Your yacht’s rigging, just like any other part of your boat, requires regular maintenance and attention. Just because you can’t see a problem does not mean there isn’t one. Below are pictures of faults found while completing inspections or re-rigs. Remember, any imperfection no matter how small or insignificant it may appear, can bring your rig down.
Generally, stainless steel 1×19 rigging has a life span of about 7 to 10 years and dyform a little less depending on how it is used, treated and what percentage of its break strain it operates at. For example, a 40-foot steel cruiser with wires and fittings that would suit a 60-foot yacht that just sails inshore can expect to get far longer out of its rigging than a sports boat with wires you could cut cheese with.
We recommend you have a full rigging inspection carried out annually, regardless of how old your rigging is. Whilst new rigging presents far fewer issues, there are still faults that can be found. If your rigging is in the 7 to 10 year category we recommend you replace it regardless of how it presents. Stainless steel has a nasty habit of giving very little warning of failure, so it is therefore better to be safe than sorry.
Inspections have to be undertaken on a yacht-by-yacht basis as no two boats are the same. If in doubt, get a professional opinion. Remember, it is always cheaper to replace a stay of a faulty fitting than it is to have a brand new mast built.