Q&A: Rod Rigging Replacement

Question: Our Swan 51 is at Morris Yachts for a mini refit this winter and my plan, in addition to everything else, is to start to replace some of the existing rod rigging. It turns out that the rod is 24 years old. Navtec says it should be replaced every 11 years or 30,000 miles. Based on this information it gives me some concern as we sail the boat between Nova Scotia and the Caribbean on a semi regular basis. I would be interested in your comments on how you manage the rod rigging situation on Morgan’s Cloud.

Answer: It sounds to me like it would be a good idea to replace it all. We replaced all our rod rigging in England after a cold head broke after 100,000 miles and 15 years of use. We had had it all dye tested just a year before, so that is no real protection. Luckily it did not cost us the mast, but it could have. Warren Brown (of War Baby) lost a cold head and the mast south of New Zealand, and although I don’t know how old the rod was, or how many miles, I think it was up around 100,000.

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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