Standing rigging: is "candy caning" really a thing?


Member III
A rigger visited the boat and pointed out the "candy caning" on my (probably original 1987) wire rigging to tell me that that is an indication of the need to replace the entire rig. I wish I had a photo, but "candy caning" is apparently seen in wire when some strands show a bit of superficial rust-color. I'm under the impression that rigging issues are mainly in stress fractures in swages, and oxygen deficiency, but I've never heard of "candy caning" or its significance.

Is candy caning really an indication of degradation of rigging and the need for replacement?

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
If you have the original standing rig, "candy caning", while a real term, is not your first problem. Your boat is about two decades beyond when that original rig needed to be replaced. :rolleyes:
Good Luck has gotten you this far, and/or you have tangible proof that your chosen deity loves you a lot.
We replaced our original rig about 20 years ago, and again this spring.
Besides the problem of stress corrosion down inside a lower swage where you cannot see it, the constant movement of the boat -even at the dock- work hardens the ss wire.
New rig is overdue. Definitely.

Excellent reference:
The Riggers Apprentice is well written and easy to understand. A great book that will answer a lot of your questions.


Member III
Seeing as my 1984 edition of Brion Toss' classic has been revised to include stuff that doesn't need to be wormed, parceled and served, I guess I need to upgrade my library along with my rig.

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
I recently replaced the headstay, as I couldn't inspect it inside the furler and was concerned that the furler turning may have abraded the wire. The rigger showed me the 20 year old stay after removal, and I could see where the wires were beginning to separate slightly, which he called "barber poling", likely the same as candy caning. I could see it, but there were no breakages or fish hooks on the wire. He said it likely would have lasted a few more years, but I didn't want to risk the forestay breaking with wife, kids or grandkids aboard.