November 30th, 2014
In 2014 we saw even more dismasting claims due to age and worn out old rigging. This blog entry is copied from my previous blog because the message is not getting out to sailors.
Sailboats over 15 years old that still have the original wire rigging have a high rate of rigging failures and dismastings each year. This in turn is causing more insurance claims which can have an inflationary effect on the premiums paid by all. It also results in more lost time on the water as finding a suitable mast for an older boat can be difficult.
Sailboat rigging was not built to last forever. This may seem like common sense but far too many sailors are either too cheap to replace worn out rigging or unaware of the problem. Others think they will notice the signs of wear and tear in time to replace worn rigging. The fact is too many sailors find out about their defective rigging as they dive for cover with the mast collapsing into the cockpit (and onto their guests and crew).
For those too cheap to perform proper maintenance and replace old rigging I offer the following video from Yachting Monthly and two insights. Make sure you have a good first aid kit and tools on board for cutting away your rigging after the mast comes down. Secondly, get ready to pay higher insurance premiums.
For everyone else this article by Dixieland Marine Surveys does a great job explaining the problems and the expected lifespan of your wire rigging.
Sailboat Rig Problems: A Surveyor’s View