Standing rigging, insurance and survey.

Balbas

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Set the scene - I've an old Westerly Longbow. Obviously cared for by the previously owner, although she spent the few years before I bought her laid up, she's been re-rigged at some point in the not too distant past.

When I bought her the surveyor commented that the rigging looked fine (albeit a bit green with algae in places), and several other experienced yachts people since ave also commented that the rigging looks to be in good condition.

As a condition of my insurance I was to have a rig check conducted within 12 months, so I have. The report has come back saying that the standing rigging is all ok with no defects found (exceptions are the guard wires and running rigging, which I knew about), but that as it's obviously over 10 years old, it needs replacing - which from a commercial point of view of a rigging company commissioned to write the report I find understandable, but from my point of view I find frustrating. Either it is fine or it is not. If there is a 10 yr limit on the life of standing rigging, or it's impossible to adequately inspect due to the hidden dangers of crevice corrosion or whatever, then saying that at the start and saving me £145 by refusing to inspect it would perhaps have been the morally correct thing to do.... But hey, that's life I suppose

I'm on a budget, so I'm inclined to keep an eye on it and not change anything at the moment. If rt had said that anything was not ok, then obviously I would replace it immediately. Obviously my ins co won't want to know in terms of my own costs if the mast comes down, but where would this leave me in liability terms if it came down and damaged someone else's boat?

Does anyone have a recommendation for an insurer who is slightly more pragmatic with older boats and their rigs? There must be loads of boats out there with standing rigging well over 10yrs old.
 
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Spyro

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GJW don't have a specific 10 year rule but they insist on a survey every 10 years. My rigging is just over 10 years so I had a rigger look at while the mast is down. He recommended the forestry be changed and the rest was good for a few more years. He suggested replacing the rest at 15 years if there was no more defects. I suppose the difficulty becomes if you don't know the age of your rigging a survey would probably recommend changing as it is an indeterminable age and an insurance company would agree.
 

Resolution

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Has anyone got statistics on actual rigging failures, outside of racing? In my 40 years of sailing I have only heard of one person whom I knew suffering a failure, and that was only an unravelled forestay (no mast damage).
Is this another osmosis scare story?
Peter
 

pvb

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Has anyone got statistics on actual rigging failures, outside of racing? In my 40 years of sailing I have only heard of one person whom I knew suffering a failure, and that was only an unravelled forestay (no mast damage).
Is this another osmosis scare story?

No stats, but it's not a scare story - rigging can fail. A well-known local rigger once told me he was mortified when a boat he'd rigged lost its mast about a year later whilst cruising. He said it turned out that the mast had subsequently been removed and re-stepped, and that the rigging tension had been set too low. The fittings vibrated and metal fatigue caused them to fail. Most owners never set their rigging up tight enough, he said.
 

Rafiki

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Try Navigators& General. No specific requirements as far as I'm aware, in fact I'm insured with them in order to circumvent the very same problem you have. Furthermore if you are a member of Westerly Owners ( only £15pa) then there is some sort of alleged premium discount - in any case they are very competitive.
 

Sandy

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I suspect the insurance companies have the figures.

Personally, I like the 10 year rule, but did spend some time in the aircraft industry where, at that time, kit was replaced on either time, number of landings or hours in flight.

Fundamentally, I think it depends what you are planning to do. A day sail in a F4 or an ocean passage, I am planning an ocean passage when the rigging has been up for 11 years I am planning to change it at 10.
 

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GJW don't have a specific 10 year rule but they insist on a survey every 10 years.

They don't exactly insist. They asked me to get a survey, at twice the cost of the annual premium, and I said I wasn't keen. So they said they'd ask again in 3 years, which they did, and I then changed insurer.
 

Spyro

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They don't exactly insist. They asked me to get a survey, at twice the cost of the annual premium, and I said I wasn't keen. So they said they'd ask again in 3 years, which they did, and I then changed insurer.
When I took out my insurance with them it was 7 years but when that came around 3 years ago they said it had been extended to 10. That will be 10 years at the end of this month. I've just had a survey done but never thought to ask about extending it again
 

PaulRainbow

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Try Y Yacht, show them the rigging report that says it's good, but needs changing anyway, i'll bet they laugh at that and insure you.
 

Balbas

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Thanks all. I'm glad I'm not alone and I guess I'm just a bit peeved at the 'it's ok, but change it anyway' line from the riggers. If they'd said that upfront I'd have saved myself £145!
 

rszemeti

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I would have thought that rigging with no obvious defects, that has been in use for a good amount of time, been tested under a variety of winds and tough conditions and found to be up to the task would be preferrable to new rigging. "Ah, mast fell off, I guess that crimp wasn't as good as we thought it was" ...

Surely there must be a statistic for rigs that fail on first serious use?
 

Donheist

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My insurer is a german firm, Bavaria AG.

They are excellent although you might need the odd doc translating because correspondence is all auf Deutsch.

But when I wanted a quote for my biscay crossing they asked for the rigging survey. Sine rigging was over 10 years old they added an endorsement that if the rigging failed they would deduct cost of rigging from payout.

But if rigging failed and caused eg total loss, then all still covered, except for the rigging ‘betterment’. Seemed fair to me.

As long as you can get past the computer says no people and have a sensible chat with an underwriter, I find that common sense seems to work often.
 

Concerto

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Definitely use the Westerly Owners Association insurance. It is with Navigators & General and has extras above the standard policy. The discount for being an association member is far greater than the annual fee - an absolute bargain in my opinion.
 

pvb

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Definitely use the Westerly Owners Association insurance. It is with Navigators & General and has extras above the standard policy. The discount for being an association member is far greater than the annual fee - an absolute bargain in my opinion.

What are the "extras"? What is the discount? There's zero information on the WOA website.
 

William_H

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I have been active in my club for 34 years and have seen lots of rigging wire failures. Leaves me convinced that wire can not be trusted after 15 years. Wire can not be usefully inspected for likely failure. Wire when it fails results in mast loss. Failure has nothing to do with racing. Failure has nothing to do with actual time sailing, even time with mast down contributes to life.
I don't believe it is a result of rigging having insufficient tension. It is not practical to tension a rig so that there is still tension on the leeward shrouds when hard pressed. The average hull is just not stiff enough.
So I say bight the bullet and replace the wire. However if you are really stretched on budget the cap and intermediate shrouds are the most critical. In some rigs the jib luff tension will supplement the forestay so the forestay can let go without loss of mast. Likewise in some fractional rigs the back stay is not critical. I have had both let go on my little boat while racing without disaster.
You would be very unlucky to have rig fail and damage another boat but your on mast replacement will be expensive possibly writing off the boat.
ol'will
 
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