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Date Posted: - Wednesday - 06/13/12 - 7:57am
Author: Terry Kelly
Subject: rigging tension

Has anyone ever used a Loos tension gauge to tune their rigging on an M32?

If so, what specs do you use?

Alternatively, how do you know if you have the right tension if you don't use this gauge?


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[> Deck Stepped Masts -- Paul M31 #106, - Wednesday - 06/13/12 - 8:43am

Careful to not overtighten - don't listen to "professionals".... Our masts need to be secured and shrouds tightened so they (the masts) stay in place and don't "pump" in choppy conditions.

I was lucky enough to get the advice of an old salt rigger who confirmed that our shrouds should be loose on the lee side when beating into a stiff breeze. Loose, as in clearly having very little to no tension, but not dangling.

The sweet spot is a compromise between preventing deck compression and not give the masts room to pump. If a shroud is too slack, i.e. dangling, especially the lower shrouds, the mast has room to accellerate before sideways movement stops against the shroud, thus creating a hammer effect. This will result in failure at the weakest point.

Some here have put in reinforcement, including compression posts, under their masts, which allows them to put a bit more tension on the shrouds, but in my opinion this is yet another compromise because it takes away speca in the interior. Unless you figure on exposing the boat to prolonged excessive conditions requiring additional security, I don't think this is necessary.

For what it's worth...

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[> [> Rigging tension. -- Terry Kelly, - Thursday - 06/14/12 - 6:59am

Thanks, Paul. That confirms my suspicion that I had the main set up too hard when the head door started sticking.

From what you say, the turnbuckles, properly lubricated, should be able to be tightened by hand very nearly to the point where they should be.

The folks over at Loos who make the gauge I referred to claim that most of us don't put enough tension on our rigs, especially the upper shrouds, so maybe they would fall into the category of "professionals" you mentioned?

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[> [> [> Put her on a beam reach with a fresh breeze -- Bill Kranidis, - Thursday - 06/14/12 - 9:05am

...leeward shrouds/stays shouldn't be dangling freely if the mast is nice and straight and the boat heeling, at say...17*-20*. If they do, take up the slack. Do the same on the other tack.

Terry, I want to see some pics of "Bridget" :-)


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[> [> [> Hand tight is a good start -- Paul M31 #106 NJ, - Thursday - 06/14/12 - 11:06am

but as Bill states in his response, if hand tight gets you dangling shrouds on the lee side, they should be tightened a little more.

A sticking head door may be inevitable, as the deck tends to compress over time anyway, regardless of how much pressure it sees. My door clearly has been shaved down quite a bit over the years, plus the PO also added some extra support under the original support beam as visible in this picture...


I can't tell yet if the deck continues to "give"...

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[> [> [> [> Great crossbeam idea -- Bill Kranidis, - Friday - 06/15/12 - 8:41am

I really like what the PO of your boat did, Paul. Nice and clean installation. That, along with the original set-up, would support mast compression in pretty much any kind of seas.

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[> [> [> [> [> I think I've got it -- Terry Kelly, - Wednesday - 07/ 4/12 - 4:10pm

So I sprung for one of the Loos gauges; got the pro model for less than the lesser version.

Following their initial suggestions for set up, I put 650 to 700 lbs on the main shrouds and 700 lbs on the back stay.

Let her sit for a couple of days, and discovered that the head door was sticking a little. (The hanging locker door, too, but it clearly needs a bit of trimming.)

Checked the tensions and dropped them by about 50lbs at a time and now have it where the doors aren't sticking any more, and the leewards get a bit slack on a beam reach in 10kts.

Did the same sort of thing for the mizzen, with correspondingly lower numbers because of the smaller wire.

So, now I have numbers on the gauge even for both sides, and repeatable for next season.

It is true that if I had tensioned her up the way the majority of riggers tell me to, I wouldn't be able to get into the head at all!

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[> [> [> [> [> [> New tensions -- Paul M31 # 106, nj, - Thursday - 07/ 5/12 - 9:04am

When you checked the tensions with the door sticking after a few days, were they already less than what you set them at - you say between 650 and 700lbs each?

Also, when you reduced them by 50 lbs at a time - what did you end up leaving them at where the the leewards would go somewhat slack on a 10kt beam reach?

It would be interesting to compare numbers - I have a loose gauge on board as well.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Rigging tension/deck compression -- Bill Miller, - Thursday - 07/ 5/12 - 5:21pm

Hi Guys,
This is a great discussion and I mostly agree with Paul on a compromise between shrouds being too slack and too tight that would cause deck compression. I kept tightening mine over and over until finally had to go for more support. Refer to "completed projects" main mast support. I chose to copy Bruce Allen's version of the T flange stainless beam. Quite a project but works like a dream. No sticking of head or locker doors while only losing 1 1/2" of headroom in the doorway. I feel I've got it dialed on Natsukaze and agree with Bill on just taking up a little on the leewards while reaching in 10kts. I don't have a guage but would also be very interested in your final numbers on the tension.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> T-Flange -- Bruce (M31#95), - Thursday - 07/ 5/12 - 6:22pm

I have more photos of my mainmast support beam, as it has been updated, even since Randall wrote the article. Email me if you want additional information on my installation. Bill is right - it works like a dream, and makes tuning the rig easy.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Loos numbers -- Terry Kelly, - Monday - 07/ 9/12 - 8:38am

I ended up with the Loos gauge reading 25 for the 7/32 wires.

After a week, they are still there, and yes, on a beam reach in almost exactly 10kts, there was slack in the leewards.

The head doors still do not stick but the door to the hanging locker does need attention at the forward-most point. There's a little hump there which needs flattening, and then we'll watch it.

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