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Signs that you need to do something here would include excessivley slack leeward shrouds while beating, excessive weather helm or markedly different performance on one tack over the other.
Things to look for are if the masthead is centered over the boat, and that the mast stays in column on both tacks. (It may exhibit some intentional fore-and-aft bend, but probably not so much on a Niagara 35)
Use the main Halyard as a "tape measure" and stretch it to a point on the rail abeam of the mast. Then use that same point on the other rail and see if the distance to the deck is the same. If they are the same this means the masthead is centered. If not adjust the cap shrouds to make it so.
Next sight up the sailtrack to see if the mast is straight. If it pulls in the middle one way or the other, the lowers can be adjusted to true things up. Once straight, shroud tension can be set with a Loos gauge according to data for your boat.
Fore and aft location will affect the weather helm - moving the mast/rig forward will reduce, aft will increase. If the boat sails OK now you can probably leave it.
Next go sailing and sight up the sail track and note any bend that you don't like - and adjust to suit. (note - adjust the shrouds when they are unloaded - to leeward- then tack back to check the result.)
On most cruising boats you wouldn't expect the leeward shrouds to slack off significantly until you had a good 15 knots apparent. (others will have different numbers here, I'm sure)
It's a straight forward but somewhat time consuming exercise. In your case it may just need checking.
Last edited by Faster; 07-19-2007 at 11:38 PM.