How to tension forestay - SailNet Community

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Old 02-10-2010
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How to tension forestay

I just replaced the forestay on my boat. IS there a better way to adjust the tension then sighting up the mast?
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Absent a headsail, the stay needn't be very tight. With headsails, the stay should be tight enough to maintain a reasonably straight luff which will depend upon wind strength (hence back-stay adjusters, eh?). For our part, once moored or back in the slip we fully ease the back-stay to eliminate unnecessary loading on the yacht.

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Borrow or buy a LOOS TENSION GAUGE.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svobsession View Post
I just replaced the forestay on my boat. IS there a better way to adjust the tension then sighting up the mast?
That really depends on your needs and feel:

If your only preocupation is to keep the mast unbent you should't need any tools but your eyes

If you also want to check lateral tilt use a halyard. By placing it on one rail and marking it you should then be able to transport the measurent to the other rail and check if it is the same

If you're racing or have a very sensitive rig you should go for the tension meter gauges widely available these days at any sailing gear shop...
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Pedcab is right. It depends upon your boat, and you don't say what that is. Racing a Sonar, there's probably an optimal tension you'll find on the class website, and you'll need a Loos gauge. Daysailing a Hunter 42, adjusting it so the jib luff doesn't sag under way will be doing more than most. Some boats, like 420's, depend upon the jib luff to tension the mast for bending. Their forestays are generally loose, there just to hold the mast up when the jib isn't hoisted.
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This explains why fractional rigs exist as opposed to masthead rigs. A fractional rig will have a higher forestay tension for a given backstay tension. It will also introduce bend into the mast.
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The forestay can also affect 'mast rake' as well as 'mast bend', some boats require a certain amount of rake and use the forestay to set this rake. I have a trailerable sailboat so I set my rake and bend while the boat is level on the trailer and then keep it set there using a hairpin/cotterpin in the turnbuckle. Getting it level to the boot stripe on water is a challenge, not to mention the level of the bootstripe changes with arrangement of weight on boat.
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Sorry tager but it is the other way around. A fractional rig will have less forestay tension than a mast head rig with the same back stay tension.
On a masthead rig the back stay pulls directly on the attachment point of the forestay and tensions it.

With a fractional rig, the back stay pulls the top of the mast back but the forestay being attached farther down the mast does not see as much tension. You generally will get more mast bend on the fractional however.
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The boat is a 1980 us 30. Mast head rig boat is used day sailing and costal cruisng.
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Are you running an adjustable backstay? If so then your primary concern should be forestay length for the proper rake. Mast pre-bend should be set by your lower shrouds if you have double lowers. Backstay-induced bend can be limited by the aft lowers.

It's a good idea,,with an adjustable backstay, to 'relax' the boat between sails by easing the tension, as mentioned above.
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