VIDEO How to adjust the mast of the sailboat


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Adjusting the mast of the sailboat is a much simpler operation than people think, especially on boats from cruise. In video of this week’s SAILING School, which you also find on the Giornale della Vela youtube channel, is explained by our expert, Franco “Ciccio” Manzoli, how the mast of a sailboat works, and how to adjust the mast yourself, in all its fixed maneuvers.

SAILING SCHOOL VIDEO: Franco Ciccio Manzoli explains how to adjust the mast of the sailboat by yourself


Franco ‘Ciccio’ Manzoli is a mast manufacturer and famous Italian sailor. In his career he has rigged more than 1,000 racing and cruising boats. He is one of the most experienced sailors in the world of ocean and offshore racing. He participated four times in the Ostar and was the only Italian to win the race overall, finishing first overall with the trimaran Cotonella. He has crossed the Atlantic Ocean 10 times and, aboard the Class 40 together with Giovanni Soldini, finished third at Quebec Saint Malo and second at the Fastnet.

How to adjust the mast of the sailboat

As explained in the
, first we need to observe the mast, both at rest, when we are at the dock, and later in sailing. By eye we will immediately know if the shaft is adjusted well or flexes. Positioning aft, we will notice three different situations of poorly adjusted mast, well illustrated in the figure:

mast trimming

The shaft should have no S-shaped bending

The shaft should be straight and have no lateral bending. It is dangerous if it takes the S shape, or twists. Laterally, a tree may have a slight curvature. Masts reinforced at the top, (with the forestay coming to the top of the mast) are usually less “soft” and allow for less fine tuning. Fractional masts, on the other hand, allow for accurate adjustments and a mast deflection more appropriate to wind conditions and rigged equipment.

How to adjust the shaft yourself

To adjust the mast and achieve maximum performance, you need an expert equipped with an instrument called a tensiomenter, however for cruising, we can adjust the mast of the sailboat ourselves , by watching the directions in the video how to adjust the mast of the sailboat and following the simple rules:

  • Photograph the shaft, and .measure with a caliper the distance between the two threads of the turnbuckles, this will allow us to return to the starting situation.
  • With the boat in the dock by hand, you can shake the shrouds and you can feel if they have the same tension on both starboard and port side.
  • Inner or low shrouds generally have somewhat less tension than high shrouds.
  • When sailing upwind the mast should remain straight and not flex. With a free halyard, you can measure the distance between the mast and heaths; it must be the same on the starboard and port side.
  • One turn of the high shrouds’ rigging corresponds, empirically, to one half turn of the low shrouds’ rigging. You always have to think that if you pull on one side, you also increase the tension on the other side.
  • Downwind shrouds in upwind sailing, should be slack but not soft enough to form catenaries.

See also – What the interior of a cruising boat looks like



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