Join Date: May 2002
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First time up with mast
After you eyeball the mast to ascertain that it is more-or-less perpendicular, don''t begin to adjust your shrouds yet. First do the following:
Take your jib halliard and pull it down until it touches the top of your starboard chainplate. You should pull it with just enough tension to take out any sag in the halliard. Then do the same with your port chainplate. That measurement will tell you whether your mast is reasonably perpendicular, or whether it is leaning to one side or the other. After you have done that, then start adjusting the upper shrouds on each side, alternately, making whatever adjustment is necessary to bring the mast to perpendicular. Re-check the measurement to each of the chainplates to make sure that you have it perpendicular.
Next, adjust the tension of your lower shrouds in the manner you describe.
Next, adjust the tension of your headstay and backstay, so that you take out any significant sag. The amount of adjustment should be evenly distributed between the headstay turnbuckle and the backstay turnbuckle. Make sure that all your turnbuckles are locked in some manner, so they can''t back off.
Next, sail the boat. If the boat has excessive weather helm, re-adjust the whole rig so that it tilts slightly more forward. If the boat has lee helm, re-adjust the whole rig so that it tilts slightly more aft.
Those adjustments might not tune your rig race-perfect, but they should get it close enough for general sailing purposes.
These suggestions are general, because I don''t know what specific kind of rig your boat has.