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Old 29-12-2016, 16:45   #1
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Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

I have a 1983 Oday 28 and I did a tune up on the rigging and recorded the results of my tension setting here in this picture.

I used a friends Harken RigTool Pro and followed the Selden and Loos guides....

The rigging, turnbuckles and deck-plates all looked good with zero signs of corrosion or cracks.

I have 7/32 size SS cables and I know my boat is not a racer and its not made for offshore sailing but I just was looking for opinions of what I set these too is correct.

I plan to go sail in light to moderate wind soon and check the leeward side for loosness etc, but for now I think I am close....please comment
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Old 29-12-2016, 17:29   #2
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

Loos suggests 700# for shrouds and 1000# for forestay/backstay as a starting point. I start with that as a minimum and only tighten after a couple hours sailing if I notice any more than minimal slack in my lee shrouds while under sail. The Loos gauge is great for checking during the season. Only takes a few moments and you know your rig tension is even throughout.
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Old 29-12-2016, 17:54   #3
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

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Originally Posted by Orion Jim View Post
Loos suggests 700# for shrouds and 1000# for forestay/backstay as a starting point. I start with that as a minimum and only tighten after a couple hours sailing if I notice any more than minimal slack in my lee shrouds while under sail. The Loos gauge is great for checking during the season. Only takes a few moments and you know your rig tension is even throughout.
No, don't do that. It seems a bit excessive for a 1983 sailboat. You could warp your boat.

Mine are at 440 all around except the forward lowers which are at 550 for a bit of prebend

This per Loos Gauge. I did this 4 years ago, but if it was today, I'd probably go a bit less on my Good Old Boat.

My prebend is still about the same though when I look up the mast so it must be holding and not putting too much pressure on the boat
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Old 30-12-2016, 20:15   #4
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

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No, don't do that. It seems a bit excessive for a 1983 sailboat. You could warp your boat.

Mine are at 440 all around except the forward lowers which are at 550 for a bit of prebend

This per Loos Gauge. I did this 4 years ago, but if it was today, I'd probably go a bit less on my Good Old Boat.

My prebend is still about the same though when I look up the mast so it must be holding and not putting too much pressure on the boat
My good old boat was born in 1984 and warping is not an issue. The best part of owning a boat is that we can seek advice and decide how to proceed from there.
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Old 30-12-2016, 20:44   #5
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

I hope this does not sound too stupid but I also need to tune the rig on my new (to me) boat and would rather not buy a tension gauge. If it makes sense maybe you could do the same.
Can you sail 40 degrees or so into the wind and tighten the lee shrouds until they are not slack, turn to the opposite tack and do the same? Adjust the forestay and back stay by eye looking at the mast?
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Old 30-12-2016, 21:50   #6
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

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I hope this does not sound too stupid but I also need to tune the rig on my new (to me) boat and would rather not buy a tension gauge. If it makes sense maybe you could do the same.
Can you sail 40 degrees or so into the wind and tighten the lee shrouds until they are not slack, turn to the opposite tack and do the same? Adjust the forestay and back stay by eye looking at the mast?
You can afford a hinckley b40 but not a $100 gauge?

You can certainly wing it- Remember its about more than wire tension, its about rake, fore/aft pre-bend, port/stbd straightness and symmetry...

Use the main halyard as a plumb-bob (vertical reference) to adjust rake and pre-bend, also use it to measure to known symmetry points to make sure the masthead is centered, get your lubed turnbuckles hand tight, put your face against the mast and sight up the mainsail track to make sure shes straight or adjust until she is, then crank everything a few more turns, a few more for the uppers than the lowers..

If you notice the leeward shrouds are slack when out sailing, tighten both sides a bit when you're back in port. And always sight up the mainsail track to make sure its still straight..
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Old 31-12-2016, 07:13   #7
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

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My good old boat was born in 1984 and warping is not an issue. The best part of owning a boat is that we can seek advice and decide how to proceed from there.
Yes, that's right.

I did mine a few years ago and went by the percentage of shroud/stay cable strength. That's how I arrived at the 440/550 number

I used to check diamond wire tension etc before every race back in the day on other boats. (Beachcats) I had the diamond wires at 700-1000 for an inch or so of prebend but the boats were new. The adjustment depended on wind strength then
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Old 31-12-2016, 07:20   #8
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

Quote:
Originally Posted by spadresailor View Post
I hope this does not sound too stupid but I also need to tune the rig on my new (to me) boat and would rather not buy a tension gauge. If it makes sense maybe you could do the same.
Can you sail 40 degrees or so into the wind and tighten the lee shrouds until they are not slack, turn to the opposite tack and do the same? Adjust the forestay and back stay by eye looking at the mast?
If you have a single spreader mast head rig with fore and aft lowers, of course you can.

It does take some experience doing this, especially for the forestay and backstay, but every single Catalina that came with these simple mast head rigs has a manual to explain just how to do so.

You can do a Google search for one, or try the manuals on our C34 website. The manual is exactly the same for my 1981 Catalina 22, 981 Catalina 25 and 1986 Catalina 34!

Tech Wiki – Catalina 34 International Association

Scroll down to Mark I manual.

Good luck.
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Old 31-12-2016, 09:37   #9
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

Another idea on rigging tension. I am a daysailer with an Islander 30 MKII. My rig is loose except for headstay tension while sailing. Why have it so tight when it tightens up by itself from sailing forces. Deck stepped spars will compress the deck step faster with this constant tension. Your thoughts?
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Old 31-12-2016, 10:00   #10
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

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Another idea on rigging tension. I am a daysailer with an Islander 30 MKII. My rig is loose except for headstay tension while sailing. Why have it so tight when it tightens up by itself from sailing forces. Deck stepped spars will compress the deck step faster with this constant tension. Your thoughts?
WADR, without defining "loose" your question cannot be answered.

The basic concepts as defined in my referenced link, and in any rig adjustment using gauges are simple:

--- keep the mast straight

--- keep the forces that occur on the standing rigging when a tack or gybe is made from being shock forces on "loose" rigging


The issue or fear of deck compression from proper rig tension means the boat design was faulty. You might just have well said: "keep my keel stepped mast from putting a hole in the bottom of the boat."

Not a good rationale for not properly setting up your standing rigging.
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Old 31-12-2016, 10:16   #11
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

YOU DO NOT TIGHTEN LOOSE LEEWARD SHROUDS. IF YOUR LEEWARD SHROUDS LOOSEN WHILE SAILING IT MEANS YOUR WINDWARD SHROUDS ARE TO LOOSE.

The goal is to keep your mast at a certain amount of pre-bend and rake, and verticle in column. Not to reach some specific tension, or percent of the wires MBL.

To do this correctly you set the mast up at the dock first by getting the mast base in the right position for and aft, then side to side. Then lock the partners in where you want the mast. Then you do the initial set of the rig, making sure it's in column, has appropriate pre-bend, etc. This is just a lose setting, to get you started.

In very light air 5-10kn at most you go sailing. Start off heading upwind on startboard tack. The pretend and rake shouldn't change, but the mast is probably falling off to port, so tack to port, take up two turns on the starboard shrouds then tack back. Rinse and repeat, tightening just the startboard shrouds until the mast stays in column. Then do the same to the port side.

When you get the mast verticle on both tacks, head back to the harbor. Is the mast verticle and in column while at rest? Great, you found your light air settings. Or more likely the mast will be slightly out of alignment biased to one side. This is normally, just move the mast back to verticle easing one turnbuckle then tightening the mirror half a turn at a time.

If you needed some at the dock adjustment you need to go back out and reconfirmed everything, but you should be within 1/2 a turn on either side from ideal. Once this is done for the first time you can put a loose gauge on the shrouds and make a note of the tension, this is so you can repeat the settings. I prefer using a set of micrometers to measure the stud-stud distance, but either works.

The next day you are looking for it to be blowing 15kn or so. Then do the same. The rig will fall off a bit more from the excess preassure in the sails streaticng the wire. So a bit more tightening is in order. Generally between one and two turns, but every boat is different. Then back to the dock and confirm if the mast is still in column. If not slowly move it back as above. Measure the tension, or stud-stud distance and make a note of it.

The third day you want it to be blowing above the point that you would put in the first reef. Go through the process again. Making a note of the tension/distance again.

Congrats you are done, and have created a tuning guide (basic) for your boat. If you are not going to be changing your settings regularly then I suggest leaving the rig set for reefed conditions. If you are going to change the tune regularly then this will act as a set of neutrals around which to work, and you can keep adding to the guide based on waves, wind strength, etc.

LOOSE LEEWARD SHROUDS ARE A SIGN THE WINDWARDS ARE TOO LOOSE, NOT THATTHE LEEWARDS NEED TIGHTENING.
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Old 31-12-2016, 10:59   #12
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

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Originally Posted by Dean Paul View Post
Another idea on rigging tension. I am a daysailer with an Islander 30 MKII. My rig is loose except for headstay tension while sailing. Why have it so tight when it tightens up by itself from sailing forces. Deck stepped spars will compress the deck step faster with this constant tension. Your thoughts?
I think this is not a very good idea.
Loose rig gets tight on the windward side while sailing - correct. But in a wavy sea when you go over a wave, the rig tries to work/move and if it is slack it will damage the connections of the shrouds to turnbuckles (fatigue damage). Proper tension will sriffen the rig and minimize this effect.
Proper tension will not compress the deck (in a sound boat). If the deck allows compression (under proper rig tension) you have larger problem to fix.
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Old 31-12-2016, 11:20   #13
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

There's a fair bit of unknowing in this thread, I think. That's OK...a lot of people buy boats without the full knowledge to operate them efficiently. I certainly did.

Think of the rigging as a full, unitary package, like a runner in "technical" shoes. You start at the bottom: Have you examined your chain plates and tightened them? Including fore and aft stay plates?I found every bolt needed an eighth to a quarter-turn every spring (especially if I kept my mast in over the winter). Have you serviced the turnbuckles and examined them for galling? (Lanocote is good here, but any reasonably hard to rinse off grease will help). Have you lain at the foot of the mast on a still day (without the boom out and looked up the sailtrack, hanging a weight to the main halyard) to see if there's a distortion side-to-side or no prebend where there's supposed to be?

What I'm getting at is that tuning the rig is a whole package most successfully accomplished from the ground up. You can run in shoes with laces untied, tied snugly or tied so aggressively your toes turn black...clearly there is an optimal way to tie them. It's the same with the rig. Learn all the parameters (I recommend Brion Toss's book The Rigger's Apprentice) and you as a cruiser can sail far more effectively just by comparative measurements, eyeball evidence and "feel". A gauge you can borrow for the cost of a cold beer to confirm your guesses.

The outcome, of course, is a safer rig that's easier on the rigging because slack can cycle-load the various bits, leading to fatigue, and a better rig because the wind forces on the sails are transmitted more effectively to pushing the hull. I certainly noticed a significant improvement to my 33 foot sloop when I "loaded her up" to windward once I had equally tensioned the rigging as per the Loos gauge.

It's worth learning as a skill and it gets you to service parts of the boat you otherwise might neglect.
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Old 31-12-2016, 12:18   #14
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

Hello, More than 40 years of tuning masts of all types. Perhaps the best bit of advice is to avoid excessive tension and tune to keep the mast straight under all conditions. Setting the mast up straight in the boat at the dock is a good start but since the geometry of every mast is different you also need to check for straightness with the rig under load. You can ease a stay or tension as required with the same result in tuning. Wire doesn't stretch much but it stretches enough to induce a bend if the tuning is not correct. Think of the wire as behaving a little like a spring initially as the slack is removed under tension. This means that the longer the wire, the higher the tension so that the various stays stretch the correct amount to leave the spar still in column. Some people go crazy with the tension loading the wire to 1/3 or more of the ultimate breaking strength which puts more static load on the boat than it will ever see out sailing..do the numbers the loads are crazy. Most materials including fibreglass will creep under load. Excessively loose rigging can cause things to come un pinned, wire to just out of a spreader slot etc. but the fear of fatigue seems to mostly a myth. Best of luck. James
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Old 31-12-2016, 13:56   #15
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Re: Did I set the tension right on my rigging?

I very much appreciate all the input so far, thanks again, please keep the comments coming...
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