Amsteel Rigging

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  • March 04, 2016 10:48 AM
    Message # 3861206

    Has anyone switched to Amsteel rigging?  

    Does anyone have links to recommended articles?


  • March 04, 2016 12:55 PM
    Reply # 3861602 on 3861206
    Deleted user

    I did my lifelines in amsteel, but I think I will stay with stainless on the rig, not sure if I want to be a early bird on stuff that critical

  • March 06, 2016 12:44 PM
    Reply # 3864485 on 3861206
    Deleted user

    Im in the process of re-rigging Harbinger with Dyneema. I am currently researching and purchasing parts to practice splicing and other oddities. 

    A good source of information is here Several good tips can be researched through the postings. 

    Last modified: March 09, 2016 6:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • March 07, 2016 4:24 AM
    Reply # 3865642 on 3861206

    Thanks Michael,

    I found

    They sell lots of fittings, terminator and such.

    They also claim 5 year service life for dyneema rigging, compared to 8 years for stainless.  8 years sounds low.  But I heard another rigger say that 15 years is the upper limit for stainless.  

    15 years is scary for Westsails.  That would mean that we all would have replaced 100% of our stainless two or three times over by now.  Not just stays, but boomkin, tangs, chain plates, pulpits, stanchions, shackles, toggles, and those things on either end of the bobstay whose names I never remember.  What do other westsailors say, replace on a schedule or wait until a flaw is found?  What about bronze turnbuckles? 

    On the other hand, ringers have a profit motive to scare owners into frequent refits, so one should apply critical thinking.

    One of the advantages cited for synthetic is that it can be 100% inspected, cut, and spliced by the owner.  That should appeal to self sufficient cruisers.

    Last modified: March 09, 2016 6:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • March 07, 2016 11:08 AM
    Reply # 3866632 on 3861206

    Et al,

    I had Dyneema quoted twice and both times it was about 1.6-1.7 times the cost of SS with mechanical fittings.

    What did I do? Being the self-sufficient type, I bought SS wire rope, bronze thimbles, a rigging vice, and spliced it up all told for about $3,700.  Devil is in the details, so a rough itemization is provided

    Vice: $750

    Thimbles: $650

    New toggle-to-toggle turnbuckles: $1,100

    All stainless rigging: $950

    Misc rigging items: $250

    Other things I saved on were to splice my lifelines for $200 instead of over $1,000 (paid for the rigging vice?), and spliced my halyards for just over $1/ft per halyard (I tail-spliced the masthead halyards wire to rope and then Liverpool spice the shackle end).  I've been hired to splice rigging for other boats and have become known around the yard as rigger etc.

    How long did this take and at what cost? 4 weeks to splice all the standing rigging, lifelines, and halyards, and my thumbs (and forefinger) became porous as a pin-cushion.

    What gained? Skills in self-sufficiency in rigging one's own boat and potential business to rig others, but the respect gained is immeasurable and the heads it turns because when one sees a proper Liverpool splice they see a very strong joint .. :)

    Fair winds,


    Last modified: March 07, 2016 11:08 AM | Anonymous member
  • March 09, 2016 3:01 PM
    Reply # 3872029 on 3861206

    Dick, do you mean standing or running rigging? I don't think anyone uses Amsteel to keep the spar standing upright. I do have perhaps the most Amsteel on a Westsail of anyone so far, but none is for standing the mast. There are currently two types of Amsteel on my boat; ones without chafe sleeve, and ones that are essentially replacing yacht braid. I'll try to list as many Amsteel parts as possible and their purpose. Double braid refers to amsteel with chafe sleeve.

    Running backstays + double braid control lines

    Topping Lift + double braid control line

    double braid reefing lines

    staysail tack pennant

    storm jib tack pennant

    trysail tack, double braid line

    spinnaker tack, double braid line led aft along stanchions

    lazy jacks


    bowsprit snatch block strop soft shackle with chafe sleeve (for chain snubber line)

    soft shackle chain snubber line to anchor chain

    soft shackles for jibsail top and bottom attachment to furler

    soft shackles for securing anchors to bowsprit

    soft shackle for outhaul attachment to mainsail clew

    internal outhaul from clew to block (control line is yacht braid)

    soft shackle for jib halyard to furler top attachment

    soft shackle for jin sheet to clew attachment

    soft shackle for every hawse pipe as anchor points for preventer, spinnaker sheet blocks, trysail sheet blocks

    soft shackles around wooden boomkin support posts as safety anchors in cockpit

    Here is a photo of some of the Amsteel in use on the bow

    The only other Amsteel I will be using is for halyards and a tow line for the dinghy. I may also make a mooring ball pennant  with some kind of snubber system. I've learned that a yacht braid, dock line is not chafe resistant enough for galvanized rings. I may even setup my dock lines for the very same reason.

    Anyways, I hope this helps.

    Last modified: March 09, 2016 5:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • March 09, 2016 6:05 PM
    Reply # 3872152 on 3866632
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Tyler Bechel wrote:

    Et al,


    What did I do? Being the self-sufficient type, I bought SS wire rope, bronze thimbles, a rigging vice, and spliced it up all told for about $3,700.  Devil is in the details, so a rough itemization is provided

    Vice: $750

    Thimbles: $650

    New toggle-to-toggle turnbuckles: $1,100

    All stainless rigging: $950

    Misc rigging items: $250



    Tyler:  Nice job -- any chance of a set of images of the tools and your finished work?  like to use on the site... the vice - is that something special - make model?  


  • March 10, 2016 6:40 AM
    Reply # 3873015 on 3861206


    I bought the vice from Brion Toss on his website.  I had conversation with him discussing his vice over a $300 Aluminum vice on the webs, and he convinced me that his would be far superior to the other in helping me accomplish what I set out to do.  Explicitly, he stated that his vice holds the wire closer to the thimble, and it is better for serving up to the eye.  Until putting hands on wire this may sound far fetched, but I will say that I am extremely pleased with his vice.  Having the right tool for the job in this case was worth the investment.  "Oh, an investment?"  Yes, I invested in myself to have the right tool to teach myself how to splice wire rope very well, and now it is a tool that will help make money as others have been coming to me for rigging gigs.  Furthermore, his vice is very rare to find, and so anyone who wants to try and it turns out not to be what they anticipated will be able to sell that vice online for close to what they bought it. 

    There are a few pictures in albums on the Facebook site for the boat (linked in my profile) from OCT/NOV timeframe of when I was splicing the sprit whiskers and then the backstay.  The backstay turned out REALLY well and is very cool because I spliced in strain insulators for SSB antenna, and then made wire frappings to bring it taught.  If you want more pictures, I can take a bunch this weekend when aboard and email them for posting (still not great at posting pictures here).




    Last modified: March 13, 2016 12:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • March 10, 2016 12:44 PM
    Reply # 3873654 on 3861206

    Et Al,

    If I recall correctly, the main difference in expense is not the rigging cordage (amsteel/dyneema vs. SS or Galvanized Plow Steel), it is the termination.  Dyneema, by all means, is actually reasonably priced, but its special termination thimbles were the greatest expense.  I had it quoted a few ways too including: dead-eye type terminators and to thimble for rigging screws.  I suspect that in a pinch I could use my bronze thimbles for Dyneema (one could not use SS or Galvi on a Dyneema terminator because they are aluminum and it will score the surface in a manner that will render useless to reuse with Dyneema), but to maximize the strength of the joint the terminators for dyneema are semi-elliptical in cross section (similar to Kevlar) so the strands lie more flat as it makes the turn around the thimble, whereas a thimble for SS or Galvi is most nearly a half-round for the size of wire rope used. 

    Note too, that the turning radius for wire rope 1x19 is much larger than the turning radius for 7x7; which is larger yet than the turning radius for 7x19.  Why is this important? It is important to match the termination thimble with the material for longevity of the rigging under dynamic (not static) loading.  A splice is the strongest knot in the world because it capitalizes on the natural friction of the material to itself and is as strong as the base material.  If a splice, material, and geometry (SS, Galvi, or dyneema) is not matched with its termination end design, then it is a recipe for disaster when it fails because of unknowingly over time weakening the joint.

    Also note, my rigging was more expensive because I HAD to replace all the rigging screws as the old were mostly seized solid, and the wire was swaged; which I'm not a fan.




  • March 10, 2016 7:08 PM
    Reply # 3874114 on 3861206
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    I got a lot of FB images -- a few more pics of your rigging work would be a nice addition for a slide show. 

    The rigging vise looks like a serious tool for sure.  

    Cecilia LaBelle -is the former Widgeon (sp)?


    Cecilia LaBelle

    Last modified: March 10, 2016 7:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
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