Over 30 years of experience
When Quality and Safety matters most
Traveling the Bay Area and Beyond
We have service dock space for any size job
And we can handle indoor mast projects over 90'
When you want the job done right the first time call us
(510) 521 -7027
For recreational users, we feel that wire rigging should be changed as soon as failure signs are noted or if wire and components are over 10 years old. These failure signs range from cracks in the swage fitting to pitted and broken strands in the wire. Both wire and fittings have improved in the last two decades in quality of construction and materials used. 316 grade stainless wire has a longer safe lifespan, and 316 swage fittings should be more resistant to cracks. From time to time, a wire less than 10 years old has failed, but this is rare and often due to contributing factors. The new 316 grade wire is slightly more expensive than it’s counterpart 304 grade, and carries a slightly lower breaking strength. Therefore, it is important to size it correctly, and we often use a simple engineering formula to check our work.
Rod rigging should be changed and/or re-headed where possible every 7-8 years under average use. Checking for poorly toggled rod is key in determining how urgently it should be serviced. Rod doesn’t really corrode, it crystallizes and becomes brittle.
We recommend turnbuckles be changed every ten to twelve years, or right away if they’re imported from China or Taiwan !!! Deterioration of threads, cracks and distortions aid us in determining the condition of the turnbuckles. If in doubt, replace.
Good Mainsail cars or slides: Lots of boats out there are plagued with poor sail slides and have trouble hoisting their mains. A good track system makes a world of difference getting that sail up and down. Some aren’t that expensive, and still work great.
We have over 31 years of experience with rigging specifically; 18 of those years with our own shop and have sailed competitively since 1964.
Rigging is an important safety concern in today’s regulated society. We feel a vessels rigging, especially the shrouds, should be routinely checked by the skipper at deck level each and every time the boat is used.
Although rig tune can best be observed while sailing, dockside tuning by an expert will serve to keep the rig in your boat. Rig tune should be checked yearly. In many cases, shrouds can be adjusted while conducting the rigging inspection and provides useful information about condition of the turnbuckles as well. An expert should be able to tell at the dock if your rig tune is within acceptable limits for the boat’s intended use. It’s important to note that tighter doesn’t always mean safer, let alone faster, but proper rig tune will help the safety as well as performance of your boat. We always tune a boat according to the conditions in which it is usually sailed. Here on the bay, those conditions are usually windy.
An important tip we give to customers is to sight up the backside of their rig while sailing upwind in a blow. If the rig is out of column by more than the width of the section, it usually means the tune should be improved.
Anything that eliminates weight, stretch and windage is a nice product. The best new thing for performance sailing has to be PBO shrouds. It’s scary how small and strong this stuff is. Soon to follow will be the carbon equivalent, which doesn’t like bending, but won’t have to if it’s done right. We’re talking about a 65%-75% savings of weight with 40% increase in strength over nitronic 50 rod. PBO halyards, sheets, guys and cover material is also very amazing. The new cover material we’ve used on rope last heaps longer under more grueling conditions than anything previous. The price, as always, is tantamount to it’s performance value. Carbon masts, booms, poles, wheels, toilets, etc. everyone knows about, but the key is to get the good stuff from the start and have it designed for what you are planning to do. We’ve been working with carbon manufacturers for years, and really like what they’ve been providing for us.
If you’ve ever seen the boats returning from a day on the water in a Grand Prix regatta, well run programs send a man up the rig each day to see how things are holding up. Going aloft before leaving the dock shouldn’t be necessary with recreational sailors using boats within properly designed parameters, but you’d be surprised how a quick glance at deck level often catches loose D-shackles, distorted (bent or overloaded) hardware, missing pins, and other small but potentially nasty failures before they happen. It really doesn’t take very long, and is worth the effort.
That said, and more in line with this article, we feel the average recreational sailor should also invest in yearly rigging inspections where a qualified rigger who builds rigging and not only bolts on parts out of a van conducts a detailed visual examination aloft (and below decks if need be) of the mast, boom, standing rigging (shrouds), running rigging (lines), chainplates, lifelines and all associated hardware. It is important for the rigger to discuss with the boat owner beforehand what their intention's are — inshore use is very different from offshore use. This enables the rigger to take better note of suspect elements while conducting the examination. Often times, boats produced with lighter conditions in mind will be under-rigged for the gusty conditions here on SF Bay or for coastal or offshore conditions.
The investment is high, but if it’s done well, a furling boom/mainsail can really simplify sailing while sacrificing very little in the way of sail shape. We’ve combined these systems with an electric winch that handles both halyard and sheet for a really sweet and easy way to get out on the bay in record time. Key is installation and fit of the proper system with a solid vang that is indexed to assure proper position when furling. All control lines must be led cleanly (no induced twists) and be able to be operated easily. The nice features to keep in mind with furling booms are infinite reefing capacity and the easy storage of the sail.
Basically, all above items are excellent and every boat owner should consider upgrading to improve sailing enjoyment.
Aluminum to carbon anything: Double the cost of materials, and don’t forget to double the labor cost for engineering and retrofit. For composite rigging retrofit, costs can be tripled over that of rod if mast, spreaders and tangs need work.
Check out the Future Fibers web site. I really like where these guys are taking the stuff, but alas, it’s still pretty much for the very competitive. Powerlite seems to be coming up as a more viable alternative for PBO shrouds.
We could write on and on about the stuff we can help you with and make your yacht so much more enjoyable and safe, but for the time being I think I’ll stop here.
Jib furling is by far the most popular upgrade we sell and install for the recreational user. They key is to 1) outfit with the proper unit and 2) have it installed properly so the system works all of the time and fits the boat as well as the type of sailing you’ll be doing.
Low to non stretch color coded line and all rope halyards are great improvements. You’ll never know how nice it is to get rid of those old wire halyards until you try it. Most of the rope we sell nowadays is nonstretch/ composite cored. Using this line keeps sails properly trimmed through a wider wind range. Color coding lines clearly helps identify which line is which, and novices are quick to release the “red one” as opposed to the (insert name of control line here) when things get hectic. Wire used for halyards is also very heavy in comparison. Eliminating as much weight aloft as possible reduces the pendulum effect while sailing, and also increases righting moments. In the future, everything will be composite, and everyone will sail better and more comfortably.
Ridgid Vangs are popular to eliminate the need for a boom topping lift flapping and slapping the mainsail. The vangs we sell most (Hall Spars) are really light, beautiful, come with heaps of purchase so you can actually trim under load, and are pretty easy to install. What a concept. They also lend an element of safety by keeping the boom up when someone accidentally releases the boom topping lift. The solid vang is designed to hold up both boom and sail if sized properly without any additional support. They also help with sail shape in lighter winds by opening the leech of the main (when released, the spring or air pressure pushes the boom up).
Running control lines/deck layout design is an overlooked element that makes sailing a lot more fun. It’s all about ergonomics, and if done well, can make a huge difference. Changing out old hardware to new, light, modern and free running blocks, clutches, cleats, self-tailing winches or adding a new system like a backstay adjuster or cunningham can make heaps of difference. It also helps novices learn to become better sailors by supplying the tools to do so.
The physics of running rigging. All the control lines should be run cleanly, be of proper size and purchase for the job, and be a pleasure to use, not a tremendous burden. Nothing stands out and screams to us like poorly thought out sail control systems.
Also often overlooked are the lifelines. When one of these things break, somebody usually goes swimming. Those big patches of rust peaking out from under the PVC cover spell trouble. We replace lifelines every 5 to 7 years depending upon condition.
Thank you for visiting.
Glenn Hansen, owner