What kind of wire are my shrouds and stays?

Dehydrated

New member
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I agree the shrouds should be replaced entirely. After cleaning all your fittings use a dye penetrant kit to check for microscopic cracks. A rig failing can really ruin your day
 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
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7mm would be very odd for a US rigged boat by the way. 1/4" or 5/16" are the likely sizes, so use a good caliper and re-measure each one. 1/4" lowers and 5/16 uppers would be my guess.

1663015769903.png

You can coil 1/4" 1x19 into a size small enough to easily ship in a cardboard box. If the rigger in Vuda can't help, get it swaged and supplied by a NZ rigger, then get it air shipped in from NZ.

Just measure each wire carefully three times with a 50' tape measure and a meticulous helper.

Final thought - the cost of new wire will be higher than your insurance deductible, but a lot less trouble than having no mast half way to NZ...
 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
7,016
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San Diego
Look carefully on your swage fittings, esp the eyes. There almost always will be some lettering, a dash, then a number. That number is wire dia in 32's.
After looking at your pics of existing rigging, I'd make new wires about 1 1/2" longer overall. Best practice is to have the T/B 3/2 - 3/4 closed when tensioned.
Most metric fittings will have just the number, sometimes followed by mm
 

mgs

canoeman
1,176
273
maine
I think HAYN has taken over the StaLock style and use excellent SS alloy.
Just a point of clarification, Sta-lok is still Sta-lok. Hayn is the American distributor for Hi-Mod mechanical fittings. New Norseman fittings aren’t being made any more, but Tylaska is making new cones for them.
 

basketcase

Fuck you second amendment
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what the actual fuck is the cost of 1x19 these days? a buck and a quarter a foot? a buck and a half? you want to hope your rig stays up on old wire on a trip from the west coast of the states to nz for a buck and a half a foot..... mate, for fucks sake, give your head a shake.
 
All the obvious aside it would most likely cost considerably more to use hayn fittings vs new swaged terminals and wire. I would go back with what you have at the next place that has reasonable rigging. Definitely don't go with synthetic or anything silly like that. Fine for a DIY E shroud but that's it unless you like to constantly adjust shit. I would get on one of the westward headed groups and see if someone is willing to bring along some rigging, not a ton of stuff to stow so might get lucky with someone. Most of the single handers I met would not have a issue as long as the weight wasn't crazy, a few bucks and done deal.
 

tane

Anarchist
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last thought on reusing the old wire: it will give you a false sense of security & you would be better off to leave the jury-rigged stays as they are: they will constantly serve as a warning!
& as to sailing conditions, as you go further from Fiji: S to NZ - old wire??? or W across the Coral Sea to Oz? That can be windy too, SE ahead of a strengthening High...30-35kn not unknown - & old wire?
(& a last, tongue-in-cheek advice: if you really will be using the old wire - please do not ask further advice on SA)
 

tane

Anarchist
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275
Some things you should never follow the cheapest option, and that includes everything that keeps your mast standing.

Broken strands anywhere on a shroud are a sign you are very lucky, and that you should have replaced your standing rigging many years ago -- its very far past end of life.

Switch to Rod. It is dramatically better, safer and by far the longest lasting rigging, and not much different in price over 1x19. The reduction in stretch is remarkable, meaning it is fundamentally easier to tune and the mast remains in tune. The reliability is famous: Navtec, the now gone but not forgotten original rod rigging supplier to the marine industry and dominant leader for many decades, had the advertising tag line: "No rig has ever been lost due to Navtec rigging failure." While Navtec is gone, the identical product is widely available. I got mine from Doug Grant in San Pedro CA (http://marineproductsengineering.com/about-us.html), but also try The Rigging Company (https://theriggingco.com/locate-us/) in Annapolis, Rigrite, and so on. Search for Nitronic 50 rod rigging.

For all fore-and-aft rigging (headstay, inner forestay, runners, and backstay) Dyneema is the better option: much less weight (one seventh the weight for the same strength), cheap, easy to inspect and maintain. The slow stretch (creep) of Dyneema is not a problem on fore-and-aft rigging as it gets adjusted all the time anyway, so you don't need to go oversize to prevent creep, as one must with Dyneema shrouds.

I did go a bit oversize (sized for creep rather than strength) on the headstay due to potential for chafe from (soft) jib hanks, but after 4 years still no sign of chafe on hanks nor headstay. I used the same rope for the backstay, so its oversize too. When I replace them, I'll go much smaller (size for strength) to reduce windage, weight aloft, and cost.

I've been using Dyneema for headstay and backstay, with Nitronic 50 rod for shrouds.
"Rod"?? seriously? On an old Pacific Seacraft cruiser?
(What is this, "kids say the darndest things"?)
 
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Captain Ketamine

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Perth WA
Presumably the insurers would expect the rigging to be replaced at a regular interval? 7 yrs for racing ? 10 yrs for cruising providing regular inspection? I agree with Zonker.
looks like he’s rigged up vectran or something strong to protect the shroud
 

El Borracho

Verified User
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Pacific Rim
Setting out across the Pacific with rigging older than a decade? Crazy. Shortening old wire? Foolish. What about the ancient turnbuckles and odd toggles? Chainplates? Ugh.

Did I read it right that the boat is in NZ, or soon to be? Would think it trivial to renew standing rigging in NZ. Not unreasonable to do so on any Pacific Island with regular air service. Even by sea may be as quick as 30 days.

Sta-loc is rather a waste of money and effort considering how simple and available swaging is. Especially since money seems to be short.

Rigging failures can be instantly fatal to crew, BTW.
 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
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I think he might be in Fiji - he mentioned Vuda.

Most north american insurers don't seem to mention regular rigging inspection/replacement of wires. UK ones (maybe Oz) especially seem to like 10 year intervals
 

Rasputin22

Rasputin22
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Just a point of clarification, Sta-lok is still Sta-lok. Hayn is the American distributor for Hi-Mod mechanical fittings. New Norseman fittings aren’t being made any more, but Tylaska is making new cones for them.
Got those two backwards mgs, thanks for clarifying.

 

TheDragon

Super Anarchist
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East central Illinois
I'll try to respond. I am uninsured, by choice mostly (I can afford to lose the boat, although causing damage to other boats would be problematic), but every company I contacted all over the world either will not insure a US-flagged boat, or will not insure a single-hander crossing the Pacific with zero experience. I left Panama Friday April 1 having done no more than two 40-mile coastal trips to the San Blas from Panamarina, where I bought the boat, unsurveyed as I did not trust anyone to do that. I have sailed all my life and had a blast, as described in my Sailing the South Pacific thread. I am currently enjoying an amazing little bay on a private island called Matagi before heading to the Bay of Islands in the north Lau Group tomorrow.

Both Pacific Seacraft (the owner Steve Brodie) and Sta-Lok (Paul Harrison) agree with you all that reusing the old wire is not a great idea. Eight long-stud Sta-Loks will cost a boat buck. I have yet to figure out how much having the wires replaced with swages would cost, if I can get that in Vuda Marina I will replace each shroud one-by-one. Then the only remaining unknown would be the forestay, but it is at least partly backed up by the inner forestay, plus I have two very strong genoa sheets tautly backing it up and could add other backups if I replace the other rigging. But I know what you will all say, just change it too!

But despite all your concerns (thanks!), I think I will head to NZ to deal with all of this, and that will include new chainplates for the shrouds and the backstay from PS, around 2 boat bucks. PS makes really good ones that are far better than the originals, and I have visited their factory and seen some old ones taken off boats the age of mine and they were rotten black inside where there is no air exposure. Once again, I'm partly relying on the 22 years on Lake Superior to help me out here for now. I will add that Steve says they only see wire breaks right at the lower swages, not elsewhere, so it is not a completely crazy idea to use the Sta-Loks, and I have an Aussie friend out here who had wires breaking on his massive ketch in Chagos and sailed to Durban using backups like mine, including the sistering chains with cable clamps, and then used the long-stud Sta-Loks to replace the swages with the old wire, which is now 50+ years old. Mine might not be as good quality though.

To specific questions. Longy, the only thing I can find on the swages is the number 8 stamped on the flat surface of the swage for tightening. From your comments I assume that is the wire dimension in mm, although I measure them as 7 mm, which is also what a Loos Cable Diameter Guage gives. Zonker, indeed they measure exactly 1/4 inch, and all of them are 1/4, backstay, forestay, inner forestay, upper and lower shrouds. The swages end in threads that are 1/2 inch.

Someone asked about the upper swages, and they all are fine with no broken strands and no rust, so I think it is not a swaging issue as someone suggested, it is a time and salt and rust and deterioration issue. Probably surviving a maramu and northern front of a low a few weeks ago on the way to Beveridge Reef did not help, nor would the sails banging when the winds are light and the waves are chaotic (I should fly my asym or just motor instead). I actually don't know how old these wire breaks are, I only discovered them in Beveridge Reef when I did a special inspection suggested by my Aussie friend above, picking at each wire at the bottom swage with a small screwdriver. None were obviously apparent before that. Someone asked about the tightness of the rigging, it seems tight to me, when beating hard and over 15-20 degrees I only detect a little slack in the leeward shrouds. And to those concerned my mast will come down, that is simply not possible at this point, it might get a little wobbly and restrict me to staysail and tripe-reefed main, but it will not fall down.

I just dug out my Loos Guage and all shrouds are around measure 35, which for 1/4 wire is around 750 lbs and they suggest shrouds should be 850 lbs, so that seems reasonable enough, not as tight as possible, but not slack. I cannot measure the forestay, but if the backstay is an indication, it read 40 which is about 1000 lbs, about recommended, and I see little sag in the forestay/furler when beating with the 100% jib (I took the genoa off around the Galapagos because it seemed to overpower the boat in strong winds and was a pain to furl).

And just to upset you all further, my main, jib, and staysail are also all original to the boat, so 33 years old, Ullman Sails, and only the main is showing its age with lots of patches now, mostly on the leech, but I have a spare main as well, of unknown vintage. I may put it on for the NZ leg so I have this main as backup.
 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
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San Diego
If the H/S breaks you lose the stay, the furler, & possibly the sail. Don't ignore it just 'cause you can't see it.
 
Will say have followed Dragons progress, stuck it out through cv shit show and went sailing, armchair criticism aside I think he is far from the above reference, he has been making informed decisions the whole way. I wish him well and hope he adds to safety factor, single handed or no best to be cautious.
 


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