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Current Replies for Life of standing rigging ?
  Life of standing rigging ? (bosco)
Posted: 8:56:15 pm on 6/11/2013 Modified: Never
  A proposal to change from mast-down winter storage to mast-up storage at my Yacht Club has generated quite bit of  discussion about rigging inspections and the  life expectancy of the standing rigging of our aging boats.
 Mast-down obviously allows for a more thorough look at the rig each Spring but barring any visible signs of fatigue/failure, is there a time when old just becomes too old??
   Is there an economical way to check for impending failure ( x-ray?) of fittings/wire rather than replacing everything?

Clare Jordan Aragorn (Mk111 -34 years)
  Re: Life of standing rigging ? (davidww1)
Posted: 1:23:08 pm on 6/11/2013 Modified: 1:36:22 pm on 6/11/2013
In fresh water, our rigging should last a long time, but as you suggest, no one knows if there is a "best before" date. I take my rig down every winter. I look carefully at all the wire, mainly searching for kinks. I found kinks in two lowers one year (someone screwing around with the masts after they were positioned on the racks - grrr!), so I replaced them all.

I give all the terminals a visual inspection for cracks, which is apparently where a failure begins. You can buy a special dye kit that will find cracks very effectively (crane people use it), but I don't know what it's called or how much it costs. Perhaps someone here will know.

David Weatherston
Towser, Toronto
C&C 27 Mk IV

PS My understanding is that x-ray ain't cheap. I gathered from a plane owner that the need to x-ray all the terminals in control wires is a major reason for the cost of small-plane maintenance.
  Re: Life of standing rigging ? (Steve Reid)
Posted: 10:32:07 pm on 6/11/2013 Modified: Never
Another consideration re mast up storage should be the added load it places on the boat itself. Consider that when the boat is in the water the hull is fully supported by the water it sits in. In the cradle it is supported by four maybe six 1 foot square supports and the full weight rests on the keel. With the mast up there is added windage applied to h=the boat by winter winds, which can at times be quite strong, plus there is the tension applied by the rigging on the hull through the chain plates. Sure you can slack off the rigging but then with looseden rigging there will be slop and play at all of the terminals and rigging pins
(read more weare). For my money I'd rather spend the few extra hours involved in unstepping, storing and stepping the mast.

Steve Reid
Still Knot Working, MkV #75
  Re: Life of standing rigging ? (davidww1)
Posted: 10:32:05 am on 6/14/2013 Modified: 11:06:35 am on 6/16/2013
Further to my answer above. It occurs to me that the greatest risk to our rigs (especially in fresh water) is not within the rig but the supporting structure. Last year, a 27 at our club was found to have unexpectedly slack rigging; water had entered via the chainplate opening and rotted the wood of the bulkhead, allowing the chainplate to move upward 1/2". Fortunately, the owner was receptive to the idea that this was sub-optimal and had it fixed; had it been left, it probably would have pulled through the deck and the rig would have had a swim. Prevention is making sure the chainplates are water-tight at the deck. Inspection is pulling both the deck plates and the chainplates themselves to look at the wood underneath, which isn't as big a job as it sounds (we had a bad leak many years ago - took 2 of us about 1 1/2  hours with the mast already down, not working terribly hard).

Seaworthy (BoatUS publication) catalogue of failures and inspection methods.

A lot of this will be obvious to an experienced sailor, but it's a good checklist.

A rigger's perspective.‎

Dye penetrant inspection overview

As an addendum to Steve's reply, note that the Bosun's Supply article mentions that slack rigging is more fatiguing than taut, because it introduces shock loads.

David Weatherston
Towser, Toronto
C&C 27 Mk IV