Standing rigging, other advice, for a 30+ in the Bay Area

supersailor

Contributing Partner
When checking older standing rigging, the rigging can look good when visually checking it and not be good. One time when racing a SJ26 up wind in the south San Francisco bay on a high wind nasty chop day we heard a twing. What was that? About 10 minutes later we heard another twing. 5 minutes later another twing. We checked everything and didn't find any problems. Then twing, twing, twing, twing, twing and the port forward lower parted. A panic tack saved the mast. A long put-put back to Coyote Point ensued.

The wire had entirely parted inside the swage of the lower turnbuckle. I attributed that to salt laying inside the swage but it might have been hardening of the cable inside the swage. After that I always melted a little wax into the swage. Don't know if it helped but I felt better. I would always look slightly askance at older rigging but would be mostly comfortable with a through look a couple times a year (a magnifying glass helps).

Oh Dang! My rigging is overdue. After I get the other immediate problems in my life solved, I'll hit it.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Here's the sort of thing we're looking for. I missed it, but a rigger knew where to look--and found it in time. All I needed was one new stay.

Thelonious T-bolt crack replaced 2013.JPG
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
That beats the hell out of one new mast!
Bob & others,
I also added some lanolin to the wire where it entered the swage many years ago. It has hardened in place and I'm sure keeps the salt water out. However, I do wonder sometimes if the stainless wire inside the swage is oxidizing as the air/oxygen is blocked. There is no good way to tell.
Frank
 
Don't be shy about getting competitive bids (if you can get someone to answer).
I just purchased a hinged base plate for the mast of my newly acquired E27 from Ballenger Spars in Watsonville CA.
I will be mailing my standing and running rigging to Buzz shortly for replacement. His price is fair and he has been very helpful with info.
My situation is a bit different as my mast is down but your labor was separated out so should be easy to compare.
I have also been told that if your rigging is more than ten years old you may have a problem with the insurance company if something does break?
My take on it was I have no idea what the rigging has been through in the past nor did the person I bought her from so I'm replacing it. I'm pretty sure standing rigging failure ends in a bad day. Buzz has even gone as far as to look at photos I have sent him to determine the health of my mast at the base ( in regards to installing the base plate) as well as the spreader bracket replacements that were done. I thought it looked pretty suspect and although he said he would have done it differently it looked sound enough. I do not know if he will go to S.F. but you could always have the mast pulled and send him the rigging? Wouldn't hurt to ask.


Another thought is to have and industrial wire rope company do it. I had a Cheoy Lee Lion a while back and had a crane rigging company do the rigging for me when I was refinishing the Spruce Spar. They said d they actually do quite a few. They are in Ventura but I'm sure there's a reliable
crane and winch rigging company in S.F.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I'm pretty sure standing rigging failure ends in a bad day.
Back about 1980, I was crewing - for my first time - a delivery up the WA coast on a sunny 15 day in Ranger 29, and a broken lower shroud (invisible 'stress corrosion') down inside the swage) on one side brought down the whole rig in a heart beat. No injuries and after leaving the hair-pinned mast and rig in the Pacifc.... we motored back to Astoria with vacation plans abandoned.
I always wonder if some trawler in the last few decades has reeled it in as part of their "catch", cursing and sawing away the bits.
The owner got a new spar and rig from his insurer, and the lesson about stress corrosion was learned by all of us, and retained.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
Hey!

This is my first post here! I bought a 1985 Ericson 30+ about a year ago. It's my first boat. I absolutely love owning and sailing it.

I had the boat hauled out and surveyed as a condition of sale, but unfortunately it seems that the survey was actually not very accurate on a number of counts. He gave the standing rig a "good condition" rating. However I had the rigging inspected by KKMI and was told that though the rigging does not show any obvious signs of wear, it is clearly more than 15 years old and should be replaced.

KKMI has failed to give me an estimate on changing the rigging despite several requests. Easome rigging, also in Richmond, gave me an estimate in a timely and professional manner. Their estimate is $2k materials + $3k labor, which seems (very) high to me. I'm hoping for any recommendations you might have for riggers and any sense you have of how much this should cost. The boat is in Emeryville.

I'm also interested in any advice you might have about the boating world, as I've been very frustrated. Everyone I deal with runs their business as if they don't even want any customers. They are unresponsive, unprofessional, unreliable, and living in 1990 technology-wise. Accomplished professionals give me conflicting information about basic issues (like the standing rigging, or the engine). Are the best practices really so debatable, or is it just that half of these people are trying to screw me? I had the engine professionally gone over, and ended up with a $4k bill, the bottom professionally painted (plus a few other small issues) for another $4k, and now the rigging. I paid about $15k for the boat on the understanding that it was in "good condition" overall, but now it seems like it needed that much work put into it immediately. Am I doing something wrong? Can I expect it to need a lot less over the next few years? It feels like I should have found a $30k boat and a better surveyor instead.

Thanks,
Evan
Welcome to the marine industry in the Bay Area. I've just gone through a number of riggers for various tasks and estimates for rod rigging replacement on my boat (but you probably have wire which is easier to replace).

Easom Racing and Rigging is the shop to go to if that is where you got your estimate. Almost all the local sailors I have gone to recommend him first. Given their reputation I am surprised the cost is not higher. I think 5K is reasonable price if it include replacement of the all the fittings and turnbuckles .

Regarding expenses - just for comparison, I spent about 15K so far (and the year is not up) and my boat was in "above average" condition as well.

One way I rationalize the price and additional expenses. . If you spend 30K on a boat and put 30K into it over the next two years, you've spent as much on your yacht has you have a good new truck or SUV and if you were to try and buy a new 30' boat equivalent in capability to the boat you have, you would have to spend at least 180K delivered. that "new" boat will also require maintenance and sorting over the next two years,. Prior to buying my boat had a fractional membership on an Beneteau 38.1 which was two years old. The price of the boat as delivered was 320K. Sailboats are expensive (like airplanes) and even if you have to put some money into an old boat, you are still paying a fraction of what a new boat costs...(include insurance and other costs and it goes up even higher).

Who was your surveyor ?



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K2MSmith

Member III
Evan, in 2018, I had my standing rigging on my 87 E34 changed at KKMI and went through a similar exercise. The rigging had been changed (also by KKMI in 2005) by the previous owner so I only had 13 years on the old rigging. But my hydraulic backstay adjuster had failed and either I needed to have that rebuilt (~$800 plus other labor) or have that removed and either a new back stay installed or another piece of wire (with appropriate connectors). I really dont use the hydraulic back stay so the cheapest option was a new backstay. But KKMI really wanted the mast pulled so there was going to be labor involved in any case. Bob Hennessey, with whom I have deal with for many years suggested that he could test the rigging (probably just a visual inspection, probably not a dye penetrant test which is the best) and if OK, just replace the backstay. But then, with a twinkle in his eye, seeing my advanced age, he said, if you really want to sleep at night 13 years of close enough to 15 years (and some insurance are now suggesting changing the standing rigging after 12 years), ....... You see how this is going.

In any case, Barrett, their main rigging expert, did the job, adding a removeable splice in the back stay so that I could re install the hydraulic backstay ( which I had rebuilt since a new one is several $K, and would help sell the boat later on). Bob's original estimate was $3-4K taking into account their yearly sail of 40% all rigging materials (but their prices are probably higher to start with). Total bill was $9K but that included rebuilding the hydraulic backstay, new running rigging, some new mast rewiring, painting the spreaders, some new mast lights, sheave cleanup, etc. Yeah, its ouch time but my "admiral" is slightly less worried, and it is probably the last time I will need that kind of work.

Make sure to ask for Barrett, he was super.
Is Barrett at KKMI Sausalito ?
 

nquigley

Sustaining Member
Hey Evan - welcome to the forum!
As you've seen, you get a wealth of info, comments and answers from lots of people when you post on here.
To add my 2c to the discussion, and your options ...
Last spring, I replaced my standing rigging (all but the forestay - will do that another time). I believe it was original (i.e, about 35 years old!). I removed 1 pair of stays at a time, starting at the bottom, sent the pair to West Marine's rigging shop for matched replacement (free shipping there and back via the local WM store), installed the new pair and took down the next pair, etc. A good thing about this approach is that one can spread out the $ pain over as many weeks/months as you want. The parts (wire, swaged terminals and turnbuckles) added up to about $2300 - I probably have the same number of 'ends' as you have, just longer wire, so your cost would be very close to mine. Of course, the labor to remove and reinstall the stays, and to tune the rig was free. Unless you have a particular physical reason you can't do this too, you might want to consider it. I agree with the others - there's probably absolutely no urgency in getting your standing rigging replaced, unless you are about to head far offshore for a long passage.
I'm 64 and only of average fitness. A few years ago, I invested about $400 in a climbing system that I can use by myself, and learned how to use it. Having this ability has lots of benefits beyond rigging replacement and checking - I'm up my mast about 3-4 times a year to check or service various things. It's very handy (and satisfying) to be able to do this whenever I want/need, instead of hiring someone to come and do it on their schedule.
Good luck with your project!
 

N.A.

Junior Member
I talked with KKMI not long ago re: replacing standing rigging, and they discussed two options: they do it all (which for the boat I was discussing was ~ $6k) or they take downt he mast, I take off all the rigging (at their place; apparently they allow this), give them the rigging to duplicate, then I put it all back on the mast and they re-step... that was suggested to be ~ $2.5k. They actually told me it was better in general if I took the stuff apart, I think because I would become more familiar with my boat, though I did not draw them out on the reason. In any case, if you are willing to put in your own time, it seems you can save quite a bit... might be worth asking.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
I talked with KKMI not long ago re: replacing standing rigging, and they discussed two options: they do it all (which for the boat I was discussing was ~ $6k) or they take downt he mast, I take off all the rigging (at their place; apparently they allow this), give them the rigging to duplicate, then I put it all back on the mast and they re-step... that was suggested to be ~ $2.5k. They actually told me it was better in general if I took the stuff apart, I think because I would become more familiar with my boat, though I did not draw them out on the reason. In any case, if you are willing to put in your own time, it seems you can save quite a bit... might be worth asking.
Was that KKMI in Sausalito? That’s very cool that they would allow that. I’m a little surprised with covid because when I had my survey there back in may, they wouldn’t even let me in the yard . I’m assuming they would do the swaging for you and you would just do assembly ? Sounds like a good plan .
 

N.A.

Junior Member
It was KKMI Richmond (closer to me). I don't know if they also do that in Sausalito -- what I report is just what the person assigned to my project from the Richmond shop told me. I did like the way they worked with me on the phone -- seemed like good folks, but I have no personal experience with work there (yet -- do expect to use their services). You should ask them directly, but I think you get the stuff off the mast (and out of it if doing internal work on radar coax, etc. I presume) and they reproduce what is necessary, which I presume includes swaging etc. The way it was described to me, it sounded like that is the skilled part -- the removal/reattachment sounded more like time consuming but not such high-skill work (i.e., stuff they could reasonably suggest I do myself). At least one other manufacturer (not Ericson, obviously) will sell you complete replacement rigging sets you can install yourself, so this is not an unknown thing.

PS: they took a bit to get back to me when I did the web form; I think they may be a bit busy at this time of the year. I waited a few days & called and they made time to talk with me then.
 

goldenstate

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
It was KKMI Richmond (closer to me). I don't know if they also do that in Sausalito -- what I report is just what the person assigned to my project from the Richmond shop told me. I did like the way they worked with me on the phone -- seemed like good folks, but I have no personal experience with work there (yet -- do expect to use their services). You should ask them directly, but I think you get the stuff off the mast (and out of it if doing internal work on radar coax, etc. I presume) and they reproduce what is necessary, which I presume includes swaging etc. The way it was described to me, it sounded like that is the skilled part -- the removal/reattachment sounded more like time consuming but not such high-skill work (i.e., stuff they could reasonably suggest I do myself). At least one other manufacturer (not Ericson, obviously) will sell you complete replacement rigging sets you can install yourself, so this is not an unknown thing.

PS: they took a bit to get back to me when I did the web form; I think they may be a bit busy at this time of the year. I waited a few days & called and they made time to talk with me then.
The described process is how I replaced my standing rigging with synthetic. They pulled the mast at KKMI Richmond.

I took off all of the old rigging, ordered the new, installed the new, then they put the mast back in the boat.

Presumably you could take your old cable rigging to West Marine too, though I doubt it would be much cheaper than $2,500.
Also if there is something wrong with measurements, the yard would own the responsibility for correcting it.

The process gave me a chance to disassemble and clean and inspect the spreaders, tips, bars, sheaves, replace lights, light and coax wiring, anemometer, make the mast look pretty, install new tides sailtrack mast groove etc. etc.. It was @10 days of work for me, as a novice. I would let the yard do it if I was working full time.

Prepping for the mast pull:

Wiring work:

Notes on the boatyard:
 

G Kiba

Member III
N.A.
I have had work done on my mast a few years ago at KKMI. To lower costs, they wanted me to loosen and remove the shrouds on the boat while they lower the mast. Once off, they placed it on saw horses for me to work on. I had additional work done by their fabrication house which worked out well. They re-stepped the mast and I did the final tuning myself. Whole project went better than I expected. However, when they are busy, it is hard to get work done or even a return phone call. This appears to be common in the marine industry.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
It was KKMI Richmond (closer to me). I don't know if they also do that in Sausalito -- what I report is just what the person assigned to my project from the Richmond shop told me. I did like the way they worked with me on the phone -- seemed like good folks, but I have no personal experience with work there (yet -- do expect to use their services). You should ask them directly, but I think you get the stuff off the mast (and out of it if doing internal work on radar coax, etc. I presume) and they reproduce what is necessary, which I presume includes swaging etc. The way it was described to me, it sounded like that is the skilled part -- the removal/reattachment sounded more like time consuming but not such high-skill work (i.e., stuff they could reasonably suggest I do myself). At least one other manufacturer (not Ericson, obviously) will sell you complete replacement rigging sets you can install yourself, so this is not an unknown thing.

PS: they took a bit to get back to me when I did the web form; I think they may be a bit busy at this time of the year. I waited a few days & called and they made time to talk with me then.
It sounds intriguing and it would be an excellent way to learn more about the rigging in your boat should you have to make an emergency repair somewhere. The main concern I would have is would they be willing spend the time to show me how to do stuff. For example, loosening a turnbuckle is pretty obvious but how to remove navtec swivels at the mast attachment ? If they explain things and I have to buy any tools to do it, that is reasonable, but if they get cranky when they are busy and not want to share any expertise, that's where it can get a little dicey. As you mention, I think after talking to them and getting an idea of how things will work, you can make a decision. Obviously, picking a time of the year where they are not so busy (is there one in the bay area ?) would be a good idea.
 
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