The rigging on a sailboat should be inspected at regular intervals to make sure it is properly tuned and that the fittings are in good condition. The swage fittings (end fittings on the shrouds and stays) are the most vulnerable of the fittings. Over time the swage fitting scan crack. Once a fitting is cracked it must be replaced. A crack may often be obscured by corrosion. The corrosion can be polished away with a scotch brite pad or very fine sandpaper and then the fitting can be inspected for cracks.
Crack in the swage fitting. The boat should not be used until the fitting is replaced.
The halyards and sheets on your sailboat should be periodically inspected for wear. The lines can chafe on sheaves and other hardware. Breaking a halyard or sheet that is under load could hurt someone or at the very least ruin a good day of boating.
Roller Furling Systems
Many sailboats are equipped with a roller furling system for the jib. Most of the roller furling systems require little to no maintenance. However, if the system is not operating smoothly it should be inspected and adjusted or repaired as needed. A system that is not working properly can cause a problem with the forestay. It is possible for a furling system to twist the forestay. If a twist is found in the stay then the stay should be replaced.
This stay came off of a 40 foot sailboat. The roller furling system was the cause of the problem. A forestay that is twisted, no matter how slight the twist, must be replaced.