Rig Gauges – Superspar v Loos, the Merits…

Richard Stenson borrowed my rig tension meter last week to try on 3632 …. It was interesting for the both of us to figure out what was going on. My gauge is one of those fancy Loos PT-1 jobs….

Probably the most popular gauge in our fleet is the Superspar model. Well, it’s a more reasonable price for a start. You need to know though that the VC and I lined up about 6 of them last year to see how they compared. The result was hysterically funny – the same shroud read everything between 24 and 36 depending which gauge you used. Mine, of 1995 vintage was kind of in the middle of the pack, but I immediately just threw it away. Pointless… Wish I’d done something constructive with it – like give it to Mark and Tony to use – ha ha ha ha !!

We’ve now tried a similar trial on a handful of Loos gauges – we used one of those on the Dragon as well. The consistency result was much, much better, but I would say they can still get a bit tired or are just not built as consistently as you might think for the money. Basically you can expect plus or minus one variation in the readout. Mine reads plus one above the official Goacher Sails gauge, for example.

Next thing that I noticed Richard S doing was measuring the tension too low near the shroud plate. You get an end-error effect on the wire. The recommendation from Alan Bax is to measure about a metre up. I know you’re not all as tall as the VC, but putting the gauge on upside down helps. The tuning guides from P&B, Goacher, Speed Sails etc I think all give their rig tensions assuming you are using the Superspar. Well – a new Superspar, and not the worn out used-1000-times one that lived my toolbox. (I should have kept it to loan to new members!!!….) The accepted standard rig-ten number on FFs, if I recall correctly, is the magic “28.5 on a Superspar”. (This assumes you know what sort of shroud wire you have…)

Have you thought about whether 28.5 is the same on a Loos as on a Superspar?? If you go to the North Sails 470 tuning page (ha ha ha – I know, I know – the evenings have been long…) at http://www.northsails.co.jp/products/470/pdf/470_tuning_guide_e.pdf you will see on the first page a little table which compares Superspar and Loos gauges. There are two Loos gauge types there, but I think the critical thing is that 28-29 on Superspar equals 25-26 on the Loos PT-1……

Comments please to datchetman@flyingfifteen.com

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