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I have seen a lot of C&C boats for sale for quite reasonable prices. They mostly come with rod rigging and most I have seen have original rod. Now I know the stuff lasts a long time, and you can have it reheaded, but it has a reputation for giving way without warning. Inspection seems a bit involved, at least compared to wire, as it gets rust stains and meat hooks. And most of the boats are over 30 years old so it makes one pause and new rod is likely as much as the boat is worth (about the same as a re-powering with a new motor I would guess). Now reading the article in Sailing Magazine Andy Schell seems very happy with his Dynex Dux rigging after a few years of cruising and an Atlantic crossing. So what does one think of going synthetic? Sounds like they are saying it will last 8 years in the tropics so figure at least 10 here in the north east. They say if you do you own work it should cost about the same as wire, and subsequent replacements are cheaper as you don't have to replace the fittings. Looks to be easy to store a spare or two on board as well. They claim the way it wears out it gives a good bit of warning by getting fuzzy. They size it to have two to three times the strength so you have a bit of cushion for noticing the wear. Seems to have excellent abrasion resistance as anyone who has tried cutting it will attest to. I have not seen a recent discussion here, so what do you think? Certainly synthetic life lines has reached a point where it is pretty much accepted as a good choice, how about rigging?
 

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Almost all the modern mega-sailing yachts I've seen down here have the synthetic rigging. The captain of one boat, about 250 feet, said it saved an astronomical amount of weight aloft (maybe 5 tons or more, I don't remember exactly). But it sure did not look to be something one could do for themselves.
Each end was not only spliced, but served, whipped and leathered where needed. Considering the critical nature of these splices, I don't know how many of us would be willing to stake our rig on our proficiency splicing these new, esoteric materials.
Funny isn't it, that for millennia rope was used to hold up masts and then wire came in and everybody switched. Now, once again rope may soon be the standard in mast rigging.
"Everything that was old is new again"
 
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Funny isn't it, that for millennia rope was used to hold up masts and then wire came in and everybody switched. Now, once again rope may soon be the standard in mast rigging.
"Everything that was old is new again"
Just a slight correction. it has always been Rope. just different materials. wire is for electrical and keeping the cows on the ranch. wire Rope is for rigging. most now have Stainless steel wire rope. some use Steel wire rope. years ago they used steel reinforced manila rope. it is the solid rod rigging that is the odd ball but it has also been used in rigging as far back as there has been rigging. there where old sailing ships that had solid iron rods holding up masts.
 
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FWIW, I am also very excited about using synthetic for rigging. It is easy to splice, to maintain, and cheaper. There is an outfit in SoCal that specialises in the fittings (Colligo Marine - Rigging reduced to its elegant essentials. - Colligo Marine - Synthetic Rigging). I am hoping it goes mainstream in the next few years. I also came across a blog about a guy with a Bristol Channel Cutter who replaced his rigging himself (Bristol Channel Cutter "Shanti" | A fine little yacht).

What I have learned:
- Rigging requires Dynex Dux, not regular Dyneema.
- You have to be very careful with bends - sharp bends dramatically reduce the strength. Thus the need for specialised fittings/adaptors.
- Tensioning is generally done with deadeyes - how cool is that?
- Lifespan is TBD - nobody knows, the stuff is so new. There was some initial concern about UV degradation, but I am seeing some contradictory report, with people claiming the UV degradation only affects the top few tenths of a mm. Clearly with early adopters now nearing 10 years, it is at least comparable to wire.
- Clear weight savings: may be a factor for some folk.
- Only downside I have seen reported is that synthetic rigging is more vulnerable to vandalism - a guy with a very sharp knife....

It'll be interesting to hear what others have to say.
 

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F.Y.I.
"Practical Sailor" and the U.S. Naval Academy are testing synthetic lifelines.

Long-term Test Evaluates Synthetic Lifelines - Practical Sailor Article

TL;DR --
Practical Sailor has launched a long-term, in-depth set of seatrials linked with lab testing at the U.S. Naval Academy to determine the value of high-modulus rope alternatives versus stainless-steel wire lifelines. In this first phase of the test, we look at the issues involved in transforming one of our test platforms, Technical Editor Ralph Naranjo's Ericson 41 sloop, from wire to Dyneema SK-75 lifelines.

For the first round of the comparison, we installed an HMPE 5.1-millimeter, special double-braid lifeline for the top lifeline and an Endura 12-strand single braid for the bottom. (The HMPE 5.1 is a prototype lifeline developed by New England Ropes; it is not yet on the retail market.)

Abrasion will become more of a concern, and each hard spot or contact point along the run of the line needs some consideration.

The bottom line is that there is a big difference between a sharp-edged hole drilled through a stainless-steel stanchion and a smoothly rounded lead at the top of the same stanchion. In some cases, what was an adequately smooth lead for stainless wire will need a bushing to protect the less abrasion-tolerant fiber rope. However, the good news is that an all-rope system is easy to set up and terminations can be made without the need for swage machines or specialized hardware.

New England Ropes, Samson, Colligo, and others offer splicing guidance on their websites, and for those who already do their own bury-type splices in double-braid line, there's no reason not to learn one of the Brummel type splices that offer an efficient way to eye splice in single-braid Dyneema/Spectra line. The new fiber makeover weighed mere ounces compared to the 10 pounds of wire and hardware he was abandoning, and yet, the breaking strength of the line was better than the 7-by-7 heavyweight stainless.

At the onset it seems to us that lashing, splicing, and stitching can ensure as much security in the system as one gains with a shackle and turnbuckle, perhaps even more. But the final answer to which is better lies in the longevity of the system and what type of dropoff we see as the rope ages or chafes and the marine environment takes its toll. We will carefully inspect lanyards and lashings, scrutinize metal on fiber chafe, UV, dust dirt, and the effect of atmospheric deposition-and then take our test lines to the lab and see what's left.
 

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Honestly, Dux rigging isn't particularly new, except in the monohull world.

Two years before I bought her, the PO of my last boat installed Dux rigging by Erik Précourt on 'our' F-27GS trimaran. I kept the Dux for eight years, and sold the boat with the rigging. As far as I know, the rigging is still going. That's 12 years, and I wasn't nearly the first with it. Lots of F-boats and other multihulls are and have been using Dux rigging.

Colligo isn't the first, either. Erik Précourt of Canada was an innovator of the technology.

Dux is a Hampidjan product, and you can buy your own and splice it up. There are other products. The key is to buy heat-treated, prestretched Dyneema.

If you look at Brion Toss' website, do a Google search, there are any number of tutes out there, forum discussions, etc on "Textile Rigging" is probably the search term you want to use.

Every line on my F-boat, including trampoline lacings and lifelines, was Dyneema, in fact Amsteel or other Samson line except for the Dux shrouds. In fact my lifelines were made of old bobstays when I replaced them. It was my experience that this stuff lasts for years after it gets fuzzy. I don't think there is any real solid data on longevity.

It's super easy to splice. The key is a fair taper and a long tail after the Brummel (70x diameter)

As far as cutting it, it's not that easy to cut, and there are covers available (also of HMPE) which would make that even more difficult. Serrated knives and special scissors are necessary. I've got a pair of Vampire Tools brand Kevlar shears that I find are good for doing work with HMPE

Bowsprit, with bobstay and martingales


Miz B with screacher up. Note the orange line behind the screacher - that's the Dux shrouds


Two-part halyards. Note the working end in the downhaul hook, and you can put a lighter line as the hauling part. I had downhauls like this for jib and for screacher.
 

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What I have learned:
- Rigging requires Dynex Dux, not regular Dyneema.
Dynex Dux is a brand name. Whatever you choose make sure it's heat set pre stretched dyneema. I sell NER's version of this and have done rigging on an 18' sportboat.

- You have to be very careful with bends - sharp bends dramatically reduce the strength. Thus the need for specialised fittings/adaptors.
Correct, also be very careful about chafe, add chafe protection where it makes sense.

- Tensioning is generally done with deadeyes - how cool is that?
This type of tensioning is ok for a cruising boat. But for the race boat I did, we chose to go with turnbuckles for more repeatable results. This was after talking to John, the owner of Colligo marine.

- Lifespan is TBD - nobody knows, the stuff is so new. There was some initial concern about UV degradation, but I am seeing some contradictory report, with people claiming the UV degradation only affects the top few tenths of a mm. Clearly with early adopters now nearing 10 years, it is at least comparable to wire.
The stuff does last a long time, but the strength does tend to drop over the years down to 50-60% before it levels out. I don't believe the "top layers" argument, because all the strands end up as a "top layer" at some point. Look at how rope is made.

- Only downside I have seen reported is that synthetic rigging is more vulnerable to vandalism - a guy with a very sharp knife....
Same could be said about a guy with a hack saw or cable cutters.

Any questions, ask away.

BTW - most top end race boats aren't using dux, they're using prefabbed carbon cables from future fibers(Volvo race) or carbo link (america's cup).
 

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As far as cutting it, it's not that easy to cut, and there are covers available (also of HMPE) which would make that even more difficult. Serrated knives and special scissors are necessary. I've got a pair of Vampire Tools brand Kevlar shears that I find are good for doing work with HMPE
I think I mentioned this elsewhere recently, have you tried using a knife with a ceramic blade? I'm using an ordinary ceramic kitchen knife from Harbor Freight when working with Amsteel or similar, it produces a very easy, straight cut...

There's even a guy making rigging knives now with ceramic blades, and Brion Toss calls them one of his "Latest Favorite Tools"...

Ceramicknife.org

 

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I think I mentioned this elsewhere recently, have you tried using a knife with a ceramic blade? I'm using an ordinary ceramic kitchen knife from Harbor Freight when working with Amsteel or similar, it produces a very easy, straight cut...

There's even a guy making rigging knives now with ceramic blades, and Brion Toss calls them one of his "Latest Favorite Tools"...

Ceramicknife.org

I've got one of these! LOVE IT! And a bunch of cheap plastic handled ceramic knives for the boat, my splicing bag and the kitchen.
 

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I think I mentioned this elsewhere recently, have you tried using a knife with a ceramic blade? I'm using an ordinary ceramic kitchen knife from Harbor Freight when working with Amsteel or similar, it produces a very easy, straight cut...

There's even a guy making rigging knives now with ceramic blades, and Brion Toss calls them one of his "Latest Favorite Tools"...

Ceramicknife.org

I actually helped on the design of that knife... It is absolutely my favorite rigging knife, and God is it beautiful.

Cutting this stuff really does take special tools. My high end kitchen knives will get 2-3 cuts before needing to be resharpened. The ceramic knife I have been carrying for about six months without resharpening (as an experament), and still cuts Dyneema well.
 

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They say if you do you own work it should cost about the same as wire, and subsequent replacements are cheaper as you don't have to replace the fittings.
I'm in the process of rerigging my Catalina 250 currently, while she's on the hard for the winter. I'm not sure I would agree with the above and widely mentioned statement. Perhaps this is just my experience, but the costs didn't seem to pan out for me. Mostly i think because I have t-ball fittings on the mast. I suspect you might see the same issue if you have stem-ball with rod rigging.

Just for comparision sake (and i make no pledge of 100% accuracy on this), my boat is 25', has two shrouds, a forestay, and backstay. average lengths are ~30ft or so.

fully swaged rigging is ~$500-$750
swagged uppers with hi-mod lowers ~$1000-$1200
colligo synthetic with deadeyes ~$2000-$2500

what killed the costs was the fittings. the colligo fittings are a work of art and probably very strong. their also very expensive, when compared to swag or compression fittings. I'm going to go with the swagged uppers and compression lowers, mostly because i can do most of the work myself and save some money, rather then fully swaged.

I would absolutely love to go syntetic. i purchased a short length of dux and put a riggers eye into it with a brummel splice. i fully trust the safety of the line and rigging style (even my sloppy first splice).

My boat only cost $8k (she's a '96) when i got it, so to spend $2k on rigging seems a bit off balance. Since i haven't purchased anything just yet, i'd love to be proven wrong on this. i think synthetic is the way of the furture. sadly i might have to wait a few more years till the price draws down.
 

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Why do T-Ball fittings on the mast increase the cost? T-Ball hooks with eyes are not very dear. Some are way better than others.
 

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Why do T-Ball fittings on the mast increase the cost? T-Ball hooks with eyes are not very dear. Some are way better than others.
perhaps i mispoke, my statement is not that the t-balls are the sole increase in cost. it was more a statement about all the fittings as a whole.

but to answer more directly. per the colligo website, you'd need one of their special t-ball to fork and an eye splice fitting. a bolt runs through the t-ball fitting and the eye to secure the two. and then a brummel splice goes around the eye to provide the correct bend radius.

each one of those fittings is ~$50-$75. a swaged fitting is ~$10-$20. norsemen used to make swageless fittings for t-ball which were around ~$50, but they've stopped making all swageless fittings. no one else makes a t-ball swageless apparently.
 

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Don't forget that once you purchase the deadeyes/textile fittings, you will only then replace the textile. Barring some sort of incident, the fittings should last the boat.

Turnbuckles, IIRC, are replacement items, are they not? And you certainly have to replace swaged fittings when installing new wire-rope

I suspect in the long term that it's either a wash or the textile might come out slightly ahead as far as replacement price, never mind the weight savings
 

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perhaps i mispoke, my statement is not that the t-balls are the sole increase in cost. it was more a statement about all the fittings as a whole.

but to answer more directly. per the colligo website, you'd need one of their special t-ball to fork and an eye splice fitting. a bolt runs through the t-ball fitting and the eye to secure the two. and then a brummel splice goes around the eye to provide the correct bend radius.

each one of those fittings is ~$50-$75. a swaged fitting is ~$10-$20. norsemen used to make swageless fittings for t-ball which were around ~$50, but they've stopped making all swageless fittings. no one else makes a t-ball swageless apparently.
I was looking at stemball fittings as my Isomat spar has them. If I remember correctly, sta-loc makes them but they weren't cheap by any means. I'm probably going to rerig next year, and I'm looking hard at synthetic for my boat. With an upper, intermediate, and lower shrouds, plus a baby stay and back stay. The head stay and Staysail stay will be ss cable as I have hank on sails now.. I'd save huge in weight, as all are at least 7/16". I just haven't seen anything yet on the larger boats, so I'm still in my infancy regarding research and prices comparison.

- Ronnie...on the geaux
 

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I was looking at stemball fittings as my Isomat spar has them. If I remember correctly, sta-loc makes them but they weren't cheap by any means. I'm probably going to rerig next year, and I'm looking hard at synthetic for my boat. With an upper, intermediate, and lower shrouds, plus a baby stay and back stay. The head stay and Staysail stay will be ss cable as I have hank on sails now.. I'd save huge in weight, as all are at least 7/16". I just haven't seen anything yet on the larger boats, so I'm still in my infancy regarding research and prices comparison.

- Ronnie...on the geaux
Is there a reason you don't like soft shackels? I re rigged my boat 3 years ago with Staylocks next time I will use synthetic. I think the boat would sail better with less weight aloft. I think you will see more and more traditional boats going this way soon for the added sailing characteristics, ease of use long term cost savings. It also happens to look really cool and is super fun to make.
 

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Is there a reason you don't like soft shackels? I re rigged my boat 3 years ago with Staylocks next time I will use synthetic. I think the boat would sail better with less weight aloft. I think you will see more and more traditional boats going this way soon for the added sailing characteristics, ease of use long term cost savings. It also happens to look really cool and is super fun to make.
I have, and I could make them, but I have brass hanks now on my 4 headsails and I don't want to pay to have them all changed to something to accommodate soft shackles. And I'd don't want to put the soft shackles on the brass hanks as that is just too many moving parts for something simple. I'll eventually get a furler for the headstay so no reason to go synthetic there either.

Also, I think I'll go with turnbuckles at the chainplates.. Unless it's obviously cheaper to use the deadeyes. Though I agree that would look pretty neat to have the modern deadeyes.

- Ronnie...on the geaux
 
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