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How to rig tune your RS

25 Mar 2020
Rig tuning can be a sensitive subject around the dinghy park. With conflicting ideas, methodologies and practices leading to a wealth of invaluable and not so valuable advice at the fingertips of season regulars and those new to a class.
RS fleets are known for their cohesion and willingness to share ideas from top sailors to weekend warriors and those new to the sport. Great discussion and helpful tips can be heard from the dinghy park to the race course and of course the bar. Common questions across all performance levels include: 

• How are you pointing so high? 
• Where do you find such good boat speed?
• Why do I feel so underpowered or overpowered? 
• Why am I faster upwind than downwind? 

One common denominator to all these questions is Rig tension. Understanding how to measure, record and repeat rig tension for similar conditions is therefore critical to ensure boat set up is correct to enable maximum potential sailing performance.

Spinlock is a company very active within the RS fleets with sailors in the 200s and 800s whilst also working with RS Sailing to establish correct rig settings for the new RS21. The Spinlock Rig Sense helps to ensure repeatable rig settings for all types of sailors. For those travelling on the national circuit the Rig Sense gives confidence that rig set up at each event is correct every time. For the club sailor the Rig Sense allows settings to be checked, compared and refined throughout the season. 

Rig sense allows repeatable settings using a composite leaf spring to measure deflection instead of a standard metal spring used by other conventional rig tension gauges. The adjustable cable deflector allows a greater range of cable measurements for one device. The composite calibrated leaf spring also reduces any corrosion concerns and is not stored in a tensioned position to ensure the gauge remains consistent.

Measuring in KG helps to fully understand the loads going through the rig and boat. Dinghy’s such as the RS800 have such high loads that is pays to be understanding when tensioning your rig, older boats may suffer from flexing at high loads then brand-new stiffer hulls. After all, if you had a ¼ ton of force going through your boat or 2 male gorillas sat on the foredeck you would like to know about it! 

Understanding what rig tension, you require in the given conditions compared to another boat is something that should always be considered. A heavy crew compared to a light crew at the front of the fleet are likely to have very different rig settings and sailing styles in a range conditions. 

As keen newbies to the RS200 fleet competing at the much anticipated 2018 RS Games we arrived armed with the Spinlock Rig Sense gauge ready to learn how to set up the RS200. It quickly became apparent that everyone had slightly different theories in a range of conditions.  

With base settings pre-loaded into the rig sense app we were able to record and monitor rig tension in the varied conditions throughout the week. Keeping a note of what we felt worked or didn’t work during the games. Looking back at the data it makes it easy to identify what worked best to establish a clear base setting for our crew weight. This solid foundation has given me the confidence in my own settings during the upcoming winter season allowing greater focus on developing our sailing without worrying about rig set up. Further refinements can now be made during the winter season as we get to grips with the 200. 
This technique can be applied to any class of boat using the 50+ pre-loaded tuning guides on the Rig Sense app.  Once refined and adjusted to individual crew weights you can be sure you will never lose your rig settings again as they are stored on your phone along with pictures and notes. The app also allows data to be shared with others via email. 

Overall the Spinlock Rig Sense is a very valuable tool for all sailors from top 10 at the nationals to those like myself just getting to grips with a new class. Using the Spinlock Rig Sense to your advantage helps to encourage greater consideration and understanding about rig set up and consequently performance when it really matters. 

For more information on Rig Tuning and the Spinlock Rig Sense don’t hesitate to contact RS Sailing or Spinlock.

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