Catalina 25 split backstay tension - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 4 Old 09-15-2011 Thread Starter
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Catalina 25 split backstay tension

I just got the split back-stay tensioner rigged properly on a friends Catalina 25.
It is one of those deals with a couple of wheels connected by a ring that can be pulled down with a tackle setup to increase the tension of the backstay.

I know you are supposed to tighten in heavy air and loosen in light air but what else it there to look at. On a race boat we had a hydraulic tensioner with a gauge so we went by the numbers.

On this boat how do I know how much to haul on it?
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post #2 of 4 Old 09-15-2011
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Depending on the purchase (A J24 is 2:1) it can be a bit hard to do to much

But your looking to control the headstay sag on a masthead rig VS it being a mast shaping/mainsail depowering tool on the J24

I am just doing it on the Cal 29 and will be using the loos gauge to see how much force I am making

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Last edited by tommays; 09-15-2011 at 08:36 PM.
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-15-2011
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Normal tension for 12-15kts would be 15% tension in the SINGLE wire section that is 'above' the split backstay section. 30% would be maximum for the most 'boisterous' sailing days when not reefed.

Get or borrow a tension gage, put it on the single wire above the split section, pull the tensioner to 5% 10% 15% 20% 30% in increments and MARK the tackle at the cam cleat for each tension / control rope position to a 'reference mark' (ie. the cam jaws) .... use colored 'sail twine' or equivalent, can even use different permanent felt tip marking pens.

Here's an alternative way to get correct tension ... for the jib luff 'point of view' (no tension gage required):

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Last edited by RichH; 09-15-2011 at 08:51 PM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 09-15-2011
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I owned and raced a C25 w/ backstay adjuster for many years. The purpose of the backstay adjuster on a C25 is to enable you to instantly change the tuning of the rig from very loose, for light air and sailing off the wind, to taut, for sailing to windward and in stronger winds. You could accomplish much the same purpose by easing or tensioning the main and jib halliards, or you could readjust the tuning of the rig with wrenches, but the backstay adjuster does it better and much more quickly.

Never over-tension a backstay adjuster, because it can do structural damage to the boat, and it isn't necessary for it to serve it's purpose. It's purpose isn't to enable you to put an extraordinary amount of tension on the backstay and forestay. It is to enable you to quickly change the amount of tension from that which is normal for sailing downwind or in light air, to the amount of tension which is normal for sailing to windward or in stronger winds. It is the ability to change the rig tension quickly that makes the backstay adjuster so useful on a C25.

The only tuning guide I have found for a C25 with adjustable backstay can be found near the end of the article at: Catalina - Capri - 25s International Association It worked great for me.

When you are racing and adjusting the backstay tension on the fly, you can't, as a practical matter, get out your Loos gauge and measure the amount of tension. You have to learn, through experience, to judge the amount of headstay sag visually, and by the amount of force that you exert on the backstay tensioner. It might sound like guesswork, but you'll find that it really isn't difficult with a little practice. Think about it this way: firm up the headstay when sailing to windward and in stronger winds, and relax the headstay when sailing off the wind and in light air.
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Last edited by Sailormon6; 09-15-2011 at 09:17 PM.
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