Having the correct rig tension is important because a loose rig can impart shock loads to shrouds and chainplates as the mast flops from side to side; a too tight rig can cause structural damage.
A well tuned rig will have equally tensioned shrouds so that the boat will perform well on both tacks, the leeward shrouds won’t dangle flaccidly and the forestay won’t sag. She’ll feel right on all points of sail.
You don’t need a tension gauge to set up the rig – there are methods whereby you can measure the change in length of the shrouds and stays as the turnbuckles are tightened, and there’s always the tune your rig like a guitar technique – “Twang! Middle C, that seems about right.” But the Loos tension gauge gives you a quick, accurate, check and that will encourage you to test often, making sure all is well. For racers who set their rigs to suit the prevailing conditions a Loos gauge is an important tool in their race-winning armoury.
For many of the more popular boats there are tuning guides published by the big sail makers and these give Loos tension gauge settings for shrouds and stays.
There are Loos gauges for wire rigging from 2.5mm to 10mm and for rod rigging of all sizes. We stock them all and we regularly check to ensure we’re the lowest cost supplier.
In the articles section of the Saltyjohn website you’ll find more information on using a Loos gauge to set up your rig.
A tuned rig is a happy rig, so get yourself a Loos tension gauge.
Balers are easy to make, definitely not rocket science, as you can see from the picture.
I prefer to use milk cartons because the material is relatively soft and conforms to dips and depressions in the fabric base of the dinghy. For a big boat bilge or hard floor dinghy you might choose a fruit juice carton which is made of sturdier material.