Does a forestay need a tension adjuster or not? - SailNet Community

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Old 08-19-2011
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Unhappy Does a forestay need a tension adjuster or not?

Hi,
The forestay on my Beneteau sailing boat has a bottle screw tension adjuster under the furling roller (see pic). Unfortunately even with the bottlescrew fully tightend the forestay is still a bit loose which results in poor pointing ability. In other words the forestay eye to eye measurement is about 2 inches too long for use with the bottlescrew, blah!
Can I get rid of the bottle screw and replace it with something shorter, if so, what? Would this need to be an adjustable thing? ie will the forestay stretch a bit over time?
I could just shorten the forestay and keep the bottlescrew but this will result in having the foot of the headsail about nine inches above the deck when sailing close hauled. It seems to me that the boat would sail better if this gap was reduced to say 2 or 3 inches?
I don't mind fitting a longer forestay or shortening the forestay and keeping the bottlescrew but I do want to end up with a setup what will allow me to sail as fast as possible so I can get back to the pub first.
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Old 08-19-2011
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On most boats the forestay length would be a tuning/performance item to adjust the mast rake with the tension coming from and adjustable backstay
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Old 08-19-2011
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Tensioning the forestay is always done via the backstay. In case the rigging is not properly adjusted, it might be necessary to adjust the forestay also.
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Unhappy

It's a fractional rig with an adjustable backstay. At the dock the mast is not straight visually but is leaning slightly towards the stern. I can then adjust the backstay to put rake at the top of the (leaning backwards) mast.
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Old 08-19-2011
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Lots of boats sailing without bottle screw on the forstay.

It's a good ide to find out why the forestay is to long, has it always been that way or is something shifting?

On most boats the forestay gets adjusted once, and the backstay are used for trimming.

You can replace the bottle screw with link plates and/or toggles.
A link plate is a piece of ss steel with holes that can take one clevis pin in each end.

Remember that the attachment must be able to flex for and aft and transverse.
To achieve this you will probably need to combine with a togle.

Some pictures on this site
link plate (Link Plate Extenders)
Standing Rigging - Eye Jaw Toggle, Stemball eye with cup, Double Jaw Toggle
toggle
Standing Rigging - Eye Jaw Toggle, Stemball eye with cup, Double Jaw Toggle

The link plates can also be custom made.

Contact a rigger to get the parts

Last edited by knuterikt; 08-19-2011 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 08-19-2011
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Is the rigging factory or has it been changed? 2" seems like a lot of stretch....
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Many boats have fixed length headstays. As has been mentioned, the headstay is usually tensioned by tightening the backstay turnbuckle/s or adjuster.

Also, having a turnbuckle under a furling system can sometimes lead to problems when the turnbuckle rotates instead of the drum.
Cotter pins are not really up to the task of holding a turnbuckle stationary when the force of a furler is added.
I've seen it done lots of times, but it's not really recommended.

Edit: The turnbuckle in the photo doesn't have a toggle on the bottom. A headstay should always be toggled at both ends.
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All the previous posts are correct and valid. Backstay tension causes the proper tension in the forestay.

If 'poor pointing ability' is the chief problem and you do not have a roller furling mainsail, there are many trim and sail 'shape' issues that cause 'pointing issues'.

1. That backstay should be tightened to approx. 15-20% tension ... as on most 'recreational/cruising' boat that forestay (reacts with the backstay) should be operating at close to that tension value ... a sailmaker when designing such a sail will 'assume' that the correct tension is in the forestay wire which under normal sailing conditions (10-15KTS) allow the sail to take its proper designed shape.

2. Pointing is dependent on so called 'weather helm' and sail trim. Weather helm is adjusted *primarily* by mainsail luff tension. If you have a 'roller furling mainsail' you cannot do this and therefore must adjust by slight 'reefing' of the main. Otherwise, you must correctly control the main's luff tension ... and then adjust the shape and trim of the boat. Most who use woven dacron mainsails fail to 'properly raise' such sails which leads to poor pointing, aggressive heeling, slow and cranky boat with LOTS of weather helm (rudder being dragged through the water at an angle).
Use a FULL set of tell tales (luff/midcord/leech) plus a row of 'steering tales' on the jib at about 6-8 ft. above the deck; but, FIRST be sure that the mainsail is correctly raised which will affect proper 'shape' for the day's wind and wave venue: How to properly RAISE a woven dacron mainsail - SailboatOwners.com
If you have a roller furling mainsail ... the only way to 'balance' is re-rake the mast or slightly 'reef' the main.
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If you have a fractional rig, the only effective way to can provide forestay tension is with running backstays which are a pain for pleasure sailing. If you have aft-swept spreaders/shrouds terminating on the mast at the height of the forestay, you can tune in static tension. Have you tried to find what Bene has to say on the subject?
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...and put some silicon on your cotter pins.
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