Which is more important, straight mast or balance shroud tension?

Vtonian

E38 - Vashon
Bruce, I was using the 'Regular' model you show and realized immediately that it was necessary to be really careful how I applied it to get repeatable readings but was able to do that repeatedly, at least close enough to believe I wasn't dangerously overloading or under tensioning one. I was also skeptical about accuracy but allowing room for all the variables that might affect accuracy for any individual piece of cable, and that ultimately, it's going to be an eye/feel proof of the pudding anyway, it seemed like a pretty reasonable place to start for an indeterminate age rig with obvious issues and lots of room for improvement, especially for a novice.

One of my biggest concerns about this boat has been the potential corrosion around the base of the mast. What little I know about aluminum is that it's really strong, until it's not, when it very quickly becomes rubbish, sometimes without a lot of indication. I did clean and inspect that enough before tensioning to convince myself the mast has mostly a surface/paint issue but I had been concerned about whether tightening up the rigging might crush it. I've had corroded aluminum crumble in my hands and in fact, part of the pedestal base did just that on my last sail, going from a major crack in the flange to a pile of dust when I stepped on it one more time.

At the other end, I've also been concerned about the amount of rust staining around some of the stainless, notably the backstay chainplate. What little I know about stainless is, crevice corrosion can be disastrous and often the only indication might be that rust staining. Based on my oath to first, do no harm to this boat and second, sail it at least as much as I work on it, I didn't want to destroy something I might need to fulfill my sailing commitment this first season with her. But those issues will be stories for another day...

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bigd14

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
I found this tuning guide useful when we had a masthead boat, it mostly repeats what has been said here already but may be helpful nonetheless. I found it very easy to adjust the rig on my E27 following this advice.


There are tuning guides for the 30+ fractional rig in the archives here. On this boat I have struggled to find the appropriate tension- too loose and the leeward stays slacken, which is advised against in the tuning guide, but adding a few more turns causes the head door to start binding which makes me nervous that I am over tensioning and bending the boat. It’s hard to know where to end up. I also can’t seem to get very much bend in the mast with backstay tension, so perhaps I haven’t done it quite right. I try to balance tension side to side by tapping the shrouds with a wrench like a guitar string and listening to the sound. When the tones roughly match I figure I am close, and then check to make sure everything is still in column. I often wonder if I should be more scientific about the whole process (eg a Loos gauge), but so far I have not gone there.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
The stainless steel used in yacht fittings typically rusts. It's probably 316, I have been told again and again. It is designed to be cleaned periodically, and there is no loss of strength.

Stress working, crevice corrosion and other issues of oxygen deprivation are something else. The rust shown in the photos can be removed immediately with household rust cleaners, although if you let it go that long it may take some doing. I put a few squirts of Bartender's Friend on the stanchion bases every wash, and the exterior chainplates forestay and backstay as necessary.

But it's true that rust deserves attention. On coated lifelines, say, or swaged stays, it can mean more. Rust around keelbolts, which is inevitable, suggests the bilge might be kept drier, so as to allow the exposed bolts to form their corrosion proofing. I attend to that regularly, for its psychological value, while the keel bolts grin up at me in amusement at my folly.
 

Vtonian

E38 - Vashon
@bigd14, brilliant, that tuning g guide mentions the opposite effect on the mast of tensioning a shroud that crosses the tip of a spreader. I'd guess there's more math involved but the concept might help explain my conflicting tension/alignment results. Can't wait to get back and twiddle with this concept.

Also, I noticed my head door seems to have a will of its own, sometimes sticking, other times free. Hadn't gotten around to thinking that through but good to know I'm not alone and rig tune may affect it.

@CW, I feel a little more assured, thanks, will proceed with cleaning and set aside a bit of my worrying.

I was going to grab some BTF the other day and didnt because they didnt have the original dry powdered stuff. You mention a 'squirt' of it though so I'm assuming the liquid version is Ericson approved. Cleaning the stainless/stains is going to do so much for our morale!
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Cleaning the stainless/stains is going to do so much for our morale!
Revealing a little more :(
about my mental state.... but we do get regular comments on how shiny all of the SS deck parts are on our boat.

That's after I polished them out while they were off the boat for the 2021 re-fit. Buffing the SS parts is kind of a "zen" sort of work. Not at all exciting, but the result is really good for morale, mine. :)
 

Vtonian

E38 - Vashon
Revealing a little more :(
about my mental state.... but we do get regular comments on how shiny all of the SS deck parts are on our boat.

That's after I polished them out while they were off the boat for the 2021 re-fit. Buffing the SS parts is kind of a "zen" sort of work. Not at all exciting, but the result is really good for morale, mine. :)
I get it. I'm personally not a spit and polish fiend, although I respect those who can/are, but I do like things to be ship shape and the rust is such an obvious sign of neglect, that bothers me a lot. Now that I'm finally able to start working on the important things, the appearance needs to level up as well. It's one thing to have the cabin full of tools instead of cushions and beverages, another for it to look like the Black Pearl rolling through the marina...
 

Kenneth K

1985 32-3, Puget Sound
Blogs Author
I found this tuning guide useful when we had a masthead boat....
Nice post! Answers a question I've always wondered about:

"Make sure that the turnbuckles are lubricated with heavy lubricant to prevent galling and damage to the threads."

Sure, oil on the threads can attract dirt, but I suppose that can always be wiped off after tightening.
 
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bigd14

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
I use Tef-Gel on the turnbuckle threads. It does attract some dirt but they have always turned smoothly when I needed them to.
 

G Kiba

Sustaining Member
Stainless steel can also pick up iron from the tools used on it. Most quality stainless steel parts are passivated with acid to create a protective oxide layer (per google). Sailcoat or Mclube works well on turnbuckles as well.
 

Vtonian

E38 - Vashon
Stainless steel can also pick up iron from the tools used on it. Most quality stainless steel parts are passivated with acid to create a protective oxide layer (per google). Sailcoat or Mclube works well on turnbuckles as well.
Like the idea of a dry lube.

I shot Kroil on these the day before, nothing frozen when I went back. Seems pretty amazing penetrant and doesn't harm fiberglass.
 
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