Shroud tension by feel - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-04-2013 Thread Starter
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Shroud tension by feel

I know this is a hard one to answer. I just think my shrouds are too loose. In planning to get a loos gauge in the near future but to get me by about how tight should they feel.

First off my mast is in column and all standing riggin is even. So uppers feel the same etc.

Fore and back stay are pretty tight, uppers are pretty loose and lowers are really loose. So loose I can flick they and they slop around a bit.
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-04-2013
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Re: Shroud tension by feel

As a rule of thumb, when you are sailing upwind in a decent breeze, your leeward uppers should still be tight, and the lowers can be a bit slack, but shouldn't be completely floppy. at the same time the forestay tension can be judged by how much headstay sag you see when you sight it along the centerline of the boat.
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Shroud tension by feel

Sounds like you are a bit loose with the shrouds imho. I have all my wires set to the upper teen % based on a loose guage.

Are you still in PT? not sure if I will be up that way thursday. but could bring one by. Altho you probably need the small one, I have the middle size as that is the size of my wires. IIRC a PT-2......

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post #4 of 15 Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Shroud tension by feel

Rattle = way to loose
flopppp = too loose
Twaaaaaaaaang = loose
Taawaang = close
Twaang = a bit too tight
Twap = too tight
Snap = oopse!

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post #5 of 15 Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Shroud tension by feel

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Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
I know this is a hard one to answer. I just think my shrouds are too loose. In planning to get a loos gauge in the near future but to get me by about how tight should they feel.

First off my mast is in column and all standing riggin is even. So uppers feel the same etc.

Fore and back stay are pretty tight, uppers are pretty loose and lowers are really loose. So loose I can flick they and they slop around a bit.
I just went through this. My rigging is more complicated, with forward AND after lowers.

Flopping around, at the dock with no load is definitely not correct. Snug up your lowers, then go sailing and observe their behavior on each tack. The leeward lowers should go soft, but not flop around.

Sight up the mast on each tack, and ensure that the mast remains in column. The upper half should not fall off to leeward (possible dismasting), and the center should be held in column by the lower shrouds. If the center bows out to leeward, snug them again.

I recommend small adjustments. Count your turns so that you can reset, if things don't look or feel right.

Like you, I'm in the market for a Loos gauge but money is tight.

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post #6 of 15 Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Shroud tension by feel

My stbd lowers were flapping on a port tack this weekend so I started searching as well. I just tightened them a couple of turns and will go out and check them. As was stated, under sail the leeward lowers should not flop around but relax a bit.

Thinking about it...I went one turn only. it doesn't take much

Last edited by blutoyz; 06-05-2013 at 09:46 AM.
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Shroud tension by feel

A Loos gauge is about 100 bucks. New rigging is several thousand.

I've got a 90b I got for my last boat, wouldn't you know not one of the wires on my Irwin is small enough and now I've got to get a 90a or the professional version?

Lessons learned are opportunities earned.
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Shroud tension by feel

New rigging is more like several hundred on a Ranger 23. It's a lot cheaper when you have shorter and smaller diameter wire.

This is what Catalina suggests for rigging tension on a Catalina 25 (3/16" uppers):
The upper shrouds should be firm but not tight. A 50 pound push should deflect the upper shroud about 1" at shoulder height.

Not as accurate as a Loos Gauge, but pretty simple to check.

If I remember correctly the book "Sail and Rig Tuning" does have methods for accurately measuring rig tension without using a Loos Gauge. I think you'll find this at many marine stores.

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post #9 of 15 Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Shroud tension by feel

Sounds like you are a bit too loose.

I would suggest tightening them each at the same small increments (half turn at a time) - it does not take much - but do them one after another and back and forth to keep the mast as straight as possible. You could even grab your binoculars if you have them and stand far way on shore and try to sight how straight the mast is. Go back, do it again to get the correct balance and desired tension.

You could just go to the boats that are in tip-top shape and go sailing often and made yours the same feeling tension.

While you're at it, a cheap bristle brush along the shroud wires is good to clean out the dust and dirt, and also a bottle of turnbuckle lube (like $5 at marine store for a tiny bottle the size of crazy glue) and a few drops on each will make you feel confident about it before you start tightening things.

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post #10 of 15 Old 06-06-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Shroud tension by feel

I put penetrating oil in the turnbuckles and they turned smoothly. I don't think I even needed it. I've tightened them and actually got a nice but of wind to test them out today. While sailing the leeward upper is a little tight, the aft lower is a little loose, and the foreword lower still seemed too loose. Should both lowers be about the same while sailing?

I did polish the crap out of them with bronze wool which was ass then a bristle brush and flitz metal polish.
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