A Norseman cone is a little metal cone (pictured below) that fits inside a Norseman fitting. They are replaceable and while the expensive fitting is re-useable the inexpensive cone must be replaced if you re-rig. A Norseman fitting is a compression fitting found at either end of a strand of wire rigging, in this case on the rigging of a boat. Heres how they work: you cut your wire, place the terminal body around the wire and slide it down, unlay the wire, put the cone inside, lay the wire around the cone, put the terminal head on top and screw it to the body. The wires are compressed as you tighten down and you have a mechanical fitting that is strong and replaceable at sea.
Our boat is rigged entirely with Norseman terminals which I looked at as a very good thing when we were thinking about purchasing her. I prefer mechanical fittings over swages any day and if the boat had swagged fittings I was going to replace them all with mechanical fittings like Norsemans. The fact that the boat came with them saves us a ton of money! However we are still replacing all of the wire as it is a little over 10 years old at this point. This means that I need all new cones for all of our Norseman fittings. No problem right, they are cheap… right…?
Well yeah, they are cheap but they are also OUT OF BUSINESS!!! Ahhhh, this was not the news I expected when I went to see who sold the cheapest cones. Turns out all the major chandleries were at the bottom of the barrel in regards to Norseman cones. I checked Defender and Jamestown Distributors first as I usually order from one of these two – neither had any in the size we needed (5/16 and 9/32). I then went to West Marine, Rig Rite, Rigging Only, Blackburn Marine, and Seco South. None of them had them either! I posted on the “Sailing and Cruising” and “DIY Boat Refit” Facebook groups and found one lead: Nance and Underwood Riggers in Ft Lauderdale. I got in touch with Roger Underwood and he searched the warehouse to find that they had 7 of the 16 terminals that I needed. I bought all of them but still needed to find the other 9 terminals! I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I searched on a daily basis for almost two months straight. I lost track of all the people I contacted and rigging shops I called. Finally I found a website for a marine chandlery in Toronto called Yacht Shop that said they had the cones but they were backordered – not good, they are probably not going to be able to get them. Well turns out that Heather at Yacht Shop is awesome and she tracked them down, all the way to North Sails in Nova Scotia. It took a while but she shipped them on down to the U.S. right to my anxious door step!
So now, we have ALL of our Norseman cones, I’m sure some of the last to be sold, and we can re-rig without spending thousands more on all new terminals!
If your interested: Navtec who makes Norseman issued an official statement (that I obviously knew nothing about haha) on November 5, 2014 stating that they were stopping all production and sales of their Norseman product line. They ended up selling their remaining stock to Seco South, who still has some I think but not in the size that I needed. And that’s all she wrote – done and done, no more Noresman, no support for things like replacement cones and no company to pick up production.
However, Sta-lok makes excellent fittings that are very similar to Norseman and many consider superior. Also based on research it seems that Hi-mod by Hayn Marine may be crowned King of compression fittings. These bad boys do not have replacement cones – there is nothing to replace and they extend the compression much longer than Norseman or Sta-lok making for a stronger fitting. Brion Toss, whom I respect immensely recommends Hi-mod out of the three and says that he thinks they look nicer too.
We will be using Hi-mod fittings on our main shrouds so I will let you know first hand when we get to that stage of the refit.
If anyone that helped out along the way happens to read this – Thank you! 🙂