Send your questions to email@example.com for an expert answer. This month - can you do your own rigging checks?
Question: Can I test my own rigging?
When I bought my Bavaria 42, it was obvious that the previous owner kept it in tip-top condition and thought had clearly gone into the maintenance. There was no mention, however, of rigging checks or replacement.
The boat is now coming up to 20 years old. It’s been recommended, and I have read, that I should get a professional rigging inspection carried out for insurance purposes.
Having asked around, it seems that these rigging surveyors just give it an eyeball inspection.
Improving performance through tuning standing rigging
To tune or not to tune? Would you drive your car with wheels misaligned? Run a marathon with your shoelaces…
Why you should regularly check your deck fittings
What’s really going on under your deck fittings? Ben Sutcliffe-Davies investigates the hidden weaknesses
Skippers’ Tips: Clever waypoints & rigging fatigue
Seasoned skippers and Yachting Monthly experts give their advice on a whole range of issues for the cruising sailor
‘We let go and the entire rig sank like a stone’
A collapsed mast threw an unexpected obstacle in the path of Tim Ainsworth Anstey’s passage from Gotland to mainland Sweden…
As an ex-marine engineer, I was wondering if there was any benefit in carrying out a liquid dye crack detection test.
I used to use this method of testing all the time professionally, including on piston crowns and lifting wires.
Would this work for mast wire rigging?
Isn’t it more reliable than just eyeballing the rigging?
Surveyor Ben Sutcliffe-Davies responds:
There is certainly some merit in crack testing some parts.
However, the most common failures are from overworking of the wire at the points of connection to the swage, especially if it’s out of alignment.
A pre-purchase survey is limited to what a surveyor can see to head height, but you can spot obvious signs if things aren’t well aloft.
Personally, I would get the mast down, as other issues will become more obvious.
Most riggers don’t actually check where the wire is connected to the deck through chain plates or stem arrangements, so it is important to monitor these for moisture ingress and corrosion.
Ten years is a sensible benchmark for considering a programme of replacement for a yacht that is used regularly.
As your rig is 20 years old, I would just replace it and have peace of mind.