sailboat rigging swage

Swageless Mechanical Fittings or Swage Terminals…

Noresman mechanical eye

…Which do you prefer?

When talking about wire standing rigging for sailboats, there are two primary ways to secure a fitting to the end of the cable, the swage fitting and the mechanical fitting. One requires a specialized, expensive machine (pictured below) that is used to essentially squeeze or hammer the fitting onto the wire, this is called the swage fitting. The other simply requires the use of some wrenches (a vise is a great tool here too), some thread locker, a bit of patience, and some experience wouldn’t hurt either ;0). The latter is referred to as the mechanical or swageless fitting.

SWAGE FITTINGS:

Rotary hammer swager

Yes, there a few other types of swaging techniques which we might save for another time. One of which we commonly refer to as the “Nico Press”, a generic term. This is an entirely different ‘box of frogs’ all together. If you are interested read more on that here , written by our friends at Sailing Services .

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLM-crQeN-A&w=560&h=315]

SWAGELESS (MECHANICAL) FITTINGS:

Hi Mod Marine eye

Our favorite high quality mechanical or swageless terminal manufacturers are: Hayn Hi-mod  and  Stalok . Let us not forget Noresman (Navtec), one of the more popular fitting manufacturers on the market up until recently, as they have since shut down production. A mechanical fitting is typically a three part fitting  (sometimes four) . This type of fitting does take a bit longer to execute than the swage fitting, even by the most experienced of rigging technicians. The real bonus here is it does not require a ridiculously expensive machine. Which makes it a very appealing product for the DIY project.

.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTGB_kfTxUg&w=560&h=315]

PROS AND CONS:

There does appear to be some controversy about which type of fitting is better, so I’ll try to clear things up a bit. Let’s take a moment to talk about the pros and cons regarding these two styles of wire terminals. Swage fittings require one of these expensive machines, so you will likely have to pay someone to do it for you. Whereas Mechanical fittings can be the perfect solution for the DIY sailor. Swage fittings are substantially less expensive than mechanical fittings. For example, a swage stud for 1/4″ wire with 1/2″ thread retails for around $25 and the comparable mechanical fitting retails around $75. Multiply that times the amount of fittings you’ll need and it can make quite a difference in price when replacing an entire rigging set.

cracked swage

Having said all of that, a properly made swage fitting will last about 7-20 years or roughly 25,000 nautical miles, depending on geographical region and use before replacement is recommended. Regular inspection , regardless of fitting choice, is always recommended with service intervals around every 3-5 years.

mechanical fittings do crack!

We, at TRC, recommend using swage fittings over mechanical fittings when the stay is rigged with a furler, i.e. forestay.

There are also hybrid sets made, utilizing both types of fittings, with Swage fittings at the top of the stay and mechanical fittings at the bottom. This is the meet in the middle solution when price becomes a factor. Also this method is commonly practiced when building new masts.

TRC has had great success with the longevity of our swage fittings over the years {knocking on wood}. I’d say this is attributed to the use of high quality fittings, wire, the right machines, as well as proper execution. We end up selling mostly complete rigging sets using swage fittings. When discussing options with our customers we can really only justify the additional cost of mechanical fittings when the boat is going to endeavor on high mileage journeys. This way the wire can be replaced, the fittings inspected, and re-used with new cones (wedges). One of the other big benefits of mechanical fittings is/was at sea repairs. As the sailor could use wrenches and some Loctite to terminate a new cable at sea if needed, but not without the purchase of some good quality wire cutters (not cheap). With developments in synthetics we think that this problem can be much easier overcome with the use of Dyneema or Vectran . We offer a TRC Spare Stay Kit specifically for this purpose…no tools required!

Emergency Offshore Spare Stay Kits Now Available at The Rigging Company!!!!!

Either fitting, if not made properly, will have issues and can cause failures. Conversely, when done properly, either of these fittings will provide the boat and its crew with many years of trouble free service. With either fitting, given that they were executed properly, age, geographical location, and wear are the biggest enemies for standing rigging longevity.

RIGGERS TIPS FOR MAKING UP SWAGELESS TERMINALS :  

First, when choosing a mechanical fitting ensure that it is for the correct wire type being used, i.e. 1×19 , 7×19 , and  dyform/compact strand .  you’ll need to disassemble the mechanical fitting (with sta lok you can leave the former inside of the fitting) and then read the directions which should be included (or can be found online). the general gist for any mechanical fitting (regardless of manufacturer) goes as follows: start with a nicely cut end of wire. then the socket portion of the fitting gets slipped onto the wire..

Noresman Mechanical fitting instructions

Next, the end of the wire must be unlaid evenly (the tricky part), so that the core strands are exposed and the cover strands are evenly splayed open.

Once that is done, the cone (or wedge piece) is pushed onto the core strands. with the outer wires surrounding the cone evenly, work the socket back up to the end of the wire, and re-lay the cover strands onto the core. do this until the outside strands protrude from the end of the socket evenly and parallel (as pictured below), and the socket cannot slide up any further.,  this is all done while keeping the cone (or wedge) appropriately submerged below the end of the cut wire by the recommended amount. the amount of core stick out varies by fitting manufacturer, so read the directions and follow the guidelines closely. the outer wires cannot be flared out (see diagram 2) and must be parralel or curved-in slightly. you will not be able to assemble the fitting properly (or at all) if you don’t get this step right. now, (unless using a hi-mod fitting for which you will need to rig their “crown ring” in place) you are ready for the fitting to be screwed together and to form the wire. to do this we use loctite primer and red loctite to help lubricate things as shown in the video above., warning: stainless on stainless will gall (or cold weld) with too much friction and you’ll have a fitting that can’t be screwed-on or off. , once screwed down completely we recommend that the fitting be unscrewed again before the loctite activates (so hurry depending on temp) and checked for proper forming of the cover (outside) strands. lastly, if all looks to be fine, we coat the threads with more red loctite and then screw it back together tight some manufacturers recommend the use of sealants along with loctite into the fitting before the final assembly to mitigate water intrusion and to help secure things. recently it seems that most manufacturers are getting away from this, perhaps because of oxygen deprivation causing corrosion. so again, please follow the instructions and guidelines that come with the fittings that you have., …so there it is in a nutshell. as i always say, seek the council of your local rigger for product specific information as well as any tips and tricks so that you have it right., thanks for the read and leave us your comments below ., similar posts, the old volvo ocean race.

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11 Comments

This is not a comment but rather a product request. I need 4 U-shaped toggle jaws which are part of the standing rigging on my 30′ Hunter sloop. They are 2 1/4″ overall length by 1″ wide. They hold a 1/2″ diameter by 1″ slug at the top of solid threaded rigging. Any direction you can give would be appreciated. Bob Carr [email protected]

Thanks for the question. I think I know what you are after, but please email us an image at [email protected] . We can likely decipher your needed item once you send us a pic to confirm.

Cheers, ~T.R.C.

Thanks for your directions and tips on mechanical fittings. I have to change out the two forward port and starboard standing rigging because of on the port side of the mast below the shroud is pulling out. I will drill new holes, compression fitting inside with a lap patch over the outside of the mast. Once that is done will install one ear on each side to take the pin for the new Hi-Mod Mechanical fittings. I do hope I measure correctly as where I will be doing this besides up the mast is in a place with not many parts so taking it all with me in the next week.

I will try my best to take photo but I am doing all this single handed so may not take as many as I should.

I used a lot of Stalok fittings for a (not boat-related) job, and although they are straight-forward I found them rather tedious to make-up. For that reason alone I chose to try Hayn Hi-MOD for my boat, and ohmigosh they are fast and easy compared to the Stayloks! I started off with one: had a kinked shroud – it was easy to run a new shroud with a swaged stemball fitting and put the Hayn fitting on the bottom. Great! My boat was missing two shrouds so I did two more – easy peasy!! Next time I renew the shrouds I’ll do them all!!!

Fast forward a few thousand very stormy miles later (why me??): I pulled the mast and couldn’t remove those three shrouds because the crown rings and wires were STUCK inside the fitting housing. I tried all sorts of penetrating oils, heat, banging, LOTS of heat … and by then the fittings and wire were so abused they were no longer seaworthy so I let everybody (riggers included) try anything they wanted. The boat needs all new shrouds before I go offshore again and when I cut those fittings off I’m going to send them to Hayn and ask for a refund. :-(

It would have been interesting to have had a Staylok fitting or two on the boat for comparison. I really like the Hayn Hi-MOD fittings, but can’t recommend them for blue water (ab)use – I’ll stick with swaged fittings. Plus, with the advancements and reliability of synthetic rigging that’s a MUCH better way to go for emergency repairs and having spare shrouds aboard. And lookie! Someone has already invented a ready-make spare stay kit!! Brilliant. :-)

Very interesting story about those crown rings. To be honest we haven’t had to take many apart as they are relatively new to the US market still. Well about 10 years now (If I really think on it), man time flies. Thanks for the heads up though. I will keep an eye out next time we take one apart.

Priscilla I would like to send you one of our shirts if you like. What Size are you and what is your shipping address?

…and let us know if you need one of our spare stay kits or more information on them.

Serious bummer about the Hi-MODs, one would be ho-hum, but all three?! All are on 3/8″ upper spreader shrouds (dbl spreader cutter rig), two port one stbd, five or six years old (yeah where does the time go?), installed at different times on wires from different rigging companies. Not sure when I’ll pull the mast again, hopefully within a year. I want so much to cut one in half to look, but Hayn needs to figure out the problem and fix it so (unless they say otherwise) I’ll send them all three. You read it here first so of course I’ll keep TRC posted … and I won’t forget, women never forget anything, and don’t argue about that because we are always right. :-D

Ooh, a shirt! I’ll proudly be a walking billboard for TRC – this is a very impressive web site, educational, good annotated pictures – a true (sailing) community service. I’ll wear your shirt to our boat show next month – the local riggers will find out I’m cheating on them. hahaha!

..Can’t wait until everybody sees your new shirt :-0

Great tips! Thank you. I always learn lots when I read your posts. :)

Thanks Viki. I was wondering how you fared down there through that rough weather? Is everyone safe?

Having a few issues with big earthquakes at the moment… but we are ok :)

Good to hear. I heard that it was very close to where sent those shirts! ~T.R.C.

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DIY of standing rigging with compression fittings

  • Thread starter Avi
  • Start date Apr 30, 2023
  • Forums for All Owners
  • Ask All Sailors

What are the risks of replacing all standing riggings to a compression fittings or swageless , with sta lok or norseman by myself? I watch many people doing it on YouTube with no special difficulties. I am thinking of doing it myself is there anything in particular I need to pay attention? The money saving is what I need because I am doing a major refit on my S2 9.2C and the expenses are overwhelming. Is Norseman better then Sta lok? Any advice will be appropriated  

Attachments

88A1BD93-1137-442F-9C4A-B0946FA54BBE.jpeg

garymalmgren

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Avi said: What are the risks of replacing all standing riggings to a compression fittings or swageless , with sta lok or norseman by myself? I watch many people doing it on YouTube with no special difficulties. I am thinking of doing it myself is there anything in particular I need to pay attention? The money saving is what I need because I am doing a major refit on my S2 9.2C and the expenses are overwhelming. Is Norseman better then Sta lok? Any advice will be appropriated Click to expand

sailboat rigging swage

Just a word of caution .. be sure to use some kind of anti seize on the threads of the mechanical fitting. We tried to use one to fix a broken backstay and could not get the new fitting apart; heat, breaker bars, impact driver on a crowfoot.. nothing would budge it.  

Captain Larry-DH

Captain Larry-DH

@Avi re: photo 4. The easiest way to cut wire rope with a clean (unsplayed) edge is with a rotary tool cutoff wheel.  

jssailem

SBO Weather and Forecasting Forum Jim & John

  • Strengthen rigging to improve function of open water cruising.
  • Mitigate by design the potential for corrosion in rigging.
  • Improve running rigging systems to optimize mast base management.
  • Add running rigging options for spinnaker and stay sail.
  • Rewire all electrical systems.

Thank you all for the reply, I always learn something and get educated from all the feed backs  

Scott T-Bird

Scott T-Bird

I think to summarize the reasons why many sailors choose mechanical fittings are: 1) Mechanical fittings are more of an investment to reduce costs when rigging needs to be replaced in the future. They are considered to be re-usable when you need to purchase new wire. But they are not a more economical choice with the initial purchase. 2) Mechanical fittings are geared towards the DIY sailor who may not have access to swaged fittings in remote areas when the rigging may need replacement. 3) Many DIY sailors have more confidence in measuring and cutting the rigging on their own and doing the job independently. There are some who just do not trust others to do these jobs. If you don't fit in those categories, I'd suggest that mechanical fittings may not be your best choice.  

I'll also suggest that with a major refit, as you describe, the best strategy is to focus on the jobs that you know that you will have to do yourself to save money. Rigging is not one of those jobs. The time you save farming this job to a good rigger will be well worth it. This job will probably be done with less expense (especially if you value your own time properly) if it is done by a rigger with swage machinery. I have no doubt that you can readily find several competent riggers who will offer competitive pricing. The job will be done quickly, and well, without any stress on yourself. If this rigging is 20 years old or older (or you don't even know the age), my advise is to do this job for sure and don't put it off. Peace of mind doesn't come for free, but it is priceless once you have it. So, good for you having this task on the front burner.  

jviss

Good points, @Scott T-Bird . I was thinking of doing my own, having lengths of wire made with swaged fittings at the top, those Navtec-style "T" fittings, and Hi-Mod mechanical fittings at the bottom. In 2017 I costed it out from Rigging Only on Fairhaven, MA (only 10 minutes from where I now live!) at about $2,000. I would have to terminate all of the lower fittings. Now, Hi-Mod terminals have doubled in cost since then!!! I'm thinking I should just have them come to my boat, measure, and fabricate the rigging with swaged fittings at both ends. Update on costs: Navtec swaged "T" fittings up 30% from 2017 to now. Wow.  

dLj

Scott T-Bird said: I think to summarize the reasons why many sailors choose mechanical fittings are: 1) Mechanical fittings are more of an investment to reduce costs when rigging needs to be replaced in the future. They are considered to be re-usable when you need to purchase new wire. But they are not a more economical choice with the initial purchase. 2) Mechanical fittings are geared towards the DIY sailor who may not have access to swaged fittings in remote areas when the rigging may need replacement. 3) Many DIY sailors have more confidence in measuring and cutting the rigging on their own and doing the job independently. There are some who just do not trust others to do these jobs. If you don't fit in those categories, I'd suggest that mechanical fittings may not be your best choice. Click to expand
dLj said: The main reason in my mind is the higher reliability of these fasteners. These kinds of mechanical fasteners are rated for "overhead" application but swagged fittings are not. Click to expand
Scott T-Bird said: Not knowing any different, I'll go along with what you say about reliability ... except that I've never heard that the reliability of swaged fittings on sailboats is really a factor worth worrying about for the typical sailor. My premonition is that increased reliability is just a meaningless argument for the DIY sailor to add in the pro column for justification of their choice. Just by sampling some reading, one rigger whom offers both services seems to suggest that mechanical fittings can be harder on the wire than swaged fittings, but defects or damages are more easily spotted with mechanical fittings, so it (how well they perform) may be a wash, depending more upon how well each alternative is actually performed by the rigger. Click to expand
80–90%80–90%
90–95%90–92.5%
95–100%90–95%
100%100%
80%80%
75–90%75–90%

There's the fatigue aspect not captured in the above, but the poured fittings have always been considered the "gold standard" in wire rope fittings. When I worked in that area, it was the only fitting permitted. Of course, the sizes we worked with would never have been below at least 1/2" and more at the 1" and above. I'd be very interested to see if you can find fatigue ratings for the different fittings. Love the numbers for the swaged fittings. dj p.s. an overhead rating does not mean you get 100% strength of the wire rope, it's that the strength that you achieve is reliable and does not change over time and usage. Of course within reason...  

1683083511047.png

Be that as it may, swaged fittings are the dominant rigging system in the sailboat industry. You occasionally (rarely) hear of rigs failing due to rigging failure, but I venture to guess that a poor configuration [1] or an aged rig is to blame. [1] An example of a poor configuration would be where there is not a straight pull from a swaged fitting, i.e., a toggle is called for but not installed. The non-straight pull stresses the wire where it exits the fitting. My Catalina 36 had this issue with the shrouds, and I installed toggles.  

jviss said: Be that as it may, swaged fittings are the dominant rigging system in the sailboat industry. You occasionally (rarely) hear of rigs failing due to rigging failure, but I venture to guess that a poor configuration [1] or an aged rig is to blame. [1] An example of a poor configuration would be where there is not a straight pull from a swaged fitting, i.e., a toggle is called for but not installed. The non-straight pull stresses the wire where it exits the fitting. My Catalina 36 had this issue with the shrouds, and I installed toggles. Click to expand
Scott T-Bird said: Not that there isn't the odd sailor who does consider it Click to expand
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Swaging of all machine swage terminals is done with a hydraulic-compression swaging machine which compresses the fitting on all sides at once.  This method is far superior to roller swaging machines that are commonly used.   You will not get a "banana" swage!   NOTE: Custom swaging is NOT returnable.  We'll work with you to assure what you order is exactly what you want and need the first time.

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Inspecting Your Boat's Mast and Rigging

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Keep your sailboat in top shape with this useful advice on inspecting your boat's mast and rigging.

Collasped rigging

Surveying Your Rig

What to look for and why.

Whenever a mast tumbles overboard, the two seemingly obvious offenders are the mast itself — the aluminum extrusion — and the wire stays and shrouds that support the mast. In practice however, these are rarely the culprits. The offenders, in most cases, are the tangs, turnbuckles, and chainplates and the smaller, but no less significant, screws, bolts, terminal fittings, clevis and cotter pins that hold everything together. These can be inspected in a couple hours or less. All you need for an inspection is a magnifying lens, a mirror, some toilet paper, your fingernails, a boatswain's chair, and a pair of reasonably good eyes.

Download the Rigging Checklist in PDF format.

Whenever you inspect a fitting, look for obvious problems like rust and distortion and use the magnifying glass to find smaller cracks. Rust, especially rust that you can feel, and even slight distortions or cracks should be considered serious, and the component replaced. Use your fingernails to feel for cracks and check the thinnest part of the fittings extra carefully, as this is where failure is most likely to occur. If a fitting has been painted (a bad idea), strip off the paint.

Chainplates

Turnbuckles and chainplates must be angled so that loads are in a direct line with stays and shrouds. Toggles, which act like universal joints to allow movement in all directions, should be used with turnbuckles but they cannot be relied on to compensate for a misaligned chainplate. A chainplate that is not aligned has a tendency to work until it eventually breaks. Besides eyeballing the shroud/chainplate alignment, misalignment is sometimes indicated by damage to the surrounding gelcoat.

Chainplate

Chainplates can corrode and fail either above, within, or below the deck. Corrosion at the chainplate above may have been only detected by removing the toggles to inspect around the eye.

Chainplate failure

The chainplate above failed within the deck, where salt water had leaked down and initiated crevice corrosion where hidden from view.

If chainplates are bolted to a bulkhead, as is often the case, inspect the bulkhead for signs of weakness — discoloration, delamination, and rot. Chainplates are highly stressed, and will work and cause leaks where they come through the deck. Water can then enter the bulkhead and eventually cause it to rot. Probably the best, although maybe not the prettiest, place to secure a chainplate is to the outside of the hull. Chainplates that are only bolted to flanges under the deck, and are not secured to a structural member down below, are the least desirable installation.

Turnbuckles

Open turnbuckles are easier to inspect and don't retain moisture, which encourages corrosion. Closed turnbuckles retain moisture in the barrel and have of a tendency to freeze up, but they also are better at retaining lubricant.

Turn buckle

Fatigue and crevice corrosion broke this pair of threaded terminal fittings along the crevice between the lock nut and the turnbuckle body, illustrating why disassembly of the turnbuckle is necessary to inspect hidden trouble spots most likely to fail.

Turnbuckles should be wiped clean and lubricated at least once a year; more often if they are open or are adjusted frequently.

Teflon is better for lubricating turnbuckles than oil or grease because it doesn't hold grit that abrades the threads. Oil or grease, however, are certainly better than nothing.

Most turnbuckles are tightened by turning the shank or barrel clockwise. Incidentally, you should never stress your rig by over-tightening the turnbuckles. If the turnbuckle squeaks stop tightening — this is a sign of over-tightening and poor lubrication.

If you boat has open turnbuckles, be sure to leave at least 3/4" of thread visible in the barrel and replace the old cotter pins. A cotter pin should be large enough to fit snugly into the hole and long enough to be bent half way back around. Rigging tape should then be wrapped around the pin to protect your sails, fingers, toes, etc.

Many closed turnbuckles can't be cottered and rely instead on locknuts. Experts warn that over-tightening the locknuts places too much stress on the threads.

Terminal Fittings

Most sailboats rely on swage fittings at the terminals, but these fittings are not necessarily the most reliable, especially in warmer climates where they have a history of failure. Swage fittings are made by compressing a tube onto the wire under great pressure, a process that must be done exactly right to assure a strong bond. If the swage has to be pressed several times (a bad practice) before the wire is secure, there is an increased chance that the swage has been weakened and could crack.

There are other types of terminal fittings, such as Noresman and Sta-Lok, which are more expensive and less common than swage fittings but are highly touted by many sailors for their durability. Norseman and Sta-Lok fittings can be installed or repaired by the boat owner — an obvious advantage, especially for making emergency repairs on long cruises.

Cracked swag fitting

Cracked swage fittings are not only the most common kind of rigging failure, but also the most visible. This one should have been noticed and replaced long ago.

Careful inspection of all terminal fittings is a must. Cracks are usually microscopic when they begin, so use your magnifying glass. Also, you can sometimes feel a crack with a fingernail that cannot be seen.

Cleaning the fitting with metal polish helps brighten the fitting to make inspection easier and using one of the three-part spray products on the market also helps you see cracks. The latter are highly touted by their manufacturers but they are not infallible. The first part cleans the fitting; the second part is a dye that penetrates the crack; and the third part is a developer. The dye, incidentally, can stain gelcoat, so be careful.

Terminal fittings, especially swage fittings at the deck, are prone to rust where the wire enters the swage. Rust indicates a serious problem and the swage and possibly the wire should be replaced. Some skippers like to use gel or wax to prevent water from entering the swage. While this may be effective for a while, it probably won't keep water out for long and could very well trap water inside, encouraging corrosion.

The Mast and Boom:

Welds and rivets.

Aluminum welds on the mast and boom should be inspected, especially where there may be a lot of stress. Look at the ends of the welds first, as aluminum welds fail from the ends of the weld inward. Welds that are not done correctly have sharp edges and crevices which encourage corrosion. Any welds that are cracked or badly rusted should be rewelded immediately.

Rivets should be examined, and any that are loose or missing should be drilled out and replaced with the next-larger size. Also, if one or two rivets holding a cleat or gooseneck are loose, it is a good idea to replace all of the rivets with the next-larger size, not just the ones that are missing.

Galvanic Corrosion

Galvanic corrosion occurs when stainless steel or bronze fittings — cleats, tangs, winches — are installed metal-to-metal on an aluminum mast.

Every few years, mast fittings should be rebedded with zinc chromate paste, polysulfide, teflon, nylon, or tufnol (plastic) to protect the mast from galvanic corrosion. Silicone does a good job of protecting the mast, but the fittings may be difficult to get off later. And in a pinch, Rolf Bjelke aboard the steel ketch Northern Light in the Antarctic, used a plastic coffee can lid to bed a halyard winch.

If a mast is painted, look for bubbles near fittings, which indicate corrosion. On an unpainted mast, look for white powder and pockmarks around fittings. Some powder, which is oxidized aluminum, is normal on an aluminum mast and is usually not significant. But heavy concentrations of powder, bubbles and/or pockmarks, especially deep pockmarks, indicates a serious problem that threatens the integrity of the rig. Contact a rigger or surveyor if you suspect a problem.

Whether it is stepped on deck or on the keel, the base of a mast — a maststep — should be the same material as the mast. Because water that is outside the boat usually finds its way into the bilge, a mast that is stepped on the keel is especially prone to corrosion when the boat is used in saltwater. A rigger in Maryland likes to tell the story about an owner who complained that the stays and shrouds that couldn't be tightened. He thought they had stretched. It turns out that the maststep had corroded so badly that the mast was "sinking" into the bilge.

A mast that is stepped on deck can cause problems if the load isn't supported properly down below. This is sometimes a design problem, but most often it is because a bulkhead or support stanchion has failed — shifted, rotted, delaminated, etc. Look down below for indications of movement, including jammed doors, broken bonds, and splitting wood. A sagging cabin top is a strong indication that adequate support isn't being provided.

Besides corrosion, maststeps can be damaged when the mast is cocked to one side and the heavy compression load is not evenly distributed. Indications of uneven compression load include cracking and/or crushing of the mast's base. The problem can be avoided by keeping your rig tuned — adjusting the stays and shrouds to make the mast straight. If the base of the mast has already been damaged, don't despair, it can either be cut down slightly and restepped or, if the problem is more serious, the damaged portion can be cut down and an extrusion added. Either way, the boat should not be sailed until a rigger is contacted and the problem has been corrected.

Wood masts have a lot of eye appeal but require more upkeep than aluminum masts. Wood masts are usually made of spruce, a material that is light and flexible, but prone to rot.

Rot is easier to detect when a mast is varnished. Painted masts hide rot, but only for awhile. Any areas that are badly discolored on a varnished mast, or won't hold paint on a painted mast, are suspect and should be sounded with a hammer for indications of soft wood. Rot is most likely to appear around fittings, the masthead, mastboot, spreaders, and especially at the maststep. These areas should be inspected twice a season and treated or caulked as necessary. Weep holes, used to drain water at the base of a box mast, can become plugged with debris, leaving water to fester inside the mast. Weep holes should be checked periodically with a coat hanger to prevent blockage.

Inspecting Aloft

Most people have a natural aversion to hanging from a rope at the top of a swaying mast. If possible, inspect your mast while it is unstepped. If you do go aloft, make sure there are experienced hands below to hoist you up. A snap shackle, if one is used on the halyard, can be made safer by taping the lanyard to prevent its accidentally opening. Also, if the boat is in the water, you'll want to moor it where it won't get tossed around by a passing boat wake.

Stress cracks on T-ball

Stress cracks often form at bends of fittings, such as the under side of upper T-ball terminals.

Discolored T-ball

Zero in with a magnifying glass to detect cracks and discoloration before they fail.

Take tools: screwdrivers, pliers, a small hammer, lubricant, the mirror, extra cotter pins, and rigging tape. Put them all in a tool pouch or boatswain's chair with tool pockets and Velcro flaps. Whenever possible, use lanyards on the tools. The only thing worse than making the crew haul you up and down the mast getting tools you forgot is to drop a tool on someone's head. (You can also help the grinder's morale by using your feet and hands to help hoist yourself up.)

First stop is the spreaders. (While you're working, have the tailer cleat-off the halyard.) Make sure the ends of the spreaders bisect the shrouds at equal angles and are secured properly to prevent slipping. Skewed spreaders have been responsible for many dismastings. Tape or spreader boots, used on the spreader ends to prevent damage to the sails, should be removed temporarily so that the spreader ends can be inspected and the connection tightened as necessary.

Some skippers paint the top of the spreaders, even aluminum spreaders, to reduce damage from sunlight. This is a necessity with wooden spreaders, unless you go aloft every month and add a coat of varnish. Remember, you can't see the tops of the spreaders from down below.

Like their counterparts the chainplates, fork tangs, used to secure the shrouds to the mast, should be angled so that loads are in a direct line with stays and shrouds. Cotter pins should be taped so that they don't shred flailing sails or snag a halyard. Shrouds that use "T" terminals should be examined for stress cracks where the bend occurs and for elongation of the slot. Either problem indicates the shroud or fitting should be replaced.

The last stop, before you begin your descent, is the masthead. If you are even slightly acrophobic, the masthead can be a very scary place. Avoid looking down.

The mirror (remember the mirror?) is especially useful for inspecting fittings at the masthead that would otherwise be inaccessible. Look at the halyard fittings, especially the sheaves, which wear over time and can be crushed or split by the strain of the genoa. Even if it's healthy, a squirt of two of lubricant can help whenever the sail is raised. Wind indicators and radio antennas should also be checked for loose mounts and connections.

On the way down check the rivets and/or screws used to secure the mast track. Replace any that are missing or suspect. While you're at it, you may as well lubricate the track (use teflon) to make raising and lowering the sail less of a chore.

Standing Rigging: Stays and Shrouds

Stays and shrouds should have some "give", but not too much, when pressure is exerted with the palm of your hand. A stay that is too tight feels rigid. A stay that is too loose feels limp. Make sure any necessary adjustments are done evenly so the mast doesn't get cocked to one side. And adjustable (mechanical or hydraulic) backstays should be slackened when not in use. Remember, turnbuckles should have sufficient thread inside the barrel — at least 3/4" — and cotter pins to prevent their coming loose. (Be sure and wrap fresh tape around the cotter pins when you're done.)

Terminal fitting

This is what 1x19 wire looks like at the upper headstay terminal fitting after it has been twisted back and forth a few times from "halyard wrap". Even slight damage from minor episodes warrants replacing the wire.

Wire should be inspected for broken strands or "fishhooks" by wrapping some toilet paper around the wire and running it up and down. If the paper shreds, the wire is nearing the end of its useful life and should be replaced. Check the wire where it enters the swage fittings for rust, which also indicates weakened wires that should be replaced.

Replace Your Standings Rigging: $$$?

Lets play "what if". What if a small voice inside you says your rig is living on borrowed time: you've found rust, cracks, failed welds, and fishhooks?

As a general cost guideline, replacing the standing rigging on a typical 30 footer with 1/4" wire rigging will cost about $1,200. That price includes turnbuckles but not unstepping the mast. The cost of replacing the standing rigging on a 40-foot cruising boat with 3/8" wire could be almost twice as much. Incidentally, it pays to get estimates, as prices can very significantly. Our estimates to replace the standing rigging on a 30-foot boat, for example, were as high as $2,800.

Professional Inspections

If you're not confident in your ability to inspect your boat's rig, you can hire a professional — a rigger or surveyor — to do it for you. Riggers specialize in rigging, which is an advantage, but they could be biased since they also sell rigging. An inspection, including going aloft, should be under $100 for a 30' boat.

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San Diego, CA

Swaging is a cold forming process that affixes termination fittings onto wire rope. Depending on the application, size, and length, different swaging processes are used, each producing a permanent eye, stud, stemball or similar termination for sailboat rigging.

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Roller reefing / Roller furling Gear

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  If you have any questions or wish to purchase please call, e-mail or go to      www.riggingandhardware.com/c-643-swage-wire-terminations.aspx to shop on line and for current pricing

  For current pricing or if you have any questions or wish to order call, e-mail or go to and order on line

 

               

  Visit our shop on line site for current pricing and  product up dates .    http://www.riggingandhardware.com/c-642-standing-rigging.aspx

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Rigging – swage fitting, stay lock, norseman fittings, swageless.

To attach wire rigging to the chainplates, you use fittings whether swage or swageless. Examples of swageless fittings include Stay Lock (Sta-Lok) and Norseman.

Swage Fitting The old stand-by way is swaging. By crimping a sleeve, riggers crunch and secure the wire cable. You need swaging tools. The process is the least do-it-yourself friendly. It is also the least expensive way. Swage fittings are less durable than the other fittings below and tend to crack before the end of wire’s lifespan as seen in the photo to the right.

Swageless Norseman, Stay Lock, Hayn HiMod, and Suncor are types of swageless fittings easier than swaging for do-it-yourself work. The fittings are more durable than swage sleaves but more expensive. Norseman and Stay Lock are the most common. With a Norseman the wire fitting screws over the threaded eye fitting. With a Stay Lock, the wire fitting screws into the eye fitting like a lightbulb into a socket. Hi-Mod and Suncor are newer swageless fittings that are supposed to be easier to use, stronger, and more durable.

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(001) 401-739-1140 -- (001) 401-739-1149
     

Rig-Rite stocks the largest and most comprehensive selection of Shroud and Forestay Tangs available anywhere. All Tangs and other fittings listed are Stainless Steel unless otherwise noted. In addition to those listed here, Rig-Rite has the capabilities to offer Custom Shroud Tangs for special applications.
For Masthead and Stay attachments, .
For Deck-mounted Rigging attachments, .
 


Generally for shrouds of 5/32" (4mm) diameter or less, these lightweight Tangs are used in a variety of applications on smaller boats.

 

 

 

 


Generally for shrouds of 5/32" (4mm) diameter or less, these lightweight Tangs are used in a variety of applications on smaller boats.

 

 
 


Internally mounted Backing Plate Tangs for use with Gibb and other T-Ball Shroud fittings. T-Balls must be turned 90 degrees to be removed from Backing Plates. Plates are designed to fit through the mounting slot and are then fastened from the outside of the Mast.

 

 

 


Internally mounted Backing Plate Tangs for use with Gibb/ Norseman/ Navtec 'Rounded' T-Ball Shroud fittings. Commonly referred to as the 'Lollipop', this more modern version of the standard T-Ball is stronger and the Backing Plate is easier to install, requiring only a round hole (not a slot) in the Mast. Backing Plates are designed to fit through mounting hole and are then riveted from the outside.

 

 


For use with simple J-Hook swage ends on smaller boats, for shrouds of 5/32" (4mm) diameter or less.

 

 


Stainless Steel formed Backing Shells (in several varieties) install from outside through slot in mast while attached to Stemball wire swage fittings. One or more Cup Washers are often required. Backing Shell Tangs are designed to fit through the mounting slot and are then fastened from the outside. Note: This type of tang actually becomes part of the rigging. It must be put on the wire before the ends are attached. It must be removed from the mast to take the rigging off.

 

 


Stemball / Eye Adapters are primarily used on Mastheads made by Isomat, FranceSpar, Sparcraft and other Spar builders for attachment of the Headstay and Backstay, but some varieties are occasionally used with , above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heavy-duty Forged Aluminum Rod Tangs, for use with Rod Rigging Stemballs, mount internally in Mast Section. All Tangs are designed to fit through the mounting slot and are then fastened from the outside of the Mast. Some Aluminum Rod Tangs are permanently attached to the Mast and allow Rod Stemballs to be removed separately, others are attached to (and become part of) the rigging, and must be detached from the mast to allow for rigging removal.

 

   
 
   

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Ilim Group Presents its New KLB Mill to Industry Players

Presentation of the largest kraftliner production site in Russia took place at the 27th International Exhibition of the Packaging Industry RosUpack

Ilim Group Presents its New KLB Mill to Industry Players

The presentation of the Big Ust-Ilimsk Project, involving the construction of Russia’s one-of-a-kind pulp and board (KLB) mill in the Irkutsk Oblast, was one of the key events at RosUpack 2023. When speaking at the plenary session on corrugated board packaging market development, Alexey Chenyaev, Ilim’s Senior Vice President, Sales, Supply Chain Management and Packaging, focused on the advanced manufacturing and environmental solutions implemented at the new KLB Mill and prospects for sales market expansion it will secure.

After KLB Mill ramp-up (600,000 tons of kraftliner per year), the total annual output of Ilim Group will amount to 4.3 million tons. The Company will be one of the world’s largest producers of unbleached packaging materials and will strengthen its leadership in the Chinese market of wood-free corrugated materials with a share of approximately 50 to 60%.

The Big Ust-Ilimsk project was met by exhibitors with great interest. This year the event was attended by more than 740 companies from 19 countries. Ilim’s booth with an area of 140 m2 was one of the largest one at the site and was operated by about 50 experts from Sales and Corrugated Box Business Management Departments. The booth was attended by over 60 key accounts and more than 120 representatives of various companies, including such major ones as Heinz, MARS and KDV-Group.

Reference information:

Ilim Group is the leader of the Russian pulp and paper industry and one of the industry leaders globally. Ilim Group has three pulp and paper mills in the Arkhangelsk (Koryazhma) and Irkutsk (Bratsk and Ust-Ilimsk) Oblasts, two modern corrugated box plants in the Leningrad and Moscow Oblasts (Kommunar and Dmitrov, respectively), and Sibgiprobum engineering and design institute (Irkutsk).

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  23. Ilim Group Presents its New KLB Mill to Industry Players

    Presentation of the largest kraftliner production site in Russia took place at the 27th International Exhibition of the Packaging Industry RosUpack. The presentation of the Big Ust-Ilimsk Project, involving the construction of Russia's one-of-a-kind pulp and board (KLB) mill in the Irkutsk Oblast, was one of the key events at RosUpack 2023.