Checking that the mast
is plumb is indeed your first task! But, if the chain plates are suspect at all, when you swing the halyard
from side to side, measure to the toe rail instead of the chain plates.
Something to consider, though, is that if the mast
was not plumb, both the cap shroud
and the lowers would be slack. You report (I think) that only the cap shroud
is wonky. This may indicate that the chain plate
is faulty or that the cap shroud wire has slipped in the swaged terminal at either end, or that the shroud was indeed cut too long. If your memory is correct and the shroud has changed since your first viewing, the evidence points toward chain plate
or swage failure. Either of those defects can get worse dramatically and rapidly, leading to dismasting
, so fixing it should be a very high priority!
Good luck (really, not a matter of luck!)
PS Thinking about it a bit more, if the rigging
screw is all the way closed this represents a growth of several inches in the length of the shroud., If it was due to chain plate failure, I would think that the plate would be visually "taller" than its counterpart on the other side. Is that the case? If not, then I'd be very suspicious of the swages. Careful inspection
might show where the wire had started coming out of the terminal, so have a good look there (at both the top and bottom of the wire).