Re: rigg of santorin when should it be changed?

Craig Briggs

Hi Christoph,
     Adding to Ian and Bill K's good advice, what year is your Santorin and is the rigging original? Just wondering if it may be a bit more than 20 years. You'll also want to consider what kind of sailing you'll be doing. Day saying in the Med obviously being less risky than an ocean passage, although 20 or more years is beyond my comfort level. What motivated us to replace our rigging was having a mizzen forward lower stay break while sailing off Catania, Sicily. The rig was 18 years old.
     Regarding price, you can compare your 10000 Euro quote from Turkey with 4851 Euros we paid to Acmo for our Santorin rigging, including shipping to Italy, all new turnbuckles etc. I'd guess the Turkey quote included labor and Acmo was material only. Using Acmo has the advantage that they made your original rigging and therefore know the exact specs and provide factory swaged stays that only need to be put up - no field cutting and swaging to get the lengths right. They also supply the "special" short turnbuckle for the headstay, 
     The only change we made from the original specification was to use standard right-hand turnbuckles rather than the left-handed ones Amel originally specified which would have added about 1000 Euros to the cost. Nobody has ever explained why Amel used left-handed turnbuckles.
     Katherine and I did all the work ourselves with the mast up. Took a week doing 2 or 3 stays a day - not difficult and you will know it's done right (or, I suppose, have nobody to blame but yourself :-)
Craig and Katherine, SN#68 Sangaris

---In amelyachtowners@..., <greatketch@...> wrote :

Twenty year old rigging is old.  I, personally, would not cross an ocean with it--no matter how good it looked.  Here is why.

Stainless steel rigging does not typically fail because of visible corrosion, assuming that good quality 316 or 316L wire was used.  The failure mode is much more insidious because you can not see it happening.  The rigger who looks, no matter how closely, at old rigging and pronounces it "good for another 15 years" does NOT know what he is talking about.

In the language of the metallurgist to "work" a metal is to bend or stretch it.  When you "work" the kinds of stainless steel that are used in rigging the metal hardens.  As it hardens it also gets brittle and weaker. Think about bending a stiff piece of wire back and forth.  It bends, it bends, it bends, it breaks. Nothing visible happens. until the strands of the wire start to break.

Now, a well tuned sailboat rig (i.e., nice tight wires) doesn't "work" its wires a much, but it does work them. "Work" happens every time they stretch a little tiny bit in strong winds, or in the shock load imposed by hitting a big wave.

In addition to work hardening, there is also crevice corrosion to worry about.  It also happens even to the best stainless when chloride is around.  Without a detailed dye test (preferably magnaflux) it can be very hard to see, if it is visible at all.  This happens faster in saltier water (I.e., The Med), and warmer temperatures (i.e., everywhere we like to sail!)

The problem with any recommendation on this subject is that it is an odds game.  The chances of 5 year old rigging that has been in a well tuned rig failing due to work-hardening or crevice corrosion are near zero. The odds of a 30 year old rig being significantly weaker than designed is very high.  

You have to draw the line somewhere.  A conservative number is 15 years, based on the opinions of lots of people whose opinion I trust.  Is it conservative?  For most boats, under most condidtions--yes.  But in the middle of the ocean, I am a very conservative guy.

When I worked for a charter company with boats that were sailed in strong winds a LOT, we changed small boat rigging every five years, and big boat rigging every seven.  

Bill Kinney
SM#160 Harmonie
Ponce, P.R.

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