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Hoping for some feedback from folks with experience with adjusting standing rigging.

I had my mast unstepped in the fall. This spring I replaced all wiring, lighting, running rigging etc and had it re-stepped by the marina. Mast is keel stepped.

It appears that my standing rigging was re-attached properly, but in no way adjusted/ tuned. Observations include creaking noises under sail, as well as upper and lower shrouds visually loose under sail downwind.

I assumed that the service of stepping the mast would include properly adjusting / tensioning the shrouds and stays? Was this a bad assumption, or maybe just additional tuning is needed?
 

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Bristol 29.9
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In our yard after they step the mast the guys do a quick tune but nothing "proper." Just enough to keep the mast from falling down.

I know some people can tune their rig by feel, but this is only our second season so we used a Loos gauge. For us it was well worth the purchase.
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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1. You need a Loos Tension gauge or equivalent. There is no way to do it by "feel." When sailing the lee side shrouds will be loose but should not be flapping around - they should just feel less tension if you grab them as you go by. If they are really loose and your rig is properly set up you need to reef down immediately!
2. You need to read the Loos instructions. They include the proper tension settings.
3. You need to pick a nice day - not too hot, not too cold (see #4)
4. You need a lot of time - most likely several hours to do it right.

What you are trying to do is get the mast in "perfect" column. That means that it is not leaning to the left or right nor the front or back (unless you want to "pre-bend" the mast - not likely but possible depending on the make and model of your boat.)

The process is to adjust all the turnbuckles until the mast is in column. Then you go "around the loop" tightening each stay and shroud a little bit at a time. You start with the stays and shrouds at the top of the mast. As you tighten them the lower's will get loose so even though you are working from the top down you need to keep tightening the lowers in your loop. One the top is at the correct tension you work your way down the mast. Each time you go around you need to test the tension on every stay and shroud and also step back and make sure you have the mast in column. If you over-tighten you will end up bending the mast in one direction or the other - let off the tension a little and go tighten the other side until the mast is back in column. Also make sure you don't put a "S" in the mast by having the lowers shorter on one side than the other.

Don't forget to put cotter pins in the turnbuckles when you are done.

Many people will mark the final setting with tape around the turnbuckle threads. This makes it a lot easier to get "in the ballpark" the next time you step the mast.

Fair winds and following seas :)
 

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ASA and PSIA Instructor
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I've always tuned my rig by feel, although I used a Loos gauge with my R19 which I raced one-design - that gauge allowed re-setting the rig for that day's conditions. Most of us don't reset our cruising boats rig for a light air day, so I dont see its need.

If you have an owners' manual, most likely it has a rig tuning procedure although the procedure varies only by the characteristics of the rig, the principle is the same.
 

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Corsair 24
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depends on boat, rig and mast design

I also disagree on the not being able to do it by feel but it has more to do with having previous experience doing so than anything...

there are many many ways of doing it but going from top down is a good way and getting the mast in rake first with forestay and backstay then working down and side to side getting in column.

also and why its important to note what boat and mast design is some masts dont use prebend some do, some dont have much rake some do, some have single or double lowers, single or double spreaders, runners, baby stays

etccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc

so you need to specify what boat you have...

btw I hope you havent damaged your standing rigging or mast etc...by sailing with a stepped mast only

basically when restepping all marinas and or yards I have seen, been in or worked at, all they do is attach pins and give a few turns to the turnbuckles...

on some boats that is grossly out of tune and could cause mast bends way in excess of correct tune

so either hire a rigger or really check it yourself, climb the mast etc...

again depending on what type of boat you have

cheers and good luck
 

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Get a Loos gauge and use it. Sail for a while and use it again.

When I bought my boat, the rigging had been done by feel and it seemed pretty good - met all the usual touchy feely criteria. I put a Loos on it and different stays varied by more than 50%.

Doing your rigging by touch is like torquing an engine by touch - you MUST use a torque wrench if you want it done properly.
 

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jajajaja likewise I know plenty of engine rebuilders who do the whole torque wrench or no wrench and end up stripping half the engine cause they arent paying attention to what the threads are telling them instead blindly looking at a number.

it takes finesse...in anything mechanical...

so this time use the rigger, learn, get a loos gauge and gauge what its telling you by feel and apply it at later dates...

good luck
 

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Once known as Hartley18
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Get a Loos gauge and use it. Sail for a while and use it again.

When I bought my boat, the rigging had been done by feel and it seemed pretty good - met all the usual touchy feely criteria. I put a Loos on it and different stays varied by more than 50%.

Doing your rigging by touch is like torquing an engine by touch - you MUST use a torque wrench if you want it done properly.
Righto.. There's a "Model A" (economy) one that's around $100 cheaper than the "pro" version. I can see the Pro verson is the easiest to use, but which would you recommend a beginner get??

(FWIW, I tension my rig by feel.. but I'm always open to new ways of doing things. ;) )
 

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I got mine for $40 on Craigslist - the basic model.
 

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I got the cheep one in 1982 and will most likely get the better one because I see the value in it

One of the bigger issues is once you get in the tight range 1/2 turn can be a pretty BIG difference

Depending on how flexible your boat may be the taking the slack out of the leeward side can result in things be much to tight :)
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Thanks for the responses. I've contracted a local rigging company to handle this for me this time around. Will study up and be prepared next time around.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Try and be there when they do the tuning and you'll likely learn a lot. I always seem to learn great stuff when riggers are around.

MedSailor
 

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Freedom isn't free
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I should stick a loos on what i have now... the sailmaker was very specific that a Loos is not necessary to get proper rig tune, but then they give Loos numbers to start ;)

Where I think the loos gauge becomes invaluable, is in getting your settings correct again, so you can duplicate a rig tune in the future... I hadn't considered that you may be a good percentage out one side versus another. Is why I am now curious

What I do now:
I loosen everything up to hand tighten... backstay off... then adjust rake...measure with with plumb from main halyard, at the gooseneck

Once rake is set, I use the main halyard to adjust the uppers (I have a single spreader rig)... I pull the halyard out, to one chain plate, and adjust so that the same distance to the chainplate is on each side (this measures true and straight up)....

Once I verify true (straight vertically), I start to adjust the tension on the uppers, using the same number of turns on each side. This I do by feel (loos would be helpful here too).

Now the mast is up and raked, I adjust lowers for my pre-bend.. the forward lowers are adjusted to keep the mast from dipping too much... Aft lowers allow the mast to dip so far forward, forward lowers prevent too far aft... if you don't adjust them evenly side to side you can pull the mast out of column.

Then I check to make sure I didn't create an S curve by laying the halyard against the luff of the mast... look from directly behind you can see any pull port or starboard, and you can measure pre-bend from how far the halyard diverts from the mast, looking from port or starboard side using the same test.

As a final check I look at overall bend, by fully cranking on the backstay adjuster... I can then see how much additional "bend" I get. I am usually between 3 and 4 inches of total bend change (not much I know). If I am not getting the full range of bend, I likely have my lowers adjusted too tight.

Then I go sailing! I look to see if I get slop on the uppers/lowers at 10 degree of heel... if I do, I adjust until it's just gone... count my turns... tack, and adjust accordingly on the opposite tack.

None of this is scientific, nor is it using some fancy tool. So it's probably wrong, but that's how I've been doing it. I'll admit having a Loos when the "feel" is right would help me get to that same "tune" quicker.

PS: I'll also note that I usually back off a half or full turn in light air... and add a half or full turn in heavy air (usually to just the uppers/forestay). Shoot me for being unscientific, but then ours is a pretty informal racing club.
 

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To my mind. the big benefit of a Loos is that you get the same tension on all the shrouds & stays.

Doing it by feel works, and has worked forever but it isn't good at getting them all the same - or repeatability for that matter. A given tension feels tighter on a shorter wire like a lower than it does on an upper or backstay.
 
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of course...

it just depends on the person doing it...if you cant imagine that scenario or that different size wires feel different at the same tension then you probably shouldnt try doing it by feel...

for any person starting with tuning a loos gauge is a must then...

I see where maybe I was wrong in saying by feel is ok...

cheers and good luck!

christian
 

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Closet Powerboater
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of course...

it just depends on the person doing it...if you cant imagine that scenario or that different size wires feel different at the same tension then you probably shouldnt try doing it by feel...

for any person starting with tuning a loos gauge is a must then...

I see where maybe I was wrong in saying by feel is ok...

cheers and good luck!

christian
It's okay, you can say it. I'm too dumb to do it by feel. :p:p:p

MedSailor
 
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