Do-It-Yourself Rigging Check

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Blogs Author
This is Jerry Henwood, who in a 45-minute seminar on rigging checks is not to my mind all that irritating, which is more than can be said by other such lecturers.

His points caused me to have yet another look at my own rig, where I was surprised to find several remaining split rings to be replaced with cotter pins "of as large a size as possible." I haven't personally climbed the mast lately (well, ever on this boat), but I intend soon to bring my video camera, with tripod, and zoom in on the spreaders, T-connections, and sheaves. I have found in the past that that can reveal issues requiring a professional inspection.

I recently took off the genoa for repair, and was able to confirm, and then replace, the monel safety wire on the screw-pin halyard shackles (twist-pin or snap shackles are all wrong for working halyards).

Eyeballing our own rigging requires deep suspicion and a magnifying glass, and is only an interim maintenance check. A qualified rigger needs a periodic look, I believe, since I have missed so many issues myself over the years despite an unusually high regard for the mirror.

Here is a T-bolt from the 32-3, which a rigger discovered from a bosun's chair. And an example of a near-invisible hairline crack that requires immediate replacement of any swage.

t-bolt crack.jpg...IMG_0589.JPG

The backstay chainplate of the 381 was obvious (although the surveyor never saw it). Interesting view from the side, I think you'll agree.

backstay chainplate break .JPG...3-chainplate side.JPG

Our standard gooseneck is cast aluminum, elderly, and subject to failure at the stress points. The simple pin for the anchor locker illustrates how any weld is subject to deterioration over time. We are told to view all welds with suspicion.

gooseneck break aluminum casting.JPG...1-anchor locker lid.jpg
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Member I
I removed and rebuilt my mast a couple years after a bought it. It was apparent once it was on the ground that the head stay rigging pin was without a cotter pin. It had been held in with pressure only probably since one of the previous owners had the furler installed. Possibly if someone had applied too much pressure to the jib halyard it may have just slipped out.


Sustaining Member
Scary. I found something similar on Terra Nova but with different systems. Every below the waterline through hull hose connection had two clamps and only one was tightened and this was done by a "Professional". Double check everything.

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
IMO.... a contentious & attentive amateur and a Professional can do equal quality work. The Pro can do it a tenth of the time. Trick is find a qualified pro... !

(A local ship wright just did the re-install of our new steering cable & 'bicycle' chain assembly yesterday. I helped with tools and the part where it was good to have a person in the cockpit to help lower the cables down to the person below. Tom has done a lot of these over the years and I saw a lot of little production details that I had not thought of before.)