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We just bought our first sailboat a few weeks ago. Launch was okay, stepping the mast was okay too. However, there's a lot of slack in the stern line and I can't seem to get it tightened. The rigging was mostly in place from the previous owner, including the stern line. There is what seems like a tensioner, flat plate with 5-wheels. Either it's worn or the line isn't fed through correctly. Anyone have any ideas what my issue is here? Or what this piece is called?
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Old soul
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When you say "stern line" I think you mean backstay.

That 5-wheel block is indeed a backstay tensioner. It's used to harden or slacken the backstay on the fly. It's typically found on racing boats.

To tension the backstay you just haul down on the block. There should be some way to attach a line to the block so it can be pulled down, and then secured off, possibly with a cleat. Is there an unassigned cleat or attachment point below the tensioner?


BTW, I see your backstay turnbuckle is closed to the max. You may want to slacken that off a bit once you're able to tension using the tensioner.

Q: You may have to rotate the tensioner 180º depending on how it is secured below.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yay! I love learning the right words for things! Thank you.

The diagram makes perfect sense! And I was nervous about closing the turnbuckle all the way. I'll get that adjusted and get a line in the bottom wheel of the tensioner to help with the backstay tension. Thank you so much!
 

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I know this wasn't your question, but what's going on with the cable that looks like it is connecting your backstay to the dock or piling?

That clip looks like it might be a place to secure the boom end in place of a topping lift. But are you using it to secure the boat to the dock? Or are my eyes playing tricks on me?

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Mine is mounted with a shackle instead of the center sheave for the Johnson car. Use a 4 part tackle attached to the shackle to pull the car down. Used 2.25" harken fiddle blocks with becket and cam cleat on the bottom block. This size is NLA from Harken but bought mine off eBay. My boat is a Sabre 28 for reference.
 

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Old soul
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I know this wasn't your question, but what's going on with the cable that looks like it is connecting your backstay to the dock or piling?

That clip looks like it might be a place to secure the boom end in place of a topping lift. But are you using it to secure the boat to the dock? Or are my eyes playing tricks on me?
I'm sure sailgirl can explain, but my interpretation of the image is that the cable is attached to the end of the boom. It is the topping lift.
 

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it is attached to the boom . the piling is in the background. but I would be concerned about the broken wires on the split section of the backstay that needs to be replaced before going sailing
 

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Now that you mention it that split backstay is toast. In addition the wire has got a permanent bend that may have been the cause of the broken wire strand. What is that line hiding??
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I know this wasn't your question, but what's going on with the cable that looks like it is connecting your backstay to the dock or piling?

That clip looks like it might be a place to secure the boom end in place of a topping lift. But are you using it to secure the boat to the dock? Or are my eyes playing tricks on me?

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

It's attached to the boom. I think I took the picture at a weird angle.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Now that you mention it that split backstay is toast. In addition the wire has got a permanent bend that may have been the cause of the broken wire strand. What is that line hiding??
That was definitely another concern I had. I've been looking at the cost of replacing those. Pretty sure we're not leaving the slip until both the line issue and the tensioner issue are resolved. Which sucks because I'm running out of summer in the upper peninsula.
 

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That was definitely another concern I had. I've been looking at the cost of replacing those. Pretty sure we're not leaving the slip until both the line issue and the tensioner issue are resolved. Which sucks because I'm running out of summer in the upper peninsula.
Replacing the split backstay section should not be terribly expensive. Also should not take too long for a rigging shop to make one up. You'll want to rig up a temporary attachment in its place, then just disconnect it & take it to a rigger. You might want to bring the tensioner in with you too so that they can see how it all fits together. Hopefully they'll get you on the water shortly.
 

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Honestly just one of the two ends of the split backstay looks bad to me, and it looks like it was handled poorly off the boat. I'd inspect the other one carefully (look for rust stains or broken strands). If you can't find anything wrong with it, then you should only need to replace the one.
 
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