A ship’s rigging is made up of two parts: standing rigging and running rigging. Standing rigging holds the masts in place. Running rigging is actively worked while the ship is at sea to move the yards and handle the sails. Both types would have been made of hemp, a natural fibre. Standing rigging was usually tarred, which gave it a black colour. Running rigging was a natural pale grey. Rigging needed constant attention from the crew. It wore out quickly with use and was easily damaged by weather and warfare.
Victory is now rigged with suitably coloured polypropylene. This is much more sustainable and makes it possible for the ship to carry an impressive and authentic display of masts, yards and rigging. It still takes a skilled team of riggers to climb the masts to set it up and look after it.