The 4 most FAQ about Triton Rigging

1. Should it have forward lowers? 2. If so where do the chainplates go? 3. How are they attached? 4. How do the shrouds attach to mast?

These questions are frequently asked about Triton rigging because differences is rigging is very noticiable and very costly if it fails. Some early Tritons built on the East Coast were delivered without forward shrouds however later models and those built on the West Coast were manufactured with forwards. Because "your" rigging is probably a combination of design, manufacturing, inhearitance and choice,personal preference, its difficult to say if right or wrong. It may just be different. The following discussions represents what some Triton owners have inhearited or have done to their rigging. Hope it helps.

Larry Suter, #607, Dogstar

Dogstar, Right Coast #607, has three shrouds per side that were factory originals... They were not bolted to the deck (as I think the retro-fits are). My chain plates are long straps of stainless that go thru the deck and bolt onto a long slab of wood (kind of like a mini-bulkhead; must be a name for it) that is bonded to the hull. It's roughly a foot ahead of the forward bulkhead of the head-zone. I don't recall how far the slab extends down. The Richard Henderson article, which you can find in the Reading Room of the NTA web page, discusses when Pearson went from two shrouds to three.

Richard Henderson's article includes this statement: "Another shortcoming of the early Tritons was that they came with single rather than double lower shrouds, and a number of masts were lost as a result. It is my understanding that after boat number 120, however, another set of lower shrouds was added, and shroud kits were supplied to the earlier boats." You can find it at

Having just quoted Henderson's article (my impression is that he really knows boats), the counter argument is: The boat's gone how-many-years and still has the mast. That's a pretty persuasive argument that two's enough, right there. Also, I know of at least one boat, Hulakai, that's raced on SF bay for years with one of the two lower shrouds about as floppy loose as you could imagine.

If you go with two, and it probably is OK, you might want to make sure the shrouds and the tangs are in really good condition. If the shrouds are ancient, I'd consider replacing them.

If you look at the photos of Allen Hilburn's Kaholee (world's most landlocked triton) you'll see only two shrouds per side. Allen's email is on the page. Kaholee is #158 which is a bit more than the #120 in Henderson's article. Maybe he didn't research this point very thoroughly. His comment about lost masts could have been a passing reference over a yacht club beer.

Don Tyson, #20

I bought #20 on a windy night in October. She had shipped 10" of water at anchor and the motor was dead. Boat US towed her to the dock in a 50 knot cross wind (so they say). The rigging has two lowers, is that origional or was the second set added? It was set up kind of goofy. The aft lower shrouds are attached to the rear bulkhead and the upper to the forward. The second set of lowers (forward set ) are let through the deck approx. one foot forward of the forward bulkhead and consisted of a heavy L-shaped piece of tabbing, bonded approx. 4" down from the ceiling, with a piece of corroded aluminum angle bolted to it. The chainplate itself was L-shaped and bolted to the aluminum angle and through the tabbing. The farmer in me suspected the whole mess to be a flim-flam rigamajig and my suspicions bore fruit when I whacked it off in one swing with a 20 oz claw hammer. The part looked like a "add on".

Alan Huband, Esprit, #26

The Right (East) Coast Triton Esprit (#26) came from the factory with only aft lowers. I have seen forward lowers on later boats and all seem to be deck hung with a plate attached to a piece of angle iron (Esprit's is stainless steel). There is a later boat in the yard with mine that only has aft lowers. The after market forwards on Esprit are 12" forward the cap shroud. The plate runs parallel the lubberline and is bent about 20 deg. toward the mast at deck level. Chainplate deck penetrations may be seen at http:/ and snoop till ya find it. If you need wire rope sizes and dimension, I can get them for you. According to the original owner, the fore lower shrouds were added after market by the factory in 1962. They came out and installed the shrouds on the mooring. It seems that there was a problem with demasting. I understand, but am not sure that later production boats had factory forewards installed. I have a hard time understanding why anyone would re-engineer the shrouds. It could not possibly be to increase the structural intergity. I have had Esprit for 20 years and she has seen some serious weather both in protected and open water. Great rig on these boats.

Jay Cline

I have thought about moving the chainplates from their present position, and thought I was sailing down the wrong creek, until the discussion surfaced here. The one observation I have that makes me leary of the move is that I have noticed on several vessals with their chains on the gunnels a curious waving or rippling effect that seems to me to reflect a need for longitudinal support. If this is the case in vessals designed for those stresses in that place, what will the effect be on Triton.

Skip Baker, #3, White cap

MY foward chainplates are short tangs about two-three inches long that bolt to a short section of angle metal (hard to tell what type - corrosion makes it hard to tell if it is aluminun or stainless steel.) There is no bulkhead or any other fasteners; just friction butts against the ceiling...high on my list to redesign....

Al Huband, #26, Esprit

After recoring Esprit's forward deck, I can see no need for a joist Supported on knees. If your deck needs the support, joist would just be a Band-Aid. With a solid deck, as Esprit's is now, I can see no reason to change the deck attachment of the forward lowers. Hell, II could see no need when Esprit's decks resembled a trampoline. The assembly is as hard as a rock. When loaded with me and 450 lb. of sand it springs a bit but is still hard and flexes with no cracking (what a glorious silence). If I just had to make a better attachment, I would go with a partial plywood bulkhead that angled the 20 or so degrees toward the mast and bolt a plate to that. The rigger that surveyed the spars and rigs said he would epoxy a carved block of wood (Wht oak or ash) to the hull and lag a plate to it. He then said the deck hung plate would be as good because the forwards do not take near the load as the cap and aft shrouds do. My forwards now go through solid glass and are within " of the bulwark. Very strong portion of the deck.

Esprit's forwards attach the same way but the angle iron is bolted through the deck. If ya cant tell because of the corrosion, you best get to redesigning soon.

Jim Pierce

When I brought my Triton back from the dead in 1983, the lower front chainplates were added equal spaced to the front into the front cabin area. Yes, originally there were only the 4 side stays.... I put the front chainplates in perpendicular to the original chain plates with a slight bend where the stay connected. I chose this way so I could use the strength of the toe rail for a back plate area. I used aluminum angle iron for the back plates.... have not really looked up there lately, but seems they were about a foot long and 1.5 to 2 inch wide. Don't know if this helps, but thought I'd write.


Forward lower stays. We have none and haven't seen a need. As a rigger told me recently: the rigging is overbuilt by today's standards even as the hull is.

Bill Bell

I am not familiar with the Henderson material referred to in the current wad of forward lower shroud discussions but I can tell you that back in the mid 60's, in a talk to the New England Triton Assn, Pearson told us that in the very early days, they were shipping boats with lighter weight, tapered masts that proved too light. As a temporary fix, the factory supplied a fwd lower kit, consisting of a set of shrouds and really crummy hardware for securing the lower ends to the deck - no real chain plates. The crummy masts were all done and gone before hull #50. The continuing interest in the stupid fwd lowers came from one owner just wanting what an earlier owner had on his boat - needed or not.

Gary, #241, Protege

Our Triton, # 241, came with forward shrouds that had been added by the previous owner. (Ours is a mast head rig) These were of the same size as the aft shrouds but the hardware below deck was absolutly junk. It consisted of an aluminum plate of about 4 inches and a 1/4" bolt that went through the reinforcment rib along the length of the hull about 25 cm (10") from the underside of the deck. When we got the boat I ripped it out. (It nearly fell out) I replaced the harware with two pcs of oak in the form of a "T" (about 2.5cm thick) that nested into the corner forming the underside of the deck and the hull. All parts were carefully glassed and epoxied with fiber reinforced West epoxy. I now can tighten my forwards to put a slight bend in the mast to flaten the main. I only do this when racing ! I loosen them for cruising as I believe this puts lots of stress on the deck to hull joint. I've never seen a stress crack in this area but wouldn't want these forwards to take all the load if eveything else let go. The disadvantage, as I see it, is when tacking, the head sail takes an extra second or two to cross over. Again it's only Important when racing.

Mark Parker, #516, All Ways

Ok, if we are going to get scientific, here are my calculations: The angle of the chainplate for the forward lowers (or the aft ones for that matter) would only be 3.4 degrees from the vertical (This assumes a deck to mast step of 12" - does anyone know the real number?? - tangs @ 16' up the mast (Tmast.jpg from web site) and fwd chainplate 12" ahead of the cap shroud's) The math is to find the cotangent of the base (12") divided by the height (204") I'm guessing that 3 degrees is within the range of error for most of us in this type of construction and can be ignored - IF you can figure out what vertical is, and your knee is 12" long, it would need to be 3/4" off the vertical - since the cap shroud is bolted to the main bulkhead, I guess we can call that vertical and make the 3/4" adjustment from that if you are REALLY compulsive. (And, of course, no one would accuse me of that, right?) On a more practical note, how is the forward lower attached to the mast? Another tang on the same bolt as the aft lower(which on my boat is the bottom bolt of the spreader base), or a new triangular tang? (or something else???)

R.Weills, #126, Happy Hour

Happy Hour, never had forward shrouds. I also read Henderson's article. When 126 was owned by Skip Carr she had a dismasting due to failure of the forestay to mast tang. The mast was undamaged! I wonder if forward lowers would have kept the rig up.

Charles Wineberg, #192, Maltese Falcon

Maltese Falcon, has single lower shrouds, and the original mast. I think that once, long ago, she was raced.