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downeast450 04-16-2011 01:17 PM

Runners to the toe rail?
I am working on a plan for an inner head stay and runners for our I-28. Storm gear!

My question is about attaching the blocks for the runners directly to the toe rail. It is a heavy aluminum rail and would distribute the load wider than a dedicated pad eye could. It also allows adjustments to the location of the blocks. It offers an unobstructed range of locations.

Any thoughts?


RichH 04-16-2011 01:21 PM

Run them to dedicated chainplates.

mitiempo 04-16-2011 01:44 PM

I agree. They have to withstand as much force as any other chainplate.

SlowButSteady 04-16-2011 01:44 PM

I'll second what Rich said. The toe rail almost certainly wasn't designed to take anything near the sorts of loads that a running backstay can induce, particularly in storm conditions.

TQA 04-16-2011 07:43 PM

OOPS my runners go to the toe rail. Never thought about having dedicated chain plates.

Mind you it is a pretty stiff mast.

Is the load going to be more than the genoa blocks that also go to the toerail?

SlowButSteady 04-16-2011 08:14 PM


Originally Posted by TQA (Post 721102)
OOPS my runners go to the toe rail. Never thought about having dedicated chain plates.

Mind you it is a pretty stiff mast.

Is the load going to be more than the genoa blocks that also go to the toerail?

Sheet blocks can also be under quite a bit of load. On the other hand, if the toe rail fails under those circumstances, the sound of the mast breaking at the staysail attachment isn't the next thing you're likely to hear.

downeast450 04-18-2011 10:58 AM

I do appreciate your replies. I was originally planning to install dedicated chain plates for my runners and will ultimately do that. The toe rail solution will allow me to locate the chain plates precisely. I expect to enjoy a season of conservative Maine coastal sailing as we test our storm sails and their rigging. I don't look forward to the task of their installation but I have the equipment and experience to do it. It is one of those jobs that is very comforting to have done and done well. I would much rather enjoy watching the waves coming over the bow under the drive of a storm jib without giving a thought to loosing a runner or a toe rail! Yikes! I do think the toe rail would suffice in all but the most extreme conditions. Plan for the worst and enjoy the rest!

It would be interesting to hear from others who use their toe rail this way. I am guessing there are more than one yacht rigged like that.


paulk 04-19-2011 10:24 AM

Where you lead runners depends a bit on how much force is involved and whether the place they're attached is strong enough for it. On some boats the toerail could pull right off. On others, it's not going anywhere. What are you sailing? On our fractionally rigged J/36 we only rig the runners when the wind pipes up above 25. They lead to cars on the toerail.

puddinlegs 04-19-2011 07:00 PM

Islander 28... Are your runners (or are you actually using check stays?) being lead to a winch, or are you doing a simple block system that can be attached to a padeye or similar? Where on the mast is the attachment point for the inner? The loads on your boat are not all that large in the big scheme of things, so I'd think a padeye with a very good backing plate would do the job just fine. Attach a block and take it to your windward primary (or secondary if you have them). A small length of bungee with a plastic hook at the shroud base to walk things forward and out of the way when you're not using them and you're good to go. Most runners/checks on the majority of boats aren't attached to anything anywhere near the strength of a chainplate tied to a bulkhead. The backstay is still doing the work of holding the mast up on your boat, and your 'runners/check' stays will stabilize things unless you're not running your inner to the top of the mast. All that said, I'd contact a reputable rigger in your area for their take on things.

downeast450 04-21-2011 07:43 PM


As this plan has been evolving over the last couple of seasons the cumulative advice and observations I have made follow your suggestions. I have discussed this with a couple of riggers and looked at several boats. The I-28's I measurement is 36' 10". The solent stay will run parallel to the head stay and attached at the deck just aft of the anchor locker using the cross deck brace that exists there as part of its anchor system. This is about 50" aft of the head stay chain plate. It will put the mast tang about 12' below the tangs for the uppers. I will use wire for the solnet stay and synthetic for the runners. I expect that the runners will be at least 5' aft of the mast base. I will probably use a well supported pad eye and a set of blocks as you suggest. We live and sail in Maine and are looking north for our next long passage. Having a storm jib on a solent stay and a storm tri sail will be a comfort.

Thanks for considering my question.


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