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post #2 of Old 01-12-2005
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Stainless wire rigging condition

See the “Rig Inspection Guide” at:

Cracks in rigging components, especially cracks that are orientated transverse to the load are a sign of impending failure. Cracks can be found using visual inspection (using a 50 x magnifier), or by dye penitrant testing. X-ray testing, eddy current testing, ultrasonic testing and other professional methods can also be used.

For visual inspection, the wire or rod and fittings must be cleaned or polished to expose the cracks. For preventive maintenance, polish the surface of your stainless with a stainless steel polish. Polishing creates a smooth metal surface and helps minimize the number of pits, valleys and microscopic cracks where moisture can reside and create the environment corrosion loves.

Rusty areas frequently indicate cracks underneath. In addition to cracks, you should look for corrosion, pitting, and rust.
Alignment of the wire and fittings to the load is very important for the reliability of rigging. Misalignment of fittings, frequently caused by interference or bends should be checked.
Kinks or bends in the wire also result in increased local stress and the likelihood of a short life. If a fitting or wire has operated in a bent, kinked, or misaligned condition, it should be replaced as the damage due to cycling cannot be undone.

Quick Checklist:

Inspect wire rigging. Note the tops of rigging eyes, looking for wire barbs or signs that the wire is starting to fail. Prepare to replace where necessary.

Lubricate turnbuckles.

Inspect mast and fittings. Note corrosion of any fittings or metal parts. These should be replaced.

Inspect mast boot or tabernacle fittings. Look especially for corrosion or leaks. Replace or refit where necessary.

Replace bent and worn cotter pins. Replace all snagging fittings.

Check mast wiring for continuity and masthead lights for function. Replace burned out lights.

Touch up paint and varnish.

Clean and wax metal spars.

Inspect all running rigging for chafe and wear. Reverse halyards. Replace worn lines.

Inspect and lubricate all winches. Ensure you have a full set of winch spare parts in the toolbox.
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