MAINTENANCE OF RIGGING
Usually receives little care the rigging of a ship as it practically do not need to do anything in the sticks for years. However, it is important to carry out a periodic review of its fundamental points to avoid accidental falls.
Except in the most extreme conditions, the spars and rigging of a sailboat are designed to support any effort. And, in fact, when a ship unravels it is that some piece was in poor condition. Something that could have been avoided with a proper review. In fact, some insurers require replacing the fixed rigging every 10 years to be able to insure the boat at full risk.
Let’s see what aspects we should take into account.
Aspects to consider in the maintenance of rigging and spars
If we observe that some cable begins to lose some of its steel wires or has excessive oxidation at its junction with the terminal, it is time to replace it with its symmetrical partner. With a fixed rigging input in years, it is preferable to change it whole.
We should also check the hooks on the crossheads and the endings on the stick. Although it is not navigated often, the material is subjected to tensions and compressions all the time and therefore works with less intensity than during navigation but throughout the time. This is especially true if the ship is anchored all year round and therefore subjected to the continuous swings of the waves that try to shake the rigging from side to side without rest.
Special attention must also be paid to the mast: its fixation on the deck, how it is supported on the ship, how it fits, how the cables pass inside, its halyards. While on the high seas we will not have on hand any specialist to ask for advice or request a repair. Before approaching the stick, we must check the anchors of the shrouds that in many cases are accessible from the inside in the hall. The hull fiber around the anchor must be healthy and without any indication of delamination. These have solid cardan-type joints so that the cable can be tensioned at any angle required by the stick. It is very rare that these pieces can fail, but it does not hurt to take a look once in a while.
Next, we will look at the tensioners and pins that prevent their rotation and, therefore, can change the tension.
And then it is the turn of one of the most conflicting points of the entire rigging of the sailboat: the union of the cables with their terminals. It is very important that the terminal is fully aligned with the cable and that it has no small angle, under pain of unnecessarily fatigued the material. These joints should be checked quite frequently and therefore should remain visible without covering with silicone pastes or plastic sleeves.
Other rigging works
We will start by checking the general curvature of the stick by sticking to it and looking up. We will adjust possible deviations by adjusting the tension of shrouds and shins. If it is very pronounced, we will have to think about replacing it.
We will also look at the oxidation of the mast foot as it can weaken the support of the mast and that is where all the understanding efforts are concentrated. Then we will review the union of the boom to the stick and its gimbal. The shaft of the boom support has small PVC or Nylon washers to prevent bolt play and make friction smoother. The lower washer is subject to more wear and may need to be replaced.
We must wear the cherry or harness to climb the stick. We begin the walk through the heights. The first stop is at the level of the first crossheads. We will try to move them to see if they have slacks. These should have a very slight upward angle because in this way they work better. We will also pay attention to the ends of the crosspieces that some navigators seal with vulcanizing tape and other plastics to avoid friction of the Genoa, and unintentionally form a zone of accumulation of dampness and very corrosive saltpeter.
In discontinuous rigging the shrouds are formed by as many pieces as we have levels of crosspieces, plus an extra. This means that we have to check more terminators and tensioners multiplying the possible parts that may present deficiencies.
The head of the stick or knob
The last stop also requires a thorough review. We will pay special attention to the anchoring of the estay and the backestay. Estay is the cable that is possibly subject to more work, although this will naturally depend on the type of navigation we do.
Certainly, even if it is an occasional maintenance, it is not easy to perform and requires some expertise. That is why it is perhaps a good idea to entrust it to the expert hands of a boathouse like V de Bravado, the boathouse of those who are passionate about the sea, experts in woodland and rigging work.
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