Standing rigging failures.

BurnitBlue

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It does seem that recomendations to install new rigging wires after 10 years is a statistical event. I have heard of masts going overboard because of the failure of standing rigging within two years of new. Perhaps twenty years of good service, then mast overboard after a few years new replacement.

Has any thought been given to redundency to allow rigging to survive a failure until repair can be carried out. As an extreme I am thinking of four spare chainplates to Dyneema. Perhaps just a short link to short out the terminals and rigging screws.to a spare chainplate.

Just an idle query based on an insurance demand to install new s/s wires on my Snowgoose. So many other items that could sink a yacht. Ten year old hoses, through hulls, etc etc.for a start.
 

srm

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When I extended my cover from UK for a cruise to the Azores the new policy document included a warranty that the rigging was less than ten years old.

Before year ten renewal, with the same insurer, they required an out of water survey. At this time the rigging was just ten years old but the surveyor did not require replacement, just that it was checked. Insurance was renewed on the basis of this survey despite the boat being based in the Azores.

Somewhat inconsistent.
 

steveeasy

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Not entirely sure what the question the OP is asking, but I suspect if a item fails while sailing its highly likely there will be too much time to rig something to keep it standing unless your very lucky.
I think the general consensus within insurance is that by replacing standing rigging every 10 years the chance of rig failure and therefore the cost to insurance companies is reduced. I do now wonder if this is the best policy. Perhaps a better requirement would be to have the rig and standing rigging fully inspected every 5 years and items deamed at greater risk rectified.

For instance one can renew their standing rigging and potentially have inferior materials supplied or used that has a shorter lifspan than what they originally had in place. Replacing standing rigging does in no way address any of the other parts of the rigging which can lead to failure. The mast structure, its fittings, the back and forestay chainplates. Shroud chainplates. there are so many items that can lead to failure of a rig and it begs the question how many times is standing rigging alone replaced and the rig still fails because another critical item was overlooked.

My Contessa 32 has its own weakspot. the original outer shroud chainplates have a round bar that goes thru a knee.. A nut then is fitted to tighten the chainplate. Due to the bar not having a flat surface for the nut to seat on to it can weaken the nut. if this fails the rig would most likely fail. The chainplate may well be fine, but the nut may well be not. So I could spend £2000 on new standing rigging when new chainplates or even a new nut may well have been a wiser and indeed much cheaper purchase. My last boat I replaced all the standing rigging but afterwards questioned if I should have indeed had the rig inspected first and replaced more critical items at greater risk.

How many rig failures are actually caused by the standing rigging wire failing, or is it that other components actually lead to the majority or rig failures. would be good if some data existed on the matter.

Steveeasy
 

BurnitBlue

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Not quite sure myself what i hope to gain from this discussion. The study of metals and their fatigue limits are well outside my knowledge. I have picked up a startling fact though, that stainless steel rigging wire has a variable shelf life either in use or idle. This means to my view that stainless steel wire rigging is a time bomb on all yachts. Does galvanised wire steel rigging suffer from such sudden failure or can it be monitored to map the deteriation?

Same possible inspection advantage to monitor Dyneema rope rigging.

I believe "blue dye" can make fatigue visible in stainless steel but with no certainty.

So I guess I am just casting around for some enlightenment regarding this subject. In particular, new metal atributes, or simply switch to galvanised steel or even rope (non-stretch). What about flexible stainless steel as used on halyards. Would that be better?
 

Stemar

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If it's any consolation to those worried about the life of their rigs, the standing rigging on Jazzcat when I bought her a couple of years ago was the original from 1984. I'm pretty sure it would have been fine, but thought it better not to put the sails up until it was replaced.
 

DownWest

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Rummy lost his mast recently due to hidden crevice corrosion in a chainplate.
I think that the problem with SS wire, is that it is not obvious when it is weakening, unless a strand is loose. I did have trouble with faulty swages, after one bust (inner forestay, so mast stayed up.) Rig was 10 yrs, old, but had done a RTW.
 

Frank Holden

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I've only lost one mast, 8yo boat. Tball thingo on the top of the port lower, less than 15 knots of breeze 700 miles offshore..
That was 1994. 9 years later replaced all standing rigging before departing Australia for Chile. All good, acting on information received replaced all 4 of the staple thingos ( a sort of chainplate through the deck bit of nonsense Westerly thought were a good idea for Sealords ) in Buenos Aires in 2010. Rolling replacement of all standing rigging between 2013/15.

Nearly lost my second mast on the way from Tonga to NZ in 2014. Hardest passage I have ever done. Bloody great bang as one leg of the tang on the stbd lower gave way. Mast held, tacked and jury rigged.
Replaced all tangs with far meater ones in NZ and Staloks throughout at deck level.

Arrived back in Chile in 2016 to find broken strands in the lowers where the wires entered the swages. The wires had 12000 miles max on them.
Replaced Tballs on the mast with Tangs sourced from the UK.

Moral of the story? Do not ignore your lowers - the hardest working part of your rig.
 

john_morris_uk

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I've only lost one mast, 8yo boat. Tball thingo on the top of the port lower, less than 15 knots of breeze 700 miles offshore..
That was 1994. 9 years later replaced all standing rigging before departing Australia for Chile. All good, acting on information received replaced all 4 of the staple thingos ( a sort of chainplate through the deck bit of nonsense Westerly thought were a good idea for Sealords ) in Buenos Aires in 2010. Rolling replacement of all standing rigging between 2013/15.

Nearly lost my second mast on the way from Tonga to NZ in 2014. Hardest passage I have ever done. Bloody great bang as one leg of the tang on the stbd lower gave way. Mast held, tacked and jury rigged.
Replaced all tangs with far meater ones in NZ and Staloks throughout at deck level.

Arrived back in Chile in 2016 to find broken strands in the lowers where the wires entered the swages. The wires had 12000 miles max on them.
Replaced Tballs on the mast with Tangs sourced from the UK.

Moral of the story? Do not ignore your lowers - the hardest working part of your rig.
After all new standing rigging two years ago, we’ve had to replace both our aft lowers on our Westerly Sealord as well.

Strands had broken at the tang fitting halfway up the mast. This was after a transatlantic and some fairly hard sailing in the Caribbean tradewinds. I suspect that the rigging wasn’t tensioned up enough as we’d relied on the rigger to set the tension, and I’ve noticed that the lowers were going slightly slack and working when we were hard on the wind.

By the way, we’ve also replaced all those lower ‘U bolt’ chain plates with much meatier ones as per advice via yacht Camomile and the Westerly Owners associations
 

fredrussell

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After all new standing rigging two years ago, we’ve had to replace both our aft lowers on our Westerly Sealord as well.

Strands had broken at the tang fitting halfway up the mast…
Do you mean lowers or intermediates? I only ask as my lowers terminate at mast way lower than half way. This on a double spreader rig, 12.5 metre mast, so smaller than yours I’m guessing.

Edit: My error, googled your boat - single spreader rig. With this in mind I’m wondering if Frank’s comment of lowers being hardest working shrouds applies to double spreader rigs too?
 

geem

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We had a babystay break strands after about 9 years and 33, 000nm. I replaced the babystay with 10mm compact strand and Stalok fittings. Last year we were at 11 years on the rig but 37,000nm. Aft lower port hand stay had two broken strands. This mileage incudes a 3 Atlantic crossings and plenty of vigorous sailing in between. Our rig is substantial for a 44ft boat so we did regular inspections after any long passages.
We made the decision after the additional strand failures last year, to replace the rig. We did this wire at a time with the mast up here in the Caribbean. All 12mm wire with Stalok fittings.
If you are doing high mileage, it makes a mockery of the 10 year rule but it is a good idea to carryout regularly rig inspections. I am sure there are yachts doing little mileage that could carry the same rig safely well over 10 years but at least an annual inspection would make sense.
In my experience, the first wires to experience strand failure at the terminals are the short wires. These have the least available stretch. Aft lowers and babystays always go first
 

BurnitBlue

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I had a meeting with Panteanous at the Goteborg boat show last week. I was trying to arrange Third party only until I could launch mid summer. They demanded a survey with rig inspection or replacement if 10 year old. I queried this as I thought Third party was independent of boat condition.

Not anymore I was told. If the boat sank and it was my fault due to the consequencies of a failure of an item, then the global warming crowd and environment protection folk would target the deep pockets of the insurance company for wreck removal which can be unbelievably expensive.

Fair enough, I don't blame them for protecting themselves. The days when it was OK to "walk" away from a wreck are long gone apparantly. For goodness sake, last time I was in the Caribbean there was a bloody great big cruise ship sitting on a reef just offshore. Still there years later.
 

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Several rigging failures on YouTube recently that I've seen documented. One normal rigging with unknown failure, one brand new dyneema with abrasion and one new rigging but an old chainplate snapped off at deck level seemingly due to poor design. Seems like there's no great solution other than very regular inspection and even then no guarantees.
 

Tranona

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I had a meeting with Panteanous at the Goteborg boat show last week. I was trying to arrange Third party only until I could launch mid summer. They demanded a survey with rig inspection or replacement if 10 year old. I queried this as I thought Third party was independent of boat condition.

Not anymore I was told. If the boat sank and it was my fault due to the consequencies of a failure of an item, then the global warming crowd and environment protection folk would target the deep pockets of the insurance company for wreck removal which can be unbelievably expensive.

Fair enough, I don't blame them for protecting themselves. The days when it was OK to "walk" away from a wreck are long gone apparantly. For goodness sake, last time I was in the Caribbean there was a bloody great big cruise ship sitting on a reef just offshore. Still there years later.
That is because of the high cost of wreck removal and environmental clear up costs. This used to be standard in third party cover without a survey but seems increasingly common for insurers to ask for a survey. This is also probably related to where you are located as Greece ha much more stringent insurance requirements laid down by law leaving insurers no option but be more selective about what cover they offer.
 

BurnitBlue

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Several rigging failures on YouTube recently that I've seen documented. One normal rigging with unknown failure, one brand new dyneema with abrasion and one new rigging but an old chainplate snapped off at deck level seemingly due to poor design. Seems like there's no great solution other than very regular inspection and even then no guarantees.
Yes I have noticed that apparant increase in yachts being dismasted mid -ocean. Three ncidents this year where two managed 2,000 nm under jury rig. Another sat back and got towed in (100 nm I think). The obvious inference is wrong grade stainless wire bought in non marine stores. I am tempted to use Jimmy Green. Pity about them being the wrong side of EU and Brexit. No opinion about galvanised steel wire yet. Dyneema does not seem a solution. Oh just read about the german yacht Jambo. One dismasting made port under engine. Since then boat sank in similar circumstancies in South Atlantic.
 

BurnitBlue

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That is because of the high cost of wreck removal and environmental clear up costs. This used to be standard in third party cover without a survey but seems increasingly common for insurers to ask for a survey. This is also probably related to where you are located as Greece ha much more stringent insurance requirements laid down by law leaving insurers no option but be more selective about what cover they offer.
Not to mention Turkey where a drip of outboard motor petrol will generate a substantial fine. Goodness knows how much a full blown environmental clean-up will cost. BTW the premium for third party at Panteanous was 1000 kr plus 33% surcharge for Greece. Fully comp was around 2,500 sek so the two premiums are closing up.

Anyway I am moving towards a deep inspection and replaceing dodgy wires with new using Sta-lock terminals one at a time. Just ordered a grigri and ascender from Amazon for a leisurely but deep inspection of the rig in situ.
 

geem

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Last year as part of our rig replacement, we ordered Hayn rigging toggles for our existing bottles crews. The bottlescews are only 5 years old. We fitted the new wires, Staloks and toggles. 2 months later whilst sailing around the North East Coast of Antigua, on a leeshore under full canvas, I was on deck. I noticed a dirty rust mark on one of the new Hayn toggles. I wiped my finger over the dark brown rust stain and cut my finger! I realised the rust stain was actually a crack. We dropped the genoa and motored with eased main into an anchorage and checked everything. All 4 new toggles showed similar rust staining. To cut a long story short, we got our money back and installed Stalok toggles. These look better made and far more robust than the crappy Hayn stuff. New is not always better
 

Frank Holden

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Do you mean lowers or intermediates? I only ask as my lowers terminate at mast way lower than half way. This on a double spreader rig, 12.5 metre mast, so smaller than yours I’m guessing.

Edit: My error, googled your boat - single spreader rig. With this in mind I’m wondering if Frank’s comment of lowers being hardest working shrouds applies to double spreader rigs too?
The rig I lost was single spreader, replaced with double spreader so essentially all my comments refer to double spreader.
 

Supertramp

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I have always wondered, usually when hard onto a strong wind and seas, why yacht masts don't have more duplication of stays so that if one goes, there is more of a chance that everything stays up. Twin forestays, twin backstays, runners, double lowers, intermediates if twin spreaders. No doubt expensive and heavy but would allow a failure without risk of losing the lot.

The absolute strength of stays and chainplates in good defect free condition is way in excess of the loads (on a cruising boat). Its when there is corrosion or a defect that one stay can give way often leading to loss of rig.

The only time I experienced a failure was of an aft lower shroud on a boat with twin lowers. We were crossing the channel to windward in fresh conditions overnight and as dawn broke we heard a new noise and the lower was flopping loose. Tacked, secured with a twisted lashing for tension. A well raced charter boat and the rudder (grp stock) had fallen off earlier in the cruise. I like over engineering!
 

geem

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I have always wondered, usually when hard onto a strong wind and seas, why yacht masts don't have more duplication of stays so that if one goes, there is more of a chance that everything stays up. Twin forestays, twin backstays, runners, double lowers, intermediates if twin spreaders. No doubt expensive and heavy but would allow a failure without risk of losing the lot.

The absolute strength of stays and chainplates in good defect free condition is way in excess of the loads (on a cruising boat). Its when there is corrosion or a defect that one stay can give way often leading to loss of rig.

The only time I experienced a failure was of an aft lower shroud on a boat with twin lowers. We were crossing the channel to windward in fresh conditions overnight and as dawn broke we heard a new noise and the lower was flopping loose. Tacked, secured with a twisted lashing for tension. A well raced charter boat and the rudder (grp stock) had fallen off earlier in the cruise. I like over engineering!
Our chainplates are 12mm bar. The rig is single spreaders so we have 11 terminals less than the double spreader equivalent rig as fitted to our friends sisters ship. Wires only seem to ever fail at terminals. We have two forestay with furlers plus a babystay. Also running back stays. Although we have a robust set up, it's very hard to get away from single point of failure. The rig would be so heavy it would not be viable
 
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