Now that we have gone through how to adjust each stay, we will go over the whole thing so you can see how it all plays together.
You start by setting the length needed for the headstay and setting the mast rake.
Then you tension the backstay to tighten both the headstay and backstay at the same time
Now you make sure the mast rake is correct and the tensions are sufficient.
With that you are mostly done with the fore-aft adjustment. On to the side to side adjustment!
You start at the top and work your way down.
For single spreader rigs:
Cap Shrouds make the mast head centered over the boat and keep it there while sailing. This stay is the tightest of the shrouds.
Forward Lowers are the following in the sequence and are tightened to induce a forward bend in the mast. They also adjust the side to side bend of the mast. They are looser than the cap shrouds but tighter than the aft lowers.
Aft lowers are the last to be adjusted and are set to straighten out any little curve that might be present in the lower section of the mast.
The shrouds in order from most tight to least tight are cap shrouds, forward lowers, aft lowers.
Now that you have finished this, it is time to go out sailing during light airs to make sure everything is fine, then again in stronger winds to test it out fully and make sure the mast stays in column while sailing.
If something is not set right, the mast will bend and you should fix it immediately. For this reason, I strongly suggest you test in light airs first, as they will not cause damage as easily as strong airs.
Imagine winds where you need to reef because a properly tuned rig is being stressed.
Now imagine that scenario where the rig is not properly tuned and starts to bend excessively! If the mast bends too far, it can kink and collapse! For this reason, always start off in light airs and move to stronger airs as a final check to make sure everything is perfect.