inspecting and tuning the standing rigging

I noticed the white electrical tape was coming off the standing rigging, so I figured it was time for it to come off and polish everything up and make sure the cotter pins were still in place, that the turnbuckles moved, etc. The mast went up in March of 2017, so two years is probably too long to have waited to do this. I had tried cleaning the turnbuckles up a few times and wasn’t able to get those green spots off. I see the most rust at the end of the wire section leading to the turnbuckle. I always clean those up to try to keep them from breaking, as that’s often where standing rigging fails. To those who don’t know, the turnbuckles need to be greased annually. (whoopsies)


Upon doing some research, I realized the green spots were patina coming through from the bronze underneath as the turnbuckles are apparently chrome plated bronze. I don’t know if there’s something I should have done to prevent those spots from showing up, but according to this article cleaning up the threads of the turnbuckle with mineral spirits is all you need to do, and lubricate using a dry lube (Team McLube’s Sailkote seems highly recommended on the inter webs).


This video was a nice and simple explanation of how to clean the turnbuckles, although for mine it was the top one that was usually seized not the bottom. The most difficult part of this was getting the cotter pins out and putting new ones back in. I got better at bending them so they would be more flat rather than curved and poking out. The wire brush in the photo below has come in handy aboard Coconut! A toothbrush was too big to fit in the smaller shrouds, this brush worked perfectly.

I used Nevr-Dull metal polish to clean up the wire and turnbuckles themselves, and after wiping that off with a clean rag I’d put car wax on another rag and rub it in until it was nice and shiny. Surprisingly, this has made a big difference in Coconut’s radiance! And come to think of it, I never have tuned the rig. But that’s a separate post all together because I am certainly no rigger!


I was going to leave tuning the rig to another time, however, this video popped up on my YouTube recommendations and although long it was very informative.

When I had the mast polished a few months ago the man I hired checked everything up there, so it should be okay. Famous last words, right?! I am terrified of heights, so climbing the mast isn’t something I’ve done yet. I know I will need to learn, as it’s just an essential part of being a boat owner along with a solo sailor. Working up the guts for that first. I need to rig up a self climber, if anyone has any tips feel free to share!

2 replies on “inspecting and tuning the standing rigging”

I almost lost my mast a few weeks ago when a cotter pin came out and the pin holding the turnbuckle to the stroud backed out almost all the way – eek!
For mast climbing, I use the topclimber, along with a safety line attached to a climbing harness that connects to a second halyard with a prussic knot. Hence two totally separate systems. Still sucks though!

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