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  #1  
Old 05-29-2012
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Adding an adjustable backstay without adding a split backstay

OK there are lots of threads about adjustable backstays, but they are all like 6 posts long and not super helpful.

Boat is a hunter 25, masthead rig.

How can I add an adjustable backstay to this boat for under $200? Should I go with the split backstay? Are there any other options in my price range?

Thx for the help
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Re: Adding an adjustable backstay without adding a split backstay

Shorten the backstay and replace the lower section with a block and tackle that has a built in cleat - then you are using the existing mounts that are designed for the load.

Size the new block and tackle to be at least as strong as your backstay - not sure of the multiplication needed - maybe 6 to 1 - - take a look at other boats your size for a bit of guidance

Many boats have a block and tackle inline backstay adjuster - I would stay away from changing the backstay mounts and the boats I found on the internet did not look like they had a split backstay
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Re: Adding an adjustable backstay without adding a split backstay

I kind of want to use the existing in-line hardware if possible, both to save money and to save time (it's sailing season!).

Would an appropriately sized fiddle block arrangement do the job I wonder?

Ronstan Series 50 AP Block Fiddle Becket at Mauri Pro Sailing
Ronstan Series 50 AP Block Fiddle Becket Cleat at Mauri Pro Sailing

I have a 3/16" backstay with I think a breaking load of about 4000#, working load must be around 2000#. I just wonder if a 16/1 purchase obtained through 2 fiddle blocks would be strong enough. I figure I could adjust it during a tack when the load is off the rig...
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Re: Adding an adjustable backstay without adding a split backstay

Your fiddle blocks are just a different name for what I called "block and tackle" - you can double your power by putting a block at the bottom fitting on the backstay (the part going to the top of the mast) that would give you efective 8:1 (a set of your blocks pictured is 4:1) - so I think you are on the right track - and as you noted you will be using the same mounting points - I think you are on the right track - I think I have seen other becket blocks that have another sheave in them - part of my backstay adjuster has a 3 wide block set up - as the the exact numbers since I am not a yacht designer I can't render much of an opinion other than you should match the strengths up so you don't create a weak point.
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Re: Adding an adjustable backstay without adding a split backstay

I am not sure how you are going to get 16:1 out of 2 fiddle blocks. You probably don't need that much anyway. All you need to do is shorten your backstay and insert the purchase system of your choice into the gap you created. If you use a cascade system you will not only double whatever purchase system you go with, you will also add the safety of a backstay that cannot be accidentally released completely. There is no reason you can't do it for $200, just don't cheap out on the blocks and rope. The smoother it runs under load the better.

Go to This page to see examples of what I am talking about.

Last edited by SchockT; 05-29-2012 at 01:31 PM.
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Re: Adding an adjustable backstay without adding a split backstay

haha brainfart no obviously fiddle blocks won't give a 16/1 purchase

Schock thanks for the link. This looks like it might work:


Am I right to think that I can use triple blocks with half the breaking strength of the backstay wire if I go with the cascading system? (Though obviously the cascade block itself would have to be as strong as the wire)

Where does the cascade get attached to? Wouldn't it distort the backstay if it is offset to the side of the chainplate? Do I need a new chainplate then for the cascade?
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Re: Adding an adjustable backstay without adding a split backstay

Use a double mounting plate and connect to the same chain plate. this is the same as a cascade vang setup. these plates are from a Boomkicker vang
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Re: Adding an adjustable backstay without adding a split backstay

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Originally Posted by overbored View Post
Use a double mounting plate and connect to the same chain plate
Brilliant! Where do I get one of those?
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Re: Adding an adjustable backstay without adding a split backstay

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Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
Brilliant! Where do I get one of those?
Boomkicker.com Boomkicker
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Re: Adding an adjustable backstay without adding a split backstay

you should be able to find those at any decent marine hardware store...maybe even westmarine!
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