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Message board > Care & maintenance > Guard Rails

Message 7 of 7
Posted by member Peter Cox on Wednesday 7 August 2019

I agree with Simon and furthermore think that PVC coated wire is the devil's work. On my previous 27 I had a wire give way with only slight pressure but fortunately I did not go overboard. I recommend removing the PVC and/or giving all guard rails a really firm test pull on regular occasions. Unfortunately, nor much can be done with the bit where the wire enters swaged fittings except regular testing and renewal when necessary.

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Message 6 of 7
Posted by member Regent on Tuesday 6 August 2019

I plan to use the factory fitted fender eyes. Martin.

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Message 5 of 7
Posted by member Kenny Clark on Tuesday 6 August 2019

Hi All,
Just my preference of course. I leave PVC coated guard wires well alone.

I always tie fenders to bottom of stanchions. Fender lines will be shorter and easily stay in position when docking if knocked about.

Tied to guard wires fender lines are much longer and could swing too much, possibly cause damage to hull if not protected. It also helps ensures longer life for guard wires if nothing attached to them to cause constant tension.

Fingers crossed. I have managed to maintain wires for 9 seasons.

Quite like Simon's points for non PVC coating when times comes to replace S/S wires.

Kenny

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Message 4 of 7
Posted by member Regent on Tuesday 6 August 2019

I had my (new to me) 1996 Pilot 20 SE lifted into the water last week. Someone tied a fender to the port plastic-sleeved guard rail which promptly snapped where it had rotted inside the sleeve. The timing was fortuitous! Both have now been replaced with steel wires - but not with plastic sleeves. I suspect the replaced rails were the originals.

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Message 3 of 7
Posted by member Simon Kidd on Thursday 19 July 2018

Hi Pennyghael

The Guardwires on most boats are of 1x19 stainless steel wire - commonly PVC covered. Overtime the Stainless steel will corrode in areas where moisture is trapped and Oxygen is excluded (Stainless isn't stainless unless oxygen is abundant) - thus failure of PVC coated stainless is not uncommon - it just corrodes sight unseen behind the PVC. The original wires on our current Hardy failed with my first "test pull".

I had a local rigger make up some new wires (without the PVC) - using the old one as a pattern - not an expensive exercise.

Due to the fact that even uncoated stainless steel wire tends to degrade from the core, or from within the end swages (where oxygen is excluded once again), I'd strongly advise all Guard Wires, PVC coated or not, are replaced when 10 - 12 years of age - this is based on experience from hundreds of surveys - if you don't, you're risking a fall. The same applies to any Stainless rigging.

Best Regards

Simon
HOC Tech Sec.

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Message 2 of 7
Posted by member Peter Cox on Wednesday 18 July 2018

If you are talking about plastic-sleeved stainless steel wire rails, the bit where the sleeving ends or is damaged is a known weak spot for snapping. Unless the wires are already dangerously weak, in which case replace them, the best thing is to remove all the sleeving completely. The wire should be stainless steel anyway, so the sleeving doesn't add anything; in fact, as you and I found nearly to our cost, they make the rail weaker.

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Message 1 of 7
Posted by member Pennyghael on Wednesday 18 July 2018

I leant on one of the guard rails on my pilot 20 recently and it snapped clean off at the nearby stanchion
to reveal what can only be described as a mixture of black powder with some shards of metal encased in the white outer plastic coating. This could obviously have been a much more serious accident if someone had depended on the rail for support. There were no obvious signs on the outside of the rail to indicate a problem and the rigger was sure that the original inner rail had been stainless steel. I suspect that this had been the original rail fitted when the boat was built in 1990. Perhaps it may be an idea for owners of older boats to check their rails in case they have a similar problem.

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