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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-08-2008
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Split Backstay + and -s

Read an interesting article in good old boat this month where the author makes the case for a split backstay, split somewhere it looks like 10 - 15 feet up into two backstays to each side of the stern instead of in the middle, it looks pretty logical and the author used it as part of a support to put instruments and also attached the back of a large bimini there -- seemed like a good cruising set up, but I'm curious about the structural aspects, is it better or worse for supporting the mast? I like the extra real estate on the back (I can build a bench across there instead of just two seats on stern rail corners)

Any thoughts on some negatives of that setup?
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Old 09-09-2008
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Racers dont like them...I kind of do.
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Old 09-09-2008
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I have a split backstay on our boat (replaced once), and it's been holding the mast for 27 years...so I think they work.
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Old 09-09-2008
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If you are racing - split backstays are a bit of a bear to manage the rake of the mast. Racing wise or fine tuning, a hydraulic operated - single backstay is the way to go IMHO...

For general cruising however - you'll never really see any issues, except maybe:

From a driving the boat perspective, the split backstay does take up more usable room in the cockpit than a single backstay. But that all depends on the length of the boat and height of the mast and the overall angle.
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Old 09-09-2008
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They also allow room for tiller steering (like on our boat).
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Old 09-09-2008
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I like my split backstay, which connects all the way up, and not at a bridle as many do. I have a sugar scoop stern with a movable helm seat and easy access to the swim platform, and a single backstay with that arrangement would be a royal pain. I also have the feeling that a split backstay gives a bit of redundancy, though only if they both go all the way up.

If your split backstay uses a bridle, there are split backstays adjusters like this one: http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|118|107602|298804&id=76439 .
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I wonder how the split backstay came into being?...must have been a reason.
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Transom mounted rudder possibly.
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Anybody using a backstay adjuster on their split back stay? I've seen a system similar to a boom vang attached to a bridle that adjusts tension by "squeezing" the legs of the back stay.

Is it a worthwhile addition for a cruiser with delusions of skippering an race boat? (but no intention of really racing!)
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Old 09-10-2008
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Sorry guys...not exactly correct...racers really prefer the split back stay, where a single line comes from the top of the mast into an A shaped arrangment at the stern, around 10 feet above the transm.

Please note the double backstay where two stays come from the top of the mast is now an old less efficient system.

Most of the modern race boats use spilt backstays for many reasons. It became the choice of many, weight and stiffness the main reasons.

One of the reasons is weight saving as the system allows the use of purchases which are much lighter, instead of heavy jacks or the Titanic screw wheels.

Another reason is the fact that a split backstay transfers load onto the transom at 2 locations instead of just one, allowing less stiffening and thus weight reduction. It is also more versatile.

I don't know of any disadvantages of the system, only advantages. If you can, you're better off installing it. Also as someone said, in an open transom, or sugar scopper, with access thru the tra som, it's the way to go.

Me...I also think it's damn sexy.

Here a few examples of mine.

It is entirely made out of Dyneema, so i save the weight of the wire cable, has a purchase outside the transom and another one a 8:1 inside under the cockpit.









My backstay exits into the cockpit thru the floor, in the middle between the wheels. It's the blue line you see on the floor.



If you need more help just ask.
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