I found a few broken strands in the stainless steel wire shrouds, so they need replacing. The working life of ss wire stays is around 10 years and you can’t see inside the ferrules anyway, so it makes sense to make new ones.
On the Storer Boats forum there has been a lot of discussion about using Dyneema for stays, with the most likely candidate being the relatively new Dynex Dux 75 which is being manufactured by Hampidjan in Iceland. It is basically the same as ordinary SK75 Dyneema (made from a high molecular weight polyethylene), but after further proprietary treatments by Hampidjan it becomes 20-40% stronger. More importantly however than outright strength increases, it has much lower stretch and creep than SK75. It sounds ideal for replacement of stainless steel rigging then, and this is indeed the case with large boats. The only problem for us dinghy sailors is that the smallest diameter made is 5mm, which is really thick for a little Moth. Hence I then decided to go the old tech route and make up a new set from 1/8” ss wire rope. To be more specific I chose the more flexible 7 X 19 variety. You also need thimbles and ferrules in the right size. I chose nickel plated copper ferrules because they look nicer and won’t go green in salt water.
Only a couple of basic tools are needed. The important one is a heavy duty swaging tool. I was able to hire one from the supplier of the wire for $15. You also need a cutter, and I was lucky that I had a bolt cutter because the swaging tool did not have a built in cutter like they usually do.
The tool above is the Bolt Cutter and the one below is the Swager. Normally you would use a Wire/Cable Cutter as they are a sharper tool, but a bolt cutter works reasonably well too.
With the tools sorted, I thought about how to make the new stays exactly the same length as the old ones. My solution is quite simple. All you need is a suitable length of timber floor and then drive a screw through each eye into the floor to stretch out the stay nice and taught. I used our deck out the back but you could use your spiffy wooden loungeroom floor when your wife isn’t looking .
Make up the first eye and slip it over the screw. Then using the old stay as a template it is dead easy to make your new wire exactly the same length.Use a marker pen to mark where you need to cut the wire. You want to ensure that no wire sticks out past the end of the ferrule, as otherwise you will have to tape them up to avoid being cut by the ends of the wire strands. Here you can see I managed to do a pretty good job.
Well, an hour later and I have 3 new stays ready to attach to the mast. Dead easy!
For a video on how it’s done, check out YouTube: http://youtu.be/ok9lHZGPSGA