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Old 04-19-2012, 10:10 AM   #1
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Trawler Mast Tension

I am just about to raise my mast after Winter storage. It is about 15ft tall, hinged and supported by a forward wire stay and two side stays.
The boom is about 12ft long and used to raise/lower a dinghy/motor weighing 500lbs plus. I have just replaced the rigging with new wires, blocks, etc. Does anybody have any input on how to tension the new wires correctly. Previously, the stay on the side of the boat bearing the load when lifting the dinghy would go noticeable slack as the mast leaned into the load. Conversely, the opposing stay would become very taut. Question is should this happen or should the stays need to be more taut when not under load? Previously, I had not really addressed this issue and simply assumed the tensions were correct but starting from scratch sort of begs the question of what is right?
Chris
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:28 AM   #2
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I'd just tighten them up so they didn't flop around at rest. After you raise and lower your dink a couple of time you may have to re-tighten them. What you're seeing is normal in my opinion as the mast is going to bend a little with the leverage your putting on it with the boom. Ever own a sailboat?
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:51 AM   #3
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Yes that will happen and is normal as most mast slightly bend. I hand tighten all four stays the same tightness. Even the new think wall aluminum mast bends and the stays go slack.
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:27 PM   #4
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If the inbd wires are'nt a bit slack w a normal heavy load w the boom in the least desirable position there will be an unnecessary increase on the load on the outbd side. Like flying wires on a small plane. The landing wires (on top) can increase the load on the flying wires.
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:31 PM   #5
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Load side tight...opposite side a tad loose...normal....if you keep tightening them and the temps change you'll drive your mast through the deck sooner or later.
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Old 04-21-2012, 05:22 AM   #6
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IF the turnbukles are made of SS do not tighten them with a load on the one being tightened.

It will seize due to galling.

With SS you must put a load on the "other" stay and only tighten while loose.

I would hand tighten and accept a slack stay while hoisting.

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Old 04-21-2012, 01:06 PM   #7
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Chris, I have been a sailor for decades and tuning the rig is a regular maintenance item. With a trawler, there should be no mast bend. If you have it, there is something too tight and you are putting stress on attachment points that were not designed for it on our boats. The mast should be standing straight and checked by sighting up it from the base. It should be at right angles to the deck and as close to 90 degrees as you can get it. The stays should be tight but not taught. As you tighten, tap them with your finger tips. It's kind of like tuning a guitar, all the same length should all make the same sound. Longer stays will sound different than shorter ones. If what you hear is a dull thud, they will still need to be tightened. It takes some practice but you will get it after a while. When the mast goes up after being lowered or removed, additional adjustment will be needed in a week or two as the wire stretches. Be careful and not over tighten. Chuck
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisjs View Post
I am just about to raise my mast after Winter storage. It is about 15ft tall, hinged and supported by a forward wire stay and two side stays.
The boom is about 12ft long and used to raise/lower a dinghy/motor weighing 500lbs plus. I have just replaced the rigging with new wires, blocks, etc. Does anybody have any input on how to tension the new wires correctly. Previously, the stay on the side of the boat bearing the load when lifting the dinghy would go noticeable slack as the mast leaned into the load. Conversely, the opposing stay would become very taut. Question is should this happen or should the stays need to be more taut when not under load? Previously, I had not really addressed this issue and simply assumed the tensions were correct but starting from scratch sort of begs the question of what is right?
Chris
On a 15 foot mast, not used for sailing and just lifting a several several hundred pound dingy...it's NOT that big of a deal. Hand tight/loose on the turnbuckles and you'll be fine. If the mast is flopping around...sng a BIT...if you can hear the rigging "sing" probaby too tight for what you need.

You don't have a big rig like a sailboat...think more like a rigger on a construction site.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:01 AM   #9
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So, am I correct in thinking that "looser" is better than "too tight" ???
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:05 AM   #10
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So, am I correct in thinking that "looser" is better than "too tight" ???
Chris
loose is too loose...snug might be a better word so the mast dosent flop around...the only time a stay should be slightly loose is when a load is applied to the boom
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:24 AM   #11
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loose is too loose...snug might be a better word so the mast dosent flop around...the only time a stay should be slightly loose is when a load is applied to the boom
Hmmm.... reminds me of something else so I will have to agree with this statement.
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