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A sailboat is limited by it's design in it's ability to point to windward. A backstay adjuster can't make a boat point higher than it's design will allow. If you don't have a backstay adjuster, you can tune the rig at the dock, adjusting each stay so that the mast has exactly the ideal amount of rake and bend, and so that the headstay has exactly the ideal amount of tension to enable the boat to sail as close to windward as it's design will permit in the amount of wind on any given day.
The value of a backstay adjuster, especially on a masthead rig, is not that it will make the boat point higher. The value is that you can instantly and radically change the tuning of the rig, on the fly, without getting out a handful of tools, so that, in one moment the rig is ideally tuned for maximum pointing ability, and in the next moment, it's ideally tuned for light air or sailing off the wind, or for any windspeed in between.
Last edited by Sailormon6; 03-14-2010 at 01:39 PM.