Is it best to tune your sailboat rigging on the hard or back on the water? Marine surveyor Ben Sutcliffe-Davies answers readers' questions

Is it best to tune your sailboat rigging on the hard or back on the water?

My Contessa 26 has been lifted out for the winter, but I will need to tune my rigging ahead of the sailing season.

Is it best to do this while the boat is still on the hard or wait until it is back in the water?

Is there an easy way to tune my rigging?

Louisa Moore

Ben Sutcliffe-Davies responds:

This is a really interesting question.

In my view, anything like rigging or shaft alignment should always be done with the craft afloat.

With regards to tuning, it depends on what the owner is intending on doing during the season.

A proper rig check should consider the age of the wire, chainplate, back stay and fore stay security.

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Make sure you check the mast step for compression issues.

There are several really good and quite reasonably priced books on setting up the rigging; for the more serious you will need to buy a proper rigger’s gauge.

These can range in price from a couple of hundred pounds to £800-£900.

Often it is better to pay a rigger for a check and set up so you have some peace of mind.

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