Tensioning the rig

I am somewhat nervous about tensioning the forestay to a tight rig. How great is the risk of breaking the halyard or otherwise damaging the rig?

Do you have tight rig sails? The jib is cut to match the rig tension that you intend to use.

I use the trailer winch, on a loop of line attached to the jib halyard shackle. I have a snug rig setup and sails from North to match. I tension it with the trailer winch, and put the pin in and then release the winch. Remember to reattach the winch to the boat and do it only on level ground, so the boat doesn't roll off the trailer.

If you are using the jib halyard to get the tension, I would be more worried about breaking the halyard winch handle, than the halyard itself.

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

Another tensioning question: Which tension gauge should be used? The Model A Loos gauge (Loos Part No. 91 - which I use for my catalina 22) or the Loos Model PT-1 (with the two rollers and the spring)? The tension on my forestay read different tensions depending on the gauge that I use.

Tommy Smith
FS 4909

I have used both, and I think the PT-1 is more accurate and easier to use.

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

When tensioning using the jib halyard and the trailer winch, do you run the halyard to the end of the spool, or do you leave some spooled on the winch?

I leave enough on the spool to have the shackle about 12-18 inches above the bow tie-down eye.

Here's the scoop. I have a bowline in the end of my centerboard hoist line. When the centerboard is up (which it always is, when the boat is on the trailer) there is a long tail.

When I raise the mast, i first pass the centerboard line through the bow eye, and they put the bowline loop on the jib halyard shackle.

Then I raise the mast, and when it is all the way forward, I put my left hand on the mast, to keep it from falling down. I then take my right hand and pull the slack out of the CB line, pulling it toward me tightly and then cleat it off on the wooden cleat on the right side of the stanchion.

This holds the mast up. I then hook the trailer winch onto the loop on the jib halyard (same bowline) and snug up the winch enough to get to my 85-110 lbs setting, which I keep pre-marked. Put the pin and ring in, and tape it so it won't snag the spinnaker later.

Release the trailer winch, and reconnect it to the boat.

I also use the winch to get a little slack when I de-rig. This method allows me to raise and lower the mast alone, easily and quickly.

Getting the rake and forestay tension all set and marking the settings will take some experimentation, but you can dial it in, in one session. This is then your baseline for tuning and you have a predictable starting point that you can work from.

Harry sells a forestay adjuster gizmo, and the tuning guide for your sails will tell you how to set the rake and tension.

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

When using a snug or tight rig where are the forestay and jib halyard attached ? At the moment my Scot is rigged with both attached to the toggle plate. From reading the descriptions it appears that the halyard is disconnected fr4om the toggle, the forestay is tightened to the required tension (meaning that the toggle is now pulled right over). Is the jib tack then connected to the bow plate ? or is it still connected to the toggle bar ?
Many thanks for your help,Julian

They still attach to the toggle plate.  The toggle plate remains tilted to the forestay side.

Sorry to be thick, but we have the only Scot on our lake...

(1) How do you achieve more tension on the forestay without pulling the rake of the mast forward?

(2) Also, I see that Harry's tuning guide for the snug rig says that tension is not measured; but elsewhere [e.g., Mike Noone at Nockamixon S.C.] the forestay tension is set to 100 - 130lbs.
Hunter Riddle at Schurr advised to tighten the side shrouds to remove as much slop as possible and then make sure that the mast rake is correct (he was at 28'4" to 28'5-1/2"); no tension measurement.

Any advice, thoughts or comments would be appreciated!

FS 1573

The shrouds are much heavier than the forestay, so a somewhat tighter forestay will pull the mast forward a little, but not all that much. The rake is set by measuring as you indicate.

The loose rig, which is what the older Schurr sails always were, would rely on the toggle under the bow to tension the forestay and the jib halyard had a role in tension.

Snug and tight rig, which North, Mad, etc use, pegs the toggle to one end and the jib halyard only affects the luff tension of the jib cloth. The wire in the jib luff never gets tight.

If Hunter is saying to remove the slop of the loose rig, I would guess that about 80 -100 lbs will work. After you have it at that tension, re-check your rake. You are right, you want to measure the rake with the tension set. Readjust the shrouds if the rake is off, then reset the forestay and recheck tension and rake.

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

Thanks, Phil. I'll measure things up next chance I get.