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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Mast Question
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Thread: Mast Question Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-21-2010 08:04 AM
sailingdog Walt—

Doubt he much cares, as the OP was posting in 2007.
03-21-2010 12:34 AM
Waltthesalt If you've the gumption to install your mast you can tune it. No problem. Riggers are mostly used on large boats with complex rigs. Your boat is definately in the DIY category. Anyway you've gotta learn how anyway as you'll be undoing a stay here and thier for ne reason or annother. You could have a rigger teach you as they go.
So how do you know what to do. There's books on the subject. Brian Toss' book "The Rigger's Apprentince" is the most encyclopedicthat I know of. It'd be best to check it out of a library as you'll only be using a half dozen of its 392 pages at the most. Still it's a good reference. Toss also sells a DVD on how to tune your rigging on his website. If you're in the Seattle area he also runs classes from time to time. Check out his website.
Riggers can do the tension by feel, as do most all of us. But the really sane thing to do is spend about $80 to get a rigging tension gage. Better still borrow one.
Contact the class organization for your boat. They usually have all the tribal knowledge on thingson how to best set up your rigging. There may be someone in the area who'd be glad to help.
03-19-2010 01:41 PM
Superpickle HEY, What happend to this Dude,, he Dissapeard ?????
04-17-2007 11:02 PM
knothead While not intending to dismiss anyone's advice, I am going to try to simplify this whole process.
Cracked swages are really not too difficult to find. Clean the surface of the fitting with a scotch-brite (it helps if you spit on it before scrubbing), then take your magnifying glass and look very carefully over the whole thing. Don't neglect to inspect the clevis and cotter pins/rings.
I've even seen a fairly young marine eye with absolutely no swage cracks split above the clevis pin.
If you have swage cracks they will be visible, if not obvious.
If your rigging is more than ten years old and it has been in central Florida for all that time then you are likely to find a crack or two.
If you find a small crack in your starboard upper and you have reason to believe the rigging is all of the same vintage then you will probably find some more upon closer inspection.
If you only have one week off from work, (and it's next week), and you have been planning this trip to Honeymoon Island for months and you have sense enough to reef early, stay at anchor or motor if you think you are stressing the rig, then you can almost assuredly enjoy a nice vacation and then rerig when convienent. Certainly before you decide to do the thursday night beer can race at the yacht club.
I've seen, and continue to see neglected and poorly designed rigging stand up to amazing abuse.
That said, you never want to push it. If you have time to rerig before your trip, then do it. If you can't, then take it easy, be smart and have a nice trip.

Most rigging, made by a professional will be consistant. Meaning that your starboard upper shroud will be almost exactly the same length as the port upper. (+or- 1/8" to 1/4"). So, if your mast is standing, then adjust your upper shroud turnbuckes exactly the same by opening them to the same point while your mast is being held by the lowers,headstay and backstay (you may even want to open the turnbuckles up completely and make sure the stud and t-bolt, ie top and bottom are started evenly).
Then while tightening, count the turns and take up the exact same count on each side until hand tight. Now ease off the lowers one at a time and set them all hand tight.
Next ease and set to hand tight the backstay and headstay, (if ajustable or accessable depending on furling systems). Now stop and sight up the main sail track like a gunbarrel. You will be able to see any curve (side to side) or bow (Fore and Aft) right away.
If the mast is curving to starboard and bowing forward, then start to adjust it out by tightening the starboard forward lower and backstay. It's all pretty logical if you just remember that you want to keep the top of the mast in the middle of the boat. So move the middle of the mast.
I realize that one must assume that the last rigger made the rigging correctly, the builder put the hole in the deck or the mast step in the middle of the deck and the chainplates are the same length and in the same positions, but what the hell, you have to make some assumptions in life.
It's really pretty easy to see if a rig has been piece-mealed and as for the rest a tape measure will answer most questions if you are really worried.
Anyway, back to the tuning.
Now that you have the mast in column, It's time to go for tentioning. If you have a gauge the use it. Set the shouds at the same tension, somewhere around the middle of the scale.

The most important part is to do the same thing on each side. If you turn the starboard upper three full turns then turn the port upper the same. Port aft lower two turns, Stb aft lower two turns etc.

If you don't have a gauge then just feel them. Don't try to make them sound like a guitar string but just get them tight. Tighten the uppers more than the intermediates and the intermediates more than the lowers. This assumes that the uppers are of an equal or larger diameter that the intermediates and the intermediates are of an equal or larger diameter than the lowers.

I have never seen a mast bowed forward on purpose. Lots of masts bow aft, some even are designed that way. Unless you have a in-mast main furler you probably won't have to worry about a little aft bow.
As far a rake (how much the mast leans aft from vertical), that can also usually be determined by the adjustment of the turnbuckles, Furlers and backstay adjusters.
If you have turnbuckles on both the HS and BS then go for about 50% adjustment on both. Adjust that later depending on weather-helm or lee helm.
After you have successfully tightened all the shrouds and stays to a reasonable degree, the mast is in column side to side and you have the desired amount of bow then go sailing. In a moderate breeze, sailing a close reach your mast should still be in column and there should be no shrouds swinging in the breeze. Meaning that even the looward shrouds should still be under some, if smaller load. If not then adjust the loose shouds, counting the turns, come about and do the same thing on the other side.
Again, the same turns on each side. Keep it in column.

If your headstay deflects too much and you can't sail too well to winward then tighten up the headtstay or backstay depending on weather/lee helm (you might want to ask a knowledgeable friend or racer to go sailing with you for this)
After returning to the dock, eyeball up the mast again. If necessary, make whatever minor adjustments to make sure the mast is in column then install all the cotter rings/pins.
Congratulation,you're done
I have not made it a practice to go sailing on the boats that I tune. Don't have the time. Most riggers don't. As a sailor, it's a skill that one needs to aquire.
Good luck and happy sailing
04-17-2007 12:30 PM
T34C
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfool
If you have figured it out and it works for you, that's great, but...
If however you think you've figured it out, and it breaks anyway, you're screwed.
04-17-2007 12:29 PM
kennya
Mast

I strongly suggest that you take Sailingdog’s suggestion to have your rigging inspected. Regardless of how old your boat is, knowing the working components of your boat are in good condition is peace of mind.
Good luck with your new boat , have fun , learn lots , keep us posted on your adventures.

Ken
04-17-2007 11:20 AM
sailingfool
Loos Guage

I personally dont think a Loos guage is much use with boats other than one designs, who do rely on them. The first issue is I doubt Louise is going to find tension settings for a C27 anywhere. My CS36T comes with a three inch thick owners manual, including several pages on rig tuning, but no tension settings that I recall - per the instructions, just sail up wind and tune... The several times a yard set up our mast, no one carried one around.

If you have figured it out and it works for you, that's great, but hands on testing gives you a direct and accurate answer at no cost...maybe I'm getting to be an old fuddy-duddy... but that's a different thread.
04-17-2007 10:14 AM
sailortjk1 It might seem a bit challenging and bit intimidating for the first timer.
If you have help, someone with knowledge of what they are doing, you might consider doing it yourself.
But if you have any reservations at all about your abilities to properly set and inspect your rig, get a professional. Next season you'll be the expert and I'm sure you will be doing the tuning yourself. But the first time........ you may want to solicit an expert's services.
04-17-2007 06:58 AM
sailingdog Sailormann-

While that's great for a boat that is a known quantity... having at the rig, not knowing if the forestay swages are sound or not is probably not the best idea in the world. A rigging survey and tuning isn't all that expensive to get, and the amount it might save you is well worth it IMHO. It also means that instead of her guessing on how tight the rigging should be, she is starting with it all properly set, and then has a baseline for her own work later on.
04-17-2007 03:42 AM
tenuki I second SD, find a rigger who does smaller boats, buy a loos gauge before the survey (make sure you get the right one for your gauge rigging), then tell the rigger you want a rigging survey and are also willing to pay the extra couple hours or so to have him/her explain it to you enough so you can keep it in tune and also take it on a short sail to verify that it's in tune.

A good resource for finding a rigger who knows and works on smaller boats in your area would be your local J24 racers. In fact, you should probably crew on some of their boats anyway just to find out what crazy people do when they sail, but that is another topic.
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