To replace rigging or not (yet)... that is the question...

rhumbunctious

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The standing rigging on my newly aquired old boat is from 2001, so it's getting on in years, and I'm wondering whether it's time yet to replace it or not, as I'm planning on some longer trips this season (Finland to the UK very likely).

Cosmetically, the rigging looks good, even great, but of course, one never knows what lurks below the surface.

Here are some shots of the forestay, which is representative of the lot:

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How does one know it is likely time to replace a stay?
 

Ariadne

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Well my rig is over 14 years old and it's still in good nick. I had it comprhensivly checked over last October by a qualified rigger & surveyor who stated it was still good enough to cross the Atlantic with.

To this effect he wrote a report for my insurance Co, who accepted it no problem. No increase in my policy or asked to replace rigging.

So I guess when you think its time to change - change it.
 

SailingEcosse

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Not sure that it will help you any, but I've just replaced mine which looked pretty similar to yours, from a 30yr old boat that by all accounts hadn't been replaced (ever), and while I had a few people look at it and give me a "should be ok" judgement, I decided to bite the bullet and replace the lot anyway, peace of mind works everytime for me :)
 
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Well it looks exactly the same as my 35 year old rigging. I'm thinking about replacing some of mine this year, but really not convinced by this 10 year rule stuff.

What other stainless steel components do we need to replace at regular intervals? If it is subject to degredation over time then surely not only rigging needs to be replaced. What about rigging screws, are they specced for the same time scales as the rigging or the chain plates?

Peace of mind is nice if you can afford it, for piece of mind I'd buy a brand new Halllberg Rassy every year if I could.
 

sarabande

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from previous discussions, it seems that S/S failure is usually almost impossible to predict, though some people inspect very closely the area where the wire enters the shoulder of the fitting.

Just about the worst thing you can do to rigging is to bend it at that junction.

Much depends on the way it has been treated , e.g. gentle cruising or hard racing.

Has the insurance co asked for replacement ?
 

vyv_cox

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Failure of the standing rigging cables will occur at the swaged fittings in probably 999 times out of 1000. The area to inspect is immediately adjacent to the fittings. Look for any loose wires by bending the fitting relative to the wire. Check that the fitting is axial with the wire and that the swages are straight, not 'banana' shaped. Try to inspect just inside the fitting end for wear or cracks of the wire. If nothing looks wrong after your visual inspection there is a very good chance that they will be perfect for years to come.

Cables and standing rigging components such as bottlescrews, tangs, chainplates, fail by fatigue. This mode of failure always starts with the growth of a crack, until the metal that remains cannot sustain the load any longer. In a well designed system the final fracture will be only represent about 10% of the overall cross-section, which means that the crack has been growing for a very long time before the component fails. Cracks are usually visible by eye, although dye penetrants will show them more readily.

The message is that regular visible inspection will almost always pick up a potential failure before it occurs.
 

rhumbunctious

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Just to followup and say that I've decided to go ahead and replace all the rigging. Budget will be rather tight for a bit, but I'm sure I'll sleep better...

Thanks to everyone for their valuable input.
 

reeac

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Just to followup and say that I've decided to go ahead and replace all the rigging. Budget will be rather tight for a bit, but I'm sure I'll sleep better...

Thanks to everyone for their valuable input.

I think that you've made the right decision - renew it when you first get the boat so that you can get many years of benefit from the spend. You'll also get to know the history of the new rigging and how severely it's been used - a guide as to when to replace it in the future.
 

charles_reed

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Lulu, who rigged most of the Open 60s reckoned was 16 years or once round the world as the best rule-of-thumb for stainless rigging as work-hardening was progressive and almost impossible to detect non-destructively.
The most common point of failure is of the wires at the swage-entrance, inspect those and definitely replace if any microscopic deformation.
 

Downsman

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My standing rigging was of unknown age and looked to be in good condition but I was bound for the Algarve and decided to replace it. For a few weeks prior to sailing I really thought I'd been over cautious and regretted the extra cost but caught in a Northerly gale just South of Finisterre... it all suddenly seemed worth the extra expense..:D
 

vyv_cox

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Lulu, who rigged most of the Open 60s reckoned was 16 years or once round the world as the best rule-of-thumb for stainless rigging as work-hardening was progressive and almost impossible to detect non-destructively.

He wasn't a metallurgist, then? :)

Work hardening improves strength and therefore fatigue life. Shroud wires and well-made fittings are cold formed during manufacture to take advantage of this. AISI 316 shroud wire would be impossibly weak without the work hardening carried out in its manufacture. Stainless steel springs are further work hardened, although AISI 301 with a little more carbon is normally the material of choice.

There is a limit to how far work hardening can be taken as there will be an accompanying loss in elasticity but in a well-designed rig with normal factors of safety the yield point will never be approached. I have yet to see a rig that failed in overload but have seen many that did in fatigue.
 

charles_reed

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He wasn't a metallurgist, then? :)

Work hardening improves strength and therefore fatigue life. Shroud wires and well-made fittings are cold formed during manufacture to take advantage of this. AISI 316 shroud wire would be impossibly weak without the work hardening carried out in its manufacture. Stainless steel springs are further work hardened, although AISI 301 with a little more carbon is normally the material of choice.

There is a limit to how far work hardening can be taken as there will be an accompanying loss in elasticity but in a well-designed rig with normal factors of safety the yield point will never be approached. I have yet to see a rig that failed in overload but have seen many that did in fatigue.
You may like to refer to this paper, by Mura and Lin, generally held to be the classic - you'll find that the opposite is the opinion held by most academic metallurgists.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/g426w28578153534/

PS I used my daughter's pseudonym to obtain access - she's a Prof in Southampton School of Engineering, in charge of the Materials Dept.
 
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vyv_cox

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You may like to refer to this paper, by Mura and Lin, generally held to be the classic - you'll find that the opposite is the opinion held by most academic metallurgists.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/g426w28578153534/

PS I used my daughter's pseudonym to obtain access - she's a Prof in Southampton School of Engineering, in charge of the Materials Dept.

Your daughter will no doubt confirm that the paper quoted is discussing work hardening due to stressing above the yield point. As I said earlier, in yacht rigs this does not occur.
 

KellysEye

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Long distance insurance is the issue. If the insurance company will take a rigger's sign off fine otherwise most insurance policies are 10 years. The main points of failure are the swaged fittings and the dreaded mast ball fittings. If replacing it would be worth fitting Stalok fittings, I have never heard of a failure.
 

johnalison

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Although the OP was probably right in replacing his rigging, for the reasons given, it has been said that the commonest time for rigging to fail is its first year!

I contacted my insurance company when my boat had done 10 years and they were happy for another ten, though I took the precaution of having a professional rigging check.
 

William_H

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Rigging wire failure

Actual failure of rigging wire from years of experience is real and it seems to be time related.
It is good to get the comments from metalurgists however the failure mode seems seems not to be just fatigue but also of some sort of corrosion mode.
Certainly you can not expect to see a failure coming by inspection of wire. Non destructive testing or inspection of any form is not reliable in this case. Failure does seem to occur when the wire is over 20 + years old.
I would suggest to the OP that if e is sure the wire was replaced in 2001 then it should go another 5 years.
However it may be worth changing simply for your own peace of mind. good luck olewill
 

reeac

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I think that you've made the right decision - renew it when you first get the boat so that you can get many years of benefit from the spend.QUOTE]

If you are in this ftame of mind - only another ten!
No, my point is that you don't know the history of the present rigging so it's best to be conservative and change it whereas you WILL know it for the new stuff and can leave it for longer than 10 years if it hasn't had a hard time.
 

Searush

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No, my point is that you don't know the history of the present rigging so it's best to be conservative and change it whereas you WILL know it for the new stuff and can leave it for longer than 10 years if it hasn't had a hard time.

And it doesn't fail in the first year . . . :rolleyes: Also known as "Bathtub" failure curve when MTBF stats are plotted.
 
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