Westsail Owners Alliance - Post: "Norseman Or Sta-Lok?"
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Post: "Norseman Or Sta-Lok?"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012

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- Archived Message from Inactive Forum -


Installation report, Staloks, replaced to date.
Got wire precut from Bud. Very nice.
Yesterday was day four of my standing rigging replacement project. My dock mate, Bob, warned me that it would be a lot of work. So, I targeted to replace one wire a day. Bob sort of looked at me. Knowingly, pathetique.
So, now on day five, all beat, tired and hungry, and feeling like a hard-used steel worker, I have a report on my experiences with Staloks. Frankly, they are bugger bears in my opinion. Taking them off can be worse than reassembling them, and reassembling them is no picknik either.
We've got new boomkin stays and two stbd lower shrouds done (9/32" wire, one size larger than factory original, I believe). It took virtually every tool in the box, including the expensive Felco Swiss made wire cutters that the prior owners left. Even with Them, it ain't easy cuttin' that stuff. The instructions call for the operator, that's me, to set the 2 ft. long cutters on the ground and jump upon it with one's derrier. Fearing a broken tail bone in the eventuality of misguiding the rocket, it was necessary to engineer an alternate method.
So, the real problems begin when disassembling the two halves of the fitting. Oh, they unscrew just fine, but you have to get the lower nut off the cone/splice (and it is a splice, as far as I am concerned, an easy one over a cone, but you still have to unlay the 12 out strands of the wire rope, and do it in such a fashion that they lay is straight, and the spread out arms equally spaced, etc...). Do you like aching fingers and hands, embellished with various scratches, gashes and burns? If so, then you'll love this product. So, I almost always had to use a propane torch to get some cooperation in freeing the lower portion of the fitting. Plus, after the first day or two I hit my real problem fitting (still not freed up despite all reasonable efforts) and had to break out the vice, something I should have could have done in the first place. Also had to engineer a mount for the vice to the steps to the boat and lay out a work space at the dock. That took me out of the heated, electrically lit marina club house with TV and hot drinks from the microwave while I labored. Ummph. All the tools came out (on the dock, thankfully it was dry weather or we'd have had a real problem). Sometimes it was necessary to use the grinder on stuff.
Long story short: Given the expense of the Staloks plus the pure manual labor and considerable outlay of time and tools required to disassemble them and reassemble them (I did lose/wear out a cheap grinder), I don't know if I would install them new.
Results to date: four wires installed (eight fittings), all fittings salvaged and reused, except one which after over an hour of every conceivable approach still shows no signs of giving up the ghost. I had one spare fitting to match. Now I have none. I managed to reuse all the cones except one or two out of eight. Once the butane torch is handy, it's easy to get the old cone out in good shape.
Looks like I have six wires to go, the more difficult, longer ones, although I did manage the lower boomkin stays with the boat in the water and me not.
Here's the rub: the cost of the cones is $8-10 Each, only ones I could find. Stalok recommends new cones which I am sure makes installation a little easier but not much. Just do the math, with at least 20 wires for standing rigging, you've got 40+ fittings, approaching 400$ in cones alone, not to mention your time and abuse to your body.
I had the good fortune to order some wire rope for standing rigging from Bud complete with swages. I really think Bud's swages are among the best on the market, from what I see. I ran a survey on my dock, and only 1 in 10 boats had Stalok/Norseman type terminal end fittings throughout. Most have swages, alot of them look sorry. The ones Bud makes look good, heavy, and straight. I may be wrong, but I think it was something like $16 per swage a year or so ago from Bud. So, my conclusion is: it ain't worth the sweat and pain to use anything else. There is very little to be saved money wise, as a practical matter, and a sailor could always carry a few Stalok type terminals fittings for emergency repairs and even figure out how to do it on the spot. It's simple but it ain't easy. The trade off is supposedly some relatively small percentage of wire strength loss due to the splice, if the literature is true.
Don't get me wrong, it's great to have the Staloks and I intend to use them to their capacity. I just don't think I'd spend upwards of 2 grand plus labor and sweat installing them new. At least, I would not do that when I can make measurements and call Bud and probably do the whole boat in three days of relatively painless labor.
So my experience is one of three at the marina, that I know of. Poor old Bob had old Norsemans and had to ditch them all. He is still very unhappy about it. He went to Staloks and likes them. Mike installed new standing rigging on a Columbia 36 and I believe reused his Staloks. He reported no problems.
Also, there are a bunch of Norseman fittings ahead of me on this job. I hear some reports that their cones may be reusable, as I found the Staloks to be, if they can be removed undamaged. That is the key for Staloks, too, I hear. It appears that the Norsemans I have are the second generation product that will be salvagable. We'll see.
If it was easy, everybody would do it.

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