Average Cost to Replace Standing Rigging (with Examples)

Written by Sophia Roa in Cost of Sailing

Upgrading or replacing the standing rigging on your sailboat is an essential maintenance task to ensure the safety and performance of your vessel. The cost of this project can vary depending on your boat's size and materials choice. In this article, we'll discuss the average cost to replace standing rigging, and provide examples for different boat sizes so you know what to expect for your own sailboat

For smaller boats under 30 feet, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 to replace standing rigging. Medium-sized boats between 30 and 50 feet will require an investment of $5,000 to $10,000. The cost to replace standing rigging on a large sailboat can range from $10,000 to $20,000.

If you decide to replace your standing rigging, you have the option of doing it yourself or hiring a professional rigger. DIY replacements can save money, but keep in mind that working with rigging requires expertise and the right tools. If you're not confident in your abilities, it's worth considering the help of a professional.


  • As a boat owner, you'll need to replace the standing rigging every 10 to 15 years, depending on the boat’s purpose and use.
  • Offshore bluewater boats generally require more frequent replacements than coastal cruisers, which can stretch the interval to around 12 years.
  • Different factors, such as size, materials, and labor, can impact the total cost of your rigging project.
  • Take the time to assess your boat's rigging and determine whether a full replacement is necessary.
  • Regularly inspect your standing rigging for any signs of wear and tear, including deformities or broken wires. This will help you catch potential issues early on and determine when it's time to invest in a replacement.

Examples of Average Replacement Costs

In this section, we'll give you an idea of the average cost to replace standing rigging for different sailboat sizes. Remember, these are just estimates, and actual costs may vary based on your specific situation.

Sailboat Size Replacement Cost of Standing Rigging
Small sailboat (up to 30 feet) $2,000 to $5,000
Medium sailboat (30 to 50 feet) $5,000 to $10,000
Large sailboat (50 feet and above) $10,000 to $20,000

Small sailboat (up to 30 feet)

A 25-foot sailboat may require replacement of the forestay, backstay, and upper shrouds, which could cost around $2,500 to $3,500, including the cost of the rigging and labor.

For small sailboats, the cost of replacing standing rigging can range from $2,000 to $5,000. Factors like the type and quality of rigging materials, labor costs, and the availability of specialized equipment in your area can all contribute to the final price. To keep costs low, you can consider purchasing rigging materials from reputable sources like riggingonly.com, where a Hunter 27 owner reported a total cost of $700 for their project in 2019.

Medium sailboat (30 to 50 feet)

A 40-foot sailboat may require replacement of the forestay, backstay, upper and lower shrouds, and the inner forestay, which could cost around $6,000 to $8,000, including the cost of the rigging and labor.

For medium-sized sailboats, the replacement cost for standing rigging will typically fall between $5,000 and $10,000. Similar to smaller boats, factors that influence the price include the choice of rigging materials, labor expenses, and the need for specialized tools. You may expect to pay an average amount within this range for your medium-sized sailboat.

Large sailboat (50 feet and above)

A 60-foot sailboat may require replacement of the forestay, backstay, upper and lower shrouds, inner forestay, and the staysail stay, which could cost around $15,000 to $20,000, including the cost of the rigging and labor.

The cost to replace standing rigging on a large sailboat can be substantially higher, ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. For a tailored quote, it's recommended to contact a local rigger or marine service provider to discuss your specific needs and receive an accurate estimate.

When to Replace Your Standing Rigging

Knowing when to replace your standing rigging is essential for maintaining the safety and performance of your sailboat. There isn't a strict schedule for replacing standing rigging, but there are some general guidelines you can follow to ensure your rigging is in good working order.

Firstly, consider the age of your rigging. Industry standards suggest that the anticipated lifespan for stainless steel rigging is 10–12 years for wire and 15-20 years for rod. However, this does not mean that your rigging will automatically need replacement after this period. It's wise to inspect your standing rigging regularly, especially if you sail frequently or in challenging conditions.

When inspecting your rigging, look for signs of wear and tear, corrosion, and damage. Common issues to look out for include cracked or bent fittings, broken strands, rust spots, and discoloration. Keep in mind that some problems might not be visible while the mast is stepped, so a thorough inspection might require unstepping the mast.

The purpose and use of your boat can also influence the frequency of standing rigging replacement. For instance, offshore bluewater boats should consider replacing rigging every 10 years, while coastal cruisers might wait until 12 years. In any case, it's better to err on the side of caution and replace your standing rigging before it becomes a safety hazard.

Remember, even if your rigging appears to be in good condition, replacing it at recommended intervals may provide peace of mind, knowing that your boat is ready to handle whatever comes your way. Regular rigging inspections and timely replacements will ensure your sailboat stays safe and enjoyable for years to come.

Replacing standing rigging with mast up

When it comes to replacing standing rigging, there are two main approaches: mast up and mast down. Mast up replacement involves removing and replacing the rigging while the mast is still in place, while mast down replacement involves removing the mast and replacing the rigging on shore.

Mast up replacement can be more cost-effective than mast down replacement, as it requires less labor and time. However, it may not be feasible for all boats, as some boats may have limited access to the rigging while the mast is still in place. Additionally, mast up replacement may not allow for a full inspection of the mast and other components, which may be necessary if there are concerns about their condition.

Understanding Standing Rigging

Standing rigging refers to the system of wires and cables that support and stabilize a sailboat's mast. These wires, typically made of stainless steel, are essential for maintaining the structural integrity of your boat's mast and spars. In this section, we will briefly discuss the components of standing rigging and factors to consider when replacing it.

First, it's important to understand the different components that make up the standing rigging. The primary components are the shrouds and stays. Shrouds run from the mast to the sides of the boat, helping to support the mast laterally. Stays, on the other hand, run from the mast to the bow and stern, providing fore-and-aft support. These cables are attached to the boat using a variety of fittings such as turnbuckles, chainplates, and tangs.

When it comes time to replace your standing rigging, there are several factors to consider, including material, hardware, and labor. Stainless steel is the most common material used for standing rigging due to its strength and resistance to corrosion. However, alternative materials like synthetic rope (Dyneema) or rod rigging (Nitronic 50) may offer advantages in weight, flexibility, or durability.

In terms of hardware, you'll need to replace components like turnbuckles, chainplates, and tangs. These components play a critical role in maintaining the integrity of your standing rigging and should be carefully inspected for signs of wear or damage. It's also wise to consult with a professional rigger, as they can identify potential issues that may not be immediately apparent.

Finally, consider whether you want to tackle the replacement job yourself or hire a professional. While a DIY approach can save you money, it requires careful measurements, knowledge of rigging, and access to the right tools. On the other hand, hiring a professional rigger ensures the job is done correctly and can save you time.

Dyneema rigging cost

The cost of dyneema rigging can vary depending on the size of the boat and the length and diameter of the rigging required. As a rough estimate, dyneema rigging can cost anywhere from $10 to $20 per foot, with larger boats and thicker rigging costing more.

For example, if a 30-foot sailboat requires 50 feet of dyneema rigging for the forestay and backstay, the cost could range from $500 to $1,000. However, it is important to note that this is just an estimate, and the actual cost may vary depending on the specific requirements of the boat and the installation process.

Rig Type Total Line Length
Sloop rig 100 to 150 feet (30 to 45 meters)
Cutter rig 150 to 200 feet (45 to 60 meters)
Ketch rig 200 to 250 feet (60 to 75 meters)
Schooner rig 250 to 300 feet (75 to 90 meters)

It is always recommended to consult with a professional rigger or sailmaker to get an accurate estimate for dyneema rigging on your boat. They can assess your specific needs and provide a detailed quote based on the size of your boat, the type of rigging required, and the installation process.

Dyneema rigging is a popular choice for replacing standing rigging on sailboats because it is lightweight, strong, and has low stretch properties. The cost of dyneema rigging can vary depending on the size of the boat and the length and diameter of the rigging required. Generally, dyneema rigging is more expensive than traditional wire rigging, but it can offer significant benefits in terms of weight savings and performance.

Factors Affecting Replacement Costs

When considering the average cost to replace standing rigging, several factors can influence the overall cost. In this section, we will discuss these factors, which include material type, boat size, rigging complexity, and labor costs.

Material type used in the standing rigging

Common materials include stainless steel, galvanized steel, and synthetic fibers. Stainless steel is often more expensive but offers greater strength and resistance to corrosion, while galvanized steel is cheaper but may require more maintenance. Synthetic fibers such as Dyneema offer weight savings and high strength but can be costly to replace. When selecting materials, consider your budget and the desired performance for your specific sailing needs.

Boat size impacts the amount of rigging needed

The size of your boat greatly impacts the amount of rigging needed and, consequently, the cost of replacement. Larger boats require more materials and often higher-strength parts, increasing the overall cost. Additionally, the complexity of rigging systems generally increases with boat size, making the replacement process more labor-intensive and time-consuming.

Rigging complexity of your boat

A boat's rigging system can vary in complexity depending on the type of vessel, number of sails, and various hardware components. Complex rigging systems are not only more expensive, but they may also require specialized skills to install and maintain. For example, boats with multiple masts, furling systems, and advanced tensioning systems can be more expensive to replace the standing rigging.

Labor costs affect the cost of replacing your standing rigging

If you opt to hire a professional rigger, be prepared to pay for their expertise and time. Labor rates can vary based on the rigger's experience, location, and project complexity. If you choose to tackle the project yourself, the cost will likely be lower, but keep in mind that proper rigging installation is essential to ensuring your boat's safety and performance.

Tips to Save on Rigging Replacement

Determine the necessity

Before you invest in rigging replacement, assess whether it's truly necessary. Rigging lifespan depends on factors such as sailing frequency, conditions, and proper tuning. If the leeward shroud is not in constant motion, it's likely that your metal rigging is still strong. Use a critical eye to inspect your rigging for signs of wear or corrosion. A well-maintained standing rigging system can have a longer lifespan, saving you money in the long run.

Get multiple quotes

To ensure you're getting the best deal, always get multiple quotes from professional riggers. This will help you compare costs and services to make an informed decision. Remember that the price of rigging replacement varies depending on the boat size. By getting multiple quotes, you increase your chances of finding the most cost-effective option for your needs.

Consider DIY options

If you have some experience with sailboat maintenance and feel confident in your abilities, consider replacing your standing rigging yourself. This can save you a significant amount of money compared to hiring a professional rigger. One SailNet Community user reported spending only $1,000 on wire and fittings for their 30-foot boat, with plans to perform the installation themselves. If you take proper measurements and are willing to go through the learning process, a DIY rigging replacement may be a cost-effective option for you. Remember to weigh the potential savings against the time and effort it takes to do the job yourself.

DIY Vs. Professional Rigging Replacement

When considering replacing the standing rigging on your sailboat, you have two main options: doing it yourself (DIY) or hiring a professional rigger. Each method has its pros and cons, and the choice depends on your skills, budget, and personal preferences.

DIY rigging replacement

If you're confident in your abilities and have previous experience with rigging work, a DIY approach can be a more cost-effective option. For example, replacing the standing rigging on an H27 sailboat can cost around $700 in materials when done yourself. However, there are a few things to consider before embarking on this route.

First, be prepared to invest a significant amount of time in measuring, ordering, and installing the new rigging. This can be especially challenging if you're not familiar with the process or if you encounter complications like corroded mast bases or frozen pins.

Additionally, you should evaluate your ability to deal with unexpected issues that may arise during the project, such as hardware problems or chainplates that are failing. Finally, ensure that you have access to proper tools and advice from experienced sailors to avoid mistakes that could compromise your boat's safety.

Professional rigging replacement

Hiring a professional rigger can be more expensive than doing it yourself, but it comes with the benefit of expert knowledge and experience. One of the main advantages of hiring a professional is that they can efficiently handle any complications or unexpected issues that may arise during the project. They can also ensure proper measurements and installation, resulting in a safe and secure rigging system for your sailboat.

Maintenance Tips to Prolong Rigging Lifespan

To extend the life of your standing rigging, it's important to incorporate proper maintenance into your boating routine. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Regular inspections: At least once each season, thoroughly inspect your standing rigging, including shrouds, forestays, and backstay. Pay attention to any signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. Make a habit of checking your rig before heading out on a sail, as catching issues early can save you from larger problems later.

  • Cleaning and polishing: Stainless steel rigging can be susceptible to corrosion, so it's important to perform routine cleaning and polishing to remove corrosives. Use a soft cloth and a suitable cleaner to gently scrub the rigging and fittings, removing dirt, grime, and salt buildup.

  • Proper tuning: Ensure your standing rigging is correctly tuned to evenly distribute the load and prevent unnecessary stress on the components. This not only improves your boat's performance but also reduces the risk of rigging failure. If you're unsure how to tune your rigging, consult a professional rigger or refer to your boat's manual for guidance.

  • Prevent chafe: Identifying and addressing chafe points is crucial for maintaining your rigging's longevity. Chafe can occur where the rigging rubs against other components, such as spreaders or sails. Use chafe protection products like anti-chafing tape and rigging protectors to safeguard these areas.

  • Avoid anaerobic corrosion: Stainless steel rigging can suffer from anaerobic corrosion if it's deprived of oxygen. To minimize this risk, keep your rigging taped off whenever possible, as this can reduce oxygen exposure and promote corrosion.

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