure signs are noted or if wire and components are over 10 years old.", from: Hansen Rigging | Rigging Advice | Yacht and Sailboat Riggers | San Francisco Bay Area)

Then there are the multitude of wire rope manufactorers, though they don't speak in terms of time, they speak in terms of cycles. To cite each of a dozen companies would be silly, and this is already far enough from the OP topic. So instead, I'll reference an outfit called the International Marine Contractors Association (www.imca-int.com). They did a painfully comprehensive study back in '08 (which is actually a revised/updated finding from an ongoing study that goes back quite a while, and can be read in it's entirety here: Download Free Book Online The Management Of Life Cycle Maintenance Of Non Man Riding Wire Ropes PDF | Online Book Bank. specifically, publication IMCAM194.pdf ) where they examined the properties (including useful life) of a whole bunch of types of wire rope. Refer specifically to sections 10.6: Corrosion and 10.13: Waviness. My bet is that the rope associated with the pictured fittings would have failed one or both of those inspections. Clearly, the rope that is actually in the picture (at the mouth of the fitting) fails the corrosion inspection.

Which, really, brings me back to my first reaction when looking at those fittings... of course they failed. I mean, holy rusttrap, batman. I've heard you northeasterners are in a rough environment, but ... wow. Those things are way past gone, and were so well before they failed. With that amount of corrosion, I'm suprised they were allowed to stay on a boat. Machined or otherwise.. nothing will claim to be effective once it's corroded like that.

Even that shackle would get replaced, I would think. How much WD-40 did it take to get that pin out? :D

Anyway, there's a couple of links. There are also plenty of manufacturers out there (of both rope and sweges) and they'll all have websites and customer service reps on the phone. I have a hard time getting any of them to tell me that I can rely on their products for even 10 years, much less a longer time frame than that. And that's assuming a friendly environment, much less the one you are looking at. You are more man than I am :D
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,645 Posts
"swag fittings can and do fail when seawater penetrates deep into the swage running down the lays of the wire and can cause corrosion in the air starved atmosphere."
Except, if water can get into something, so can air. So while frequent baths in seawater may contribute to failures--it has got nothing to do with air not being present. Someone is confusing the anoxic crevice corrosion failure that stainless steel is subject to, with a different failure mode in the swages. Unless the swages were sealed at the bottom, so they "cupped" the water. That would just be called the wrong part for that application.

MaineSail, when you mention thermal failure, I think you mean freeze-thaw failure, not thermal failure. The expansion of water as it turns to ice will cause failures, but plain heating and cooling won't. Folks south of the freeze line won't have that same problem.

IIRC Don Street was comparing fittings and swages 30-odd years ago when "The Offshore Cruising Yacht" (1&2) were published, and even back then he found they both worked, as long as they were properly applied. For a Norseman you spend more money, for a swage, you've got to buy the tool and use it properly. If you've got enough swages to make--they come out way cheaper, including the tool.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,753 Posts
Except, if water can get into something, so can air. So while frequent baths in seawater may contribute to failures--it has got nothing to do with air not being present. Someone is confusing the anoxic crevice corrosion failure that stainless steel is subject to, with a different failure mode in the swages. Unless the swages were sealed at the bottom, so they "cupped" the water. That would just be called the wrong part for that application.
I have never seen an upper swage fail. It has always been lowers and usually the type of machine swage that is captive so once water gets it it won't drain out. In teh NE they can freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw until something gives. Swage studs are a good example where water can become trapped..

MaineSail, when you mention thermal failure, I think you mean freeze-thaw failure, not thermal failure.
Yep that's what I meant. I meant to type temperature cycling not thermal cycling. Fixed it.. (Note to self, no more typing BC (before coffee)..:D)
 

·
Maine Member
Joined
·
181 Posts
Best Brand for Mechanicals?

If I was in an area where it never froze then I would probably consider swages on the lower end but not up here. Once you personally experience the loss of a stick due to a swage fitting failure you begin to consider all other options. I have been using mechanical fittings since 1991 and still re-rig every ten years and I don't re-use them..
OK - Which mechanical do you recommend? Norseman, Sta-Lok?- What about Hi-Mod, with their trick "crown ring" to keep each outer strand in proper position?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Failed upper swage on 43 foot Northwind 7 years after built

Gents,

I was going over a friends rig prior to heading down to the Baha last year (boat was built in 2002, this was 2009) and the upper swage on the backstay had two independent cracks seperated about 30 degrees, one was from the wire entry up about half the length of the swage, the other crack was from the eye end down about one third of the length.

According to the rigger who replaced the backstay it appeared to have been "overswaged" when originally built. Not to say it is a proof of anything, just that it is an example of a failed upper swage.

Hopefully none of the rest of the swages on the boat have the issue, especially the ones I can't get a look at inside of the furlers.
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,645 Posts
Botany-
If "overswaged" means crimped too tightly, the pessimist in me would say that means something was mismatched (wrong size cable, crimp, tool, etc.) when the rigging was done and that *all* crimps made at the same time by the same rigger have to be suspect.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Overswaged fittings

I agree completely. Watching the rest of the rig like a hawk, friends plan is 18 months of cruising and then replace the standing rig before going again and so does not want to replace everything now. My only concern are the swages we can't see. (inside the furlers)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
256 Posts
I agree completely. Watching the rest of the rig like a hawk, friends plan is 18 months of cruising and then replace the standing rig before going again and so does not want to replace everything now. My only concern are the swages we can't see. (inside the furlers)
For exactly this reason I just replaced the forestay which has been inside the furler for ???? years? Getting the furler apart was a 2 day affair involving the patience of Job. Said patience eventually paid off when the final screw relented. (Using heat AND then spraying with "Freeze Off" finally did the trick!) The swages and wire which I could then get at all looked perfect. I cut it out and replaced it anyway and while I may have just wasted 2 1/2 days, my peace of mind about the rigging is now compete.

Jay

PSC 37, Kenlanu, wrapped up for the winter in Maine
 

·
Rhumbunctious
Joined
·
150 Posts
Stirring the mix a bit... ;-)

How about Nicopress (Talurite) sleeves?

I'm looking to replace all the standing rigging on my 33ft ketch, and that would seem the easiest and cheapest option. Just buy a spool of wire rope, sufficient number of sleeves, and the tool.

Nigel Calder asserts (p. 750 of "Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual) that they are "just as secure as a splice" and I understand wire splices to be as or more secure than either swaged or mechanical fittings.

Nicropress isn't as pretty or sexy as more modern fittings, but when one is on a tight budget... (there also would appear to be the benefit of better visibility of what is happening at the fitting and thus being able to spot problems sooner).

Comments?
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top