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Sailing Hardware and Gear

While recreational sailors might live for the pure adrenaline rush that accompanies flying a hull or stemming the tide out on the open water, true sailing enthusiasts derive just as much pleasure from maintaining and adjusting their boats. Sooner or later, every sail boater will want to tune the rigging or replace a few cleats and pins, and on occasion, boat repairs will need to be made miles from port. A knowledgeable sailor can prepare for many eventualities in advance by keeping essential hardware and the most critical sailing gear at the ready.

How do you select sailing hardware and gear?

Sailing yachts comprise a myriad of hardworking parts. Whether you have an immediate need or want to purchase a few spare parts to have around just in case, you may be wondering how to best make your selections with so many options available. These simple suggestions can help you take stock of your needs up front:

  • Conduct an inspection: A visual stem-to-stern inspection of your sailboat may expose worn or broken blocks, cleats, shackles, pins, rigging, and other fittings. If the condition of your hardware is questionable, plan to replace it or procure the appropriate parts to carry along on your sailing excursions.
  • Determine the correct size: From cams and cleats to spinnaker poles and shackles, sailboat hardware and accessories are available in a range of sizes to fit seagoing vessels of every description. As a general rule, the size of your boat will determine the size of the line that you use, and the size of your line will determine the minimum size of your blocks, cleats, shackles, and many other parts.
  • Choose a material: Some hardware is available in a variety of materials, including wood, stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, and nylon. In some instances, choice of material is a matter of personal preference; in others, your choice may be dictated by whether you sail on fresh or salt water, which is corrosive.
What sailing gear and equipment should you have on board?

A well-stocked toolbox is a must-have piece of equipment whenever you head out to sail, and a two- or three-tool rigging knife is invaluable. Weather-resistant clothing, life jackets, a marine light, and flares are other gear that no sailboat should cast off without. A ship-to-shore radio, extra line, extra hardware, and an outboard motor in good working condition are also high on most sailors' lists.

What other equipment do sailors need?

Sailing aficionados with some experience will appreciate one of the dozens of clever gadgets and accessories that are designed to make life under the sail easier and more enjoyable, including:

  • Mast-climbing systems
  • Performance sailing gear
  • Logo decals and stickers
  • Short-fingered gloves
  • Galley ware
  • Masthead streamers and flags
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