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tdw 11-14-2006 05:34 PM

Back Stay Adjustment
Raven runs twin backstays which is a bugger at the best of times except for allowing easy access over the stern rail. Main problem is that both stays terminate on deck with turnbuckles, meaning only way of adjusting is to tighten or loosen the TBs which is not something to do away from the dock. Their are two obvious solutions.
1. Similar to a Harken 8:1 adjuster for a split backstay with block and tackle adjustment.
2. Similar to a Harken 2:1 backstay adjuster with winch handle adlustment.

No 2 would be preferred except for the slightly complicated installation and cost. (The twin stays are junked, new single back stay fitted with split just above the height of the bimini.)

No 1 is a damn sight easier to install and uses existing stays so obviously less expensive. Much easier to DIY this, no need to go up the mast , no need to buy new back stay, no expensive adjustment mechanism. I really do like the simplest solution, being the simple soul that I am.

Have any of you good people had any experience with either of these types of setups ? How do you feel about both systems ?

This link is to the Harken website showing both options. Right hand column, second and fourth from the top.



Gene T 11-14-2006 06:01 PM

I used one of these on a 30 foot boat and it worked very well, I replaced the multiple block arangement that I didn't work very well at all.

tdw 11-14-2006 06:43 PM

Interesting looking system. Certainly looks less cluttered than the multiple block arrangement. On your 30'er did you use the up to 30' gear or over 30' gear ? Raven is 34' so I'd need the larger but I'd still be interested to know which sytem you used.

sailingdog 11-14-2006 06:57 PM

I'd go with either number 1 or the csjohnson rig, which is effectively the same thing. Do you really need an 8-to-1 purchase on your boat??? What size/kind of boat do you have?

Gene T 11-14-2006 07:46 PM

I don't remember which I used, just size it to your wire. I used the sheave for the return and made up a wire myself at the local marine store. I reused the block and tackle, just a standard vang. Here is a picture of my steup and a link to a project page I did on it.

Faster 11-14-2006 08:21 PM


It seems to me that with twin backstays you will pretty well have to get to the masthead before you could mount the adjuster block sets shown above. Also with the more acute angle between the stays, you'd likely need more travel to get the tension you need. Multiply that by the 6 or 8:1 tackle and that's a lot of line.....

Seems to me you may be stuck going to a single backstay with a split to be able to make good use of these types of rigs.

tdw 11-14-2006 08:49 PM

Almost certainly not. I'm sure the 4:1 would be plenty. Raven is a 34' Van de Stadt steel sloop. Rig is only moderate size, masthead is 12.5 metres above deck. I only used the 8:1 as an illustration and will let my rigger tell me which size to use.
That looks pretty good to me. I'd need a couple of minor mods to your system but that's about all. Sure beats the hell out of having to shell out for all new back stay.

In general the Johnson system looks great but I can't find a distributor for their products in Australia. Price might also be a consideration. USD600.00 is about AUD780.00 plus shipping and taxes. Knowing the way Australian purveyors or marine products mark up their gear this will probably mean it will end up over AUD1000.00 which is getting a tad expensive for what I need. We shall see. I'll speak with my rigger (I do the work but they supply the parts and give plenty of free advice, great bunch of guys) and will report back in due course.

tdw 11-14-2006 09:27 PM

I eyeballed a couple of other boats at our yard on the weekend when we hauled out for a scrub and paint and from what I saw the Harken type block and tackle system would work more than adequately on the Raven. Initial attachment point would be about 500mm above the bimini top. With a four to one system that should be manageable.
Your post does however make me think that the Johnson system might well be problematic as regards height of attachment point with a twin backstay.

paulk 11-14-2006 11:47 PM

1 Attachment(s)
We have a block & tackle setup on our J/36. I believe the photo shows the tackle is 4:1. It's the angle of the split backstays that provides the power you need to torque the mast. We get ours to bend to a chord depth of about 10 to 12 inches with this setup. It's quick & easy. The lower fiddle block & cam have a quick-release shackle so that at anchor we can move the tackle and have clear access to the swim ladder.

tdw 11-15-2006 12:41 AM

Simple yet stupid, this threads for me !

Your setup is pretty much what I was looking at in the yard over the weekend Paul. One thought for you and that is that all the boats I looked at had the tackle anchored at the starboard chainplate so they didn't need to move the thing when at anchor.

It's looking very much like this is the way to go.

Thanks all for your input.

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