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tagster 06-18-2007 05:36 PM

Tension of Standing Rigging
 
So preparing for my trip I've been checking up on and fixing item after item on my boat...and I've noticed that my stays are all completely different tensions.

I have a lot of them.

On the foremast:
  • Two forward stays
  • Three standing/main stays
  • Two strongbacks (high tension running back stays)

On the main mast:
  • One forward stay (rigged to the foremast)
  • Four standing/main stays (one forward one aft and one pair of two center of the mast)
  • One fully adjustable running back stay (only tightened/loosened by hand using some compound pulleys and a line clip - whatever those are called)

How tight should each stay be? I'm fairly sure they should be balanced around the boat, but how much give should they have? Should I be able to shake them with my hands?

Valiente 06-18-2007 06:28 PM

Sure, if you go downwind in five knots of wind.

Otherwise, the tension of the stays is usually determined by a number of factors, primary among them the type of mast you have, the diameter of the stays and shrouds, the "rake" of the mast, and the type of sailing you do.

Most stays are too slack, i.e. the rig is not optimally tuned. This can be seen on each tack, where the lee shrouds are slack. Too much slack leads to too much mast movement, work hardening, wear and crappy sail performance: The stays are the "ligaments" of the rig, with the mast, hull and chainplates forming the "skeleton" which transfers the power of the wind in the sails to move the boat. Slack stays=poor transfer, wear and eventually failure.

Consider borrowing or buying a Loos or other type of tension gauge, and determine the usual rig tensioning for your boat. Check all chainplates FIRST, because you want to ensure that the reason the stays are loose in the first place is because the chainplates are half pulled apart.

Ask for help. It's not an amateur job, but it's one easily learned and the results may surprise you.

Rigging Tension: Information from Answers.com

sailingdog 06-18-2007 08:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Valiente
Sure, if you go downwind in five knots of wind.

Otherwise, the tension of the stays is usually determined by a number of factors, primary among them the type of mast you have, the diameter of the stays and shrouds, the "rake" of the mast, and the type of sailing you do.

Most stays are too slack, i.e. the rig is not optimally tuned. This can be seen on each tack, where the lee shrouds are slack. Too much slack leads to too much mast movement, work hardening, wear and crappy sail performance: The stays are the "ligaments" of the rig, with the mast, hull and chainplates forming the "skeleton" which transfers the power of the wind in the sails to move the boat. Slack stays=poor transfer, wear and eventually failure.

Not to mention the shock loading that can occur with a loose rig... the sudden transfer of the tension and load from one side to the other can cause a catastrophic failure in a gybe, and possibly to the loss of the mast.

Quote:

Consider borrowing or buying a Loos or other type of tension gauge, and determine the usual rig tensioning for your boat. Check all chainplates FIRST, because you want to ensure that the reason the stays are loose in the first place is because the chainplates are half pulled apart.
I think you meant to say that "you want to ensure that the reason the stays are loose in the first place is not because the chainplates are half-pulled apart." A loose rig due to badly adjusted stays and shrouds is one thing, a loose rig due to failing chainplates is a different beastie altogether.

Valiente 06-18-2007 11:46 PM

Yep, that's correct. Inspect the chainplates for wear, oval boltholes and cracked knees first, prior to spinning the turnbuckle to half a ton of tension.

tagster 06-19-2007 06:14 AM

Heh, shows what I know.

I'll buy a tension gauge and see if I can't find a local expert to help me out with this. I don't really know anyone suitable, maybe I'll hire someone.

Determining the "usual" rig tensioning for my boat is going to be very difficult if not impossible. There aren't very many of these boats out there. Although my tensioning might need to be similar to other models by the same shipyard, but I would sort of doubt that since the other models this size have completely different rigging.


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