Backstay Problem - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-14-2008
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Backstay Problem

I have a Seaward 23. The backstay is a simple rigging. It starts at the end of the mast crane and ends through a simple turnbuckle attaching to the railing aft of the cockpit. The problem here is that the turnbuckle is turned as far as it can go and there is still too much slack in the stay. Is there any simple fix so I can apply appropriate tension. The manufacturer tells me hand tight plus two turns. Is there any new hardware I can add simply (with usual tools) to get this done? Thanks again.
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One fairly simple way to fix it is to cut off the swage fitting at the bottom of the backstay and replace it with a mechanical fitting, like a StaLok, Hayn Hi-Mod or Norseman. This would effectively shorten the backstay a couple of inches. If this doesn't remove enough of the slack, you can always chop a couple more inches off...
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Was your backstay always too long or is this a recent phenomenon? I wonder if your excessive slack is a symptom of other problems: too much rake of the mast, a stretched forestay, a loose forestay fitting, a crushed or deteriorating mast step, a corroded mast base?

If your mast is stepped on deck, could the deck be flexed downward, effectively shortening the mast height and making the stays appear to be too long? This could be caused by a deteriorated compression post or bulkhead.

I don't mean to be alarmist, but it just seems to me that ss rigging wire is relatively stretch free; something is giving somewhere.
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Heizir's got a very good point... was the backstay always too long??

As he points out, it may be caused by something that needs to be corrected, like a flexing cabin top, failing compression post, rotting bulkhead, etc. It could also be caused by the forestay chainplate elongating, although this is less likely IMHO. Have you checked the other chainplates and the compression post or bulkhead???
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There are lots of ways to tighten the stay but I'm with heinzir, why is it loose?
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More Info

The mast is deck stepped. The upper shrouds are drawn through backswept spreaders to aft. The inner shrouds are also swept back. Both are tensioned to manufacturers specs. The Bulkhead is solid, no problems there. The frontstay hardware is in good repair. However, the turnbuckle is enclosed in the furling system and may need adjusted. The Seaward owners group has postings saying that their backstays are always slack. I do have the previous owners phone number, he is easy to talk to. He may shed some light on the subject.

Thanks again
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Old 06-15-2008
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Sounds like you are convinced the backstay has stretched beyond the turnbuckles ability to take up slack rather than mast rake issues which could be dealt with by tightening up the forestay.
The quick fix is as Dawg says in post #2...a Staylock or similar fitting after you cut back the wire. I would be concerned abouthe age and condition of the entire stay however if there was that much stretch that had taken place.
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