Synthetic Standing Rigging anyone?

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
Has anyone replaced his/her SS cable standing rigging with rope?

Earlier this year I attended a pre-Hawaii-race talk sponsored by my local Singlehanded-Sailing-Society about rigging. The featured speaker was a local rigger (Ryan Nelson of Rogue Rigging) who works out of the Berkeley Marina. If you would like to see the same seminar, a very authentic video is available here:


He/the forum spent a good deal of time discussing 'synthetic' rigging, which means ropes instead of cables. My summary recollection:

Positives
-Rope rigging is lighter than steel cable.
-Rope rigging is stronger than steel cable.
-Rope rigging shows wear (via furry rough outer sleeves) more obviously than a seldom-touched meathooked cable.
-The idea of rope rigging is not new. Boats had rope standing rigging for hundreds of years before stainless cable came into vogue.

Negatives
-Rope rigging has a break-in period that requires adjustment (tightening). The standard practice is to have a lashing at the hull termination that can be tightened.
-People have only 'gone back' to rope rigging for a decade or so. It may be that stainless rigging will last longer, but one is also supposed to replace his standing rigging every 10 years for safety margins, and rope rigging should last that long.

Other considerations:
-Ryan the rigger recommended that solo Transpac racers NOT have synthetic rigging due to the potential need to tighten the lines in transit.
-The idea of tying off (repairing) rigging should a line fail is attractive, but if you break a stay under load, your odds of keeping the rig up are probably low anyway, so don't invest too much in this idea.
-When I sell my boat, I think rope rigging may be off-putting to some buyers.

I have the sense that mostly hardcore racers are the ones with synthetic rigging at this point. I like the idea of keeping weight aloft down as much as possible, for heeling etc..

Comments welcome!
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Here is one prior thread...
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
You can cut Dyneema/Spectra with a knife. I'm not sure I could keep that out of my mind given the possibilities of vandalism or other, er, motivation.
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
But couldn't anyone with malice in his heart and $30 at Home Depot do the same thing to your cables?

 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
That super-strong line is *mighty* difficult to cut, even with a serrated blade. I have some experiences with it. Hack saw works, or a Dremel tool.
 
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Mark F

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
Waiting for Cinderella's Dad to check in...

Also is Guy still here? He has done some Dyneema re-rigging.

Rigging Doctor Youtube;
 

Sailingfun

Member II
I think Dyneema is a wonderful material. I gonna install my lifeline on Dyneema. Half the price, easy to redo it. Regarding rigging, I think it's an impressive solution for somebody going bluewater. You toss a coil around and if you have any problem around the world, it's easy to redo for yourself in a few hours.
For a cruiser, I do not see so many advantages. And the risk of chafe is constant. For now, for rigging, I pass. For lifelines... best solutions at this moment.
 

ConchyDug

Junior Member
Well it's not any cheaper as standing rigging if that's something you are worried about... Lifelines sure. My rigger had some shrouds for a cruising cat in the shop and had it tensioned to 20K lbs for the pre-stretch, was pretty impressive. The table holding it down was even more impressive!

When dyneema is under load it can be cut pretty easily. So you'll have to leave the cutlasses at home.
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
Based on the feedback, it seems like few people have pursued synthetic standing rigging.

One other consideration a boatyard project manager mentioned recently is that some of what is gained in 'stiffness' by removing the weight of cable aloft is replaced by added windage given that the dyneema dux used to replace stainless cable is 3/8th" wide vs. the cable which is 3/16" wide.

I'm a little dubious about the impact of extra-windage-from-wider-lines, but calculating the marginal wind-load of 3/16" of extra width vertical units under different wind forces is outside the venn diagram intersection of my ability and interest. At this point I think I'll just go with stainless steel cable for 'set it and forget it' convenience.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
If sailing around the world (fat chance), I would be glad to have Spectra on board. You really could fix failed stainless rigging with it.

However, you can also temporary-fix stainless wire failures--usually a swage or turnbuckle or pin of some sort--with hardware store cable clamps and a coil of $10 wire. And the rust would look traditional.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Having watched this, all I can say is yikes. What a vast undertaking. And apparently--I don't follow their channel--they have now lost the boat.

 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
Having watched this, all I can say is yikes. What a vast undertaking. And apparently--I don't follow their channel--they have now lost the boat.
I think the middle-ground (vs. making each individual piece of standing rigging like the Zingaro guy) is to order a set-up from Colligo Marine, have an experienced rigger help one install and tension it the first time, then take responsibility for tightening the lashings during the break-in period. It still has some appeal, but I think I have enough other self-education challenges (Yanmar maintenance, etc.) without picking a fight with my rigging.

It's funny how the YouTube economy works. That couple was hoping to raise 36K euros with their kickstarter, apparently and got to 61K total. I'm sure the sinking of the old boat will lead to some sort of lifestyle improvement with the new one.
 

Guy Stevens

Moderator
Moderator
I've rigged I think 14 boats with the Colligo Dyneema system, there is a lot of misinformation out there on having to tighten the rig all the time etc.
Almost universally I recommend it over SS
1> The boat sails a lot better without the weight aloft. Go faster, reef later, and less heel.
2> The product is quality, unlike most of the SS wire in the world right now.
3> You can be taught how to replace it yourself
4> Although John at Colligo doesn't say it will, the product outlasts Stainless Steel by a long time.

Why Colligo and not just faking it yourself... It's all about the deadeyes, or collectors as John calls them. Colligo stuff is top notch and you can reuse it for the life of the boat, just replace the line. (As far as splices go this is an easier than most splice), however you do have to tension your splice after you make it. With some large tension device. The issuse here is that most people can't develop sufficient tension doing it with what they own.

That said, you can make a stay, and continue to tension it as you use it on the boat, if you pretension it, you don't have to adjust it, if you don't pretension it, and than yes you might have to adjust it quite frequently for a while.

62 foot boat we rigging with it for cruising, less than 1/4 inch of turnbuckle change in 2 years.....

G
:)
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
I've rigged I think 14 boats with the Colligo Dyneema system, there is a lot of misinformation out there on having to tighten the rig all the time etc.

Have you ever worried about chafing or fraying of the lines?
What I am told is that one can see the fuzz developing from a chafe much easier than one could observe a meathook high up in a steel cable.
Have the dyneema rigging lines passing through the spreaders ever presented a problem?
 

p.gazibara

Member III
We put Colligo Dux on Cinderella, I love it. John Franta is great, he is helpful and knowledgeable but his business leaves much to be desired.

We had lots of back and forth before we ordered it in September and didn’t receive all the bits until mid January. Once in Tahiti, the shrouds were all the wrong length so I had to resplice them. (They goofed on the length and added an extra 6” for the turnbuckles) I thought it was my mistake until I reread the measurement instructions they gave me.

Not the end of the world, but annoying to have to redo all of them. I did have to retighten the turnbuckles and retune the rig after we got to Tonga before the NZ passage. This was because I undid all the bottom splices and didn’t have a means to tension them beside installing them and using the turnbuckles.

I was annoyed enough to not make a video of the conversion. Ultimately there was a disconnect between Ryan and John which I believe cause our headache.

I wouldn’t put wire or rod back on Cinderella, all the benefits stated above really make Dux great stuff.

If done again, I would cover the shrouds from the turnbuckles up six feet or so. Maybe even to the first spreaders. We are seeing chafe where the jib sheets run and it’s annoying after Colligo insisted it would not be an issue.

I just removed the backstay and shortened it by adding extra bury in the splice and it took all of 20 minutes. (I’m installing a 24-1 cascade) I love the fact that it can be replaced anywhere with simple tools. It’s great stuff for the cruising sailor.

-P
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
Thanks @Guy Stevens and @p.gazibara. These messages (well, especially Guy's) were enough to nudge me to call Colligo and get a quote started this morning. I would be buying all of my shrouds and stays with the exception of the forestay (encircled by my furler) which will remain wire.

This is what 39.6 lbs of SS wire stays and shrouds (and a wire topping lift!) look like in my yard today:

IMG_9168.JPG

I spent about three hours on the sidewalk in front of my house today laying out the wires and carefully measuring "pin-to-pin" lengths.

IMG_9167 (1).JPG

There are lots of details to document.

IMG_9152 (1).JPG

Waiting to hear back from John @ Colligo. It seems like he can deliver like-for-like in 1-2 weeks.
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
The price from Colligo for my

1@ Backstay
2@ Upper shrouds
2@ Intermediate shrouds
2@ Lower fwd shrouds
2@ Lower aft shrouds

is $3,856.53

That price includes a 15% discount that we did not discuss on the phone, and it also does not show CA sales tax that I will likely have to pay on top.

The quote includes new turnbuckles (Colligo web site says any boat over 30' should have turnbuckles not lashings, for ease of tensioning) and that is just fine with me.

Measuring my existing wire stays, I found 1/4" (0.25") wire for the backstay and upper shrouds.
This will be replaced by 9mm (0.35") Dynice (pre-tensioned Dyneema)

My intermediate and lower shrouds were 7/32nds (0.21875") (wire.
These will be replaced by 7mm (0.27") Dynice.

So, with all hardware included, these should be 'plug and play' replacements for my wire.
I'm guessing the wire versions that KKMI would sell me would cost more like $2,500.
So perhaps I would be paying up $1,400 for the rope?
 

nquigley

Member III
What hardware did Colligo provide for hooking the stays into the slots in the mast?
I replaced all my standing rigging via WM last year (wire-->wire) and they had a little trouble sourcing the T-ball swage fittings at the tops of the stays because the OEM is out of business. But they managed in the end.
I was also able to buy a pair of the correct T-balls with an eye instead of a swage end, which I'll use if/when I install dyneema running backstays. Maybe Colligo found these fittings too for your job.
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
What hardware did Colligo provide for hooking the stays into the slots in the mast?
I replaced all my standing rigging via WM last year (wire-->wire) and they had a little trouble sourcing the T-ball swage fittings at the tops of the stays because the OEM is out of business. But they managed in the end.
I was also able to buy a pair of the correct T-balls with an eye instead of a swage end, which I'll use if/when I install dyneema running backstays. Maybe Colligo found these fittings too for your job.
My Isomat mast has stemball fittings for all of the upper connection points. They look like this: IMG_9145.JPG

I have two sizes, marked "A7" and "A6" which Colligo will replace with new fittings:

 

Guy Stevens

Moderator
Moderator
Have you ever worried about chafing or fraying of the lines?
What I am told is that one can see the fuzz developing from a chafe much easier than one could observe a meathook high up in a steel cable.
Have the dyneema rigging lines passing through the spreaders ever presented a problem?
Of all the rigs that we have done, we have only had one customer have an issue with chafe on the rigging. Very simply put they are horrible sailors, and insist on letting the sails beat against the shrouds anytime they take for a period of MINUTES. I resolved this issue with this customer by covering the lower portion of the rigging with an anti chafe cover. None of the other 13 or so boats has had that issue.
Chafe is easy to see, also remember that we size the dyneema by stretch not by strength. So most of the time the dyneema has 5x the strength of the wire you are replacing it with. So if something does happen that is interesting. (Such as getting another boats anchor stuck around your v1 shrouds during a race), you can inspect it easily with your eyes.
No problems where it goes through the spreaders. I wrap the lines there with rigging tape as it helps the spreaders stay at the correct angle.
Guy
:)
 
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