Check all cotter and clevis pins, fasteners, and welds. Look at the sheaves to assure that they turn freely.
Check the spreader tips. Secure the shrouds appropriately. If the spreader bases are welded to the mast, check for cracks and wear. If they are fastened to the mast, check that all the fasteners are tight, in place and not causing corrosion.
If you did not do a complete mast inspection in the fall, do it now. Make sure you inspect your mast step and the surrounding area.
Inspect all mast lights, bulbs and wiring connections. Clean all electrical contacts using a good electronic cleaner. You may find that some dielectric grease will retard corrosion in the connections.
Inspect swage fittings for signs of wear and cracking.
Look over the wire and rod for signs of wear. Clean and then inspect rod heads for cracking.
Make sure your Windex and anometer are straight.
Check your chainplates & the attachment points below the deck. Make sure that they are not leaking. Make sure that the chainplate to bulkhead joint shows no evidence of deterioration. Maintain and recaulk your chainplates on a regular basis.
Have a good time on your boat. Rinse your rigging, furling system, deck hardware, halyards, docklines, lifelines, etc. with fresh water as often as possible. Check all halyards, sheets and other lines for signs of wear, chafe and aging. Keep your eye on your standing rigging while under sail. Observe how it is working and be alert to changes.
Inspect, Inspect, Inspect.
Clean and lubricate winches using a non-caustic degreaser and Lewmar winch grease. Make sure that you oil the pawls and springs. Grease will cause them to stick.
Inspect mast lights and wiring. Check the standing rigging, mast, spreaders, boom and solid vang. If your mast is down, wash out the sail track and spray it with McLube’s SailkoteT. Inspect all blocks and line. Clean and treat the spinnaker pole and whisker pole end fittings, especially the internal springs and pistons. Inspect the pole bridles.
Remove the halyards from the mast and install messenger lines. Inspect all halyards, sheets, guys, control lines, dock & anchor lines for signs of wear. Give extra attention to the splices, the area that rests on the masthead sheave when the sail is up and where the halyard runs through the rope clutch. Rinse with fresh water and allow drying before storing them in a clean, dry location. If your running rigging needs to be replaced, this is the time of the year to do it, to avoid the Spring rush.
Check the lifelines. Look for cracking of fittings, breaks in the vinyl coating, and rust staining. Look at all the deck hardware, rinse it with fresh water, if necessary, lubricate sheaves and ball bearings with Sailkote. Check the chainplates, make sure that they are not leaking, and recaulk as necessary.
We mean November/December. Get everything fixed now so you are ready for Spring. Boats stored with the mast up will collect water through sheave boxes and exit plates. If your mast is stepped through the deck and you do not have a keel drain plug, be sure to pour non-toxic antifreeze in the bilge to prevent freezing. Check the bilge periodically and after rainstorms. Remember that when you store your boat with the mast up, the mast, rigging, chainplates and all the fittings continue to work throughout the winter as the wind blows and the temperature fluctuates. For this reason, it is a good idea to de-tune your boat for storage.