Yacht Rigging and Maintenance

Looking after the rig and all its associated gear is an important part of caring for your yacht. Many people see the rigging and mast as a part of the yacht that needs no maintenance. All things deteriorate with age, sometimes even when they are not used, and yacht masts and rigging are no exception. Many cruising boat owners are not aware of when the rig was last out of their boat, let alone when the rigging was replaced. When boats are regularly raced these things are checked on a regular basis as a dismasting can be costly, let alone dangerous to the people aboard. Another interesting fact is that now insurance companies are asking when the rig was last checked and the age of the rigging. In the event of a dismasting and an insurance claim it is quite possible the insurer will decline at least part of the claim, if not all, if they consider the age of the rigging to have exceeded its expected life without being checked or replaced. A dismasting at sea is not pleasant to say the least and could end sinking the boat let alone costing someone their life.

We are often called upon to do maintenance work such as changing masthead lights and fitting new wind indicators as well as replacing halyards etc. We are also able to unstep the mast from your vessel, check and replace any gear as needed, as well as splice and replace any halyards etc, then restep the mast again. While the mast is being checked/overhauled we can repaint your mast & boom.

We can offer off-site mast storage at our Dundas Street workshop for your mast while we are working on your boat, whether it is being painted in our shed or we are working on the mast.

With a lifetime interest and experience in yachts and racing Mitch has a broad range of experience in yacht rigging, but if he has to undertake work that he feels is specialised and beyond his range of experience, he will bring in outside assistance and expertise.

We can also service your sheet winches & replace ball-bearings in blocks as well as in mainsheet and genoa cars. With Mitch’s life long interest in yacht racing he can check and advise on any gear repairs or replacement. We are also able to source any winches, deck gear, sheets or other gear the boat owner may require, including supplying and fitting wind gear, as well as performance instruments such as boat speed, depth etc. We can supply any HARKEN products at a competetive price, a brand known in the yacht racing world to be the very best, and cutting-edge technology .

Many yachts are now fitted with a roller furler headsail set-up, ideal for cruising, which makes handling headsails short-handed much easier. We can supply and fit HARKEN furlers or any other brand if the customer prefers.

We can supply and splice any halyards, sheets or rope you require, using rope made by Fineline Marine, a high quality rope made in NZ. We can supply Fineline Advantage Dyneema halyards custom-made to any colour you require – the modern equivalent to an old school wire halyard with a rope tail.

We can rerig your mast using either traditional 1x19 stainless wire or the new dye form wire such as “Hama”. We can supply  SeaRig rigging components, including swageless fittings and KZ SeaRig rigging screws, a superior option to the traditional rigging screws with exposed threads.

We are able to supply and splice your marina dock lines, spliced on the job so you have a line of the correct length with a loop on both ends. We can supply and set up weighted retrevial lines for your dock lines. No more muddy lines in the water when you come back into your berth.

We can supply chain, anchor rope and anchor swivels as well as re-splice your rope/chain anchor rode.

For absentee owners we are also able to remove sails, have them repaired and replace them back on the boat ready for use or, if your sails are off the boat, we can rig the boat ready for you to arrive and put to sea.

As a yachting NZ safety inspector Mitch can advise on the requirements for Cat inspections, for both racing and for pleasure vessels departing for overseas.

With the advent of LED lighting, when the mast is removed, if a tri-light is fitted it can be replaced with a new LED unit. This new type of light source reduces the drain on the vessels’ batteries by requiring a lot less current to operate. In many yachts with only a limited battery capacity this is important. We use quality HELLA lights, sealed for life, requiring no maintenance and are waterproof. Sometimes the ordinary bulb is just replaced with an LED bulb, a cheap option at the time, but it’s not long before the internal connections in the light-base fitting corrode, and the light doesn’t work. This is not easy to deal with when it’s on top of the mast standing in the boat, and a new light has to be mounted and wired up in place.

For all yacht owners with a tri-light on the mast head showing port, starboard and stern with a steaming light half way down the mast for motoring.  Did you know it’s not legal when the vessel is under power?  In plain terms, if you have a collision at night, be it your fault or not, it could be an escape clause for insurance not to pay out. The collision regs state the vessel, if under 12 metres and under power, has to display port, starboard and either an all-round white light at least 1 metre above the port/starboard or a stern light and a steaming light at least 1 metre above the port/starboard.

That means 2 sets of lights if you have an engine and a masthead Tri-light .

For YNZ cat inspections  port and starboard lights in the hull will not be accepted.

Another point while discussing YNZ  cat inspections – in respect to headsails, I am sometimes asked, when doing a cat 3 inspection, if a half rolled up No 1 or 2 is acceptable as a heavy weather jib. I’m afraid the answer is no! The rules state that, if a furler or head foil is fitted, the heavy weather sail has to have an alternative method of sail attachment. This can be soft shackles that go around the foil or furler body. The reason is that it is not unknown for the headsail luff rope to pull out of the groove, rendering the unit useless. The heavy sails require the vessel to be able to beat off a lee shore so they need to fit the vessel and be efficient.

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For a friendly chat or just some advice about your boat, feel free to contact us now.

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