Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Have You Checked Your Rig Today?

Put this into the "Things that make you go BOOM!" category. Photo courtesy from this site.
No sooner had I hit "publish" on my last post when I got a call from Scott;  "Cancel everything,"  he said sternly, "The sea trial is off".  We were supposed to be on a southbound plane tonight at 7:51pm and sailing tomorrow by 10am.  Point for travel insurance!

This morning, our rig surveyor (separate from our marine survey, which was scheduled for Friday after the sea trial) found cracks in a swage terminal at the top of the mast.  This is not good and must be fixed before we sea trail.  For those of you who do not know what a swage terminal is, I have included a picture above (the arrows point to a hair line crack).  To put it very simply: swage terminals house the shrouds which, in turn, hold up the mast (aka the 'rig').  When swage terminals go bad, rigs fall down.  When rigs fall down, it's a very, very bad very, very expensive day.

Upon first hearing this news I was pretty bummed.  Not only was I excited to go down and sail our potential new boat, I was anxious to move forward and either solidify this deal or move on.  Now it seems we'll have to postpone another two weeks.  Sigh.  After a little more thought, however, I realized this is really good news.  Better to find this problem now (when the owner must pay to fix it) as opposed to later when we are underway.  I shudder to think.  Typically, when cracked swage terminals are discovered, the entire standing rig must be replaced.  This is very good information to know before we buy this boat!

Which leads me to my next point:  The importance of a rig survey.  Most of the time a regular marine survey will only inspect the rig from the deck of a boat, they will not go aloft.  Because we are buying an older boat our wonderful broker buddy, Allen, highly recommend we get the rig fully inspected separately.  We (thankfully!) took his advice and the few hundred dollars the rig survey cost has now paid for itself two fold.

This information isn't only relevant to folks buying boats either!  If you have a boat and cannot remember the last time your rig was properly inspected, it might be time to think about it lest you end up with a boat without a stick.  Typically, they say standing rigging should be replaced in full every 10-15 years if a boat is used in the tropics and cruised extensively.  If you feel confident doing it yourself, you can check out this article which highlights what to look for.  If you would feel better having an expert, there are plenty of rigging companies that will do it for you.

So, while this does put a little wrench into the schedule of things, this also puts a little wrench onto our potential new boat's rig, and THAT is a good thing!

Brittany, Scott and Isla


TJ said...

The best news is that you found a rig surveyor who actually does a survey with his eyes open...a rare find in my experience. Here is to hoping that your marine surveyor is equally capable.

Jan and David said...

Definitely good news! We had a rig survey when we bought our 1985 Passport 37 in 2001 -- there was a missing cotter pin at the top of the mast that must have been missing for 15 years, but luckily wasn't critical. I would say it was "replaced", but since it had never been there, I'm not sure what to call it! :)

Anonymous said...

I don't understand. Why call it off? Just knock the repair price + 30% buffer off the asking price. In the end, you can only break even or come out ahead both financially and in terms of knowing you have a new rig.

Windtraveler said...

@Anonymous - you cannot and should not sail with a cracked swage terminal, therefore it must be fixed before we sea trial (at the owners expense). We are not calling off the whole deal, we are just postponing the sea trial.

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