We have compiled the following rigging checklist based on the advice of professional riggers. Everything on the following list can be checked without the removal or destruction of equipment.
It would be considered good practice to perform the following checks when boarding a new vessel, at the start of a charter or if you suspect there may be damage caused by an incident or accident.
The Vertical stays are often a good place to start. Each stay is numbered and referred to as V1, V2, V3 and so forth. It is not important if you start from the deck or masthead – as long as you know which is which it doesn’t matter. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll start at the deck.
We’ll start by inspecting the bottle screw [or turn buckle if you’re American] on the V1 stay. We are checking that there isn’t excessive corrosion, the split pins are in and secure, and that there is electrical tape or something guarding the split pins. We cover the split pins to avoid ripping clothing or boots if accidentally made contact with. Note: if you cover your split pins, try not to tape the entire bottle screw. If you tape excessively, the bottle screw will hold water and it will accelerate corrosion.
Moving up V1, we want to check the Rod, Wire or Composite wire. the checks vary slightly from type to type. Wire stays are normally made up of lots of smaller wire strands. We check them for corrosion and any breakages. Breaks can often be hidden by the bottle screw itself. If one strand is broken – it needs replacing or risk being dismasted!
With solid wire stays [known as rod rigging], we check the wire’s integrity both physically and visually. Feel and look at the wire from bottom to top and make sure that there aren’t any chips or dents in the wire. Even the slightest chip can cause a stay to break and it is important that it is checked by a professional prior to sea.
Composite, similar to rod rigging, needs checking for any dents or chips to make sure it’s still got its structural integrity. In addition to this, checks for UV damage need to be made.
Last but not least, we check the top end link. The top end link is where the top of the stay is connected to something such as a spreader. We check for corrosion, damage and ensure it is all secure. There are often split pins to help keep the fitting in place. Make sure that the split pins are not broken and are in good general working order.
Check bottle screw for corrosion and ensure split pins are in place and in good general order.
Ensure split pins at deck level are covered with tape to avoid the ripping of clothes
Check wire for broken strands and general corrosion.
Check rod for chips or dents.
Check composite for chips, dents and UV damage.
Inspect the top end link for corrosion and look at it's general condition.
Ensure split pins [if applicable] at top end link are covered with tape to avoid damaging sails.
We acknowledge there may be hidden defects that cannot be discovered during this inspection without destruction of components or removal of the spars from the vessel for inspection.