Standing rigging corroding after 2 years

AnnelyR

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We had a new standing rigging installed on our Moody 44 in July 2021 in preparation for some long distance cruising. We spent the following year in Port Solent getting her ready and finally cast off the lines in June 2022. We completed the Atlantic circuit and returned 15 months later, having completed 15,000 nautical miles.
Our mast track had snapped during the crossing on the way back and we decided to get a local rigging company to replace it. They also surveyed the rigging. We fully expected there to be a few minor advisories, but what we didn’t anticipate was a damning report advising to replace all the rigging wire together with the terminals! The reason – corrosion and magnetism of the rigging wire.
Their argument seemed convincing – wires were showing signs of discolouration all over and a piece of magnet would easily stick to it, something that should not happen with stainless steel (or so we are told).
Rigging was removed in November and we got in touch with the ex-Moody rigger who had installed it back in 2021. He suggested contacting Seago, the supplier of the wire, which we did. A representative came out to inspect and reported that the discolouration was emanating from corroded terminals (not supplied by Seago). This was clearly not the case as corrosion is spread evenly all over the wire and terminals are not corroded. We took a short video demonstrating the discolouration and the extent of magnetism (magnet sticks and stays on) and sent it to the Technical Director at Seago. On the phone, he admitted that there was a problem and agreed to send a sample to their factory in South Korea (Kos) for testing. Admittedly, we didn’t have a lot of faith in the objectivity of this undertaking, but having nothing to lose, we agreed.
Just over 5 weeks later we got a response via our Moody rigger (Seago will no longer communicate with us, saying that our contract is with the Moody chap), which confirmed our fears. They quoted the statement received from their factory:

"As you know, stainless steel has better corrosion resistance compared to galvanized material, but it is not ‘100% corrosion free.’
As you have mentioned that the wire was in use for years + the marine environment, the corrosion should be a natural phenomenon after a period of time.
Depending on the environment and treatment, the time of corrosion would greatly differ”.

This appears to be someone's visual observation and not a test result. There is no technical data.
It claims that the wire was in use for years. Our rigging was installed in July 2021 and the boat was subsequently in a locked marina for a year before setting sail in June 2022. We returned in August 2023 after 14 months of sailing.
To us, this does not constitute as "being in use for years".
There are no official guidelines specifying how often standing rigging needs replacing. Commonly accepted industry standard appears to be 10-12 years and for insurance purposes every 10 years. There doesn’t seem to be any stipulation as to the milage. I accept that we have done a lot of miles in one year, however, many boats do much more over a 10-12 year period and in much tougher conditions. All those sailors setting off to circumnavigate, are they supposed to change their rigging several times during the voyage in order to stay safe? This does not seem reasonable.

Seago then went on saying:

"The inference of the above statement I would take is that Kos are of the opinion the wire is in a condition they would expect given the age, the environment and use.
The factory will never give an opinion as to the structural integrity of the rigging based solely on a sample of cut wire."

Conveniently, they are not prepared to comment on the structural integrity or safety, based on a sample, but neither are they offering to inspect the rigging properly.

We feel that we have come up against a brick wall. Who would give us independent advice on how to deal with this? There is no regulatory body to approach for help. Everyone involved has vested interests and getting additional surveys would add to the cost.
We have, very reluctantly, made a decision to pay for the replacement rigging as we would otherwise miss out on this sailing season without a guarantee of a fair conclusion. The most ironic thing is that (allegedly) most rigging companies in the UK (including ours) source their wire from the same factory in Korea. We feel that one of the parties may not be entirely honest with us (either the rigging company is exaggerating the problem or Seago/Kos are playing it down), however, both will now benefit from this situation.
According to the UK consumer law, giving consideration to the value of the goods, the life expectancy of a product such as this should be at least 6 years. If it fails during that period, then it is our legal right to seek for compensation. However, unless the survey declares the rigging “not fit for purpose”, it could be interpreted merely as an opinion and not a proof that it is, indeed, faulty.
Even if we did get a second, hopefully independent opinion, would they testify that the rigging wire is not fit for purpose, given that they all use the same supplier and presumably wouldn’t want to tarnish their relationship over our case?
We would very much welcome any advice or suggestions. It would also be interesting to hear if anyone has faced a similar predicament with their rigging.
Thanks in advance.
 

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Daydream believer

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I understand that you can get Swedish wire as I made enquiries some years ago for a commercial balustrade project in a large retail park. That was 30 years ago & I no longer have the details. But it may be worth further investigation if you are so minded.
 

Bobc

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That's why you should use a company such as Allspar.

Some of the "cheaper" riggers tend to use cheap steel from the far east, and the problem with using a small business, is that there's no point in taking them to court, as they don't have the money to pay out anyway.

Not having a dig at the OP here, and feel very sorry for him, but it's a lesson to everyone else.
 

Daydream believer

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That's why you should use a company such as Allspar.

Some of the "cheaper" riggers tend to use cheap steel from the far east, and the problem with using a small business, is that there's no point in taking them to court, as they don't have the money to pay out anyway.

Not having a dig at the OP here, and feel very sorry for him, but it's a lesson to everyone else.
Whilst the actual rigger may be a small company, Seago are not. So you cannot blame the rigger if he did buy from them, as he would expect them to be a reputable supplier.
But point taken about redress.
 

Rum Run

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Hopefully someone with more knowledge of metallurgy than I will chip in, but certainly I would not expect wire made from 316 stainless to attract a magnet or show that colour over that much surface.
If you are going to pursue a claim on anyone, you could get a piece of your failed wire analysed by a consulting metallurgy lab to find out if it is in specification for 316.
Paging @vyv_cox
 
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Daydream believer

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Hopefully someone with more knowledge of metallurgy than I will chip in, but certainly I would not expect wire made from 316 stainless to attract a magnet or show that colour over that much surface.
If you are going to pursue a claim on anyone, you could get a piece of your failed wire analysed by a consulting metallurgy lab to find out if it is in specification for 316.
If it is not, who is the OP going to sue for damages? Plus one might ask if 316 was actually specified- A simple assumption legal loop hole
 

Rum Run

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If it is not, who is the OP going to sue for damages? Plus one might ask if 316 was actually specified- A simple assumption legal loop hole
The firm they paid to do the rigging, who will have liability insurance, who will perhaps claim against the wire supplier on the basis of not being fit for purpose, who will maybe be more careful about their goods being to spec.
Even if no action is taken, the OP will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are not imagining things.
Fair point about the original spec, but yacht standing rigging "is" either 316 or galvanised wire. Does anyone make non-316 wire?
 

vyv_cox

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Rigging wire is hard drawn to increase its strength. Wire is pulled through dies that are smaller than its diameter. In some cases, perhaps due to less than perfect lubrication, minute laps are formed at the surface, which in marine atmospheres cause crevice corrosion, staining as in the photo. In most cases this is harmless surface staining that can be removed by polishing.

Good quality 300 series stainless steel can become magnetically attracted by heating. The most common example is drillings that will often be magnetic. I rather doubt that hard drawing could generate sufficiently high temperature for this but I have never tested rigging wire to find out.

Overall I suspect that the wire may not be the best that has ever been produced but I doubt that its failure is imminent. Of course, the owner may not be happy with this assessment and would prefer to replace it.
 

MAURICE

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Wow that looks worse than my rigging which has been on my boat for 14 years now. I will be changing it this year and probably use Jimmy green. I have heard it say that new rigging is not as good as they used to make it.
 

vyv_cox

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The firm they paid to do the rigging, who will have liability insurance, who will perhaps claim against the wire supplier on the basis of not being fit for purpose, who will maybe be more careful about their goods being to spec.
Even if no action is taken, the OP will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are not imagining things.
Fair point about the original spec, but yacht standing rigging "is" either 316 or galvanised wire. Does anyone make non-316 wire?
Most stainless rigging wire is made in 302 but several other grades are also used.
 

vyv_cox

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Rigging wire is hard drawn to increase its strength. Wire is pulled through dies that are smaller than its diameter. In some cases, perhaps due to less than perfect lubrication, minute laps are formed at the surface, which in marine atmospheres cause crevice corrosion, staining as in the photo. In most cases this is harmless surface staining that can be removed by polishing.

Good quality 300 series stainless steel can become magnetically attracted by heating. The most common example is drillings that will often be magnetic. I rather doubt that hard drawing could generate sufficiently high temperature for this but I have never tested rigging wire to find out.

Overall I suspect that the wire may not be the best that has ever been produced but I doubt that its failure is imminent. Of course, the owner may not be happy with this assessment and would prefer to replace it.
I now find that cold working AISI 302 stainless steel causes it to become magnetic.
302 Stainless Steel - Penn Stainless
 

flaming

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I now find that cold working AISI 302 stainless steel causes it to become magnetic.
302 Stainless Steel - Penn Stainless
You can do that to 304 and 316 if you hit it hard enough....

If I was the OP I'd be trying to find other boats rigged with the same wire at roughly the same time and seeing if they have the same issues. The fact that this boat has done an Atlantic circuit has put it in rather different atmospheric conditions to a similar boat rigged at the same time with the same wire that stayed in UK waters.

As an aside, the date of re-rigging is also raising alarm bells with me. July 2021, at the back end of the Pandemic, was an awful time to be buying steel. As someone who buys it in 40 tonne drops, it was incredibly hard to get decent supply on acceptable lead times from mid 2020 until basically mid 2022. This was because the mills shut at the start of covid, and took some time to come back online and back up to full production. For us lead times went from 6-8 weeks to over 9 months. Over 12 months for some of our more unusual small usage items. It's only been in the last 9 months or so that we've seen more normal lead times.
So I'd also be asking if the wire used was perhaps not from the manufacturers usual source. Or if perhaps it had been sat around for some time...
 

flaming

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302 and 304 are very similar except that 302 has slightly more carbon, so no surprise that they behave the same. It is usually said that 316 will not become magnetic even with massive cold working but I see no reason why not.
We make screws out of 304 and 316, cold headed and then thread rolled. So worked pretty hard... The 304 won't stick to a magnet, but you can sort of tell that there's some attraction. Not so with 316. So I guess you'd have to hit 316 really really hard....
 

Rum Run

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I've got a reel of 6mm 1x19 from S3i at work, I'll put a magnet on it and see.
I checked this with the magnetic base for a DTI and there was no noticeable attraction. Also tested some 316L bar that had a weld on it and there was no attraction to that either.
I'm surprised to see 302 and 304 being quoted. I bought from here : Stainless Steel Wire Rope | S3i Group
 
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