Frequently Asked Questions about yacht rigging and our service

We have listed a few common questions along with some basic answers. If you have a particular query that you would like to discuss, please contact us and we will be glad to offer advice or assistance.

How long will my stainless steel wire rigging last?

Unfortunately this a question to which it is impossible to give a definitive answer. The more appropriate specific question is “When should I replace my rigging?” Even this can only be answered based upon general guidelines as there are a number of variables that can dramatically affect the life expectancy of stainless steel rigging. We have seen rigging over 30 years old that is visually in good condition, but we have also seen failures after only 1 ½ years that could not be attributed to material defects or poor assembly of the stay. Regular inspection for obvious defects such as corrosion or cracks, and to look for signs of misalignment or poor tensioning will maximize the actual life expectancy. Replacement time can only be recommended based upon past statistics, and that may vary after discussion of past and expected future usage plans.

The latest Rigging Service Guidelines from Navtec Rigging Solutions suggests a wire life expectancy based upon climate variables and water salinity:

  • Heat and water salinity at maximum (Florida, Caribbean Islands) – 5 to 10years
  • Heat and water salinity at medium levels (East/West coast of US) – 10 to 15 years
  • Fresh water climate – 15 to 20 years.

Gulf Harbour Rigging recommends a thorough rig inspection at least annually and prior to any offshore voyage.

How often should my winches be serviced, and can I do it myself?

Different manufacturers have varied recommended service intervals. Andersen with their stainless steel winches recommends every 2 years, or once a year in racing, chartering or offshore sailing situations. Harken recommend once during pre season (fresh water) or twice per season in a salt water environment. For racing situations they recommend before every regatta. Lewmar recommend 2 or 3 times during active sailing season, plus at end of season, and prior to beginning of the next season.

For many boat owners these recommendations come as a shock, and we frequently see winches that have never been serviced until they begin to show symptoms of malfunction. At this stage repairs can be quite costly.

Winches are like a jigsaw puzzle, and the bigger the winch with more gearing and features, the more parts involved. For a practical, methodical person who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty, it is quite straight forward to strip down, inspect, clean, regrease and reassemble a winch. For those looking to sail offshore, it is a skill that should definitely be mastered. Contact Gulf Harbour Rigging if it all seems too daunting, or for some advice to do it yourself!

Can I help with my rigging job to save some money?

Yes, no problem! We help many clients with different budget and time constraints, and are happy to price jobs with any degree of owner or crew input. When preparing to unstep / restep a rig, there are plenty of time consuming, non skilled jobs to do, and the labour savings can be considerable. We do have certain safety rules that we insist upon for work up the mast, but please feel free to contact us to discuss any job, large or small.

How much will my rigging job cost?

Gulf Harbour Rigging are happy to provide an estimate for any job, or a quote when materials only are required. We estimate upon what we feel is a reasonably conservative labour content for any job based upon discussions of the client’s expectations and our experience of similar projects in the past. If unforeseen situations arise, then we communicate with the client or representative to ensure that any additional work and expenditure is approved prior to continuing. In a corrosive salt air environment, dissimilar material fastenings and fittings can become extremely difficult to remove, and many times the ease or difficulty of doing so is not discovered until the job is begun. Gulf Harbour Rigging understands the potential problems, and undertakes to provide realistic estimates with all available information, and to communicate fully throughout the job.

Which furler should I buy?

The choice of a furler should be made after comparing the features required; and available in each make and model, and the budget you have to spend. There are considerable differences and it pays to talk to someone who does not represent only one brand. Gulf Harbour Rigging is independent but sells and services all of the brands commonly available. Contact us to discuss the best option for you.

Can we answer your question? Contact Gulf Harbour Rigging for personal, professional help!