Annapolis Rigging has the best rod rigging equipment on the East Coast. We can head rod up to -115, which has a minimum breaking load of 115,000 lb or over 52,000 kg. Thanks to our unmatched capacity, we do far more rod rigging jobs than the typical rig shop. This translates to customer savings on both time and parts. It also means we can offer highly reliable inspections of rod rigging. 


Not all rod rigging is of the same quality and we insist on using only the most reliable sources for all of our rigging products. It is also important to examine the ends of rod rigging when you purchase it or a boat equipped with it. Rod should never be swaged the way wire rigging often is. The swaging process normally compresses both the fitting and the wire within, but rod does not compress nearly as much as wire does. Instead, the swage fitting is work-hardened beyond its designed allowance. Swaging fittings to rod highly increases the risk of failure. 

Cold Heads

Navtec Rod Cold heading machine and dies
Navtec Cold Heading machine

Instead of swaging or using a mechanical fitting, the ends of rod rigging bear against a mushroom-shaped cold-head. Each end is expanded by being cold-formed into special dies with several thousand pounds of pressure. Cold heads seat on variety of fittings such as marine eyes or turnbuckles. These parts connect the rod to the mast and deck. They are typically made of bronze or stainless steel and should be designed to be slightly stronger than the rod between them.

Rod most commonly fails where it exits a fitting-typically about one inch from the head. Cold-heads, if visible, should be checked to ensure that they are symmetrical. An asymmetrical head may bear unevenly in its fitting, leading to premature failure. Rod rigging can often be re-headed instead of being fully replaced. This can only be done if the rod is regularly inspected so that the damaged area can be removed and re-headed before further wear occurs. It is usually more economical to do this at our shop but we can do these repairs on the road with one of our mobile heading machines.


When properly installed, rod is more resistant to corrosion than wire rigging. Navtec, the developer of rod rigging, gathered extensive data on rod rigging both through cycling testing and by tracking their products as they aged on the water. They produced a set of service guidelines that remain industry-standard. On most vessels, rod rigging should be replaced or re-headed every 11 years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first.

True rod rigging is made of Nitronic 50, a stainless steel alloy developed specifically for yacht rigging by the founders of Navtec. It is significantly more corrosion-resistant than the 316 stainless steel commonly used in marine wire rigging. It is about 30% stiffer than 1×19 wire of the same weight and tends to last longer than wire. Rod rigging remains popular with large and racing yachts for its performance, reliability, and cost-efficiency. In the past year alone we have replaced PBO rigging with rod rigging on two yachts over 70 feet long.

We routinely subcontract with a wide range of riggers to provide rod rigging for shops that are not equipped with the costly machinery needed to cold-head rod. We also offer machines for lease or purchase to select rigging shops. Please contact for more information.