I hate to say it, but I’ve been on more than one boat where standing rigging has failed. In both cases, they failed at a point where routine inspection may have revealed a problem. I say “may” because in some of today’s modern fittings you just can’t see what is going on. Press-fit fittings hide potential corrosion from sight. In any case, be sure to check the following on your boat every season, or even a couple of times a season.
- The condition of Chainplates and the bolts holding them to the boat.
- The condition of the wire itself. Look for any individual strands that have broken and any visible corrosion.
- Are the fittings intact? Particularly where the wire enters the fitting.
- Check your turnbuckles to ensure there is no corrosion, that they will turn freely, but are secured once the rig is tuned.
- Check that your mast is in column and not leaning left, right, fore, or aft, unless mast rake is specified by your tuning guide.
- Check all fittings of dissimilar metal. These are ripe for corrosion and electrolysis. Ensure there is no pitting or pock marking.
- Inspect the connections between your shrouds and your spreaders and then ensure they are securely attached.
- Annually or more often, remove any rigging tape and inspect cotter pins and ring dings. Replace the tape.
There are probably other items you look at on your boat, but use this as a good start and add to it. Losing a rig is dangerous and expensive. Don’t let it happen to you. Keep up your regular maintenance and inspections!