Standing Rigging – When to Check & Replace Components

Rigging is like any other component of your boat; it sometimes needs to be changed because of wear and tear. In a lot of ways, it is easier to assess the condition of synthetic rigging as it comes with recommended mileage and a stated lifespan. If your boat has stainless steel rigging, knowing when to change it can be more of a challenge. Here are some points to remember when checking your standing rigging.

Difficulty with Personal Assessments

One of the main problems boat owners encounter with standing rigging is not knowing when to change it. Because most components of the rig are out of sight and high in the sky, we can never see whether we need a replacement. You could be in desperate need of Dyneema rigging or some other component, but you never know because of where it is positioned.

In addition, most of us have stainless steel rigging on the vessel and that makes it more difficult to evaluate. The nature of metal fatigue sometimes makes it hard to tell whether it is under stress and needs replacing.

Metal fatigue is inevitable, and you must be aware of it. The only thing that will vary is when it deteriorates and needs to be replaced. Here are some things that affect the longevity of your rigging:

  • Initial quality of the rigging
  • Type of material
  • Sailing frequency

The only way to know when it needs to be repaired or replaced is to check it regularly.

Sailing

Every time you use your boat you put the standing rigging under pressure, this wears away at key components until they eventually need to be changed. If you regularly race your boat, rigging failure will occur quicker. You can check the rigging yourself after each race or you can have it checked by a professional.

Just because you do not race, and you only use your boat lightly does not mean the rigging will last forever. When the mast is up, all boats will experience some form of load cycling, which has an effect on the rigging. Even light winds on a mast will load up the rigging.

To ensure your standing rigging is kept in great condition you need to conduct regular checks, especially if you use it for racing. You will need to take the rig down and carry out a visual inspection. Take your time when checking the rig and look for any signs of deterioration such as crack growth.