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Old 03-21-2011, 11:13 AM   #1
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Hi Everyone,

I'm in the process of refurbishing the rig on my 36' cutter rigged steel sloop that I recently bought as a result of having a rigger inspect it last week and basically condemn it.

My mast is deck-stepped made of metal and is 13 metres in height. It has three forestays and two spreaders the lowest one being 6.2 metres above the deck and the second is 10 metres.

I've been able to purchase a couple of second hand stainless steel backstays at the right price and these are 10mm (3/8") diameter.

The rigger seems to have gone suddenly quiet as I told him I'd prefer to do the job myself as much as I can not only to save money but also so I know how everything goes together in case I have to fix it in the middle of nowhere.

My question is, could someone advise me on the minimum diameter stainless steel rigging I could use as my source for used stays has run out of 3/8" and has only 5/16" wire left. Can I use 5/16" stainless steel wire?

The original stays were made of galvanised steel and I'd like to upgrade to stainless.

I believe there is a table of wire thickness for various mast heights etc that riggers use but I haven't been able to find it.

Any suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,

Sam
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:42 PM   #2
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A couple things:

1. Someone from afar isn't going to be able to properly advise you on your boat's rigging.

2. Ah, but you're in luck because it's easy to learn all about proper rigging and properly rigging your own boat. Get yourself a copy of Brion Toss's Rigger's Apprentice at a minimum. Read it and you'll have pretty much all you need to do a simple rigging job properly. Another book that is very good is Ross Norgrove's Cruising Rigs and Rigging. You'll have to buy that one used (early 1980's publishing date as I recall) but it will be a good deal and help you out.

3. Nothing wrong with galvanized rigging. Most riggers will try to get you to change out the rig if it's galvanized even when it doesn't need to be changed. That may have happened to you. Today's riggers hate galvanized wire, period. It must be lubricated and properly maintained or it will become a rusty mess. However, with very little effort (especially if it is already parceled and served) it will outlast stainless steel rigging by oh...about 5 times over. A galvanized rig, maintained, should last 50 years or more. There are tall ships that have 100 year old parceled and served galvanized rigs that are still in service--and they are USCG inspected vessels so it's not in bad shape. There may be absolutely nothing wrong with your rigging other than being in need of maintenance (clean, lubricate, etc) but you'll need to figure that out.

4. Size--after you've reviewed Toss's book and looked over the wire manufacturer's websites about types of wire (6x7, 7x7, 7x19, 1x19) available and what is actually on your boat (is it 7x7? 7x19? galvanized is seldom 1x19) you'll be able to match up design strength of the wire rope with an appropriately sized and available galvanized or stainless steel wire rope.

5. Used stuff--don't expect reliable use from used stainless steel rigging wire. If you have never rigged a boat, you're not in a good position to know that the rigging wire is in good shape. When we re-rigged our boat, the stainless steel 1x19 looked lovely on the outside. Just a few little lines of rust here and there. Yet, when I opened up the wire to practice some wire splicing I was amazed by how rusted the interior wires were and how brittle they were. Getting used rigging is not the way to assure safe passage. If you're short on budget, if it is appropriately sized, get yourself some galvanized wire (7x7 and 7x19 is available at 1/2 to 1/10th the price of stainless steel 1x19 yacht rigging wire in small sizes that is). For you to know what to do, you'll have to "size" your rig for your boat. Again--get a copy of Toss's book and start reading.

Good luck to you in your rigging work. After you've figured out if you REALLY need to replace your galvanized rig or if it is just maintenance needed, you'll be looking at turnbuckles, chainplates, wire terminations (swage, nicopress, mechanical fittings, splices, etc) as well. We'll look forward to your progress as a rigger on your boat. I went through this process myself because I wanted to be able to fully maintain the standing and running rigging while away from convenient resources. It is a good thought process. I did re-rig our entire boat (a schooner) with 3/8" 1x19 stainless steel wire rope, HiMod upper fittings and spliced eyes on the lower fittings. New bronze chainplates replaced the old ones and we kept the bronze turnbuckles as they were in excellent shape.

Fair winds, Brenda
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:35 AM   #3
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Hi Brenda, Super direction given to Oneman - Have seen a number of boats with galvanised,

mainly from New Zealand. Remember a boat called "Spray" after Joshua Slocum. This was Swedish boat which had sailed the seas. The skipper used to relay for the S.E. Asia Maritime net out of Kota Kinabalu - Sabah (Borneo Malaysia). He used to periodically take down the galvanized stays and cook them in a 44 gallon drum - then in the second process ; the drum/s were emptied and rinsed; refilled with a mixture of the grease from sheep's wool, bee's wax, and various secret ingredients from Sweden's far north Lapland. Then the stays would be added and boiled up with strange incantations. Whatever, this "Sprays" standing rigging was regarded as having the potential to see in the next century.

So, Brenda what is Oneman going to use in his second process?

Richard
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:50 PM   #4
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Brenda and Richard,

Thanks for your comments and advice and I certainly appreciate the difficulty in giving such advice from afar without even seeing the boat or rigging. The rigging wasn't cared for by the previous owner to the point of having fencing turnbuckles used on a couple of stays rather than marine grade fittings. So I'm quite surprised that I managed to sail her down from the 'Port of Purchase' to my home port without incident. (I now also understand why cattle seemed to be trying to keep up with the boat as we passed close to the coast a few times.) The galvanised rigging is fairly well shot on the boat as I'm sure that the previous owners didn't have the ingrediants or wealth of knowledge available to the Kiwi sailor of whom Richard writes. To be honest I'm sure that if the owner immediately prior to me did have the knowledge he wouldn't have had the time to carry out that process.

This is a first for me and something I'm looking forward to with just a slight touch of apprehension. I've built a couple of houses in the past but find the mysteries of boat building and the marine world a little overwhelming at times. Probably more so because of the number of varying opinions on how to do things the correct way, and yes, I seem to be finding that everyone's way is the correct way and everyone else's way isn't the right way. So at the end of the day I think the decision is up to the individual based on various opinions and lots of research. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position at the moment to obtain a copy of the Rigger' Apprentice, have heard someone refer to it but that's as far as the story went. I do have a friend who is quite knowledgable about yachts, rigging and seamanship and he is slowly showing me how to do things with a view to completing this project.

The words of wisdom from both of you are greatly appreciated and many thanks for the time and effort you both put into your replies to me. The one thing I am finding amongst the boating fraternity is that they are more than happy to help each other and give advice and encouragement and that's a very nice change from the world I've come from.

I suppose the process continues.

Many thanks again and I'll let you know how I get on.

Cheers,

Sam
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Old 03-22-2011, 03:36 PM   #5
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Sam,

Your initial post stated you wanted to do this rig yourself to be self-sufficient. I responded to you for that reason. I love it when people are self-sufficient.

A series of questions for you (I assume your rigger and rigging friends don't like galvi rigging therefore you may not actually be able to answer #1, but you can go back and ask the rigger his reasoning):

1. Please tell us why you think the previous galvi rig is shot? What characteristics of it assure you of this matter? Surface rust is not sufficient reasoning, btw. Unlike SS rigging wherein surface rusts says "dead rig" (because it rusts more on the inside than the outside), on a galvanized rig you may have years of life left even though the rig is very rusted on the outside (because it rusts from the outside in).

2. Is the rig parceled and served? or painted? or simply bare wire? If served, was a section removed to inspect the wire?

3. Is your knowledgeable friend someone who is saying "toss the galvanized rig" or is he willing to assist you in re-rigging with (new) galvanized wire or to treat and serve the existing rig?

4. Do you have access to a copy of The Riggers Apprentice via your knowledgeable friend? Perhaps you could borrow it? If he actually does know what he needs to know to help you with your rig, he will either have this book or other similar reference books and perhaps can share those with you.

5. What condition are the chain plates in?

6. Where are you located? Are you planning on cruising anytime soon?

now onto some unsolicited advice:

If you don't invest in your own reference books and rigging tools, you will NOT be self-sufficient but rather simply dependent upon the person who befriended you. I might surmise that that person won't be aboard when something goes wrong later on so you will be then dependent upon a different rigger in an unknown port. This points to the need for you, as the boat owner, to develop your own rigging reference library and tools rather than counting on other people to help you from kindness. If you're on a tight budget, you have even more reason to become very self sufficient.

Marine grade galvanized steel turnbuckles look pretty much like non-marine grade galvanized steel turnbuckles and have similar strength for size. Therefore, just because you have some turnbuckles that are galvanized steel doesn't mean they're not appropriate for the job. They do require corrosion protection (e.g. Lanicote or similar lanolin based product will do). One of the few things that are worthy of purchase "used" for your rig are bronze turnbuckles if they can be found. Not stainless but bronze. They will last a very long time. However, you are likely to be able to purchase new stainless ones for less than good used bronze ones. You can learn how dead eyes and lanyards are used--and thus, if you're really working on the cheap, in a low tension rig, you can dispense with the rigging screws (turnbuckles) altogether.

I state the last because I'm thinking that if you are "not in a position" to purchase a book which is available via Amazon.com new for $27 and even less second-hand, I don't think you're in a position to re-rig your boat unless you're willing to do what the previous owner did using non-marine fittings and galvinized rigging. Further, doing things the old-old (OLD) fashioned way (dead eyes and lanyards that you can make yourself, splicing vs swaging, etc) not only makes you more self sufficient but it also is truly kinder to the pocketbook.

If you wish to be both self-sufficient and to save money, then you probably need to ditch the advise of ANYONE who is either not encouraging you to stick with a galvanized rig OR who is not encouraging you to look at non-marine sources of new stainless steel wire (non 1x19) that will work for the job. You should be getting one of these ideas from anyone who is competent rigging and understands the word "budget". You also probably want to be looking at all non-marine products that can be substituted for marine products on your boat. To do this, you do need to understand how things work, failure modes, etc, of course. I am hopeful that your knowledgeable yachting friend is someone who has good references and can point you in the direction of developing your own skills and reference library.

Fair winds,

Brenda
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMNETSEA View Post

Hi Brenda, Super direction given to Oneman - Have seen a number of boats with galvanised,

mainly from New Zealand. Remember a boat called "Spray" after Joshua Slocum. This was Swedish boat which had sailed the seas. The skipper used to relay for the S.E. Asia Maritime net out of Kota Kinabalu - Sabah (Borneo Malaysia). He used to periodically take down the galvanized stays and cook them in a 44 gallon drum - then in the second process ; the drum/s were emptied and rinsed; refilled with a mixture of the grease from sheep's wool, bee's wax, and various secret ingredients from Sweden's far north Lapland. Then the stays would be added and boiled up with strange incantations. Whatever, this "Sprays" standing rigging was regarded as having the potential to see in the next century.

So, Brenda what is Oneman going to use in his second process?

Richard
Hi Richard,

I'd think the fellow might have been using Stockholm Tar with his concoction of stuff to seal up the rig. However, most people I know these days who are using galvanized rigging happen to have large enough rigging wire diameter to make it worthwhile to parcel and serve then paint with "boat soup" of linseed oil/stockholm tar/left-over paint/japan dryer. Then, they keep up the rig simply by painting that soup mix onto the rig each year. People I know of with smaller rigs (e.g. 5/16" wire typically) often do have bare wire and either use a boat soup on it every year or even run a linseed oil/beeswax mix soaked rag up and down the rigging wires. That, of course, can lead to dirty sails but that's another matter entirely.

Many ways to keep that galvanized rig going strong. Of course, since galvanized wire is STRONGER that same size and lay 316 SS wire, a boater trying to replace galvi with SS may find the SS not up to the task. I always do wonder why people think SS is "better"
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:18 AM   #7
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Brenda,

Thanks again for your advice. Firstly I'm not destitute in that I can't afford reference material. I'm simply not geographically located to make it convenient for me to locate abookstore stocking the required material at this time. I just thought you may havemisunderstood my reference to finances. I, like most other people simply don't like wasting hard earned money.

To quickly reply to your questions as best I can at this stage:

1) My mast has a little galvanic corrosion at the base and will need slight (2") shortening and the wiring is mostly rusted on the outside and appears extremely old (probably over 20 years). When I drop the mast I will be able to check inside the wire strands properly. As for the rigger, yes, the rigger, in fact most riggers prefer SS.

2) The rig is bare wire.

3) My friend is someone who speaks from many years of experience on tall ships, Volvo Round the World Race participation and many years sailing Optimist class and various other sailing vessels. He does prefer SS rigging, (as I note you do too, having re-rigged your schooner in SS) and yes he is willing to assist me with the re-rigging.

4) See above

5) Chain plates are welded to deck as it is a steel boat.

6) I'm on the East Coast of Australia and plan to cruise towards the end of this year.

With regard to your unsolicited advice I fully intend to learn the job as I go, purchase the relevant reference books and required tools and complete the job with my friend's assistance whose assistance was volunteered, I think not out of pity or kindness but, I think out of comraderie. I will in the meantime and after my re-rigging is completed be assisting my friend with his boat's refurbishment which I believe is in keeping with the mateship that I've always found exists in this country, in all walks of life.

I've spoken with three riggers so far and each has said to replace the rigging which is now hard and breaks when bent.

I suppose we all have to start somewhere and I can think of no better way of learning a new skill than with a friend as I have no doubt you would have done in the past too.

My thanks to you for your brilliant advice and I'll keep you posted.

Sam

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Old 03-24-2011, 05:15 PM   #8
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Hi there, Oneman, Indeed I had misunderstood you since saying "I'm not in a position to..." is often the more graceful and tactful way of saying "I don't have sufficient funds to..." If you have a large enough budget, you can afford to take some chances. If not, knowledge is the key to doing things safely and cost-effectively. Thus, my hearty suggestion of getting yourself a couple reference books. All the major bookstores worldwide sell online these days so you can likely find Toss's book or any other rigging references that your friend may own/recommend. Unless one is a professional rigger who deals with rigs all day long, one won't have an encyclopedic memory of all the information needed to analyze and re-rig a boat.

"I've spoken with three riggers so far and each has said to replace the rigging which is now hard and breaks when bent." What bit of standing rigging were you (or someone else) brave enough to bend so far as to break it? It must not be still on the boat... Typically one simply sees fishhooks (broken wires) along the strand which gives a clue about bad condition w/o destructive testing being required.

What diameter and form is your bare galvanized wire? (e.g. 7x7, 7x19, 1x19). It sounds like your friend should be able to identify it for you. With that information in hand, you can obtain the strength spec of the size and form/lay of wire and figure out what size SS 1x19 yacht rigging will have sufficient strength to replace what is already on your boat.

"He does prefer SS rigging, (as I note you do too, having re-rigged your schooner in SS)"

Actually, I do not prefer SS rigging, but for logistics reasons, I was forced to use SS rigging. Here is a quote from something I posted on DIY rigging here on CL last year LINK to topic:

"You know, I really wanted 1x19 galvanized for our rig! However, in the USA in 3/8" size, it is not available anywhere. I searched high and low for well over a year and spoke with many reputable riggers before I gave up and just bought 1x19 in 316 SS. 1x19 galvanized in 3/8" is available in the UK, however, at the time I looked into it, it would have cost approximately 2.5 times the cost of 316 SS for me to import it. Manufacturers will sell it in lots of 10,000 ft, although I did find one who would sell a 5000 ft length. Or, you have to import it. It may be possible to find smaller 1x19 galvanized wire, but I was only seeking out 3/8" diameter. It is definitely possible to find 1/2" and larger 1x19 galvanized and it is easy to find all sizes of 7x19 galvanized. Just not 3/8" 1x19 which is what I needed."

The 316 SS 1x19 wire rope is every so slightly less strong than galvanized 1x19 wire rope. We had to just deal with that since all elements of our rig were designed for 3/8" wire rope (and not larger) to be used. Those elements of tangs, chainplates, rigging screws, mast bands, etc, all have sufficient strength that if something parts it will be the wire, not the other rigging element. If we had gone to 1/2" wire to get the ability to use the more desirable galvanized wire rope, it would have been WAY too strong and all other elements of the rig would have been the likely things to be damaged with excessive loading. If we had gone to available 7x19 3/8" galvanized wire rope, it wouldn't have been quite strong enough and there would have been too much stretch in the rig since the 7x19 is a stretchier wire rope than the 1x19. Our rig was designed for the 3/8" galvanized 1x19 during a major rig design change to the boat in 1939. That galvanized wire was used until the 1980's and the fellow who owned the boat wanted to "modernize" everything and installed SS wire rope. The SS wire rope was what we replaced and there wasn't much choice to do anything else but use a 1x19 wire rope.

We used about 1000 ft of SS rigging wire. Once we find ourselves in the UK, we will re-rig with galvanized wire, parceled and served, which will likely outlast our ownership of the boat. The new SS rig I installed will last us a decade or more so we've got time to make our passage there

Chainplates--are the holes which the rigging screws attach to gone "out of round"? And, are the chainplates sufficiently without corrosion? Else, you'll be replacing/repairing.

Have fun getting everything together for your new rig and learning from your friend on how to do things. If you wish to repair whilst underway, and don't wish to splice the difficult-to-splice 1x19 SS, then take a good look at HiMod and similar mechanical terminations rather than swaging (which must be done in a riggers' shop).

Fair winds,
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:34 PM   #9
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When I was doing a search here to find my own posts about galvanized rigging, it reminded me that we do have some good topics that you may wish to go and read about rigging, wire, tools, and so on. Here are a few that I found when doing the search on my own moniker and rigging:

Rigging Tension:

http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/ind...howtopic=12414

Inspection:

http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/ind...howtopic=15381

Splicing wire:

http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/ind...howtopic=11099
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:26 AM   #10
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Thanks Brenda.

I'll get back to you.
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:23 AM   #11
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Hi Brenda,

Sorry about taking so long to get back to you but unfortunately for the rest of the world (and all who know me well) I've adjusted to 'yachtie time' and now attend to things in a far more relaxed and timely manner than before I lived aboard.

The rigging has been finished (by me - no thanks to my 'expert' friend who turned out to be a sad case of a man who spent too much time trying to 'beat the system' resulting in serious psychological problems). It's been over 6 months now I suppose and nothing has fallen over yet, so hopefully I got it all mostly right.

Your advice was most appreciated and next time I'll choose my advisors with more care.

Thanks again,

Sam
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Old 02-11-2012, 03:06 AM   #12
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Hi Sam,

Thanks for the update. I'm glad that you finished up the work yourself. It is a good feeling to work on your own boat.

Fortunately for all of us, seldom does a rig come crashing down due to small errors we may make. Rather it is typically fatigue over many miles that will cause a too-small stay to part or a fitting to work harden. Aware of that whole fatigue thing, in the case of my rig, before a major passage we inspect the rig and terminations, chainplates, etc. We also check the rig tension with a riggers' gauge to make sure its balanced and all.

If you're on yachting time, that means you must be enjoying some cruising. Please let us know where you've been and what you've been up to.

Fair winds,
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:44 PM   #13
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You seem to have attracted a lot of advice.
I rigged my own boat after having been quoted telephone numbers by riggers. I was taught by a retired engineer living on a boat and my rigging has survived near hurricane force gales.
You CAN be taught over the internet. There is no mystery to it. For a boat your size, 3/8 is plenty. Riggers would probably use 1/4".
If you want info, contact me.
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