We don’t like it. We want to put it off. The forecast might be better for next weekend. We might get one last sail in before pulling her out. Maybe you’re at a club that has a scheduled haul out and that date just looms on the calendar, heavy and sad.
No matter what, she has to come out and when she does, there’s a lot of work to be done. Cleaning, adding antifreeze, stowing sails, there’s no joy in any of it. And now I’m going to tell you that you need to pay attention to something else, something that usually waits until the spring ... inspecting your rigging.
Do it now. Don’t wait until the spring. You know what you want to do in the spring. Go Sailing! The primary reason to do it now, is to be ready for the next sailing season. I do the purchasing for the rigging fittings. Most are in stock at Fogh Marine, others come from local distributors, but some come from half-way around the world. Do you know what makes them even more expensive? It’s when you need them “Right Now”! Do what you can to manage the cost of your maintenance and give Fogh Marine the time to source your hardware economically. You can also take advantage of seasonal promotions. Do you see where I’m going with this? Save time in the spring and save money now. How can you lose?
Standing Rigging- When your mast comes down, visually inspect the length of each wire. Look for kinks, abraded or broken strands. The most likely failure points will be at the swaged fittings or at the spreaders. Look at the terminals to see any cracking or elongated holes. Make sure your clevis pins are straight and without grooves. Make sure the clevis pin matches the hole size of both the fitting on the wire and the fitting on your boat. Who knows what got installed “just for now.” Move the turnbuckle back and forth. Are the threads still functional or have they become spawled or damaged?
Life-Lines- Do the same inspection on your life lines. Check each terminal for fatigue. If it looks bad, it probably is. Pull back the tape that you put on to cover the cracking coating. See how much rust has built up in there. If the coating has been worn off, have the wires started to abraid also? If you have questions, snap a picture with a smart phone Contact Usand we’ll be glad to take a look at it with you.
Control Lines and Running Rigging- I’m a firm believer in removing all the lines from the boat for the winter. No matter how much plastic you put on the boat, it’s still going through hundreds of freeze-thaw cycles. Pull your halyards out of the mast and pull in trace lines. Store the lines inside, away from the damaging sun and inclement weather. I know its winter and the sun is at a different angle, but you’re not going to use them for 7 or 8 months, this will extend the UV performance of your lines by 3 times. If you have exposed Vectran halyards, a coating of UV protectant is certainly in order. Take note of any abrasion points on your lines. The abrasion is telling you two different things, 1- you need to replace the line, maybe, and 2- you need to eliminate the abrasion. Don’t buy a new line and have it get shredded in the same way. Figure out what is cutting the fibres, and remove, fix, or cover it.
Taking your girl out of the water for the season is a lot of hard work. Just remember that the energy (and money) you put in now will pay dividends in the spring.