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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Preparing to Unstep the Mast - Marking the Standing Rigging

Our Gemini 3200 has 12 stays .... that is 12 wire lines that hold the mast to the boat. Each stay is fastened at 2 points: 1) the mast and 2) a chain plate on the boat. To take the mast down, at least one end of each stay must be disconnected. This, however, leaves an unwieldy mess unless care is taken to label everything so that each stay can be reconnected the right way when the mast is put back up.

I started with the forestay, labeling it as #1 and worked my way around the boat in a clockwise fashion labeling each turnbuckle and chain plate pairing using blue painters tape and a black sharpie. That is, for example, the forstay turnbuckle was labeled #1 and the forstay chain plate was labeded #1.

I also marked the top of the threads right above the turnbuckle with a red sharpie. Finally, I counted the number of threads above the turnbuckle and recorded the information on a piece of paper. Marking the threads and knowing the number of threads above the turnbuckle will aid in tuning the rigging, once the mast has been stepped. The information will allow whomever is reestablishing the stays to return all of them, and their tension, to their original positions as a starting point for tuning.

No doubt expert sail riggers can do without detailing each stay like we did. For us, with zero experience, this activity adds huge confidence that we can return the stays to their original settings quite quickly and with less frustration.

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