The adventures of Yacht Flirtie

"Hi, we are sailing yacht Flirtie's crew, Bruce and Caroline. Welcome to our blog.

Flirtie has shiny new standing rigging!

labelling up the old rigging

Finally Flirtie has new standing rigging (the wires that hold the mast up). The general guidance from insurance companies is to replace standing rigging every 10 years or 40,000 nautical miles, whichever comes sooner so with Flirtie's rig now at 16 years old, it was long over due.

Every year we perform our own rig check. Starting with a wash of the mast and standing rigging followed by polish to all the stainless fittings. The polish cleans away any grime and surface discolouration and in most cases shows any cracks or serious corrosion. Swinging in the rigging for hours on end isn't necessarily the easiest or most enjoyable of tasks but necessary for our own peace of mind. We've also been particularly vigilant and backed it up with a professional rig check a couple of times over the last 8 years.

Despite these checks we still missed a couple of issues which were identified when the old rigging was removed. A minor hairline crack was found on the upper swaged fitting of the emergency forestay (barely visible to the naked eye but certainly visible with a magnifying glass) and the threads on almost all of the turnbuckles were showing wear. To see the wear on the actual threads of the turnbuckles, each and every turnbuckle must be undone, cleaned and inspected. We must confess we've only done this once when we purchased Flirtie but going forward we will add it to our maintenance schedule.

turnbuckles showing wear

We wanted a Selden approved rigger and Pro-Link Rigging and Hydraulics Ltd offered this at Mediterranean Maritime Hub (MMH). Our timing couldn't have been better as they had too much work on due to the Rolex Middle Sea race, an annual event that covers 606 nautical miles and is sailed anti-clockwise, starting from Grand harbour, Valletta. Whilst they couldn't commit to the full rigging work, they could commit to making up each new stay as long as we could shimmy up and down the mask to take off the old and replace with the new. We were very pleased to do this as it ultimately saved us a great deal of money. The rigging staff were excellent and more than happy to provide guidance as and when we needed it and to ensure that we were both safe and that the mast was too! Over the course of 8 days we routinely took two wire stays down, waited as they made up the new ones before returning to fit the new. We lost count of how many times we had to go up the mast but it was a lot and having mast steps certainly made the job easier.

two new wire stays with spoon end fittings ready to be fitted. Hamma wire by KOS was recommended to us on the basis that each wire strand has a 30% higher braking strain than the competition and also the process of chrome plating is far better than the European competition because of the restrictions in Europe.

Whilst we were at Mediterranean Maritime Hub (MMH) we also replaced a couple of worn halyards (ropes to hoist the sails), safety guard wires (wire fitted through stanchions from the bow to the stern to prevent us from falling overboard) and had some stainless steel work done.

With the work completed we then departed MMH to spend a relaxing night at Mellieha Bay before a return trip back to Sicily, Marina di Ragusa to spend another winter.

Total distance this season: 394.36 nautical miles