Aug 212012

Next in this series is the rigging.  For this post, rigging will include all of the following:  hatches, latches, hinges, cleats, bitts, hardware, helm, and any of the other little gee gaws and doodads found on a boat.  Every vessel has some sort of rigging and sailboats have a lot.  There are cleats to tie lines off too, hatches to get in and out of places, hinges to hold the hatches on, latches to hold the hatches down, and of course all the nuts, bolts, and screws to attach said rigging to said boat.  There are tracks for the sails, guides for lines, cables attached to the steering, mounts for motors, flags, and fishing rods, and the all important drink holders too.  When you get into rigging it can get real complicated, and pricey.

While individual pieces of rigging may not be expensive, maybe a few dollars or so, the costs add up in numbers.  You may need some nuts and bolts to replace old and rusted ones.  Stainless steel, marine grade is the option you will want.  A couple dollars per piece.  But what if you need 20 or 30 pieces.  Then it starts to putting a dent in the wallet.

As for where to begin when it comes to rigging…Say hello to Harken.  If you own a sailboat you will becoming up close and personal with this company…

These guys are the probably the tops in the industry for marine rigging.  They carry tons of little bits and pieces to put a vessel into seaworthy condition. They ain’t cheap either but chances are they will have exactly what you need.

As for finding bargains on this stuff, there are always the want ads, flea markets, and garage sales.  The Keys frequently run marine flea markets and fairs where you can go with a box of money and come away with some bargains in rigging and other boat type stuff if you know what you are looking for and can spot a deal.  There is always a hatch here, a box full of hardware there, or some minor bit that can fill a need on your vessel.  The trick is to be always scanning the ads for stuff you didn’t know you needed.

As for attaching said goodies to your vessel, there are professional riggers out there who will set up a vessel to your specs, for a hefty fee of course.  But you will find that most live aboards who own their vessel are do it yourself types.  More willing to try and screw things up on their own rather than pay somebody else to do so.  In reality, it’s a good mindset to have.  When you are out on the briny deep nobody makes house calls so you had better be able to have the skills to fix or replace something yourself.  And to be honest, a lot of the rigging on a vessel is pretty simple stuff.  A lot of rusty nuts and bolts to work around, but nothing particularly complicated if you know which end of the hammer to use to beat on something.  Some of the more complicated things, adding a roller furling to a forward stay, replacing a tiller with a wheel house, things of that nature, may require some more experienced help.  But a good live aboard can pretty much handle most rigging repairs and replacements on their own.

What I have:  Overall the Fritter is in decent shape when it comes to rigging.  Most everything is there and in reasonably good condition despite a bit of corrosion here and there.  There are a few hinges and latches that need replaced, in particular, the forward hatch will need a new latch.  All the cleats and guides for the lines look good.  The steering housing appears to pretty new and should be fine.  The ladder on the stern has lost it’s lower rung, the one you need to get back on board, but it may be a fairly easy fix.  There are two winches for the lines that look fairly new.  Most everything else is just small stuff.

What I want:  Not much here.  I would like to either repair or better yet replace both hatches.  They are the original beat up old fiberglass and some nice pretty new ones made of darkened plexiglass would be nice.  I would also like to rig all the control lines for the sails to go aft to the cockpit so I can raise, lower, and adjust sails from the rear without leaving the steering.  Harken will be making a few bucks off of me.  A roller furling would be real nice….

A roller furling is a device that attaches to the forward cable that holds the mast up.  This cable is also where you raise the forward or jib sail.  Normally you need to drag the sail out, attach it to the stay, and then raise or lower it.  A roller furling lets you raise the sail and then when you need to bring it down, instead of lowering it, you pull on a line in a reel on the furling, and roll the sail up on the stay.  A very neat little invention.  It allows you to raise or lower the jib quickly and without a lot of energy.

Reality:  I’m not in any real rush to get any of this rigging stuff done.  I would like to get the forward hatch fixed soon and that may be nothing more than a new latch to keep it down in the wind.  The rest will happen as I go along.  If I happen to spy a marine flea market or other sale, I will go take a look and see what is there.  Maybe find some used latches to replace the broken ones.  it’s not a real high priority unless I get into some serious sailing, which is not happening anytime soon.

The roller furling will have to wait.  Money as usual.  They are not cheap.  I do need to eventually take the Fritter out for a short sail just to see how the sails look and work before  I start rerigging the whole boat.  Then I’ll have a better idea of what I will need.

Capt. Fritter

  2 Responses to “Living Aboard, Rigging…”

  1. So that’s what rigging is. Boy, did I guess wrong. Nice to learn something new every now and then.

    • I could get into more detail and might later on. For example, there is standing rigging, which is stuff that doesn’t move and holds things together, and running rigging which operates stuff like the sails. More for another post, at another time.

      C. F.