The Rigging Company in Annapolis, MD rocks!
If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, then you know how much work we’ve put into HuskaBean to get her ready for this sailing adventure. In fact, it’s been nearly three years since I purchased her, and we’ve been working on her non-stop ever since. Don’t misunderstand me; she was a great boat when we bought her. But she was very basic in terms of equipment. And, many of her systems were well past their expected life cycle. For example, the water heater had a hole in it. The portlights were cracked and leaky. The propeller shaft was severely corroded, and the prop was bent. The engine mounts were toast. The stuffing box needed to be replaced. The steering cable was original. The electrical system was in dire need of repairs and upgrades. The toilet was a mess. The list goes on and on.
I like to think of myself as a pretty handy guy, and I’m willing to tackle just about any job myself. And, that’s pretty much what I did. I also had a few friends that were willing to donate lots of their time and sweat. If I didn’t know how to do something, I studied. Before you ask… I did a lot of studying. I probably spent the same amount on books as I did refitting the boat. I also made a lot of mistakes and sometimes did things the hard way. But, that’s the way of the DIY’er. Eventually, however, everyone reaches their limit of available time, resources and abilities. And, frankly, some things are better left to the professionals. For me, my limits started at the rig.
All of our standing rigging was original. That’s 35 years for those keeping track. The forestay and roller-furler were purchased in 2007. While lightly used on the Chesapeake Bay, they, too, needed to be addressed before heading offshore. We also wanted to install a downwind pole for long tradewind passages. For a few reasons, I wasn’t comfortable tackling an entire rig replacement myself without a lot of help. There are a lot of things that can go wrong offshore, and, aside from a giant hole in the boat, having the mast come down was the last problem I wanted to have. I needed to find a professional.
We turned to the good folks at The Rigging Company out of Annapolis, MD. What a find! Jimmie and his team were probably the most helpful group of professionals that we met during our refit. They know their stuff; they’re great communicators, and, they appreciate timetables (meeting every deadline, no less). Your “emergency” is truly their emergency, and, like a good doctor, they will take the time to answer the same question asked three different ways… over and over again! Thanks guys!
At least for me, shopping for standing rigging was a bit stressful. For one, re-rigging a boat is VERY expensive. Secondly, the options available are mind-blowing. I like to keep things simple and was getting bogged down in too many details. Priority number one was safety; we wanted a time/ocean-tested rig that would be easy to maintain. Priority number 2 was cost. Frankly, high tech is often high dollar – and we just didn’t have that in our budget.
With Jimmie’s experience and guidance, we settled on all new stays made-up with Sta-Lok mechanical terminals. They’re a little more expensive upfront, but, when it comes time to replace the rig again, we can reuse the terminals. Since the forestay is hidden inside the furler foil, Jimmie suggested using swaged terminals on the forestay. We wanted an insulated backstay for our single-sideband radio antenna. Here, Jimmie recommended the Hayn HI-MOD fail-safe insulators. Finally, Jimmie’s team replaced the bearings in our Pro-Furl roller-furler (what a difference that made!). Jimmie also guided me through the installation of a mast-mounted whisker pole track. A job that I hadn’t considered tackling myself until he walked me through it!
The also have a fantastic website at The Rigging Company. Jimmie regularly posts articles about rigging that are helpful to any sailor interested in understanding how their boats work. You can find well-written articles regarding rig tuning, rig inspections, etc. In fact, that’s how I found their company… I was searching for information about how to inspect my rig.
If you’re a Chesapeake Bay area sailor and are spending the winter daydreaming about the sailing season, do yourself a favor and get your boat projects done now. If you’ve got rigging issues, now is the time to address them. Don’t wait until the spring commissioning to discover that your rig is unsafe. Give the folks at The Rigging Company a call. You, and your boat, will be glad that you did!