After sleepless nights, Jonty Pearce decides it is time to change Aurial's standing rigging

Sometimes a small thought enters into our minds where it gently smoulders, and then, intensified by the bellows of concern, ignites into a flame that steadily enlarges to consume more and more of our consciousness. Thus it was with forebodings about my rigging.

We bought Aurial ten years ago when I was busily enjoying a mid-life crisis. Tom and Steph, her previous owners, were also a doctor and a teacher – it all seemed meant to happen.

They had refitted her before taking a year out with their two boys; their trip through the French canals to the Mediterranean and back is one we’d love to emulate.

After another year’s sailing, their plans changed, and they put her up for sale. She sat on the hard at Jalsea Marine in Northwich for two years before we bought her.

The standing rigging had been changed as part of their initial refit. My mental calculations – that small thought that had entered my mind – computed that the work must have been done nearly 15 years ago.

This is somewhat longer than the ten years generally considered as the insurable life of stainless steel shrouds. The bellows of concern soon amplified my musings into a strong flame.

I tried to dampen it down by reassuring myself that three of those years had been spent being with Aurial being worked on or resting ashore, but that does not really work.

With the active mental conflagration scorching the interior of my skull, I convinced myself that the masts were going to fall down any second. Searching out the original invoice date confirmed that the standing rigging had been up since September 2003. We were obviously doomed – I ceased to sleep.

At the time, I happened to be spending a few days aboard Aurial completing sundry jobs.

The weather was cold and foul, and I soon found myself distracting myself inside the warm office of Neyland’s Ratsey Sails talking to Denzil Williams.

Continues below…


The idea of Carol ‘flying’ at the masthead relying on time expired swage terminals makes me shudder, but we can now both dream on peacefully secure in the knowledge that all is in the process of renewal. Is it time to check your receipts too?