When I took Gilgarran under my wing her standing rigging was still in a good condition and still is. The only problem, though, is that the stainless cables are a bit short. The previous owner “fixed” this by extending it’s length using several interlocked shackles. Obviously, I don’t feel too good about this.
Last year I got a quote from the best rigging shop is Cape Town to replace all the stainless wire and swages. The price wasn’t too bad, but in true DIY fashion I think I can do it much cheaper.
Enter HMPE or Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene better known as Dyneema.
Dyneema is fairly cheap in Cape Town as it is produced here by a company called Southern Ropes. It is also much stronger than stainless and easier to work with. The only down side, as I see it, is chafe.
Stainless steel corrode and dyneema chafes. I feel much more comfortable being able to see a line chafe than not being able to see stainless corrode within the swage. Nonetheless, it is critical to minimise chafe as much as possible. So I started looking at Antal friction less thimbles.
While I really like the idea of these they are fairly expensive and if I wish to replace all my turnbuckles with dyneema lashings and Antal thimbles it could work out to cost me the same as brand new stainless wire for the whole boat.
On the upside, if I do go with the dyneema lashings I will be able to keep the current standing rigging as the lashings will provide the extra length. Not to mention, when I install my new external chainplates the length lost by the addition of longer spreaders will once again be made up by the lashings.
So as you might have guessed, my mind is made up on the dyneema issue. My only concern is the price of the Antal thimbles. My question is thus (somewhat rhetoric as I think I know the answer): is the Antal thimbles really necessary? Perhaps I can run the dyneema lashings through some stainless shackles instead…
More rants on budget rigging to come…