Standing rigging corroding after 2 years

AnnelyR

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That is exactly what the OP has done as explained in the original post. It was not successful for the reasons I suggested in my post. It is extremely difficult to get anywhere with this sort of claim because you have to prove something that is almost "unprovable" - that is the product was not suitable for the job or that it failed to perform in the manner expected. Surviving 15000 miles of ocean cruising in all weathers without failing suggests it was adequate. The complaint is about the staining and apparent magnetism, neither of which seem to have affected performance. As the OP says, all he has for support is the opinion of a rigger - no evidence of the specification required, whether it was made correctly nor tests of failure for example.
I do wonder if we could use the expertise (or the lack of it) as an argument - i.e. being a customer with no expert knowledge against parties that possess that knowledge - one says you need new rigging, the other (manufacturer) says it's entirely normal and presumably still okay for another 7-8 years - how can we tell who's right? Perhaps that could work in our favour if we ended up taking the Claims Court route? It's unreasonable that one has to become an expert in order to determine the right course of action, as seems to be the situation without a regulatory body.
 
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Roberto

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I had my mast dropped at 5 years & the rigger confirmed everything Ok except the forestay- which I was changing anyway. The new forestay plus survey of the rig cost me circa £250 which I sent to the insurance co to demonstrate regular maintenance.
Ok, I should have added "taking full financial responsibility". If something breaks it's on the insurance. Like after an insurance survey, no surveyor would take the responsibility of hidden faults like accepting responsibility "this keel will not fall, this rudder will not break, if it breaks I'll pay for it, there are plenty of limiting statements "after visual examination... from what can be ascertained... and so on. Risk transfer.
A very serious examination of a sailboat rigging would cost several times its replacement, apparently there are also magnetic machines which can detect the conditions of the inner strands of a cable, fascinating :) , much better to sell a new one.
A long time ago I had that with a rod stay (old racingboat), we suspected a damage as we had been pumping too much hydraulics, nothing apparent to visual inspection, the manufacturer said its technical examination (iirc something with ultrasounds, possibly) would have cost way above the replacement.
 

Buck Turgidson

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I had my mast dropped at 5 years & the rigger confirmed everything Ok except the forestay- which I was changing anyway. The new forestay plus survey of the rig cost me circa £250 which I sent to the insurance co to demonstrate regular maintenance.
I had a rigging visual inspection in Feb. Insurance accepted it and added my rig to the insurance which had previously been excluded.
 

Bobc

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Thank you all for your helpful suggestions and sharing your knowledge, much appreciated! There are some very valid points and it could certainly be worth getting the wire composition analysed and also opinions from other rigging companies.
The original rigger (one man operation) seems to be as stressed about the situation as we are. He claims that he has never had a case like this in his 30+ year career, doesn't know what to do and is on the verge of giving up his trade! We have asked for his professional opinion on the condition of the wire and to arrange for Seago to carry out assessment of the rigging for structural safety, but no joy so far.
That being the case, get him on your side and work with him to get Seago to take resppnsibility for it.
 

AnnelyR

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Depends on how you define "accuracy". He says the wire shows signs of corrosion and is magnetic. This may well be an accurate description, but it does not say anything about whether the product was suitable for the application or whether it has failed to perform as expected. Those are the tests the court will apply if any claim is to be successful. An "opinion" even when it comes from somebody who specialises in fitting the product is simply not enough. Remember also his opinion is that the product in its current state is not fit for further use. For the claim to be successful it needs to show that it was unsuitable right from the beginning.
Given the relatively short time period - 1/5 of the life expectancy - it could be argued that the fault may have been there to start with (unless there are signs of misuse). Corrosion is clearly weakening the wire and therefore reducing its fitness for purpose. We would be happy to contribute 20%, i.e. the benefit that we have enjoyed, and receive 80% towards the new rigging.
 
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Daydream believer

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I had a rigging visual inspection in Feb. Insurance accepted it and added my rig to the insurance which had previously been excluded.
Which, like me, as a responsible owner, you have taken the advice of an expert as to the condition of the rig. I think that most insurance companies would be more than happy with that. I also felt happier that a rigger whom I trusted had given it the all clear.
The company concerned had earlier re rigged the Cutty Sark after the fire. I think that being selected for such work, would demonstrate a level of competence suitable for my yachts needs.
 

flaming

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I'm not sure you should put too much store on the replace at 10 year thing. That's really designed as a good catch all average. High use boats should replace their rigging significantly more frequently. My boat is 12 years old, and parts of its rigging have been replaced twice to my knowledge, maybe more. Part of the backstay was replaced this year after an inspection, and that was 18 months old. And we barely leave the Solent...

I'd be really seeking to understand why this has happened to the rigging as much as I'd be pointing fingers.
 

Roberto

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I'm not sure you should put too much store on the replace at 10 year thing. That's really designed as a good catch all average. High use boats should replace their rigging significantly more frequently. My boat is 12 years old, and parts of its rigging have been replaced twice to my knowledge, maybe more. Part of the backstay was replaced this year after an inspection, and that was 18 months old. And we barely leave the Solent...

The Navtec guide gives some interesting indications about type/frequency of checks, replacement etc depending on type of boats, rigs, use, etc
https://theriggingco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/rigging-navtec-service.pdf
 

Tranona

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Given the relatively short time period - 1/5 of the life expectancy - it could be argued that the fault may have been there to start with (unless there are signs of misuse). Corrosion is clearly weakening the wire and therefore reducing its fitness for purpose. We would be happy to contribute 20%, i.e. the benefit that we have enjoyed, and receive 80% towards the new rigging.
No. There is no pre determined life of rigging wire. That is the nature of the product. You have done more miles in your 14 months than most people do in a lifetime. Your 1/5 is just your view, There is no evidence to support you having used 1/5th of its life. SS wire invariably fails unexpectedly, but there is some evidence that age is a contributory factor as there is also fatigue and corrosion within swaged fittings. If the wire was made to specification then it was fit for purpose. There is AFAIK no standard for rigging wire and as you have seen from other contributors more than one grade of SS wire can be used. Pretty sure that both Seago and the manufacturer will be able to demonstrate the the wire has been used extensively for yacht rigging and that it is made to a similar specification to that of other manufacturers.

Your wire has not failed so it was fit for purpose when it was fitted. I suspect that if you have it tested it will meet the original specification in terms of material and breaking strain because it does not necessarily degrade progressively in a linear way over time. This uncertainty about life and cause of failures (as I explained earlier) is why there is no defined life in either time or usage and why insurers use different criteria for requiring change before giving cover. 10 years seems to be a consensus about the age after which failures are more common, as are particular types of usage like racing and what you did - ocean cruising.

TBH your problem is that you will never be able to prove that the wire was substandard when it was fitted and almost certainly there is probably nothing wrong with it now in terms of fitness for purpose. Your new rigger has "condemned" it for reasons that he doe not seem to be able to show have resulted in an increased probability of failure. If no inspection of the rigging had been carried out you would likely not have contemplated changing it and continued to sail with it for years.

Your post#41 sums up the problem. You have 2 "experts" that disagree and unfortunately Seago and the wire manufacturer will trump the local rigger if it comes to court. As I said earlier - a rabbit hole awaits. The test is whether the wire was right when it was fitted - not its condition now. The onus under the law you want to use is on you to show that it was not. Honestly you will never be able to do that because the wire is no longer new. Seago will be able to show that it met "standards" when it was new.
 
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Roberto

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Did that get replaced under warranty?
No, actually never heard about replacements being made, either under warranty or with payment.
They are usually cleaned with oxalic acid and/or passivated by phosphoric acid based products, the durability of the ensuing shinyness varies, I guess depending upon the exact type of steel or external contamination.
A number of these boats have also sailed 10k or more miles, no dismasting I am aware of.
 

2Tizwoz

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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.
Nickel prices have risen so different grades are being used. This sounds like this may be the result.
 

William_H

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Without any real skill but a little experience my opinion is that life of rigging wire seems to depend on time on or off the boat. ie after first dousing with salt water. Not related to actual sailing time racing or cruising. As said magnetic properties and surface discolouration may not matter to life before failing. ol'will
 

Refueler

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I'm not sure you should put too much store on the replace at 10 year thing. That's really designed as a good catch all average. High use boats should replace their rigging significantly more frequently. My boat is 12 years old, and parts of its rigging have been replaced twice to my knowledge, maybe more. Part of the backstay was replaced this year after an inspection, and that was 18 months old. And we barely leave the Solent...

I'd be really seeking to understand why this has happened to the rigging as much as I'd be pointing fingers.

My 25 is 1973 ..... I bought in about 2000 .... as far as I know it may have had new rigging before my ownership - but has only had one cap shroud replaced in my ownership due to an incident involving a dock and when mast was down .... rest is still as 2000.

It has no corrosion signs ... all appears as good as ...

This life of rigging matter is really down to a) is the rig over-engineered as most sub 30ft are .... b) subject to serious use as in racing in hard weather / conditions .... c) even to frequent mast up / down operations ....

I would suggest that many boats have rig replaced well before any need to ... in fact I would suggest that many could happily sail on for 2 .. 3x the life they changed at ... BUT if the standard of the material is reducing - then that becomes a factor.
 

MAURICE

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Its amazing how many suspension bridges get closed after ten years in order to replace the support wires. Just saying for a friend
 

vyv_cox

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Its amazing how many suspension bridges get closed after ten years in order to replace the support wires. Just saying for a friend
The ones I am aware of were closed when broken strands became apparent. Exactly the same rule applies with rigging. Broken strands are the first sign that fatigue is taking place.

No bridges I am aware of were closed because the wires looked slightly rusty.
 
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