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Old 07-04-2012, 07:37   #1
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Loose stays?

Mast was recently taken down, inspected and new stays were installed. Under moderate load now the stays which are on the leeward side are slightly slack and bounce around a bit. I dont remember this being the case before the new stays. They dont bounce around a lot, they arent whipping in the wind or anything. Maybe half an inch of slack, just enough to let them move around a bit.

Is this normal? I was thinking about it yesterday when I noticed it, and then our boom snapped (Snapped Boom) so now Im a bit paranoid about it.
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Old 07-04-2012, 07:48   #2
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Re: Loose stays?

In view of your boom snapping your question is completely understandable.

Here is the Selden mast tuning guide, which as a start point is probably the one to read.

http://www.riggingandsails.com/pdf/selden-tuning.pdf

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Old 07-04-2012, 08:09   #3
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Re: Loose stays?

As a general rule, when the rig is fully loaded up, the leeward shrouds should be beginning to appear to slacken (with 10 deg heel), so they can be deflected by hand, but not swinging loose (& no slap), and the mast should stay in column.
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:12   #4
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Re: Loose stays?

Its a cat, so no 10 degree heel for me.

But it was full loaded, about 15 knots of winds, close hauled. They weren't slapping, but they were moving about slowly in the wind without me touching them. Maybe it was 1/4 inch, not 1/2 inch but they attachments from the stay to the chain plate were definitely slack at this point.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:38   #5
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Re: Loose stays?

Every Cat is different! If you have a manual for the Cat, check out the literature to see if it has specs. If not contact the Mfgr and see what they say.

But if it's different then before, I would be concerned. Back lash/shock load can cause unwanted damage. Check the chain plates too, just to make sure something isn't moving.

BTW Considering the boom, have you had a HARD jibe or been in some gusty conditions recently???
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:01   #6
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Re: Loose stays?

Is it common for the cables to stretch for the first time,,would the quality of the cable used have a large effect on this??
Inquiring minds needs to know..
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:36   #7
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Re: Loose stays?

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Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
Every Cat is different! If you have a manual for the Cat, check out the literature to see if it has specs. If not contact the Mfgr and see what they say.

But if it's different then before, I would be concerned. Back lash/shock load can cause unwanted damage. Check the chain plates too, just to make sure something isn't moving.

BTW Considering the boom, have you had a HARD jibe or been in some gusty conditions recently???
No manual and manufacturer is out of business now. Chain plates were recently checked, no issues found.

Re boom - nope.... We avoid jibing and never sail in restricted water ways (Caribbean, rest would be engine).

The only hard jibe I can remember was a few years ago when our traveller had issues. But we also found a repair had been done before we bought it and had a "makeshift" pin connecting the traveller to the boom and it was nearly worn through. It didnt break in that jibe - so it couldnt have been hard enough to do any sort of real damage to the boom.
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:36   #8
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Re: Loose stays?

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Originally Posted by Nemo55 View Post
Is it common for the cables to stretch for the first time,,would the quality of the cable used have a large effect on this??
Inquiring minds needs to know..
Not sure. It was done by FKG in St Martin who has always been highly recommended.
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:13   #9
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Re: Loose stays?

On a cruising mono I usually found once I had the rig tuned just right the lee stays would loosen up just a bit going to weather. I dont remember them doing that at all on my cat though. While this is occurring, go to the mast and look up the spar and see if it is straight athwartships. I dont like a cruising rig too taught, but dont want any slapping either. If yours only move 1/2" I would think it's fine if the spar is straight.... . What happened to the boom????
Not sure about the cable stretching a little when new. The metal wont, but maybe the twist does ....? I put a new rig on my passport 47 and it never seemed to though..... but then I walways tinker for a while off and on adjusting the rig under sail.....
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:06   #10
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Re: Loose stays?

It can take a long time to have your new rigging settle. It is hard to figure out your rigging but as a 36 cat I would think that you just have a forestay and two side backstay and may be a small stay forward of the mast. Has the forestay been renew too? In my boat I will allow the slack described by Gord just before I start reefing the main, between 18 to 20 knots clause hauled.
I would think with two side backstay slack, the forestay will show some bowing. Three things you can tighten up the forestay only and bring the sail plan forward, tighten the two sides equally and bring the sail plan backward or tighten all three, the boom would give an indication. If the mast is vertical and the boat is underway I would tighten the leeward just a quarter turn and for prudence tack and do the same on the other and so on. One thing to watch is also the beam onto which the forestay is attached if it flexes under load that would make the forestay impossible to tighten.
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Old 07-04-2012, 16:35   #11
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It is quite common for brand new wire to stretch a bit the first time you tension a new rig. However not always. this decrease in tension will happen during the first few days to a week. The metal is not really getting longer, but rather some of the twist is coming out of it. It is also very common for the lee shrouds to loose tension when sailing. This is mostly caused by the structure flexing rather than the wire getting longer when loaded. Lightly built boats show this more than heavier or stiffer boats. The extreme end of the spectrum are the steel boats. They are so stiff and inflexible even with full sail beating in 20 knots, the lee shrouds will have lost almost no tension!

When I set up a new rig, I like to set the initial tension at 15% of the breaking strength of the wire. Then go check it again in a week. For a cruising boat I like to aim for something in the area of 12% as a final number for the static tune. Then take the boat out for a sail. If possible sail it to the point that it is time to reef. The lee shrouds will be looser, and that is fine as long as they are not swinging around. Sight up the mast while sailing for It is more important that the mast is straight and centered. If you think the lee is too loose. Then tighten them up, say 1/2 a turn, tack, give the other side a 1/2 turn tack again and see if if the problem is gone. If not do it again.

When you are satisfied, then pin the rig and go sailing. Don't worry if the wires are showing slightly different tensions from each other. What is more important is that the mast is straight side to side. Check it again in six months. Tweak if necessary. After that, check about once a year.
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Old 07-04-2012, 19:06   #12
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Re: Loose stays?

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Originally Posted by Valkyrie654 View Post
I like to set the initial tension at 15% of the breaking strength of the wire.
This is OK so long the wire has not been over sized.
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Old 08-04-2012, 14:33   #13
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Re: Loose stays?

Snapped boom here:
Snapped Boom
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Old 11-04-2012, 16:58   #14
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Re: Loose stays?

As an ex-racer, I've sailed on a number of boats that were tuned to have side bend in the upper mast as the breeze came up. If the upper shroud(s) are on the "easy" side of the tension range, as the weather side loads up (and maybe stretches just a wee bit), the lee side can get a little slack, just as described. The lowers should be set up tighter, so there's no bend to leeward of the lower span. The effect is to slightly depower the top of the main, while keeping maximum drive in the bottom. Keeps the boat on its feet and the lee rail out of the water.

While this is not common on cruising boats, it may just be that the initial set-up of the uppers wasn't as tight as before, or there may have been a bit more stretch than expected for new wire - with the same result. (Or maybe your rigger is a racer at heart and thinks you'll be faster in a breeze that way.) Since you've already checked for problems with the chain plates and other damage, it's likely the set-up. It should at least be the first thing you address.

Good first step is to make sure the mast is straight up and down. Measure the difference in length of the main halyard to the rail. It should be the same on both the port and the starboard sides. (Plus or minus an inch is enough precision for that check.) Assuming the mast is straight in the boat:

Take up two turns of the turnbuckles on both sides and check again. If that's enough, fine. If not, take another two turns and .... As mentioned above, the lee upper will be a bit soft as the load goes up. If you push on the windward upper, it will be bar-tight. The lower will have noticeable give when you push on it. But on a cruising boat, it shouldn't be seen to flop around.

On a cruising boat it's not desirable to have the uppers as loose as you are describing, but not a disaster. The problem is that your sails aren't cut for that amount of mast bend and it may not be good for them. You don't want premature wear on your sails - mostly because you don't want to have to replace them prematurely.

And if you see visible slack in the lowers, or if you can move a lower by hand, that's dangerous and should be corrected immediately. Get the lowers done first, since too much bend in the lower span may put the mast out of column and you might lose the rig. Tighten the turnbuckles, as above, until there's no slack on the leeward side in up to 15 knots breeze. Then do the uppers.

Don't overdo the take-up on the turnbuckles. The goal is to get enough tension, not too much. You're not trying to pull the mast through the bottom of the boat! If your starting point doesn't have floppy shrouds at the dock, the adjustment that's needed isn't going to be a whole lot. Two turns of the turnbuckle is probably going to be about 1/8 inch.

If that doesn't take care of things, you need to get a good rigger on it. Or you can PM me if you need more details.
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