Are you sure your tree is okay? First installment

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To avoid nasty surprises at sea, your rigging should be cared for and checked regularly. In this regard, we have chosen Walter Giovanelli as our testimonial.
from G&G Rigging that will help us identify rig equipment that needs maintenance. Poor rigging can be dangerous, and loss of the tree can have tragic consequences if it happens at the wrong time. Once you have carefully maintained all components the time will be ripe to think about its proper adjustment (the subject of the next installment). In this way, your cruising boat will become not only easier to handle in sustained winds and safer, but also better performing for your holiday sailing.

HOW TO CONTROL RIGGING
Mast, shrouds, spreaders, and their components do not have an infinite life span, and often times their deterioration puts a strain on the overall safety of the boat. We asked Giovanelli what parts are most prone to deterioration and what to do for proper maintenance.

Screenshot 2015-03-13 at 2:01:25 p.m.SHROUDS: FATIGUE, CORROSION AND ROUTINE MAINTENANCE
Fatigue is one of the main factors leading to high risk of failure; in fact, in any type of rigging, fatigue is the main cause of failure. In spiroidal rope rigging, it is not uncommon to find a broken thread at the exit of the splices or even at any point in the rigging; in rod rigging, on the other hand, the most delicate point is the head. The rod heads, which are cold-formed, are in fact subjected to continuous fatigue work, so it is important that their fit with the housings that house them in the accessories is perfect. It should be kept in mind that a component with little elasticity will experience more fatigue than one whose elasticity will absorb the stresses. It is also essential that the shroud attachments be designed to provide a suitable angle for the direction of pull.

Corrosion is equally dangerous, because it works constantly eroding the material to the point of erosion. This is not to be confused with the classic yellowish patina that often covers modern-day stainless steels; in fact, this type of “rust” is very easily removed by simply cleaning the affected part. The type of corrosion referred to is “pitting corrosion,” which is revealed by punctuations of deep oxidation. There are many factors that can trigger corrosive processes; one of the most common is due to electrical leaks. If the mast is carbon, the type of corrosion in question will attack the rigging; if the mast is aluminum, this will be evident on the less noble material. To limit, therefore, any kind of problem, it is necessary that the rigging be constantly checked and kept clean. Joint pins and related holes should be inspected for ovality or bending. The terminals should be cleaned and inspected for cracks or crazing, due to fatigue or corrosion principles. Once, or better twice a year, the turnbuckles should be disassembled and the threads cleaned by means of a soft brush with mild water and mild soap and, of course, greased properly; this operation will prevent possible seizing of the threads.
Screenshot 2015-03-13 at 2:01:37 p.m.

RIGGING: HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?

Moreover, the life of rigging has a well-determined duration depending on its type. A spiroidal rope rigging, in fact, has an average life span of 10 to 15 years; after this period of time it is highly advisable to consider a total refit. A liquid-penetrant check on the splices is advisable when there is doubt that a mark may be a crack; if there is much doubt, it is more cost-effective to have a comprehensive replacement rather than to perform ultrasonic checks for health.

Screenshot 2015-03-13 at 1:50:19 p.m.On the other hand, rod rigging, which has a higher cost than rope rigging, has a shorter life (but better performance) because of its lower elasticity, which, while it is the most sought-after feature because it prevents elongation, also penalizes its durability. After 4 or 5 years, rebar shrouds should be reintested, or at least ultrasonically checked, as the cold recrossed head is the point of greatest strain on the shroud. After 8 years, if the first service has not been done, all rigging should be disassembled and all terminals checked in ultrasonic. Parts that have cracks will naturally need to be replaced while the others, after being reconditioned through a passivation and polishing process, can be reused. The rod, on the other hand, will need to be totally changed at this deadline. These times, of course, are only indicative: it all depends on how a rigging has worked over the years.

Screenshot 2015-03-13 at 2:08:55 p.m.TREE ON THE GROUND: WHEN?
The operation of putting the mast ashore terrifies shipowners. However, simply climbing the masthead is not sufficient for a proper check. The only way to do all the checks is to ground it at least every three or four years to have easy access to all its components and implement those changes that would be difficult to implement hanging from a bansigo. Better to rely on professionals to avoid doing damage, especially to electronics. For a 12 m boat with an aluminum mast and spiroidal rigging, two mast groundings with total rigging over ten years cost between 5,000 and 6,000 euros plus VAT. This means an annual expense of 500/600 euros + VAT, which, if you look closely, is less than the cost of an annual coupon for an average car.

IN THE NEXT INSTALLMENT: ADJUSTING THE SHAFT (WITH ROBERTO SPATA)

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