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Shroud tightness

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Building MS USS Constitution. I would appreciate anyone's comments as to how tight the shrouds should be. Currently I'm tightening only to make the shroud straight as it connects to the blocks et al.


I'm concerned that once I start mounting the ratlines there won't be enough tightness and the shrouds will start sagging.


Your comments are sincerely appreciated.




John Gilchrist

Rosenberg, TX

John Gilchrist
Yukon, OK


Current build: MS Emma C Berry

Completed: MS Fair American, MS Armed Virginia, MS Pride of Baltimore, Mississippi River Steamboat, Peterboro Canoe, MS USS Constitution, Mayflower, Billings African Queen

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This may not be correct, but I always leave my deadeye lanyards not secured so I can tighten up later after some of the other rigging has messed it up.  I always just leave it tight enough to not pull the other rigging askew and then use the shrouds to balance everything.  The tension , of course , should be equal on all shrouds.  I have had too many times when something has pulled one shroud off and I had to go back in and tighten the lanyard when I had already secured it and trimmed it.


The ratlines really should not cause any sagging in the shrouds if tied properly.


Good luck!  



Current Build:

Kate Cory Scratch Built


Previous Builds:

Benjamin W. Latham Scratch Built

H A Parks Skipjack Scratch Built

Charles W. Morgan Model Shipways Kit

Rattlesnake Model Shipways Kit

Diligence Model Shipways Kit


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We have the tendency to pull all standing rigging taught, which in fact is only partially correct. Although in real life, the rigging would have been pulled taught, the weight of the material would pull it into a catenary, which is quite visible on photographs. This is not so easy to reproduce without looking untidy.


I would also consider the relative humidity during the conditions under which you are building. High humidity tends to tighten rigging made from natural fibres due to water uptake and swelling (which is counter-intuitive), while lower humidity tends to slacken it. You account for this in order to not have surprises during different seasons of the year, if these entail large humidity variations.



panta rhei - Everything is in flux



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