Evaluating Standing Rigging


By Bob Marston
Partner, Wellington Yacht Partners

When surveying a sailing yacht for purchase, the condition of the standing rigging is always inspected closely. After all, it serves one of the most important functions onboard, keeping the mast up!  It is therefore imperative when marketing your boat for sale that the rigging is in good working condition.

There are many factors that can determine the life expectancy of standing rigging. Fortunately there are some great industry guidelines that all rigging companies refer to, for both wire and rod rigging condition.

Most surveyors will tell you standing rigging is considered to have a 10 year or 40,000 nm lifespan. Other factors such as environment, amount of usage, application (i.e. cruising yacht or racing yacht, offshore vs. coastal usage) and maintenance can have a great impact on the standing rigging condition and increase or decrease its useful lifespan.

For seasonally-used yachts such as those in New England, the amount of real time on the standing rigging is considerably less than that of a yacht used in the Caribbean. For yachts with masts removed for storage each winter the rigging is inspected easily, whereas a cruising yacht being used 12 months a year may only have the mast out every five years, so rigging inspections are done with the mast in place.

I advise my seasonal New England clients who store their boats “mast-in” to have the standing rigging inspected every spring and to keep the report handy for any potential Buyer to view. For cruising yachts that travel north/south for winters in the tropics, it is prudent to have the rig and rigging inspected before going offshore and to keep records available.

The good news is, for most yachts a thorough rigging inspection is not expensive. It is often just an hour or two of labor by a rigging company, plus the time it takes to create a report. This is a small price to pay to ensure a yacht’s rigging is fit for purpose. Knowing your mast and rigging is sound will not only give you confidence each time you head out for a sail, but it will assure a future potential Buyer your boat has been cared for professionally.