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post #3 of Old 05-09-2011
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Rig tension determines the SHAPE of the jib/genoa ... windloading on jibs/genoas is variable due to the changing and variable wind strengths.

The 'functional purpose' of rig tension is not to keep the 'mast up' but rather to provide a structural 'platform' upon which to fly the sails ... and that requires quite precise tension - within limits.

There is not a SINGLE constant headstay/backstay tension that is 'appropriate'; however, headsails are typically cut/designed for the headstay/backstay to be @ ~15% wire tension when sailing in 12-15kts of windstrength ... and the 'sailmaker 'expects' the rig to be at 15% headstay/backstay tension when he/she designs 'stock' sails. .... and if you want 'performance' in other windstrengths then you should be adjusting the rig tension (on the fly via the backstay) to match the SHAPE of headsail.

Here's how to set 'tension' to get the correct SHAPE of the headsail (should be quite close to 15% tension ... headstay/backstay/capshrouds for sailing in 15kts); If this is too complicated, then set the headstay/backstay/cap shrouds at 15% .... as thats probably what your (stock) sail were designed to be flown on:
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