Rigging inspections

Last week I made a new set of shrouds for a boat owner. As he de-rigged his sailboat for the winter he found some wires broken at the swage fitting.

broken shroud


Trailer sailors are great boats … one of many reasons it is easy to inspect the rigging each time the boat is put on/off the water as we rise/lower the mast.

For most of us in the northern parts of North America the cold weather has come in and the boat is settled on her trailer until the spring.

snow covered Sage 17

Sage 17 AIR BORN under some Colorado snow.

I encourage you to go out and check your boat’s rigging: wires have no broken strands or excessive rusting at swage fittings, fittings without rust or cracks, thimble eyes without rust/cracks, clevis pins present without rust/cracks; and all cotter keys are present and (you guessed it) without rust/cracks. If anything looks suspect replace it over the winter so when the spring comes the boat is ready to go.

new rigging

A new set of rigging ready to be installed.

Parts suppliers

It is no surprise that suppliers (aka, vendors) are a lifeline for any business.  Sage Marine relies on many supply line companies in building the boats.  In general we try to have at least two vendors that are able to supply the parts needed to create a Sage 17.  There are exceptions, especially related to ‘off the shelf parts’.  Yes, there are multiple wholesalers to order from, but further down the supply line there is only one maker of the part.

The Sage Marine supplier file draw.  An amazing number of companies are need to build a sailboat.

A portion of the Sage Marine supplier file drawer. An amazing number of companies are need to build a sailboat.

This first full week of 2015 we received a final notice that a part manufacturer is leaving the marketplace.  The part is the t-ball fitting used to secure the shrouds to the mast (kinda’ important part).  This situation affects two of Sage Marine’s suppliers: Dwyer Aluminum Mast Company (provides the mast) and Island Nautical (provides the shrouds).

The Sage 17 masts use (or had used) Navtec’s Gibb t-ball fittings.  Navtec is leaving the wire based standing rigging market … all hail the bean counters.  The good news is that there are other t-ball manufactures.

After a series of emails to confirm both Dwyer and Island Nautical are on the same page when ordering their parts for the Sage 17 standing rigging; it is decided the Sage 17 will now be using the Alexander-Roberts Company t-balls.

There is no concern for Sage 17 owners with the changeover as, it happens, the Alexander-Roberts t-balls work with the Gibb in-mast fitting.  This is great news for current owners of the boats as when their standing rigging needs to be replaced (not something expected anytime soon from normal wear-and-tear as the oldest Sage 17’s are just approaching four years on the water) a new set can be made using the Alexander-Roberts t-balls.

Here is another example of a manufacturer leaving the market:

The usual bi-color bow light on the Sage 17 is the Aqua Signal Series 25. A good looking and size-appropriate light.  The fixture is still made; BUT Aqua Signal has discontinued the bracket that holds the light to a bow pulpit.  There is no alternative bracket available ‘off the shelf’.  The only bracket Aqua Signal makes is for deck mounting … not a good alternative as, in my opinion, this places an important safety light too low to the water and behind the headsail.  The solution is Sage Marine modifies the deck bracket and welds it to the bow pulpit of Sage 17’s ordered with running lights.

To close this post –

Sourcing of suppliers and parts is a on-going task.  Constant attention to detail is required to assure the parts that arrive are correct even though the ‘order number’ hasn’t change.  A part spec change can happen without notice … I have examples.  In addition the relationship between Sage Marine and the suppliers requires attention to assure we work together in building the best 17′ pocket cruiser on the market.

– Dave