Average Cost to Replace Running Rigging (with Examples)

Written by Sophia Roa in Cost of Sailing

Replacing the running rigging is a crucial part of the upkeep of your sailboat. Its cost can vary, mainly depending on the size of your boat, the type of lines used, and whether you opt for professional installation or take on the project yourself. In this article, we will discuss some examples to give you a better understanding of what you may be looking to spend on running rigging replacement.

For a 30-foot sailboat, the cost to replace a main halyard can be around $500. The estimated cost of replacing your boat's running rigging with sheets is around $1,700–$2,000+. For an average 40-foot boat, you can expect to pay around $4,000 for wire rigging replacement, which may include control lines.

The average maintenance cost for boats under 30 feet is around $255 per month, or just under $3,000 per year, so you may want to plan for periodic rigging replacement. This way, you can avoid unexpected expenses and maintain your sailboat's performance and safety.


  • Replacing the running rigging on your sailboat can be a necessary expense, but also an investment in safety and performance.
  • Timely replacement of your sailboat's running rigging not only ensures a smooth sailing experience but also prevents costly scenarios such as having to hire a rigger to go up your mast to replace a broken halyard.
  • Sta-set-x might be a suitable option for halyards as it has less stretch compared to other materials and only costs a few pennies more than regular sta-set.
  • Make sure to include other additional expenses (like shiv replacement) if needed when estimating the cost.

Average Cost to Replace Running Rigging

In this section, we'll cover the average costs associated with replacing running rigging, focusing on different materials and professional services.

Dyneema lines offer a long-lasting solution

Dyneema lines are known for their strength, durability, and lightweight nature. They can be more expensive than other options, but they offer a long-lasting solution. The cost of replacing running rigging with Dyneema lines can be:

Dyneema Lines Diameter Cost of Replacing Running Rigging
5/16" (8mm) $1.50–$2.00 per foot
3/8" (10mm) $2.50–$3.50 per foot

Keep in mind that pricing can vary based on the quality and brand of the lines.

Polyester lines offer a good balance between strength and handling

If you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider using double braid polyester lines. They are more affordable than Dyneema but still offer a good balance between strength and handling. The cost of polyester lines can be:

Polyester Lines Diameter Cost of Replacing Running Rigging
5/16" (8mm) $0.90–$1.20 per foot
3/8" (10mm) $1.20–$1.50 per foot

Wire rope for replacing running rigging

For specific applications like certain types of forestay and backstay, you might require wire rope. The cost of stainless steel wire rope varies depending on the diameter and type.

Wire Rope Diameter Cost of Replacing Running Rigging
1/8" (3mm) $0.40–$0.70 per foot
3/16" (5mm) $0.80–$1.40 per foot

Basic materials cost for your running rigging

As an example, let's assume you're replacing all the running rigging for a 30-foot sailboat with polyester lines. Your total basic material cost could be around $180–300 with approximately 200 feet of line (main halyard, jib halyard, sheets, etc.).

Professional services cost to replace your running rigging

If you decide to hire a professional rigger, the service fees might increase the overall cost. For example, to replace the main halyard on a 30-foot sloop, a professional rigger may charge close to $500. Labor rates can vary, so it's recommended to get quotes from multiple riggers in your area to find the best deal.

Cost Breakdown by Rigging Type

Here's an overview table with the cost to replace rigging for different boat and rig types.

Different Boat and Rig Types Estimated Costs to Replace Rigging
Sailboat with a single mast and wire rigging $1,500 to $5,000 or more, depending on the size of the boat and the type of wire used
Sailboat with a single mast and rod rigging $5,000 to $10,000 or more (higher than wire rigging due to the cost of the materials and specialized equipment required)
Sailboat with multiple masts and wire rigging $5,000 to $20,000 or more (higher due to the increased complexity of the rigging)
Catamaran with wire rigging $1,500 to $5,000 or more (similar to that of a single mast sailboat)
Motorboat with a mast and wire rigging $1,500 to $5,000 or more, depending on the size of the boat and the type of wire used

Below, we will break down the average cost of replacing running rigging for your sailboat, with examples for each type of rigging: Halyards, Sheets, and Control Lines.

Halyard replacement costs vary depending on the length, material, and quality of the line you choose

Replacing halyards can vary in cost depending on the length and material. For instance, a basic double braid polyester halyard for a 30-foot sailboat may cost around $500.

Types of Halyards Estimated Cost
Main halyard $300 to $700
Jib halyard $200 to $600
Spinnaker halyard $250 to $800

For a standard 30-foot sailboat, you can expect the cost to be around $500 for the main halyard. Keep in mind, this estimate includes installation by a professional rigger. If you opt to replace it yourself, the price might be lower. It is essential to research the specific halyards your boat requires and compare prices from different retailers to find the best deal.

Sheet replacement costs will depend on the size, material, and quality of the line

Sheets are essential for controlling sails, and their replacement cost also depends on length, material, and whether you're doing the work yourself or hiring a professional. Here are some average costs for different types of sheets:

Types of Sheets Estimated Cost
Mainsheet $150 to $500
Jib sheets $100 to $400 per sheet
Spinnaker sheets $200 to $600 per sheet

A common material for sheets on smaller sailboats is a double braid polyester line. The estimated cost of replacing your boat's running rigging with this material is around $1,700–$2,000+ for a 30-foot sailboat. This cost includes hiring a professional to complete the task. Keep in mind that if you are comfortable replacing the sheets yourself, the overall cost might be lower. As with halyards, research your specific needs and compare prices from different retailers.

Control line replacement costs will vary depending on your sailboat's configuration

Control lines cover a wide range of rigging elements, each with different cost considerations. Some common control lines and their respective average costs include:

Types of Control Lines Estimated Cost
Outhaul $75 to $300
Reefing lines $50 to $200 per line
Cunningham $50 to $150

Control lines are often replaced with materials similar to those used for sheets, like double braid polyester. Unlike halyards and sheets, control lines are specific to the control systems used on your boat, such as traveler, vang, or furling systems, so the costs will vary depending on your sailboat's configuration. For an average 40-foot boat, you can expect to pay around $4,000 for wire rigging replacement, which may include control lines. It's crucial to understand the control lines you need to replace and their specifications before sourcing the best prices and materials for the job.

Factors Affecting Replacement Cost

Material and quality of the rigging components

Higher-quality materials, such as Sta-Set-X, are more durable and offer less stretch, which translates to a slightly higher price. On the other hand, more affordable materials might not provide the same level of performance or longevity, requiring more frequent replacements.

Boat size impacts the amount of running rigging you'll need

A larger vessel requires more line, sheet, and other components, increasing the overall cost of replacement. For example, replacing the standing rigging on a sailboat can cost around $4,000 every ten years.

Labor charges when replacing running rigging

If you choose to hire professional help to undertake the project, you can expect to pay for their time and expertise. Labor costs vary by region and can also depend on the complexity of your boat's rigging system.

Ways to Save on Replacement Costs

When it comes to replacing your sailboat's running rigging, there are a few ways to save money without sacrificing quality. By following these tips, you can ensure that you get the best value for your investment.

DIY approach on running rigging replacement

Although it might take some time and effort, learning how to replace your own running rigging will save you labor costs. Many sailors find this process rewarding and educational. Familiarize yourself with the different components and materials used in your sailboat's running rigging system, then research how to install and maintain them. There are numerous online tutorials and guides available to help you along the way.

Purchasing rigging materials in bulk

Instead of buying only the specific amount that you need for your boat, consider buying larger quantities at lower prices per foot. For example, Sampson Ropes and other manufacturers offer double braid Dacron rope products at prices ranging from $1.00 to $2.50 per foot. By purchasing larger quantities, you may be able to secure a more favorable price per foot, which will ultimately lower your overall replacement cost.

Take advantage of shopping deals and discounts

Keep your eyes open for sales and promotions at your local chandleries or online retailers. Signing up for newsletters from sailing or marine supply stores can provide you with access to exclusive discounts and information about upcoming sales. Additionally, consider purchasing gently used or clearance items, which can offer significant savings without sacrificing quality.

Understanding Running Rigging Replacement

Running rigging consists of all the lines, sheets, and halyards used to haul and operate the sails. As a boat owner, you should be aware of the signs that your running rigging needs replacement and the average costs associated with it.

First, let's look at the reasons for replacing your running rigging. The primary reason is wear and tear caused by continuous use, exposure to the sun, saltwater, and friction. Over time, these factors can weaken your lines, making them prone to breaking or developing other issues that can impact your boat's functionality and safety. It's important to inspect your running rigging regularly and spot any signs of wear like fraying, chafing, or discolored fibers. These indicate a need for replacement before any accidents happen.

Now, let's discuss the average cost of replacing your running rigging. The overall cost varies depending on factors such as your boat's size, the quality of materials used, and labor expenses. For a 30-foot sailboat, the cost to replace a main halyard without going aloft can be around $500, including labor and materials. However, this is just an example, and costs may differ based on your specific boat and your location.

When planning to replace your running rigging, you can opt for various material options, each with its own price range and characteristics. Materials like polyester, Dyneema, and Vectran can offer different benefits, such as increased strength, reduced stretch, and improved durability. It's important to research and choose the right material for your sailboat based on your needs and budget.

Another aspect of expenses to consider is the labor cost, which depends on the rigging service you hire and the complexity of the replacement job. For instance, some tasks may require a rigger to climb the mast, adding to labor hours and overall costs. To save money, you can learn to do some running rigging replacements yourself; however, make sure you know your limits and call a professional for complex tasks.

When to Replace Running Rigging

Signs of wear and fraying on your running rigging

Regularly inspect key areas such as halyards, sheets, and control lines. If you notice any frayed or chafed sections, consider replacing the affected line immediately. A broken halyard can lead to expensive repairs and even pose safety risks for you and your crew while sailing. Keeping these components in good condition is crucial for smooth sailing and the optimal performance of your boat.

Maintenance schedule that includes regular inspection and cleaning of your lines

A proactive approach to maintaining your running rigging will prolong its life and ensure the safety of your vessel. It's a good idea to establish a maintenance schedule that includes regular inspection and cleaning of your lines. While it may be tempting to wait until a problem arises, preventative upkeep can help you avoid costly repairs or emergency situations in the long run. Check your rigging for signs of wear and replace parts when necessary to maintain optimal sailing conditions.

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