Re: Backstay tension
I have a Navtec hydraulic system as well. For racing purposes you should be able to ease it off so that the forestay is a bit floppy, but nothing like you describe. Last summer when we were out cruising the pump blew a seal and we had no hydraulics. I was able to tighten the backstay turnbuckle that attaches to the ram enough to allow us to sail comfortably in moderate breeze, albeit with more headstay sag than I would like. A couple of times it was breezy enough so that I REALLY wished I had more tension, and we became overpowered much sooner than I am used to. Now that I have rebuilt the pump I am going to keep the minimum tension a bit higher than I used to. I consider around 3000psi to be a pretty good Max, but you definitely want to make sure you don't forget to ease it off when you are done! When it is quiet at the dock and I crank it on I can hear the boat creak and groan a bit!
I never realized how much difference having that adjuster made until I was forced to live without it. I don't think I would ever own a boat without one!
BTW my boat is a masthead rig, and I get plenty of mast bend even without the baby stay on hard. It makes a huge difference to the main as well as the genoa. It certainly DOES make the boat faster because it allows me to make tuning adjustments that just aren't practical if I just had turnbuckles. Let's face it; not many people are going to go grab their wrenches and start cranking the turnbuckle every time the wind picks up! I'll wager most people never touch their backstay once the mast is up! While those people are contemplating putting in a reef, I just reach down, and with a few strokes of the handle and I am good for another 10kts of wind! It's a no-brainer to me!
1979 Santana 30 Tall Rig