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post #1 of 36 Old 03-23-2009 Thread Starter
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Rig Inspection - DIY or Hire someone?

I bought our Beneteau 50 last July and the rig has never been inspected. I just bought an ATN Top Climber, so I can go up the stick at will. Do I need to have a professional inspect the rig, or is it something - with some research - that I can do myself?

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post #2 of 36 Old 03-23-2009
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Do it yourself.. if you see something that looks questionable, bring in a pro. Meathooks, excessive corrosion, kinks in the wire, etc... are all signs of problems.... if you don't see them... you're probably okay.

Of course, if your boat is rod-rigged, then you have no warning signs..

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post #3 of 36 Old 03-23-2009
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Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
I bought our Beneteau 50 last July and the rig has never been inspected. I just bought an ATN Top Climber, so I can go up the stick at will. Do I need to have a professional inspect the rig, or is it something - with some research - that I can do myself?
I don't see any reason why you can't do a pretty good inspection of your standing rigging yourself.
If you are comfortable enough, carry a good camera and take some closeups of the areas of concern. You can show them to your rigger and ask his advise.

To inspect swaged terminals: Start with a brand new green Scotch bright pad and a magnifying glass. Wear a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes.
Spit on the scratchy and use it to remove all surface corrosion from the swage. Wipe it clean with a rag and inspect it carefully with the glass.
Look hard at any areas on the swage that had a buildup of rust. If there are cracks in the fitting, you should be able to see them pretty easily.

There's a little crack near the eye end of this fitting.



Look for areas of heavy rust buildup on the wire itself. If you see them. You very likely have a broken strand under it.




Take a little bottle of corrosion block or an equivalent oil. If you see areas of heavy corrosion at the spreader tips or clevis pins or wherever, you can puts a few drops on.

Look for chafe, potential problems and indications of halyard wrap at the top of the furler if you have one.
The ProFurl in this picture could have used a halyard restrainer even though they come with a wrap stop. A little close to that cotter pin for my liking.



And notice the mismatched clevis pin and hole at the top of the forestay.



Have someone on hand to flip switches so that you can test all the lights.

Lube the masthead sheaves if you can. You need to have a straw and a spray can for that though.

Have some tape for your spreader boots. I have always used 7 to 10 wraps of cheap black electrical tape covered by a few wraps of good white rigging tape. The kind that sticks only to itself. You get the strength from the cheap tape and it's protected by the expensive tape.

I've probably left a lot out, but just examine everything, look for anything that doesn't look proper and take some pictures of anything you suspect.

You'll do fine.
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post #4 of 36 Old 03-23-2009
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Great Post Knot! Thanks!


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post #5 of 36 Old 03-23-2009
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While you're up the mast... check cotter pins... and make a list of what size clevis and cotter pins your boat uses, so you can run out and pick up spares before you find you need them.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #6 of 36 Old 03-23-2009
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Without doubt Knothead gave you some things to think about, but I think the answer to your question depends to a large extent on the cirucumstances of your knowledge and sailing plans: First ask yourself how confident are you that you know what you're looking for? Research is fine and I'd encourage you to read everything you can on the topic, but do you know what you don't know about the signs of rigging failure? Second, what are your sailing plans in the immediate future? Are you going to be in a situation where it's critical you dont' have a rigging problem?

In areas where I have yet to develop real competence (and confidence) my philosophy has always been to hire a pro and learn from them while they're in my employ. I shadowed a professional rigger the first couple of times they looked at our rig. I now DIY most of the inspections, but if I have the need to have a rigger aboard for something else, I may still ask them for a second opinion on the state of the rig. This is particularily true if the person I'm dealing with seems to know what they're doing (after a while you can tell).

Circumstances are a very important consideration: my rig is now 15 years old and bears careful watching -- if it were 5 years old I probably wouldn't be so quick to hire a pro. But given the age of the rig and the critical importance of keep it vertical, I think a few hundred dollars spent on a professional rigger every year or so is worth while. I also tend to seek a second opinion on the rig before any major offshore passage. If my plans for the summer call for coastal sailing, I will inspect the rig myself. If I'm headed off shore for ten days or more, I'll get a pro to do it (and I'll be there to watch and learn from them).
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post #7 of 36 Old 03-23-2009
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Check with your insurance as they may require a rigging survey at a certain age

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post #8 of 36 Old 03-23-2009 Thread Starter
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+1 knothead. (Billy you got a +1 from me already, can't give you another one yet. Someone give him a rep point for me.)

There's much in what you wrote that I'm going to have to read it a few more times. And thanks for the encouragement.

I'll look at the rig myself and take pictures. The idea of going up is a bit unnerving, but I figure I'll get used to it. And I'll probably call in a pro anyway - one that will give me a bit of training. There's a reputable rigger at Brewers where she is now, but I'd rather make the request after she's back in the water. (If I ask now, they'll fire up the crane and I'd have to pay a lot of extra $$ for it. Better to wait a bit.)

Two questions:
1) Can I go up the mast while she's on the hard, or would you advise against it? I could wait for a day when there's no wind.
2) After she's back in the water, could I go up the mast at the same time as the rigger, to watch? That would be my 210 pounds plus say another 190 for the rigger. With a 6 foot draft (call it a 5 foot center of gravity on the keel), an 8,000 lb keel, and our 400 lbs at 65 feet. Effectively there'd be less that 3000 lbs of keel left for righting moment. Seems like it might be too much for the rig anyway.

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Last edited by Bene505; 03-23-2009 at 10:44 PM.
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post #9 of 36 Old 03-23-2009
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If you don't

If you don't know what you're looking for I'd seriously consider a pro.

Some are easy to spot:





Why I don't like closed turnbuckles..



And some are harder to spot:


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Bene505—

Don't go up the mast with the boat on the hard. It is a really bad idea. If you cause the boat to start to tip, it won't stop and self-right like it would in the water. And the chances that you hit a hard surface coming down are much higher...

Also, I'd highly recommend not taping rigging. Stainless steel needs to have oxygen to not corrode... I know it doesn't make much sense, but if you seal off the stainless with tape and water gets trapped by the tape, the water will cause the stainless steel to corrode rather quickly, especially if it is salt water and 304 grade stainless. BTW, 316 grade stainless, while a bit weaker than 304, is far better a material, since 304 grade stainless is far more prone to chloride ion stress cracking..

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
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