Ok, so I have a Merit 25, very similar to a j24. Rigs are very similar but the merit has a 15/16 factional rig. The rig is made up of the following:
Cap shrouds (chain plates up to the masthead)
Lowers (tie into same chainplate as cap shrouds)
I had an aft lower and a cap shroud made over the winter (slowly replacing old rigging with new) and now that the mast is up, all is well, sorta. Things are pretty snug (I have no gauge) the lowers are tighter than the cap shrouds. The aft lowers a little loose to allow mast bend with backstay on. Sighting up the mast it looks like my mast is bending to leeward above the shrouds while sailing. Does this mean I should add more cap shroud tension to hold it in column? Only rig tuning I can find that is Merit specific is below:
Fishmeal's Algorithm for Tuning the Rig:
1) Loosen everything, and make sure there are no twists in the wires.
2) Set headstay length to be slightly longer than the current class
3) Tighten the uppers until you are afraid something might break,
making sure that the masthead is centered (use tape measure from main
halyard, wind must be nearly calm).
4) Tighten lowers to about 2/3 tension of uppers, sighting up sail
track to keep mast in column.
5) Tighten backstay until you are afraid something will break.
6) Adjust aft lowers for desired mast bend.
7) Go sailing. If uppers on leeward side go slack in less than 15 knots
of wind, they are too loose.
8) Adjust lowers so that mast bends only in vertical plane (check by
sighting up sail track).
9) If you have ever seen a boat of the same size and type with less
headstay sag, then the backstay is too loose.
10) Tighten aft lowers if you need a fuller main, loosen if you need
a flatter main.
Not exactly the technical approach I was looking for. My only other option would be to mimic the j/24 tuning guides and buy a loos gauge. Which brings me to my next question. I know a digital gauge is obviously a lot easier to use, but I've seen some analog gauges for hundreds less. Can I get similar results with a analog? Or should I just poney up the boat bucks for the digital (especially if I'll be racing)?
Thanks for any insight.