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Improving performance through tuning standing rigging

Berthon Rigging for Performance

To tune or not to tune? Would you drive your car with wheels misaligned? Run a marathon with your shoelaces loose? Sharpen up at Berthon now.

  • Can Berthon tune any rig (even with no rig data)? There are formulae to calculate rig tension, but it’s more about the experience of the rigger in making sure the mast is straight, correctly positioned and the rigging tensioned correctly.

Straight Mast

  • How much faster will my boat go with a well-tuned rig? It’s more about efficiency than speed alone. A sagging forestay reduces upwind performance.  Loose shrouds will cause the top of the mast to bend to leeward and lose power in the main sail. A well-tuned rig gives better all-round performance and thus a better VMG, getting you there faster.

Berthon Mast Diagram

  • How often should rigging be adjusted or checked once tuned? A new rig will have a dock tune when the mast is stepped. A second check and re-tune is advisable, once the boat has had some time under sail and the rigging is bedded in. Regular visual checks should be made as part of your routine maintenance and an annual check by an experienced rigger is also recommended.
  • Do Berthon come for sea trials with sails up afterwards? For simple rigs it’s not normally necessary to carry out on the water tuning, but for complex, multi spreader rigs we recommend a couple of hours at sea, with two riggers, to properly tune the rigging whilst under load.
  • What’s involved in an annual rig check? Conventional stainless steel wire rigging should be subjected to a thorough visual inspection at least annually. If the mast is in the boat this involves hoisting a rigger aloft to check all shroud terminals, rigging screws, pins, hound fittings and the condition of the mast and spars. All secondary fittings, lights, mast head units etc can also be checked at the same time. A full checklist report is provided highlighting any defects.

To book your annual rig check call today – 01590 673312.

  • Can you inspect running rigging at same time? Yes, we can check either standing rigging alone or full rig checks including standing and running rigging and spars. Ideally ‘mousing’ halyards out to see potentially hidden chafe.
  • What is the cost of a rig check? Cost depends on rig configuration and the extent of the inspection. Typically between 2 to 4 hours labour so £100 to £ 200 + VAT – contact for a quote today
  • Is there a rig ‘lifetime’? There is a theoretical 10-year life to most conventional stainless steel wire rigging. However, consideration must be made to the boats history and usage. A rig with a dozen Atlantic crossings is going to be far more fatigued than one that has pottered along the coast all its life. That said even the least used rigs still need checking as fatigue caused by the vibration due to strong winds blowing through the moorings can still be significant.
  • Any safety tips for hoisting a guy up mast? Always check the condition of the halyard you are using and know its working load. A good condition 12mm dyneema halyard will lift the average family car, but if it’s worn it could fail. Use a good quality, good condition bosuns chair or harness. If it has worn webbing, frayed stitching or rusting stainless rings, it is not safe. Make sure the person on deck, in control of the halyard knows what they are doing. Never rely on rope clutches alone to hold the weight of the man aloft. Always tie the halyard off around the winch. Use a second halyard as a safety line and have someone extra to control it.

For more information on all aspects of yacht rigging and rig checks call Berthon Rigging Manager Robin Milledge 01590 673312

To give you some background on Robin’s experience, you can find out more through this article on the presentation he gave at the World Cruising Club Bluewater open boat weekend – rigging for offshore cruising.