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Replacing Standing Rigging

I wrote all this down for my "records" so I figured I'd post it here as it might help somone else pondering doing the same thing.

The boat is a 1981 Islander 30 Bahama. This makes the rigging 29 years old. I had a rigging inspection done by a professional rigger who found everything to look satisfactory but because all the wire and hardware was so old (all Merriam), he recommended replacement. After lots of reading, I agreed it should be.

Part of preparing was to read tons of Sailnet posts and pore over rigging service and manufacturer’s websites and literature. I had learned a little from replacing my lifelines last year. I also got a quote from one rigger and checked on prices for having the mast removed from the boat by two different marinas. In the end I figure I saved about $2K.

Since the 4 lower shrouds only required climbing to the spreaders and they are straight runs of wire, it was relatively easy to measure them. So I had pre-made with swages at both the top (Johnson toggles) and bottoms (Hayn turnbuckles). It turned out that they were a little long but certainly acceptable (as long as the cables don’t stretch too much over their life).

Since the upper shrouds and the backstay went to the top and the shrouds went over the spreaders, pre-measuring was a little more difficult. So, for these, I had the upper terminations pre-installed (Navtec T balls for the shrouds and a Hayn Marine Eye for the backstay). For the lower terminations, I used Hi-Mod fittings to studs for the lower turnbuckles. The Hi-Mods went together very well and the installed length was perfect.

Because the forestay was had been replaced when the boat got new roller furling (in about 1999), I decided to hold off replacing it (also because that would likely be beyond my ability).

Except as noted above, the wire and most hardware was by Hayn. I checked them out, talked to them on the phone and at the boat show and they seem like a really great company with an equally great product. All swaging was done by a very reputable shop in Annapolis.

Below are my the notes I used for the work. I modified them after I finished to reflect some things I did differently and lessons I learned.

Tips to remember

1. Don’t raise the main halyard holding the Mast Mate all the way to the top. Raise it to the top and then drop it down about 3’. This will permit standing on the battened steps when working at the top.
2. When working at spreader height, only raise the Mast mate to that level – again, to permit standing on the battened steps.
3. Wrap a small line or a clothes pin around the battened steps when hoisting the mast mate so it doesn’t catch on the lazy jacks where they attach to the mast.
4. Carry a 6’ line attached to the seat harness to enable tying off once I get to the working height.
5. When going up and coming back down, don’t forget to keep the belt and lines straight when passing the lazy jacks and the spreaders.
6. Raise a tool bag vice using the bag attached to the MM belt. It is too hard to use and you can’t see what’s in it.
7. Wear shoes with good soles – not flimsy boat shoes that will pinch in the webbing.
8. When working on the end of the spreaders, use the spinnaker halyard attached to the harness. This will permit swinging out to the ends of the spreaders. A line can be tied to the halyard shackle so the shackle can be raised to the proper height – so the halyard can be secured at the bottom of the mast. Climb the MM to the height of the halyard and then snap it onto the harness. The line keeps the halyard from going to the top.
9. Use a short lanyard to carry new stays to top and bring old shrouds down. If they get hung up, this prevents having to climb all the way back down.
10. Make sure new stays will not get hung up in existing rigging when climbing mast.
11. Tie turnbuckles of new and old stays off to handrail so they are not flying around causing dings.

Mast Supports
1. Main Halyard – all line. Use to raise the Mast Mate since it is aligned with the mast track.
2. Jib Halyard – must unfurl and lower genoa/jib.
3. Spinnaker Halyard – Can be used as a safety line if there is a helper that can keep it on the port halyard winch (must remove the jib halyard from the winch.
4. Topping Lift – hard to reach but can run a line through block or eye for some support. By applying main sheet tension, the topping lift provides some aft support to the mast as is.
5. Extra line looped over backstay or topping lift pin at the head of the mast and run down to the stern.

1. Remove mainsail and install mast climber.
2. Move lazy jacks out of the way for climbing. Secure them to the mast so they are out of the way.
3. Don climbing harness and Mast Mate belt.
4. Attach spare lanyards to belt.
5. Attach tools to lanyards – to belt.

Replace Lower Aft Shrouds
1. Attach mast mate and raise so top step is 4’ below spreader.
2. No need to support mast.
3. Remove turnbuckles on both existing shrouds so clevis pin at top can be removed. Secure to handrail.
4. Take tools in bag – needle nose, lanyards, dremmel and bits to drill out holes.
5. Tie lanyard from belt to toggles on new shrouds.
6. Climb mast to spreader.
7. Tie off climbing harness line to mast around spreaders.
8. Remove one aft shroud and tie it off with a spare lanyard.
9. Drill holes in tang to 3/8” and test fit new clevis pins.
10. Install new shroud toggle.
11. Climb down mast.
12. Attach turnbuckle to chain plate and tension.
13.Repeat for spreader on opposite side.

Replace Lower Fwd Shrouds
Same as above but must rotate around to front side of mast. Can’t move to forward side of mast due to lack of foot holds. Access from back worked OK.

Replace upper shrouds.
1. First, support the mast by:
a.Run spinnaker jib halyard to the toe rail, just forward of upper spreader
b.Run Jib halyard to toe rail, just aft of upper spreader.
c.Tighten both halyards on jib halyard winch and tie off.
2. Apply tape indicators to the turnbuckle so it’s position can be resumed to enable measurements. Remove the turnbuckle on that side so that the wire can be removed from the end of the spreader.
3. Climb the mast to remove the old shroud. On the way up, stop at spreader, tie off climbing harness, remove spreader boot, and remove the old shroud from the end of the spreader.
4. Climb to the top of the mast and remove the T ball. Tie it off to spare lanyard.
5. Lay new and old shrouds side by side on deck. Adjust turnbuckle to previous (installed settings where tape was applied).
6. Install Hi-Mod stud in turnbuckle and adjust so 1” of threads are showing on both stud end and toggle end. One inch will allow for cable stretch some.
7. Tape and cut wire to correct length using dremel.
8. Bevel end of wire with dremel.
9. Assemble Hi-Mod and then re-assemble turnbuckle.
10. Climb mast with T ball end of shroud.
11. Install T ball in slot.
12. Install rubber stoppers over T ball.
13. Come down to spreader and install shroud in end of spreader.
14. Come down and install turnbuckle toggle to chain plate.
15. Tension Shroud.
16. Install spreader boots.

1. Support the mast aft by running both genoa and spinnaker shrouds around the sides of the mast, back to the aft end of the boat. Tie with line to stern cleats in order to leave room for climbing the mast.
2. Tie a 45’ length of line to back of boat and take to top of mast to enable tying off while backstay is removed.
3. Mark with tape adjustment on backstay turnbuckle.
4. Remove turnbuckle and tie off to handhold on deck.
5. Climb mast with 45’ line. Tie line to back stay clevis for extra backstay support.
6. Remove backstay and bring down for duplication.
7. Duplicate on dock.
8. Carry marine eye end of turnbuckle to top of mast and install in mast head toggle.
9. Remove 45’ line from backstay clevis.
10. Come down mast.
11. Tension backstay with turnbuckle
12. Remove genoa and spinnaker halyards.

Screw drivers or something to pin wires to dock for measuring.
Screw driver
Dremel tool
Small screw driver for Dremel
Extension cord
Rag for hi mod fitting
Wrench for Davis vane
Wood dowel for adjusting turnbuckles
Wrench for hi mod fittings.
Lubricant for sheaves
Rubber T ball stoppers.
45’ line.
Seat harness
Small pieces of line
Plumb bob
Pen for marking
Hi mod instructions
Lock tight for hi mods
Rigging tape (self stick)
Hard sole shoes
New spreader boots
Small and medium cresent wrenches
Dowel to turn turnbuckles
Lanolin to rotate turnbuckles
harbin2 is offline  
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