rothwell_neil 9:30pm, 2 February 2014
Noted that a question was asked about stainless steel rigging and when to replace. Difficult one to answer. Stainless steel rigging is austenitic stainless and this can fail in a few ways. Corrosion is one way and this occurs typically under crevice conditions and is made worse by salt. The good news is that it is temperature dependant and as we are blessed with a temperate climate stainless is usually OK for us. In really hot environments the salt concentration and high temperatures leads to corrosion and cracking.

So basically we should be OK in the UK and as rain washes out the salt and we get plenty of that then that also helps. So from a corrosion point of view if there is rust staining or red tinge then it is likely that there is some corrosion. Conversely if not then likely to be OK. If there is corrosion then no way back, there may be plenty of mechanical life left but will struggle to get the surface to repassivate and then a case of how long before needs replacing.

Check the swaged fitting and look down the inner edge of these. If there is corrosion in there but not on the length of the stay then cut off and use sta-lok fitting. Swaged fittings have high stress and may well crack along the length or around the circumference. This will not affect the integrity a few mm away from the fitting. If no cracks and no staining then leave alone. For long life I believe that most riggers now recommend sta-loc as the lack of stress increases the life.

The only other problem with stainless is work hardening and this may lead to cracking. So if the boat is cruised with light occasional racing and the rig is nicely tensioned and not trying to pull the mast through the deck then good for many years. Upward of 40 years life and beyond have been recorded and why not. If the boat has been tuned like a tuning fork and sailed across the oceans on many occasions with a crew of gorillas hanging all the washing up then the rigging will have work hardened to some extent. This means that at swaged terminals there will be an increased risk of the strands failing through fatigue as work hardened stainless fatigues more rapidly than non work hardened. Work hardening will not lead to catastrophic failure in the cable as plenty of strength left but may lead to increased risk of cracking at stress raisers like the swaged fittings. Work hardening is unlikely to affect the stay outside of the ends and where is crosses the spreaders.

There is no real answer to this and many insurers tell you to replace every 15 years or so. From my personal point of view and it is just my view then I will check my rigging periodically. No corrosion along the length of the strands and no corrosion in the fittings then tick. If the swaged ends are not cracked and there are no broken strands then tick. Two ticks and I would then continue to use tensioned properly until the situation changed irrespective of how many years later this was. If I was to take that boat across the Atlantic I would replace all the standing rigging with new stainless and sta-locs.
pjbharrison 5 years ago
Thanks for the clarification on that, Neil.
My insurance company require replacement every 10 years.
Interesting reading, thanks for that. My insurance don't have any requirements, but i do have a requirement of it not falling down! I am not sure what age mine is, but it must of stretched a bit as the bottle screws are almost as tight as they will go. I do check for any rust / loose strands / cracks, but for piece of mind it is on the list to replace sooner rather than later.
rothwell_neil 5 years ago
If it has stretched then cut off the end and use sta-locs as you will remove the worse affected area then, just check the area round the spreaders.
Fast Lex 5 years ago
Hi guys, reading the above I decided to have my rigging checked. Can anyone explain to me how to remove the rigging from the middle part of the mast? I managed the top part but then got stuck have way trough. (See pics on photostream) Thanks Alex
NormanKlipspringer 5 years ago
I presume you mean from the spreader. The end cap is in two parts that lock together when pushed into the spreader end. there is usually a pin or screw locking this in place preventing it coming out. I found that this all the parts had corroded together and had to cut then to free them I then had a new end cap very kindly made for me by Ron (Chille Pepper) out of nylon which has done the job very well. Hope this helps. Good luck.
Fast Lex 5 years ago
Thanks Norman, yes indeed I meant the spreader. Yesterday spent 1 hour trying to get the end caps loose with no success. I presume that the end caps cannot be purchased in the UK? Is there another solution? I am quite capable to mould alummium or steel but no nylon ! thanks & rgs Alex
PS What about the spreader itself how do I detach it from the mast?
NormanKlipspringer Posted 5 years ago. Edited by NormanKlipspringer (admin) 5 years ago
I am not aware of any source for the end caps. The nylon ones I use have been in place for over three years with no problems. The only substantial load on the end cap is compression.
The spreader is simply a tube which at the mast end is pushed onto a bar which is about 30cms long with 2 slight bends. There is a pin or bolt which goes through the tube and bar to secure it. This bar goes through the mast, the bends giving the backward sweep for the spreaders. The spreader is supported at the mast end with a cover which is held in place usually with a pin, screw or bolt which passes through the cover and the bar. So if you locate the pins and remove them, the spreader and its cover should then be free to slide off the bar away from the mast. After removing one side the bar with the other spreader attached should be free to pull out from the mast. On my first A24 Archimedes the bar was corroded inside the mast and I had to replace it. Fortunately the previous owner had bought a spare which I was able to use. Good luck.
busy home [deleted] 5 years ago
I can turn some nylon ones for you. Are you in a hurry ?
Fast Lex 5 years ago
Wow Ron that very nice of you!! How much time do you need ? I am not in a hurry I intend lowering the boat in the water around the 15th March, If everything goed as planned of course ! Thanks once again for your held, let me know all expenses. Regards Alex

@ Norman, Thanks for your explanation, today I failed again in removing the end caps, Everything is corroded and jammed! Even the spreader Icannot get it off without damaging it. Tomorrow will go again......... thanks Alex
busy home [deleted] Posted 5 years ago. Edited by busy home (member) 5 years ago
I just measured Goskars and Merlins ... Different diameters... Measure yours and let me know.(inside)
I ve also just ordered 30 mm nylon bar ,,
Time no problem
You can buy new alloy tube .. dont worry about it..
Boiling water is good!
Fast Lex 5 years ago
chille pepper:

Hi Ron, I finally measured the diameter of the spreader pipe, inner size is 20 mm. the external is 25.5 mm. Hopefully you can make them for me, looking forward to hear from you.
Thanks Alex
busy home [deleted] 5 years ago
Check out the large unmissable picture i posted yesterday.!!!!!!!!!
Fast Lex 5 years ago
chille pepper:

busy home [deleted] 5 years ago
Can you email me ron.dustow @gmail ,com
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