Question about rigging an Otter

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Question about rigging an Otter

Post by sarbouy »


I have recently acquired an Otter, sail number 369, and as I'm new to sailing I'm having a few difficulties rigging her. She is gaff rigged, and the boom passes through the mast and therefore the boom and mast swing as one. As the strouds and forestay are attached to the top of the mast by a metal frame they twist with the mast and put what seems like a lot of tension on the shrouds. I can slacken off the forestay to allow some give in the rigging,but then the mast seems pretty loose.
Any advice would be very gratefully received.


Last edited by sarbouy on Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Location: West Norfolk

Re: Question about rigging an Otter

Post by albacore43 »

Welcome Andy!

I have a similar rig on 158 and have found the following procedure to be satisfactory.

When fully rigged, adjust forestay so that mast is upright or very slightly raked back when boat is level.

Shroud tension is then adjusted to allow boom a maximum swing to just before shrouds.

Readjust stays as necessary.

By setting it this way, you have automatically allowed that slight reduction in shroud tension.

I am sure you will receive more advice to consider.

Good luck,

PS: Whilst on the subject of the mast, when I acquired mine I noticed slight splitting near the foot which I deduced was caused by the friction between the foot and the mast step, generated on rotation, as evidenced by the horrible "creaking" at rotation.
I tightly bound the lower 50mm of the mast with glass tape and epoxy and applied grease to the surface of the mast step; no more creaking and hopefully no further splitting.

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Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 6:44 pm

Re: Question about rigging an Otter

Post by sarbouy »

Thanks Dick,

I'll have a play at setting it up that way, the problem I'm having seems to be the tension that is put on the stays as the boom reaches the limit of its travel.

It's interesting that you mention the base of the mast splitting, mine had tape round the base when I got it. I'll have a look for any splitting on mine.



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Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:18 pm

Re: Question about rigging an Otter

Post by cweed »


Welcome to Otter sailing.

My boat, 199 has the same rig as yours and Albacore 43.

I set my mast up so that the shrouds and forestay are tight, but preferably with a bit of rake aft. I put the mast up each sail, so the shrouds are left attached by chainplates to the shroud plates. My mast rotates on a pin, I have a stainless and also a couple of spare aluminium, although I don't leave the pin in the mast or the socket as the ali ones start to corrode.
I find I can just lift the mast onto the pin, alreadt sitting in the deck pin hole, with the shrouds attached, and raise the mast. If the boat is bow down, the mast should then be safe from toppling over.. It is then simple to take the forestay and Attach the bottlescrew to the bow fitting. I also have a short line from the forestay wire which I double up with the bottlescrew for double safety.

It would be possible to tension the shrouds and the forestay to a high degree, but I find because the deck where the mast is stepped is not over rigid, this would probably stress the boat more than necessary. The lee shroud will always be slack to a certain extent, so I am happy that the mast stays firmly on the boat. I imagine that early Otters weren't really intended for highly tensioned rigs!

When running off the wind, my boom can travel out right to the shroud, otherwise you can't adjust the mainsail to maximum extent, but I try not to let the boom touch the shroud, as I don't want the varnished wood to chafe. I have fitted a pad each side of the boom to help prevent this.

As to the mast splitting, mine also was showing sigms of wear, and the previous owner had also bound the foot with whipping twine. I have since fitted a few inches of a stainless steel tube which is a tight fit over the foot of the mast. I also fitted a piece of tube inside the mast for the pin to sit in, and lastly made a disc from tufnol for the bottom of the mast to sit on.............

Hope this helps!

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