With the days getting shorter and winter fully settled in it would be easy to think that next year’s sailing season is an age away. However, as we all know, Christmas will soon have passed, the new year begun and with the blink of an eye Spring will be upon us and everyone will be rushing to get their boats ready for launch, desperately scrambling for rigging and yacht maintenance services and paying over the odds for express delivery of parts.
So, why not beat the rush this year and get your rigging serviced and any works completed in good time and relax in the knowledge that you’ll be able to set sail and make the most of some glorious early spring days on the water.
Here is our handy rigging and spars checklist to make sure you’re fully set for an enjoyable season on the water…
Winter Rigging Checklist
Book a rig check
A professional rig check is becoming regarded as an essential part of winter yacht maintenance. Your rig is constantly exposed to the elements, vibrating in the breeze, flexing and straining, not to mention all of the force and load it’s been subjected to whilst under sail. You may also find that your insurance company expect you to carry out regular checks so it’s worth checking what their minimum requirements are as well. A rig check involves a thorough inspection of the entire rig to identify any wear and tear or cracks that may lead to significant breakages, or at worse, entire rig failure.
Call us on 02380 456482 to book your rig check now.
Inspect running rigging for rope fatigue
Rope is constantly subject to wear, abrasion, bending and UV damage that can lead to substantial damage and eventually failure over time. The key to good rigging maintenance is to prevent a rope from snapping before it does. The key signs of rope fatigue to look for are fibre damage and hardening of the rope in high load areas. Also beware of internal rope fatigue that can be caused by bending.
Check guard wires and replace lashings
Keeping your guard wires in check is paramount to the safety of you and your crew whilst at sea. Make sure there isn’t any visible wear, and if there is, get it checked by a professional rigger to make sure it won’t fail under load. ISAF racing rules specify that you must replace any lashings with new rope every year and even if you’re not racing, it’s advisable to replace them anyway. We also recommend checking the security of split pins – we regularly find split pins missing from the clevis pins.
Mouse out halyards
Extend the life of your running rigging by getting your halyards moused out, rinsed with fresh water to remove any salt and stored somewhere warm and dry over the winter months. This will prevent any damage from the elements and make sure they are in top notch condition for your first sailing session in the spring. Just make sure you use a high quality mousseline to avoid any re-mousing headaches in the new year!
Check all electronics
Exposed to the harsh weather, strange things can happen to boat electronics over the winter, so check that all of your electronics are still operating and are in good working order. In particular pay attention to any electric furlers and wind instruments that may need re-wiring at the top of the rig. We also recommend that any wind instruments are removed from the top of the rig at the end of the season to prevent damage.
If you have hydraulics onboard it’s advisable to get them serviced over the winter. Make sure this is done with plenty of notice as waiting lists can be long and if any replacement parts are required, delays can occur, so get them in as soon as you can.
Get professional advice
This list is by no means exhaustive and every vessel will require different types and amounts of work but use this list as a basic guide and you’ll have most of the main things covered. If, however, you are at all unsure about any of your rigging, spars or hydraulics, we’re here to help. We’ve been looking at rigs for decades so can easy spot potential problems and offer suitable and cost effective solutions that may help you to avoid expensive accidents down the line, so give us a call.