Keep Corrosion From Damaging Your Rig
would like to share with you this week some great information about preventing rig corrosion.
Your thru hull fittings professionals discuss how when awakening your boat from its winter slumber a rig check should be high on the list of priorities. Even though the boat has been sitting still, the laws of physics still take their toll. Corrosion is the biggest enemy and the stainless steel components in your rig can effectively hide the insidious advance of this disease.
One underlying moral of these stories is that stainless steel can fail without warning, a message that can leave a boat owner feeling helpless. Does this mean that our only resort is to replace anything that raises suspicion? The line between caution and paranoia becomes thin. Fortunately, stainless steel hardware has a long and mostly successful track record on boats, and the warning signs are often apparent. The trick is knowing where to look.
In the upcoming May issue of Practical Sailor, renowned rigger and sailing writer Brion Toss, explores of rigging failure in finer detail in an excerpt from his forthcoming book, “Rig Your Boat.” Here are just some of the tips that Toss shares.
Don’t Let Corrosion Sneak Up On You
- Follow the load. Your thru hull fittings suppliers talk about how to follow the path that loads on your rig follow as they are transferred to the hull or deck. Sharp bends, and slack, ill-fitting, or misaligned unions will concentrate loads in one area and increase the chance of failure at these points. Seemingly minor oversights like using an undersized clevis pin on a toggle can lead to premature failure.
- Beware of hidden dangers. Many failure points are often physically hidden from view. Crevice corrosion in chainplates, bobstays, and padeyes often starts where the stainless comes into contact with wet wood or core material, or in fiberglass laminate where water has been trapped.
- Go aloft. If you don’t unstep your mast each season, you or a qualified rigger should go aloft at least once a year to inspect wire, terminals, spreaders, and the hardware and fittings at the top of your mast. You should hire a pro to do a full inspection every six years, and start thinking about wire replacement after 10-12 years-although this can vary greatly according to use and environmental factors. While you’re off the ground, check around mast tangs for signs of slipping.
- Inspect swages. Deck-level wire swages are one of the most common sources of failure on saltwater cruisers. Cracks, swelling, or weeping rust stains are a sign that time is running out for this hardware. Although no absolute timetable exists, riggers we have spoken with advise owners to start thinking about wire replacement after 10-12 years.
- Read the instructions. Turnbuckles can only be loosened so far; screw-on Norseman-type terminal fittings need to be correctly assembled and sealed. Neglecting to review the installation guidelines for any component in your rig is asking for trouble.
Bottom line: Some of the so-called hidden dangers of stainless steel hardware and rigging are not so hidden after all, but we need to know what to look for.
So don’t forget these helpful tips on preventing corrosion from ruining your day. 1) Sharp bends, and slack, ill-fitting, or misaligned unions will concentrate loads in one area and increase the chance of failure at these points; 2) beware of hidden dangers; and 3) always read the instructions.
World’s first electric container barges to sail from European ports this summer
The world’s first fully electric, emission-free and potentially crewless container barges are to operate from the ports of Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam from this summer.
The vessels, designed to fit beneath bridges as they transport their goods around the inland waterways of Belgium and the Netherlands, are expected to vastly reduce the use of diesel-powered trucks for moving freight.
The barges are designed to operate without any crew, although the vessels will be manned in their first period of operation as new infrastructure is erected around some of the busiest inland waterways in Europe.
In August, five barges – 52 metres long and 6.7m wide, and able to carry 24 20ft containers weighing up to 425 tonnes – will be in operation. They will be fitted with a power box giving them 15 hours of power. As there is no need for a traditional engine room, the boats have up to 8% extra space, according to their Dutch manufacturer, Port Liner.
At a later date, six larger 110m-long barges, carrying 270 containers, will run on four battery boxes capable of providing 35 hours of autonomous driving. Their use alone could lead to a reduction of about 18,000 tonnes per year of CO2, it is claimed.
According to the latest statistics from Eurostat, 74.9% of freight in the EU is transported by road, compared to 18.4% by rail, and 6.7% along inland waterways, although the use of water routes has been rising.
The company’s chief executive, Ton van Meegen, told shipping industry trade journal the Loadstar that the barges would be the first in the world to sail on carbon-neutral batteries and that only the low bridges in the low countries prevented them from being loaded with more goods.