So here are a couple of scenarios to think about.
When you set your boat up, there are all the settings laid out for you on paper e.g. Depth of jib foot, distance of booms from centreline, amount of jib and main twist and rake of spreaders, to list a few. You put your boat on the water but it just doesn't quite seem right.
Say you break a shroud and put a new one on the boat, how do you know where to tighten the new shroud on the bottle screw.
In both scenarios, the one thing we omit to measure is shroud tension. I am not saying we need to measure it every time, because once we know the right tension we can put locking nuts on the bottle screw so we achieve the same tension every time.
But how do you measure rig tension. I came across a neat solution by John Gill (when racing at the Chipstead Open on the 25th June. He has crafted a neat measuring tool which he supplies in small quantities. I bought one and I now have a reference point for the rig tension on my boat. Bearing in mind the boat was set up by the smartest IOM sailor I know I thought it best to benchmark the rig tension.
John tells me that he calibrates each tension tool so it is accurate. However all we need is a benchmark to we can monitor our rigs for stretch over time.
In playing with the device I discovered the following. Each turn of a bottle screw reduces rig tension by approximately 1 kilo and as loads increase the amount is more. The point is a small adjustment on the bottle screw has a big impact on the rig setup and if you get this one thing wrong and have all the others right, it will have a detrimental impact on your boats performance.
What is the right rig tension to use? That is down to you to find out and with this device you can check out your competitors tension with their permission of course. Of course if you are fast on a particular day, measure the tension.
If you are interested in one of these devices please send me a message with a contact email address and I will pass it on to John. They only cost £30. I am not commercially involved but want to protect John's inbox if there are a flood of requests from this sites 5500 visitors. John is based in the UK.
Here are a couple of pictures of the device in action and a set of instructions.