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Preparing for a rigging degradation when sailing to out-of-the way locations


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What is the issue?
Stress cracking is a serious problem with stainless steel standing rigging and shrouds - the stainless steel cables that extend from the mast-head to the larboard and starboard sides of the vessel, supporting the mast. However they typically provide ample pre-failure warning by way of broken strands. As shrouds are made of multiple cable strands they individually break down before the entire shroud fails, particularly so at the swage or terminal. These individual broken off strands within the shroud are easily detected with careful inspection
Once broken strands are found the rigging wire is degraded and requires replacement. This can be addressed effectively in most any location with a busy marine supply industry.
However this is far from the case when en-route deep ocean or sailing in out-of-the-way-sailing locations where it could be difficult to get hold of, or prohibitively expensive to ship in.


Why address this?
If a degraded shroud should fail the rig will be outside of its support design and most likely collapse.

How to address this?
If you are sailing deep ocean or to remote locations it makes sense to carry at least one spare length of the heaviest / longest rigging stay aboard plus a pair of Swageless Terminations.
Swageless 'Norseman' type terminals, terminate cables by using spanners (without hydraulic presses or swaging machines) so they can be implemented on board without specialist equipment. The terminals are reliable and at least as strong as rated breaking load of the cable itself.
You can support a failing shroud in the short term by splinting a supporting section onto the area that is failing – see figure 1 where a swage connection is being supported. All that is required is a section of rigging wire and a bulldog grips to fix it on.


With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.



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