running backstays vs intermediate backstays - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-06-2006 Thread Starter
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running backstays vs intermediate backstays

I am looking a purchasing a cutter rigged boat, I've noticed that some have running backstays, while others have fixed intermediate backstays. As someone who will be singlehanding most of the time, I am wondering about being able to tend to the running backstays as well as the sails while tacking/jibing. My previous experience with running backstays was on an inland lakes racing boat that required the backstays be changed with each tack as well as each jibe. Will this be the same issue on the cutter (except of course that tacking/jibing wouldn't be occuring with the same frequency as on the racing boat)?
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-06-2006
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"fixed intermediate backstays.."
I'm not sure what you have in mind, there's permanent backstays, running backstays and no backstays... but never heard of internediate. perhaps you have aft lowers in mind?

Whatever, my advice for your intended use is to avoid any boat requiring running backstays. Who needs the aggravation unless its spread over the race crew? Furhermore, if you want to singlehand, why mess with a cutter rig, that's just give you another set of sheets to mess with. You need to look hard to find a real cutter rig to begin with,,an even harder to find running backs, probably 19 out of 20 boats on the market have neither...

Why a cutter?
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-06-2006
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Running back stays? Chinese fire drill. Too much to do, and if you miss it--you can lose the rig. Personally I'd avoid them unless I was on a racing boat that NEEDED them for the performance gain.

If you're looking at a used racing boat (often "cheap" because they are no longer competive from rule changes or whatever) it might be worth asking a rigger if they can make other changes to compensate, and lose the running backstays.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-06-2006
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I'd agree that in bad conditions, it is far too easy to make a mistake with running backstays that could cost you the rig. If you're not going to be racing full-time with a very dedicated crew, then avoid the running backstays at all costs.

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post #5 of 8 Old 08-07-2006
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I agree with the opinions above but for the sake of discussion I believe there is one instance where, even when sailing shorthanded, that backstays are worthwhile and that is where the rig is designed to provide one with a removable inner forestay, supported by the removable backstays. This allows you to roll away the large headsail and set a staysail or storm jib in severe weather. Thus providing a much more efficient sailplan for heavy weather beating than a much reduced roller furled headsail.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-07-2006
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An inner forestay, removable or not, should not require running backs if the mast/rigging is appropriately designed, i.e not too spagetti-like. My boat has a bendy mast configured with a removable inner forestay/storm sail and no running backs.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-07-2006
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I think you all have missed the mark here. Most cutters that are intended for offshore require running backstays that are run from the position of the jibstay on the mast aft to the deck or rail near the transom. For the most part, these runners store by the mast and are only used in very heavy conditions and have a geometry that allows the mainsail to be tacked (when reefed) without having to release and trim the runners with each tack. These runners prevent the staysail luff from sagging and in doing so keep the staysail from powering up in a blow when it needs to be flat.

Any mast uced on a cutter that is so stiff that it will not require runners in heavy going is going to be way to heavy compromising stability and carrying capacity.

Other than that I agree with the statement that sloops, are generally more convenient to single-hand, especially if they are fractionally rigged where you have smaller headsails and can get by with a smaller sail inventory since headsails on fractional rigs generally have much wider wind ranges.

Jeff

Last edited by Jeff_H; 08-07-2006 at 12:48 PM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-07-2006
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I agree with most posters. Unless you have a crew, do not consider running back stays. They are critical and if you forget them or accidentally jibe you could KO your rig- not worth it. As for sailing a cutter single handed I am all for it. I sail onesingle handed and love it, but part of what makes my boat manageable is that I have roller furling on the genoa and my staysail is club footed and self-tacking. Because of the inner stay, my genoa will not blow through making the roller furler convienent. The staysail pretty much tends itself. I like the cutter rig for its' versatility. I am able to trim out the sails in most conditions so the boat is balanced and efficient. In heavy weather I can put a reef or two into the staysail ( although I have never had to do this, the staysail alone is quite small). I expect that every boat i will ever own will be a cutter.
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