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Old 12-05-2015, 10:06   #1
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Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

Okay so I found a 1977 Cape Dory 25ft sailboat and I've heard it's a good starting boat. It's within my price range and everything looks good except I don't know how to check the structural soundness of the rigging, any tips?


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Old 12-05-2015, 10:43   #2
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

I'd start by identifying all the components associated with it. I imagine them to be:

The mast, the mast-step (where the mast sits on the boat), the stays + shrouds (wires that hold up the mast), the chainplates (the places on the boat where the stays + shrouds are hooked to).

Each component listed above has several items associated with it that you'll want to check out.

The mast: Does the mast itself look good, or are there signs of corrosion? Are the doohickeys where the stays + shrouds connect to the mast worn in any way (elongated holes, cracks, corrosion) ? A magnifying glass helps when looking for cracks in hardware. Don't forget to inspect the blocks + pulleys where your halyards run through - is there a lot of play in the blocks? Are the mast attachment points sound, and free of cracks / etc? Are the halyards themselves looking frayed and worn?

The mast step: Is the mast attached at the deck of the boat ("deck stepped") or does it continue through the deck and onto the keel of the boat ("keel stepped")? When sailing, as the stays hold the mast upright, a significant downward force is applied by the mast to the boat. Make sure the support system inside the boat is strong, free of rot / corrosion / whatever. Particularly for deck stepped mast, where there will be various architectural elements inside the cabin whose purpose is to take the downward force the mast is applying to the deck and distribute it down to the hull and / or keel.

The stays / shrouds: Look for "meat hooks" - wires that have broken and are sticking out. Easy to feel for, be careful not to hurt yourself. Look for corrosion, particularly at the fittings on each end, especially the bottom. Look for cracks in the fittings.

The chainplates: These babies are important, they pop up through the deck and provide the place where your stays + shrouds hook up. Look at where they are actually attached to the boat - are the bolts good, are what they are bolted to (usually some sort of knee / buttress / whatever) sound + free of rot? Most often the chainplate metal itself corrodes where you can't see it, where it passes through the deck. Removal + inspection is a smart thing to do when you buy an old boat.
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:48   #3
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

I would have a survey done , CD 25 is a good boat . Good luck .
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:48   #4
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

A rigging survey by a professional rigger shouldn't cost more than $250.
Otherwise, run an old pair of panty hose over all of the wire to look for broken strands and with a magnifying glass look closely at all the terminals for any signs of cracks or corrosion. Don't forget to check the upper terminals but usually the lowers are where the problems will be as the water runs down the wire and can get into the swaged fitting. On a boat of that age you should also check the chain plates. That probably means pulling them out of the boat and if you are new to this it may be a job for a pro.


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Old 12-05-2015, 10:54   #5
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

If the rigging is over 10 years old its a turkey shoot really. Might be fine for quite a while, might have a failure tomorrow. I doubt you are going to learn the idiosyncrasies of rigging inspection fast enough for a quick buy. At least get it inspected on the lower fittings by someone who knows. Some things are obvious some aren't though.
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:56   #6
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

Thanks for the advice! I'll do a once over and then have surveyor look it over. Is there anything I should look out for over time?


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Old 12-05-2015, 11:02   #7
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

If there is no documented history of rigging replacement, you should forget about inspecting it (it's not possible to realistically or effectively inspect some of the components, like where wire enters swaged fittings) and just budget for replacement.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:54   #8
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

I think MarkSF is spot on. Also location is important. Humid climates tend to rust out more then drier climates. Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:14   #9
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
If there is no documented history of rigging replacement, you should forget about inspecting it (it's not possible to realistically or effectively inspect some of the components, like where wire enters swaged fittings) and just budget for replacement.
Absolutely this^
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:27   #10
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
If there is no documented history of rigging replacement, you should forget about inspecting it (it's not possible to realistically or effectively inspect some of the components, like where wire enters swaged fittings) and just budget for replacement.
I second that motion.
Rigging that 25 footer cant be too much $ and if the inspection is much... just figure on replacing it at some point.. put your money there.
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:50   #11
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
If there is no documented history of rigging replacement, you should forget about inspecting it (it's not possible to realistically or effectively inspect some of the components, like where wire enters swaged fittings) and just budget for replacement.
+3

No rigger is going to sign off on shrouds/stays that might be 30+ years old. Nor should you feel confident in them regardless of how they might look. Find out what replacement cost will be, and use that to negotiate a lower price with the seller.
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Old 12-05-2015, 13:14   #12
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

... and the nice part about replacing rigging is you can have rigging more rusty than you stared with a year after replacing it... like a couple of our forum members! :>)
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Old 12-05-2015, 13:36   #13
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

I found a 1974 Cape Dory That's in much much better shape then the 1977. This sailboat would be 41 years old. Should I be looking for a younger boat?


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Old 12-05-2015, 14:16   #14
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

It's all about maintenance and care of the owner on a boat older than 10 years. It looks like in your case, the newer boat is in poorer condition than the older boat. The worst boat to buy is a 10-15 year old boat that hasn't been upgraded or well maintained.
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Old 12-05-2015, 14:26   #15
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Re: Buying first sailboat, how to check rigging soundness

Cape Dory built good boats with a good reputation. The 25 was not an Alberg design but pretty none the less. Most had a well for the outboard but the 25D with a diesel was a whole different boat. With a boat of that age (or any age) it's all about maintenance. If it was continuously cares for age doesn't matter much. If it was neglected it could be 10 years old and be a junker.


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