This past Sunday, Melissa and I had the opportunity to attend a sailboat rigging and tuning seminar presented by Brion Toss. For those of you unfamiliar with sailboats, the rigging refers to the wires and hardware used to keep the mast aligned and tensioned. This allows the sails to work at their peak efficiency and is a veritable art. Brion Toss (http://www.briontoss.com) is perhaps the best known rigger in the world; certainly in our part of it, and is the author of numerous books and DVDs on rigging, rope work, sailmaking and other disciplines of the dedicated seaman.
Osprey is a beautiful Annapolis 44 owned by Steve and Elsie Hulsizer for the last 29 years. Brion spoke about the basic objectives of rig tuning and showed us how to use a tension gauge and other tools of the rigger, including this fetching gear keeper modeled by one of our class mates.
Fortunately for us, Osprey’s rig was nicely out of tune which allowed Brion to show the class some basic adjustments. It also gave us an opportunity to calibrate our eyes. For example Osprey’s mast is designed to bend a few inches to allow the sails to be shaped for various wind conditions and points of sail. After we had all looked up the mast to see the bend and then guess at how much bend was actually present, Brion then showed us how to confirm our guesses with an actual measurement on the ground.
Brion had more tips than he could possibly impart in three short hours. One item of interest to me was his tips on adjusting the roller furling to minimize friction and wear.
It was a great class that gave Melissa and me some confidence that we could perform this important task and we came away with a great appreciation for Brion’s expertise and skill as an instructor. I also appreciated Brion’s safety conscious attitude and will definitely use some of his techniques for ascending the mast the next time I go aloft. Below is a short clip of Brion coming down after adjusting the intermediary stays at the spreaders.