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Old 12-22-2011
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Question Shroud "stiffness"

Need some help with a definition so to speak. The O' Day manual for my 25 says that the upper shrouds should be "taught" and the lower shrouds should be "a bit slack". OK, so what is "taught" and what is "a bit slack"? Should I just get a tension gauge and tighten to a certain value? If so, what value?

Rhetorical question forthcoming.... Would it have been that difficult for them to give an actual tension number?
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Old 12-22-2011
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No, it would've been easier just to give you a number. But since they didn't, you'll have to go sailing. THere are site online that will help you tune your rig. Each rig is a little different, and sails are cut differently, so it needs to be "customized". Most just crank them down for 25 kts, and call it a day.

The short answer, check to make sure the mast is in column, and then go sailing. If the leeward shrouds go slack in less then 15 kts close hauled, then they're too loose. If they go slack, tighten the leeward shrouds a turn or two. Then tack and tighten the other shrouds. This will get you close.

There's A LOT MORE to it than that, but unless you're really concerned with performance, I wouldn't worry about it. But rig tension makes a huge difference, even on stiff masts. Most cruisers have the shrouds too tight, but it's better to error on the stiff side, than the loose side.
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