Rig tension

Downwind rig tension

Question: I seem to remember that higher rig tension is suggested for downwind compared with upwind, but is there an accepted reason why this should be so? The only ideas I could come up with were

  1. prevents mast bend,
  2. rig is held more 'firmly'
  3. mast is held more raked forward

I'm particularly interested w.r.t. broad reaching or running (yuk!). In there a consensus forming as to whether (and for whom) on-the-water adjustable tension has benefits? Colin
Answer: There is no clear view on this in the class - people are trying several approaches and it's always worth trying something new. My own view has been, as always, to keep everything as simple as possible and that includes reverting to a non adjustable forestay etc.
I apply a bit more kicker offwind to keep the boom lowish - that's all. (but then I don't use any upwind if I'm powering up). There may be a theoretical advantage in hardening up the rig offwind but I think it's very minor if it exists at all and if you get the adjustment wrong you could make matters worse not better.
The rest of the time you carry around the extra weight which must slow you all the way around the course and you have something to 'blame' all the time as well - which does not help you focus on pointing the boat in the right direction which is far more important! 
At the Nationals it was very obvious that many went far too high offwind attempting to maintian or improve position relative to others. It's all about VMG offwind as well (relative to the next mark), not just speed and those who worked their way to leeward on the reaches whenever they could clearly gained overall.
On the dead runs try running by the lee occasionally with the kicker off a bit and concentrate on using the waves effectively. This will also encourage you to go for what produces the best VMG - try it and don't worry too much about position relative to others at first until you have mastered the technique. 
If you have the rig set correctly (a bit floppy) the rig will naturally go more upright offwind anyway. Set rake = 7050-7150mm measured to the underside of the hull adjacent to the rudder post. to 2.: Rig tension - not a lot, in fact fairly sloppy and will barely register on a gauge
Let us know what you try etc .......  Cheers, Mike Lyons