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camaraderie 03-18-2008 03:14 PM

Question: Which backstay radar mount system?
Hi all. I have a buddy who has purchased a Furuno 2k radar system for his Southern Cross 31 and he will mount it on his backstay. The backstay is a single stay which is split about 8 ft. over the deck and run to the stern corners to allow for tiller clearance.
He is trying to decide which backstay "gimbal" mount system to use. We can download all the tech info on the various models from the net so what is asked for here is any owner experiences with specific models/brands, good and bad...and any installation advice that would be applicable to his backstay setup from those with similar issues.
I've never done one of these so help us out here! Thanks.

btrayfors 03-18-2008 03:24 PM


A few years ago when I installed my new Furuno radar system, I researched backstay-mounted fittings pretty thoroughly, including calling manufacturers, talking to others, reading everything I could find, etc.

At that time, I determined that this was NOT the way to go, since the available alternatives were expensive, unreliable, badly supported, and prone to failure. Also, I never liked the idea of attaching something like a 24" radome to my backstay. Decided in the end to go with a Kato pole on the stern, and have been very happy with that.

Things may have changed in the interim (about 4 years), but if I were re-doing it today I'd definitely again opt for the Kato pole.


sailingdog 03-18-2008 03:32 PM

I'd second using a pole or mast mount rather than using a backstay mount. Unless his backstay has been upsized, I'm not too crazy about putting the weight, stress and windage of a backstay radome mount on the backstay. If he's got a split backstay with an SSB or is looking to add an SSB at anytime, you'll regret having the backstay radome mount.

camaraderie 03-18-2008 05:13 PM

Thanks guys...I will pass along the input but would still appreciate input from those with backstay mounts so he has the full picture. I chose a mast mount both times for myself.

sailingdog 03-18-2008 05:19 PM

Some points...

The backstay mount will put a lot of additional stress on the back stay.

The gimbaled mount will generally be more prone to failure than a fixed mast or post mount

The backstay mount will cause more chafe on the mainsail, especially if it has any roach.

You don't have to drill more holes in the deck, but wiring a pole mount may be far simpler

thekeip 03-18-2008 07:51 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I've had my 24" Scitex with Questus gimbal mounted on Sea Quest (Ericson 35) for a bit over 7 years....on the backstay. I haven't had any problem with it in all that time, but that doesn't mean I'm exceptionally happy with it. Performance wise, the set up is doing everything it's supposed to. It's not all that heavy..the Questus weighs about as much as the antenna does, and I guess they total to about ~20# or thereabouts. The problem is that the height of the antenna is not so great that the presentation is not as good as it could be, and I know it. It irks me no end, and it gets worse as the angle of heel increases bringing the height from roughly 13' when upright to about 10' when heeled...gimbal or not. It's facing aft but looks forward so as not to interfere with my mainsail. If I were to do it over (and I just might), I'd get a new Furuno or Raymarine and put the antenna at the 1st spreader...20-25'. School's still out re the gimbal

JiffyLube 03-25-2008 03:36 AM

I have a self leveling backstay mounted Questus that is the heavy duty version of thekeip's, and I have had no problems with it. The backstay goes through the thick walled 3" tube, and in my installation the bottom of the tube is fixed to a modified chain plate that the backstay attaches to. At the top of the tube the backstay goes through a centering piece in the tube, and the 24" radome sits aft of the backstay. There is little added weight or sway to the backstay because of the way the tube is mounted, and there are no additional holes in the cap rail. There is no chafing of the mainsail because the radome is aft facing, and the lower height of the radome lets me see objects lower and closer than if it was up on the mast. The GPS antenna is mounted slightly above the radome on a special bracket, and that gives the antenna an unobstructed view of the sky. I don't care as much about seeing something 10 or more miles out to the horizon, as much as I want to see objects much closer and lower in, especially in fog. I investigated a lot in how I wanted my radar setup, and I like the backstay setup better than on a pole or mast. That being said, the particular Questus I selected was the only backstay setup that I liked.

camaraderie 03-25-2008 11:59 AM

Thanks Jiffy and Keip! Appreciate the input.

JiffyLube 03-25-2008 11:10 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This is what mine looks like....I have other pictures

drewan08 03-24-2009 06:35 PM

I am going through the same dilemma. I like the idea of not scanning for submarines and airplanes when I am sailing. I don't need to sea a wooden row boat 10 miles out but would like to be able to pick up a can at about 3 miles and any larger freighters at ten miles. I asked some people at the manufacturers of the backstay mount systems and they say all the stress is loaded to the deck or chainplate through the pole. I still have heard bad things about the systems putting tension on the stay and causing wear on the cable. I don't like the idea of putting the raydome 25 feet up the stick to get it above the spreaders. All of that extra weight aloft seems like it might add a lot of roll and decrease stability. The guys at garmin (if I remember correctly from the boat show) said their unit was designed to be 8' above the water. What do you all suggest?

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