Rigging maintenance is a crucial part of any seafaring checklist... so what do you need to do?
Although there will be a lot on your mind before any big sailing trip, conducting a proper inspection will ensure you don't run into any major problems while you're out at sea.
Often times these inspections only need to consist of a few key visual checks which should reveal any existing or emerging issues before they become problematic. expensive or even potentially hazardous to you and your crew.
Mylor Rigging have put together our top rigging maintenance tips that you should live by...
Do A Full Rigging Check Every...
For everyday sailing and leisure cruising, conduct a general inspection every two or three years with a full, professional check taking place at the 8 to 10-year mark to makes sure your rigging is in perfect working order.
Inspect The Rigging Wires
It's crucial to thoroughly inspect your rig so if there is a problem, you can deal with it as soon as it appears.
Starting at the standing rigging swages, look for wires that are sticking out or broken. If you discover more than one stranded wire, replace both corresponding shrouds immediately. Also make efforts to check that the split pins are secure and the rigging screws haven't become unscrewed or loosened by themselves.
Use a great pair of binoculars to cast your eye along the rigging and the mast. If you're investing in a new pair, be sure to browse our full range of binoculars over at the Mylor Chandlery.
Test The Tension
Finding the correct tension is something that is pretty individual to each boat and may require a rigger to make an evaluation, however, there are certain things you can do yourself.
First off, give the forestay, backstay and shrouds a tug to ensure there's no looseness in your rigging setup and do visual checks by lying down underneath your mast and checking that the mast is straight with no deflection, otherwise your rigging may need some adjustments.
Guys and sheets need to be looked at for any signs of chafing on the cover. Look out for a damaged core as this will require a replacement and fraying ends will need to be whipped or burn sealed to prevent and protect against any more wear and tear.
We would suggest that you wash and clean your whole running rigging with warm soap and water, rinsing off afterwards. As a rule of thumb, always keep ropes stored out of sunlight as UV rays can cause some ropes to deteriorate.
Inspect For Signs Of Corrosion
Your mast is surrounded by stainless steel rigging parts that are susceptible to corrosion as time goes by. Check for bubbling paint and take a look at gooseneck fittings, mast and spreader bases and the ends of spinnaker poles as these can all be prone to corrosion. Winches should all be operating smoothly otherwise they'll need to be disassembled and properly treated with winch grease.
Look At Your Shackles
Shackles need to be checked for issues, but the only way to do this is to undo them and have a thorough look for any wear.
Pull the pin out with a shackle tool or key and make sure the thread runs smoothly. If it's stiff at first, give it a few turns and if it struggles to move at all, the shackle may be damaged and will need replacing.
Look At The Sheaves
When inspecting the sheaves, look for areas of irregular wear or evidence of splitting and cracking. Sheaves should also move easily and without interference. If you encounter these issues, make sure you replace your sheaves accordingly.
Assess The Electrical Cables
Electric cables should have undamaged cable coverings with sealed ends and need to be neatly arranged within the mast. Also, inspect for any sharp edges around the mast that could rub against and damage the cables.
Black Or Red?
Similar to checking for corrosion - you'll be able to find out a lot by looking at different coloured marks appearing on your boat. Black stains will flag up areas where metal is scraping on your rig whereas red marks are evidence of rust on metal parts.