Synthetic Standing Rigging, Why Not?
This article was originally submitted to and posted to the blog Lectronic Latitude but the powers at be felt I was endorsing Colligo too much and they took it down. I don’t blame them. This is the product I will likely choose unless I can be swayed otherwise. This is a conversation starter so please leave a comment below if you have a different opinion.
We want to re-rig our 30,000 lb. Kelly Peterson 46’ sloop with synthetic—yes, plastic—standing rigging but almost everyone we talk to (except ‘young sailors’ and those who have it already) are telling us not to! What gives? If we do decide to make the switch we’ll use the Colligo system with heat treated Dynice Dux. “In the end, Dux is like anything new. There is a distinct learning curve, and there will be skeptics and believers.” Said John Franta of Colligo Marine.
If you’re new to this concept let me enlighten you. A few of the reasons sailors are making the switch are; anyone with a fid and access to some patience can rig their own boat, the rig is seriously lightened, it doesn’t rust, you can keep a whole duplicate of the rig in your bilge—where it wont rust, it’s two to five times stronger than the steel it replaced and, did I mention, you can do it yourself without expensive and heavy equipment? Also, unlike a swage, the splices and thimbles are fully inspectable. Coast Guard vessel inspectors have said this is the safest standing rigging available.
So, why wouldn’t you do it? Most commonly sailors cite that plastic rope stretches, it chafes, and it’s susceptible to UV rays. All of these reasons can be addressed. For stretch, Dux is heat treated SK75 and all the constructional elongation is removed before it goes on the spool. For chafing concerns, dress your rope with chafe gear like—in this case—heat shrink tubing, or, if you’re really salty, serve and parcel the rope like we’ve done for thousands of years. For UV concerns, you could dress the whole rig like above, or, just keep an eye on it like you should anyway. When chafe or UV becomes a problem, the line turns fuzzy. Franta says, “It’s like a blinking red light telling you it is time to replace.” However, remember that Dux is two to five times stronger than the steel it replaced! When that happens you have a spare nicely tucked away in the bilge.
Now, will my insurance drop me if I take the leap? That’s my biggest concern! “Lloyds of London have approved Dux for strength.” Franta said.
Seriously, tell me why you wouldn’t do it? Keep in mind that Brion Toss, Master Rigger and author of The Riggers Apprentice, is in complete support of this new technology. What am I missing that I can’t find on the internet? Do know that there are no documented disasters from this technology in the twelve years that this stuff has been in use. Colligo has rigged over 750 boats with Dux.
If this interests you please follow our re-rig on Instagram, @qmtravels