TUNING YOUR MAST & CHANGING TENSION

Masts

STIFF ISN'T ALWAYS BETTER

The Snipe mast is light and flexible compared the masts of other boats similar in size.  As a result of the mast being so flexible, you can tune/change the mast for different conditions and crew weights. There are several controls that allow you to change the shape/power in your mast while you are on the water racing.

Most women's teams will want a mast of medium stiffness. Younger and very light teams may choose a soft, more bendy mast.  

New masts available are Sidewinder Gold & Sidewinder Standard (Sweden), Diemar (Brazil), the Persson Teardrop (Belgium), and the Selden                 (formerly Proctor) Vectis mast (UK).

Other masts you may find, but are no longer in production are the Proctor mast and the Sidewinder Junior, both of which are much softer masts

Spreaders

MAKE LIFE EASIER, TUNE YOUR RIG

Measure Your Spreaders

If you are using a new or different boat

After you travel with your boat

If you have not used your boat in a long time

 

Before your mast goes up, measure your spreader length and the sweep/angle of your spreaders.  If they are too long or too short for your team's weight, strength, and ability, or too powerful or de-powered for the wind conditions, you will have to work harder, use more energy, sail slower, and not have a good time.

When your mast is up.

Measure rake and shroud tension.

Spreader Length

Spreader Length

42 - 42.5 cm (16"1/2 - 16"3/4)

Sweep/Angle:

74- 75cm (29.5")

Tension & Rake

Base Tension/Light Wind

18 on tension gauge

Base Rake

656 - 658cm (21'6.5 - 21'7)

Rig Tension

MAKE LIFE EASIER, TUNE YOUR RIG

The correct tension and rake makes the boat easier to sail and you will go faster.  In addition to a tuning guide from your sailmaker, you will need a tension gauge and a long measuring tape.  

The shrouds are used to measure tension and the rake is measured by attaching the tape measure to the main halyard.  Hoist the halyard to the top of the mast and lock it.  The rake is the distance from the top of the halyard to the top/center of the deck at the stern. Careful, because some hulls have different heights at the stern. 

Tell your sailmaker what type of boat you are using

(Lemaõ, Jibe Tech, Persson, etc.)

Make a mark for your base tension on the mast, so you know where to pull the jib halyard after a downwind.  

For reaching, you will need to make another mark. 

For a reach you will want to ease your jib halyard about 2 cm (3/4")

You will want to have settings for Light, Medium, and Strong wind.

Changing Tension

on the Water

MAKE LIFE EASIER, TUNE YOUR RIG

As the wind speed changes, you will need to change your rig tension to optimize your boat speed.  You should have light wind, medium wind, and strong wind settings.  To go from one setting to another, the crew usually turns the Sta-masters 1 full turn (6 faces) or one hole on a chainplate.  This can vary based on mast flexibility.

The skipper should steer at an angle between a reach and upwind and keep tension on the main sheet (which takes pressure off the leeward shroud).

The crew cleats the jib sheet to windward with the jib backwinded.  The crew goes to the leeward side and changes the tension to the next setting.  If your have Sta--masters, turn to the anti clockwise to tighten and to the clockwise to loosen tension. 

When both sides have been adjusted, the skipper pulls the jib halyard back to the correct position/mark.  Some teams do not change the rake position mast until very strong wind.

* If your boat does not have Sta-masters buy or borrow them.  Using Sta-masters is safer, faster, and allows you a greater number of settings as you can adjust your rig in smaller increments.

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