Originally Posted by smurphny
The tension is important because wire does stretch. If the initial tension is too low, the leeward shrouds will be flapping around. One way of tensioning is to alternately tighten the leeward shrouds on different tacks while on a beam reach until they are both just slightly loose and the mast is straight at rest. There was recently a pretty good thread on this with links to Selden Mast. They have a page on the topic.
This method is, in my experience, near universal. I wouldn't have to take my socks off to count the number of times I have seen anyone setting up a rig with any kind of tension gauge, even one as simple as a Loos.
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I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken, opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.