Rig Inspection Aloft – I can make this for pre-purchase purposes and also to satisfy insurance due to age of the standing rigging and prior to a blue water voyage. It is an optional inspection.

Requires two ropes (topping lift and main halyard or topping lift and spinnaker halyard if furling main) and people to assist. Electric winches are easier. I bring my own climbing harness.

Mast and Standing rigging are also inspected at deck level and also the chainplates and attachment structure if accessible without excessive removals.

Rod rigging on the other hand would require unstepping the mast and inspection of the rod heads including dye penetrant inspection, for cracks or deformation.

Standing Rigging Age – Some insurers are nervous about standing rigging over 10 years of age and the general guideline is that renewal is recommended at 15 years of age. Certainly if the yacht is proceeding for a long blue water voyage outside the Mediterranean then renewal of standing rigging is advisable before departing. Standing rigging is mostly not marked with the age (i have seen marked only twice) and therefore replacement invoice should be kept as proof. Rig Inspection may assure owner that the rig is visibly sound but may also convince insurers to permit blue water voyages without replacing the standing rigging. Insurance policies may contain the clause that owner must comply with the recommendations of any surveyor or rigger.

Standing Rigging Damage – Damage is most likely to cause issue in the short term.

Rig Tuning – The standing rigging prefers to be tuned to 10-15% of safe working load for masthead rig and 20-25% of SWL for fractional rig, therefore to be set up hard and to stay that way. Adjusting the rig will lead to fatigue especially by racers. More importantly any looseness in the rig will lead to fatigue due to play.

Failure of Fractional Rig – With the loss of one wire while sailing the mast would likely come down.

Partial Replacement – In case of proceeding with partial replacement over several seasons, the forestay is first to replace due to stress and possible unravelling of the wire at the upper terminal. Thereafter proceed to replace in pairs. It is important that the furler does not become seized because unravelling of the forestay is the usual result.

Unsound Keel Step or Deck Step –The sandwich deck at the mast deck step typically of balsa or plywood can be affected by wetting and drying over the years leading to compression. The structure at the keel step of the mast or compression post can be also affected similarly. It could be of overlaminated wood which is now rotten. Perhaps the structure was unsatisfactory to begin with. Inbetween the deck and the compression post there may be plates which were placed incorrectly leading to spacing.

Repairs to Mast – In case of breakage of the mast, replacement is usually the best option. Large welds on the mast are not advisable because they cause weakness to the aluminium from the heating at the point of the weld.

Common Items for Repair or Replacement

  • Standing rigging wire with broken strands at entry to terminal.
  • Standing rigging wire with corrosion all along one wire (defective material).
  • Swage terminal is bent.
  • Swage terminal has cracks.
  • Deckplate weld is cracked.
  • Deck is cracked in way of shroud deckplates.
  • Mast tang weld is cracked
  • Mast extrusion is fractured or with galvanic wastage at stainless fitting
  • Spreader is fractured.
  • Chainplate attachment structure is fractured or rotten.
  • The old type chainplate that passes through the deck has wastage where it passes through deck (not possible to inspect without dissasembly). Rust staining could be indication.
  • Stemhead Fitting or Chainplate bolts are with heavy rust staining indicating crevice corrosion has likely occurred.
  • Broken wire at entry to swage terminal.

    Excessive corrosion staining at chainplate bolts.

    Cotter pin is not secured by bending it.

    Swage terminal is bent