Inspecting the rigging of a sailboat
It has been said that leaving the rigging as a mystery is the “hight of all folly”. So be sure to add general inspection to your rigging each year.
When inspecting the rigging of a sailboat, there are several key things to look for:
- Begin by examining the standing rigging, which includes the mast, stays, and other structural elements that support the mast. Look for any signs of wear and tear, such as frayed or chafed lines, rust on metal components, or damaged fittings. Jib sheets that rub up against the standing rigging are a high wear area.
- Check the tension of the standing rigging. The lines should be tight but not overly strained. If the tension is too loose, the mast may be unstable; if it is too tight, it can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the lines and fittings. Many a sailboat story has had a improper rigging set up that led to a de-masting situation.
- Inspect the running rigging, which includes the lines that are used to control the sails. Look for any signs of wear and tear, such as frayed or chafed lines, or damaged fittings.
- Check the tension of the running rigging. The lines should be tight enough to hold the sails in place but not so tight that they are difficult to move or adjust.
- Look for any signs of corrosion on the metal components of the rigging, such as turnbuckles, shackles, and other fittings. Corrosion can weaken these components and make them more prone to failure. Anywhere there are dissimilar metals touching in a salt environment corrosion can hit hard.
- Check the condition of the sails and sail covers. Make sure that the sails are in good condition and free of any rips, tears, or other damage. It is important to have a sail cover in order to protect the sail from unnecessary UV damage. Its fascinating how the sun destroys all things.
- Inspect the condition of the masthead and masthead gear, including the vane, windex, and any other instruments or equipment that are mounted at the top of the mast. Make sure that everything is in good working order and properly secured.
Overall, it is important to be thorough and systematic when inspecting the rigging of a sailboat. Take the time to look at every aspect of the rigging, from the standing rigging to the sails, and make any necessary repairs or replacements as needed. Ignoring this aspect of the boat can be a costly mistake.