Join Date: Apr 2003
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You make a good point billyruffn. I often encourage my customers to take into consideration how they are planning to use the boat in the near future when deciding how long to put off maintenance of their rigging. If they are planning to be cruising the Caribbean in the next year or so. I strongly urge them to replace the rigging here.
Unfortunately, that's the way it often is. I find myself in the position of trying to convince people to change their priorities. Replacing a set of standing rigging is a big expenditure. I fully understand when someone is trying to extend the life of it all they can before biting the bullet.
As much as I might agree with your analysis of the point loaded StaLok MainSail, I'm pretty sure that it would be near the bottom of my priority list on most all of the boats that I inspect.
It's not easy to get people to spend money on their rigging and most boats have much bigger issues.
The reality of it is this. Rigging is marvelously forgiving. I know this without a doubt.
I have seen some of the most horrendous examples come through my shop and most of them had served for years.
There is another reality however. The sea is not forgiving at all. It only takes one screw up to ruin your day and possibly end your life.
So most of us, keeping those two things in mind will, if we are smart;
Be reasonable about how we take care of our rigging and realize that it doesn't last forever and needs to be inspected and maintained. (Now, as to whether or not someone is capable of performing a perfect inspection or just a competent one the first few times? Who can say? Only the man himself.)
We will also realize that there is a limit as to how much we should test our rigging. That limit should be based on what kind of shape it's in, how old it is and how much confidence we have in the guy who inspects and maintains it.
If we race, are planning to cross an ocean or go cruising or if we want to shoot a BFS video for our favorite website, then we need to have rigging that we can push to a higher level.
If we just want to load up the kids and a six-pack and sail around the bay on a nice afternoon one or two days a week. Then our standards don't have to be quite as high.
I don't want anyone to think that I advocate letting your rigging go. Just the opposite is true. The rigging is what makes it a sailboat. It's more important that the damn engine, the electronics, the fancy electric head or anything else.
But, at the same time. There are times in life when you may have to run your tires a little bald, or wear socks with holes in them or even put off a new forestay.
If you are a prudent sailor, and don't go buying new chart plotters or fancy radio's when you know that you have cracked swages on your 15 year old rig. You don't push the rig when you should reef. And don't sail when the conditions reach a certain point. Then your rigging will probably not fail you.
Now, after saying all that, let me add this.
I charge one hour labor to do an inspection at my dock. Andrew lifts my fat butt up with the crane and as long as it takes less that one hour, that's what the customer pays. Not a bad deal.
If we go to the boat, the customer pays travel and for two men. Still, not a bad deal.
A good rigger can be a source of peace of mind. Unfortunately, a bad rigger can be a source of a false sense of security.
I am a strong believer that a man should be able to take care of his whole boat. Rigging included. But nobody knows this stuff instinctually. So hiring a trusted rigger might be a good place to start learning.