Sailplans, Deck Layouts, Rig Tuning, Sail Repair & Cleaning, Sail Handling Systems, Architectural Rigging and Much More

Zern Rigging

Sailplans, Deck Layouts, Rig Tuning, Sail Repair & Cleaning, Sail Handling Systems, Architectural Rigging and Much More

What Our Clients Say

Here's a sample of what clients of Zern Rigging have had to say about our work. Following each client comment is a short comment from Rick on the work that was done.

It is reassuring that the marine industry has someone available with your integrity and work ethic, and knowledge and capability that delivers a quality service on schedule.     …enough said

Capt Bob Kriegel   

Rick -- Thanks for the professional attention that you gave to Satori (Shannon 51 Ketch) after her transatlantic passage, a season in the Caribbean, and a bout with hurricane Ivan.  Her rigging and sails have never felt better! 

Tom Patterson
SV “Satori” 

Tom is the owner of Shannon Yachts and an avid sailor.  He has been a joy to work with and I always look forward to working with him on the projects since I know that they will be incorporated into the high quality boats that his company manufactures. 

"Zern Rigging is the real deal. They keep our boat sailing at top efficiency and speed. I can't think of anyone who knows more about boats than Rick Zern". 

John Guy, Jr.      
S/V Hot Toddy  

John has won the West Florida Ocean racing Circuit multiple times on a variety of boats; he is always one of the competitors “in the hunt.”  He is truly “a student of the discipline.”   I have thoroughly enjoyed working with John on each of his boats during the past 25 years.

Rick is always a great source of advice.  He has done rigging on my Pearson Flyer and acted as broker my broker for the purchase if a Morgan 43.  It is obvious that he has the experience to back up his opinions.    

John Funk

We fitted John’s Pearson Flyer with a Profurl R-25 System so he could switch from racing to cruising.  John keeps his Flyer on Lake Lanier in the Atlanta, GA area and now has a big boat for the coast.  We are happy to travel to his boats wherever they are to give him the service that he deserves.

My wife, Innes and I have always found Rick Zern's work to be of the highest quality performed in a timely and always courteous manner.

Ron Richards
Navarre, FL.

We have completed a number of projects that include halyard replacement, rigging replacement, and spinnaker pole track simplifications for Ron and Innes on their various boats.

Rick has handled the rigging on our Evelyn 42 and our Pyramid 45. He has always done what he said he was going to do on time and under budget. The reasons I like dealing with Rick is he will take his time and teach you about the job that he is doing on your boat. He is always willing to share his knowledge in order to make you a better informed sailor and sailboat owner.     

Oscar Bryan Denham
Pyramid 45 "Animal"

We have done a plethora of projects for the “Animals.”  They race offshore to Mexico as well as the PHRF inshore races.  We strive to keep their boats safe and fast for the sort of sailing they do.

Rick Zern’s boat work is the best there is. Whether the boat is large or small, racer or cruiser, Rick's work does not fail. He gets it done on time and in budget. You can trust his advice. I have for over 30 years. 

Captain Ira Rowe

I have worked on sailed on a variety boats with Ira over the last three decades.  They have just finished “refurbing” an old S&S 36 and will do local PHRF races and some offshore races, too.  Our goal with this boat was to make it safe and keep it cheap.

"As a Marine Surveyor, I've sailed on several vessels that have been fitted out by Zern Rigging, and feel a degree of confidence in the quality of their work.  I'd go offshore in a Zern-rigged vessel; that's as good a testament of their work as I can give." 

Joe Godard
Boat Insurance Inspections, Inc.  

Joey and I go way back to the early ‘70s sailing Flying Scots in Gulf Yachting Association interclub events.  Now we sail together on Beneteau 47.7s, Farr 36 ODs, and others.  There are very few that know more about boats than Joe Godard!

Thanks for all your hard work.  You are very professional and prompt, and you do and outstanding job.

Fred Bundy
Bell Steel Shop Superintendent

Zern Rigging installed a new furling system, new halyards, and other gear on Fred’s 1993 Hunter 30.

Rick --This is just a short note to say thanks.  The job you and your folks did on replacing both of my masts and rigging on my boat was super.  The patience you all showed in helping me make decisions, the right choices to save money and have the best rig possible for my needs and in working with my erratic schedule was just outstanding.  Once again “Tramica”, our Cheoy Lee 41 Ketch, is under sail, and the rig is a dream, easy to sail, well balanced and strong.  Thanks for a job well done and your great professional attitude. It was really a pleasure to work with folks like you.  

Dewey Mauldin
Colonel, USMC (Ret)

We fitted Col. Mauldin’s boat with new masts and a Harken Furler.   We were able to lead many of the controls aft so that he would be able to reef and furl the mainsail and mizzen from the comfort of his cockpit.  The only problem in working with Dewey was that he kept trying to recruit our folks into the Marine Corps! 

As life long sailors and long time Pensacola residents, we have had the pleasure of sailing with RZ, utilizing his talents as a sailmaker and also having him do rigging work on our boats.  Rick is an asset to the sailing community and with his extensive sailing back-ground, all of his boat work is first class.  I would highly recommend anyone with any sail or rigging questions on boats of any size to contact Rick Zern for his professional help.  

Jim Oyler 

Jim & Linda Oyler have had a variety of boats over the past three decades; they have raced Capri 25s, J/29s, and a C&C 34R.  Now they have a beautiful Beneteau 411 that they have raced and placed to Mexico on multiple occasions.  Frankly, Jim and Linda are more than capable of doing the majority of their own repairs and replacements due to their extensive knowledge and experience.

Prior to starting out on our life long dream of cruising we contacted numerous boatyards, lofts and rigging specialists throughout the southeast.  We were in need of new rigging, sails and perhaps a new sailplan on our 20 year old sloop.  After a years research we went with Rick Zern based on personal recommendations and the job proposal.  We ended up with not only new sails, rigging and a sailplan makeover but solutions to a number of previous poor designs on our boat.  We couldn't be happier with the finished product that not only exceeded our expectations but came in under budget.    

Ace & Suzy Carlson
SV “Ace’s Wild” - SeaMaster 46

Ace and Suzy are avid cruisers with tens of thousands of offshore miles.  They are starting on a trip to the South Pacific and wanted to be certain their boat was ready. We totally re-rigged the mast with new stays, new halyards, and new electrical wiring.  We also corrosion proofed it and added mast steps added so that Ace and Suzy could go aloft more easily to spot coral heads. We modified their deck layout to permit total sail control from the cockpit.  A Tides Marine Strong Track was fitted in place of the antiquated mainsail furler and the Harken Headsail furler was rebuilt.  We also installed a Storm trysail track and new Schurr Sails specifically designed and built for their round-the-world trip. 

Zern Rigging has been a key ingredient in helping me create a competitive racing yacht.  Rick and his crew installed and tuned a custom carbon fiber mast and boom on my Beneteau First 47.7, “Pretty Woman”.  Zern Rigging also supplied and installed Custom Hydraulic cylinders and integrated controls for the backstay, inner forestay and vang, Three Speed Harken Winches and Vectran running rigging and Vectran Backstay.  With this setup we were able to win the GORC (Gulf Ocean Racing Circuit), Pensacola Bay Championship Series and our class at Key West Race Week. With all of this success we then selected Zern Rigging to rig and tune our new boat “Wicked Woman”, a Farr 36 OD.  We have enjoyed the same level of success with Wicked Woman as we did with “Pretty Woman” winning WFORC on our first time out.  All of these successes can be attributed to the care and attention to detail that we received from Zern Rigging.  We have had no failures and as a result no DNF's!!!  Thanks RZ and Crew!!   

George Gamble

George showed up in Pensacola with a beautiful Beneteau that he purchased in Europe and a dream to race it.  We had sailed against each other in little boats decades before but George got busy building a business empire and that kept him out of boats for a little while.  After having sailed the Beneteau 47.7 design in Europe for a season he had a real good idea what was needed to maximize it for PHRF and IRC racing here in the States.  A new carbon mast, boom, and other gear were ordered from Offshore Spars and thus began the 2.5-year program with the goal of winning at Key West Race Week.  To make a very long story very short, we had a few “bumps in the road” (such as Hurricane Ivan!) but we made it to Key West, won our class by 10+ points and, having realized that goal, put the boat up for sale and sold it immediately.  The all-carbon Farr 36 OD “Wicked Woman” was the next project.  It was several months late but we were able to put it all together and win at the West Florida Ocean Racing Circuit in 2005.  We have an aggressive schedule planned with this boat over the next two years and we are integrating that with the newest project, George’s latest boat, an IY 60. We sail in our first race in St. Martin early in March ’06.  The saga continues...

Rick  -- Thanks for your help solving my main sail issue with my Hunter 38.6. When I purchased the boat in 2002 I knew the main sail was going to be a challenge in that this 38.6 had a roach main and was larger than the other Hunter 38.6. After sailing a awhile and trying to manage securing the main I realized it was close to impossible to single hand. The sail was all over the boat and 2 hands were not enough. I was thinking about modifying the main to a furling system but as we spoke about that solution the cost and loss of sail efficiency (losing the battens) was not the way to go. Your solution of modifying my existing sale cover into stack pack and replacing the main sail track with a Strong Track has work perfectly. With your expert help handling the main is no problem for me now. If Hunter Marine had you designing their rigging systems they would have a lot more us putting the main sail back to bed with ease.  Thanks! 

Glenn Windham

Glenn had some real issues with his sail slides and his mast.  The factory supplied slides just did not interface with the mast and the full length battens.  That, coupled with his single-handed sailing style, made for a recipe for disaster.  We retrofitted a Strong Track system and did a custom lazy jack & “automatic” sail cover arrangement that was personally tailored for his sailing style.  His sailing became efficient and effortless.

Rick Zern is the best all around boat person I have ever dealt with.  He is expert rigger, sail maker, boat-sailing consultant, broker, etc.  His knowledge and skill in all of these topics is outstanding.  Most important, his honesty and integrity are beyond reproach.  I would be happy to provide personal reference to any interested party. 

Ronald Bruce
100-ton Coast Guard Master, Ham amateur operator, Professional Engineer

Ron probably has more cruising miles than any ten other folks that I know.  He and his wife, Joanne, cruised thousands and thousands of miles on their Morgan 43 and then opted to “go multihull.”  They now have an absolutely beautiful PDQ Antares 42.  We worked extensively getting the boat set up for safety, ease of handling, and performance cruising.  Ron and Joanne are some of my “go to” folks when I need more information in the world of multihulls and long distance cruising.  As this is being written they are off the coast of Columbia headed south.

I first met Rick in 1985. I needed work done on my Ocean Voyager and Rick came highly recommended. He's been my man of choice for any of my boats needs ever since. If he can't do it, he knows someone who can. He's honest, dependable and does good work. I'm looking forward to many more years of reliable service.

Michael Adkinson
United States Merchant Marine, 1600-ton Master  

Michael spends a tremendous amount of time offshore on commercial vessels and chose the Ocean Voyager as his sailboat of choice for recreation.  We discussed what Michael’s goals and expectations were for the boat’s use and came up with a simple modification plan.  We installed a Profurl on the forestay and fitted it with a Yankee.  The inner forestay was set up with a self-tacking staysail/storm jib arrangement.  The mainsail controls all led aft to the cockpit so that the boat is easily and safely single-handed in a blow.  Sail-wise, he has a cruising spinnaker in a sleeve, high-clewed Yankee on the furler, the above mentioned staysail and a traditional mainsail with three reefs.  This fine little boat could sail around the world!