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  1. #1
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    Default Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    My new boat, William Atkin Perigee, will be needing a rig soon. The plans, drawn 1934, call for 3/16 wire for the single shrouds port and starboard, and for the forestay (no back stay nor inner fore). The rig is small and simple gaff rig of around 170 square feet of sail area all up. The bob stay is a separate matter which I don't want to bother with here.

    I want to rig her as easily and simply as possible. Should I go with wire standing rigging, or maybe try out this newfangled synthetic approach which seems the latest in boat fashion?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    My last offshore boat that i actually cruised, a ferro Hartley 27 i fitted from a bare hull, had a high peaked gaff rig set of an old telegraph pole mast with just 2 shrouds and a forestay. I used cheap galv wire rope with Flemmish splices and over size bottle screws. Cost me less than 100 quid. I have nothing against the modern rope except the splicing looks a little more tricky and im not sure about the chafe issue. For a simple 3 wire rig, i would again use galv, and expect it would be far cheaper than the synthetic, the weight saving in 3 shrouds being of little consequence for a ballasted boat. IMO.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    Sounds perfect. Did you do anything fancy to stop the galved wire rusting?

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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by Small boats rock View Post
    Sounds perfect. Did you do anything fancy to stop the galved wire rusting?
    The stuff i used had a small hemp core. Once it was all spliced and siezed, it was all soaked in a parrafin/oil mix for a few days. Some minor rusting on the forstay from sail hanks would get an occasional rub down with an oily rag. The stainless i could get for free was too hard to bend around the thimbles i had, and after a near dis-masting in mid atlantic, my faith in "perfect looking" stainless will happily accept something i can clearly see to be ending its usefull life; the coil of wire rope i bought was enough to re-rig the boat another 2 times. Linseed is an old favourite to slow down rust, or tar under any serving, which can be a real messy job, though a nice aroma.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    +1 on galved wire, it's what I have on my boat
    I served the splices (I used crane splices, but I guess flemish eyes would work too, especially if served, which is good practice anyways).
    Before parcelling, I smeared a thick mix of paraffin oil and zinc white pigment onto the area.

    /Mats
    Yes the avatar depicts me; yes I drew the comic boat pic, it's a joke on the pop song I'm not a robot by Marina and the diamonds

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    When I was planning Meg's rig, I dismissed modern fiber as not as able to withstand damage. I looked at galvi with the idea that I'd make nice Liverpool splices around solid thimbles - except ss for the jib stay since the jib is hanked on. Thought I'd parcel and serve full length with plenty of slush.

    The problem I had was the availability of galvi wire of acceptable quality. And it was not really that much cheaper than ss. And at the moment solid thimbles were not available and the local foundry I've used in the past was going out. I have a nice Molly Hogan soft eye for Marmalade's head stay but I did not want big soft eyes on Meg and the rig is not designed to take looping stays over the mast. So I added up the time to make 22 Liverpools and there was the final strike.

    Rigged with ss and StaLocs.

    The Perigee is small enough that you could use fiber for the shrouds and that might make stepping and striking the mast a trifle easier but you really need ss wire on the jib stay and might as well go ss wire for the shrouds. Tried and true.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    I'd use 7x7 SS ,molly hogans with racking seizings.
    It's what I use on all my boats, big n small.
    btuce

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    I'd use 7x7 SS ,molly hogans with racking seizings.
    It's what I use on all my boats, big n small.
    btuce
    Who is this Molly Hogan......and is she single?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    Yes, a fact that is usually not mentioned when talking about stainless steel is that it is usually impossible to tell when it's closing up on its best before date, it looks perfectly fine and then it snaps.

    Molly Hogan seems to be the same as, or similar to, the Flemish Eye.

    /Mats
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    For Bucephalus --19', single-shrouds + forestay, 200sqft gaff rig w/ yard topsail-- I have parcelled and served 7x7 galv shrouds, spliced, and a 1x19 ss bare forestay, also spliced. Soft eyes at the masthead, thimbles to turnbuckles down low. I slushed it with pine tar as I served it, and it gets a new coat of slush every spring. I like what I've got, and since it's only 15 years old I don't anticipate replacing it any time soon, but I'm already thinking ahead.

    I was greatly impressed by this thread on serving fiber standing rig: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...Served-Dyneema

    Having read it, my current leaning is that B's next rig will likely be served synthetic --at least the shrouds, and perhaps by then someone will have come up with a way to run jib hanks on synthetic as well. I like the lightness, the ease of splicing, and the lack of metal fatigue or hidden corrosion (when served, UV ceases to be an issue). The one factor that confounds me is the problem of the friction/abrasion of jib hanks on the forestay. I'm not sure I like any of the current solutions. However, given the growing interest in synthetic standing rig, I'm hoping it's only a matter of time before someone comes up with a genuine solution as opposed to a work-around. For all I know, that solution is already out there and I just haven't seen it yet.

    FWIW, B's bobstay is a piece of 3/8" bronze rod, threaded at one end so that it threads straight into the body of a turnbuckle. It works beautifully.

    Alex

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    15 years from galv wire is good going. I can see why insurance companies insist on stainless rigging being replaced every 10 years, they have obviously paid out a lot of claims due to rigging that "looked like new". I might have used flexible stainless just for the forestay if i could have found it, but it was not like the foredeck or jib was getting covered in rust, certainly not in the few years i had the boat in use and cruising.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    Was there an issue someone brought up about synthetic rigging and lightening strikes?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    The synthetic is very easy to work with. Colligo Marine has easy to follow instructional videos on splicing. I used Ronstan sail thimbles for terminals. Lashings are used to tension and adjust for any initial stretch.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    The Molly Hogan is an easy way to make a relatively large soft eye with 7x7 and similar cable construction. It won't form well in 1x19. Carefully formed with the free ends spiraled neatly down from the throat and then vigorously seized it's perfectly strong. You can't really form it around a thimble but if you make the eye as small as you can work the wire, you can then seize the two legs to a tight fit around a thimble.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    I put a few racking seizings on the tail. Wire racking seizings alone are strong, and they fight the "un raveling" of the molly hogan . And yes, the large soft eye can be brought down to a small size by seizing it in closer for a thimble.
    I didn't read this in a book, I sort of developed it myself, never seen it recommended or used elsewhere.
    I did some amateur small time logging long ago, and would pop a wire racking seizing on fat and furious for dragging stuff outta the woods. I was shocked to see how well they gripped.
    Racking seizing being figure of 8's then frapped.Soft ss wire or better yet, monel.
    I've busted lots of stuff on my boats, but never this.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    7x7 galv was my first choice for rerigging, but it is not available in the Americas in anything over small-boat sizes. Apparently it is available in Europe. 7x19 is no good. Galv will not save you much money over SS.

    Dyneema is the easiest thing to splice of them all, my rig needed large spliced eyes around the mast- so 1x19 lost out.

    Stainless with replaceable fittings also has a lot to recommend it for a rig with mast tangs.

    My current answer to the hank on headstay problem with dyneema is a Dyarchy stay. which I'm loving.

    A great thing about dyneema is a spare shroud coils up like normal rope and stows easily. Repairs or changes need no purchased fittings, except maybe a thimble- which you probably have on board anyway.

    Its light, its massively strong, and it does not suffer from fatigue failure or corrosion like metals.
    Last edited by J.Madison; 08-06-2018 at 04:22 PM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    Dyneema is not hard to splice, I'd say it's MUCH easier than wire rope.
    It is a good material, but not very UV-resistant, so you may want to serve it.
    All materials and techniques has ther pros and cons, at the end of the day it's you who has to make the decision.

    /Mats
    Yes the avatar depicts me; yes I drew the comic boat pic, it's a joke on the pop song I'm not a robot by Marina and the diamonds

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    UV resistance of dyneema..... how much /how fast does that happen?
    My buddy in the Caribbean is using it. I showed him J Madisons serving technique. My bud blew it off.
    He said, roughly,... it happens so slow, the stuff is so strong, it is so cheap.
    I dunno.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    My current answer to the hank on headstay problem with dyneema is a Dyarchy stay. which I'm loving.
    Can you give details of that? My understanding is that a Dyarchy stay is an arrangement with the jib almost set flying, hanked onto its own (very, very long) tackline, with a second, independant forestay for mast support, but I suspect I'm missing critical details.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    Can you give details of that? My understanding is that a Dyarchy stay is an arrangement with the jib almost set flying, hanked onto its own (very, very long) tackline, with a second, independant forestay for mast support, but I suspect I'm missing critical details.

    Alex
    You've pretty much got it. The headstay is fully served. I have a lighter length of standard dyneema (not the heat set stuff) dead ended aloft, down through a block on the outhaul. The jib tacks down to one end and hanks up the standing leg, all comfortably on the foredeck. Then I haul out the outhaul and go up on the halyard. It is more controlled than set flying because there is only 8" or so of slack after you get the outhaul pulled out. I never have to go on the sprit, and the dyarchy stay can be replaced for $50 if it starts to wear out in a number of years. The line that actually holds up the mast gets no wear and is fully protected by serving.

    My jib does have a wire in the luff, which is probably necessary. I am having a new jib made, it will have another length of dyneema in the luff, with an adjustable lashing at the tack fitting so I can match tension after the sail stretches in. I'll put up some pics when its all working.

    This would probably not work well for a high tension modern boat, but I have no backstay- all headstay tension is from running backstays, so I can set them up after making off the jib halyard. No need to get thousands of pounds of tension with the halyard, like some headstays have.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    I use & race Dyneema shrouds for 10 years now, and will never go back to wire.
    I test the strength each year between tree and tractor, and did not ever have a failure there or at sea , despite some roughness appearing on the surface superficially. Splicing is simple and reliable. Great stuff all round.
    One pratical aspect of synthetic has not been mentioned here yet: It does not damage lacquered or epoxied surfaces through rubbing during trailering.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    It would be a great help against chafe as well though. James's rig is there forever. How do you find the wind noise James? I had a boat a few years ago with dyneema and it was quite loud.

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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    I find dyneema very easy to splice, and you could ask your sailmaker to use anti twist line in the jib on a roller, that doubles as a forestay, so no bronze luff hanks. Dyneema is now often also used on big steel sailing barges in the charterbusiness, and it does not wear away the winches like steel wire.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    So many interesting replies. I don't know which way is best yet, but the comments about availability of good galv wire have me thinking that 'availability' is perhaps a good starting place (particularly since the place I live is still in the Neanderthal era).

    A hundred years ago when I owned a folkboat I rerigged with sta loc fittings, nice gear, but these days I feel more drawn to splicing, seizing, or even wire clamps, and soft eyes (well suited to my new rig too).

    In the event that a soft eye is spliced into SS wire, should this be wormed, parcelled, and served as for galvanised, or is there a better way given SS's need for oxygen?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    To make a soft eye by way of the Flemish eye splice, AKA Molly Hogan, you need 7x7 or similar wire construction. Nigh on impossible with 1x19. 7x7 is totally common and readily available in stainless.

    A Molly Hogan's core wire end gets nipped at the throat and the other ends must be spiraled down around the cable from the throat and that must be secured. You can use a crimp fitting made for the purpose and available from rigging suppliers to the crane and timber industries. The best crimps for marine use are the copper crimps. Avoid the zinc alloy crimps. Or you can seize the bejazus out of it. Don't just wrap wire. Make a seizing iron and learn how to wind at just below the wire's breaking strain. This is important to keep the eye from slipping.

    It's traditional to make the upper eyes large enough loop over the mast hand hang on a shoulder. The mast must be protected from the wire, easily accomplished by serving the eye and down the throat. Use natural fiber well oiled and oil some more as you stitch a leather cover over that. Thus encased, the stainless wire will be quite happy. This is not like burying ss in epoxy or varnish.

    Make the lower eyes as small as you can work the wire and seize the throat tightly against a thimble. This boat is small enough that you can use open ss thimbles here and they won't crush.

    G'luck

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    At the risk of disagreeing with Mr McColgin (which I am never worried about in the bilge, but am normally loathe anywhere else ), I say definitely use heat set dyneema. I used the Dux from colligo marine, but the NE ropes STS stuff is supposed to be great also. I consider the best way to go. It is completely a DIY job, with no difficult steps (okay, the pre-tensioning is a bit of a pain). Once the terminal fittings are purchased, the line itself is not expensive. If unserved or uncovered, it has a life of at least 8 years. But replacement is not hard or expensive.

    The following numbers are based on memory: John Franta at Colligo Marine told me he had a customer who replaced theirs after 10 years in the carribean. It was definitely frazzled and looked like it needed replacing, so he had them send the old lines to him so he could test them. Breaking strength had decreased by 35%. That sounds like a lot, but remember, rigging is not sized with this stuff based on breaking strength. It is so dang strong, that 65% strength is much more than enough to keep a rig up. He wasn't saying it shouldn't have been replaced, only saying that the UV degradation is not as bad as people think.

    I will probably switched to a covered one in the future, or perhaps serving it. But even uncovered, you know when it is going bad. Mine has been in the sun in Texas for almost 3 years now and looks as good as new.

    I use soft shackles for my hanks, and some pvc hose around the spreader ends to avoid chafing. I am not for sure what Ian means by it being unable to withstand damage.



    Chafe is not that much of an issue.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    You've pretty much got it...
    Thank you, J. Madison. The Dyarchy stay sounds like an excellent arrangement, for several reasons, when it fits the sailplan. I especially like the idea of everything coming in to the foredeck.

    Unfortunately, I don't know that it is universally applicable, especially on small boats. I doubt that I could adapt it to my own small boat, where I have a club-footed jib --the club itself affixed to a knockle on the forestay-- with a luff jackline, that remains out on the (short) bowsprit when stowed. With that arrangement I think something like what Peb suggests is neccessary: soft shackles instead of hanks --or perhaps some sort of UHMW slugs that ride on the forestay and mate with the bronze hanks? Or perhaps just a jib set flying, no hanks, entirely independant of a load-carrying forestay, would be the simplest arrangement? Hard to say; I haven't myself used a wire-luff jib, only heard them grumbled at as inferior to the hanked variety, outside of a roller furling situation.

    I don't know how well the jib hank industry has yet caught up to the idea of fiber forestays. Hopefully there's hope on the horizon.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    Thank you, J. Madison. The Dyarchy stay sounds like an excellent arrangement, for several reasons, when it fits the sailplan. I especially like the idea of everything coming in to the foredeck.

    Unfortunately, I don't know that it is universally applicable, especially on small boats. I doubt that I could adapt it to my own small boat, where I have a club-footed jib --the club itself affixed to a knockle on the forestay-- with a luff jackline, that remains out on the (short) bowsprit when stowed. With that arrangement I think something like what Peb suggests is neccessary: soft shackles instead of hanks --or perhaps some sort of UHMW slugs that ride on the forestay and mate with the bronze hanks? Or perhaps just a jib set flying, no hanks, entirely independant of a load-carrying forestay, would be the simplest arrangement? Hard to say; I haven't myself used a wire-luff jib, only heard them grumbled at as inferior to the hanked variety, outside of a roller furling situation.

    I don't know how well the jib hank industry has yet caught up to the idea of fiber forestays. Hopefully there's hope on the horizon.

    Alex
    I certainly wouldn't advertise the dyarchy stay as a universal solution, but I'm happy.

    Honestly for a small boat, I would just hank directly onto the dyneema, same as a SS headstay. I think you would get many years of weekend use, and at that point it would be very small cost to replace it.

    30 ft of the best dux in small boat sizes can't be more than $100, even in the hazy future.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    For what it's worth..... On my rather small 16' daysailer I use dyneema shrouds and forestay. These are sized one size bigger than what's called for simply to limit the stretch. That works. I use hanks on my club jib. I can find no visible signs of wear to the forestay after three years of use. The boat is sailed several times a week except in the winter when it lives in a garage. The ability to make the rig myself is a huge benefit as far as I'm concerned. I used standard dyneema that I pre-stretched using a come-along.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    We added Dyneema running backstays to "Bright Star" seven years ago. They show no evidence of being affected either by chafe or UV yet!
    It looks like we will be using the synthetic for all of her standing and running rigging when the new main mast is built.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    I must admit that reports on some of these modern fibers are coming back better than I'd ever have thought. The advantages of less weight and less windage aloft are most appealing.

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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    I must admit that reports on some of these modern fibers are coming back better than I'd ever have thought. The advantages of less weight and less windage aloft are most appealing.
    The weight savings aloft are substantial. But for most boats you will not have less windage. To my knowledge, the only cost effective synthetic is the heat set dyneema. It is sized for creep, not for strength. IIRC, 10% of breaking strength is the typical sizing. I have a modern fractional rig with around 400 ft of working sail area. Except for the backstay, I had all 1/4 inch, 1x19 stainless before. Based on John Franta's advice, the upper shrouds and forestay increased a size, and the mid shrouds and lowers stayed at 1/4 inch. And that was uncovered and unserved, and the windage increased. John said that most boats, if done properly will see a slight increase in windage. But this is more than offset by the weight savings and other benefits. Now, if one as a small performance dinghy, one could certainly save a little windage by going with a slightly smaller size and just always adjust the rig for any creep that appears. But beyond that, I don't think so.


    You earlier comment on withstanding damage brought a comment to mind that I have heard multiple times: it is not chafe or UV, but that it simply can be broken too easily. As one person told me on the dock: all someone has to do is walk up with a knife and cut your forestay and your rig is lost. Yes, that comment will be found on the internet also. I can tell you, it would be easier to walk up to a boat with wire rigging and cut that with a wire rope cutter and destroy someone's rig than cutting through this stuff with a knife. Now, no one is going to do that, but the comment has to do with how easily it can be damaged by some type of accident. Its not likely, IMO.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    A little google shows me that dyneema indeed has excellent abrasion and cut resistance. In other applications and woven correctly, it literally bullet proof.

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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    As I wrote earlier: There is anti twist or anti torsion line now. It is developed for Code Zero sails, or Screachers ( on multihulls). Colligo makes thimbles and clamps for it and I used it for a few reaching sails on rollers. A gennaker is better but I sail with a small crew. You could use it as as a forestay cum luff rope on a roller. I did this for a client with an Eun Mara.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Wire or synthetic standing rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    As I wrote earlier: There is anti twist or anti torsion line now. It is developed for Code Zero sails, or Screachers ( on multihulls). Colligo makes thimbles and clamps for it and I used it for a few reaching sails on rollers. A gennaker is better but I sail with a small crew. You could use it as as a forestay cum luff rope on a roller. I did this for a client with an Eun Mara.
    So that would work with a jib on a Wykeham-Martin type furler? What is its advantage over a wire rope luff?

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