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Old 25-01-2013, 10:11   #1
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baby stay vs. inner forestay tension

What rules of thumb are there regarding how to set the baby stay and inner forestay tension? I have a hydraulic backstay tensioner - should the hydraulic pretension be removed prior to tensioning the baby stay? Same question regarding the inner forestay?

I am a cruising sailor circumnavigating. A rigger suggested that the inner forestay should be removed from the deck (in stowed position) and used to help support the mast - which makes sense to me. But the forestay turnbuckle loosens up through the course of a passage - maybe the turnbuckle arrangement needs to be safety wired to prevent it loosening? As well following the last passage I found the baby stay wires parting towards the upper attachment point on the mast, and the inner forestay loose (as yet I have not tried to safety wire the turnbuckle to prevent it loosening).

Thoughts please! Thanks, michael
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Old 25-01-2013, 10:28   #2
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Re: baby stay vs. inner forestay tension

michael, a few other details would be helpful for those who might offer advice, beginning with whether you have running backstays (runners).

I'm also curious as to why a rigger thought the inner forestay should be used to help support the mast. Is it a flexible mast prone to pumping? I'm assuming here that you don't have swept spreaders. Right?
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Old 25-01-2013, 10:39   #3
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Re: baby stay vs. inner forestay tension

I do have running backstays and use them. The rig is as solid as they get - Nautor Swan 44. So it's just a best practice question really - if using the inner forestay is advantageous on long passages then sign me up. It sounds like best practice to me anyway - but the loosening of the inner forestay and parting of the baby stay has me questioning things.

Thanks,
michael
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Old 25-01-2013, 10:43   #4
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Re: baby stay vs. inner forestay tension

I sure hope all your turnbuckles have Cotter Pins. Any turnbuckle can loosen if it's not secured with cotter pins, not just your headstay. You don't need to bend the cotter pins into a pretzel. They only need to be opened far enough so that they won't back out. For those that are expected to be adjusted often and you don't want to tape or use a boot, there are various easily removable pin arrangements.

I'm not sure what exactly you are going to do with the staysail stay when it's disconnected. Did your rigger suggest attaching it closer to the mast to act as a baby stay??? The staysail stay and/or baby stay will pull the mast out of column if set up with hard tension the same as the stays and cap shroud. For some boats and the racing crowd pulling the mast a little out of column is desired because it effects mainsail shape. For most cruisers, the mast should be straight with just enough tension on the staysail/baby stay to keep it that way. Probably a trial and error adjustment while under sail. The staysail stay's sag when the staysail is set is controlled by the running backstays.

I would sail on passages with the staysail in place and the runners set even if you are only setting sails on the forestay. It's additional support for the mast and you won't have to hassle getting an overlapping sail through the gap on tacking very often, if ever on that passage. My last sail to Hawaii, only changed tack once in 15 days.

Correct me if I'm wrong but a Swan 44 is nearing 40 years old. The baby stay probably just died of old age. Rigging does not have an infinite lifespan. Your rigging should be inspected regularly and replaced periodically, 10 years or so. Not that stainless rigging won't last longer, just that especially with swage fittings, appearance isn't always an indicator of health. Rerig with Norseman/StaLok terminals and you'll do away with much of the corrosion problems with swaged terminals. You can easily do it yourself which I highly reccomend for your own edification.
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Old 25-01-2013, 10:50   #5
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Re: baby stay vs. inner forestay tension

Quote:
Originally Posted by svfinnishline View Post
I do have running backstays and use them. The rig is as solid as they get - Nautor Swan 44. So it's just a best practice question really - if using the inner forestay is advantageous on long passages then sign me up. It sounds like best practice to me anyway - but the loosening of the inner forestay and parting of the baby stay has me questioning things.
That's an understandable concern. I would tend only to tension the baby stay to flatten the mainsail in building winds.
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Old 25-01-2013, 14:57   #6
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I would guess that the loose baby stay was destroyed by its own movement. It should be tight enough to not flex while sailing.

Looking up the mast is a good way to judge the tension. The mast should make a smooth arc aft.
Enough to eliminate any movement in rough seas. My mast bend is about 30cm when the baby stay is pumped up tight. It is balanced by a running check stay.
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Old 25-01-2013, 15:35   #7
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Re: baby stay vs. inner forestay tension

Impossible to say without seeing the actual layout.

A a very general and (too-) broad rule: some swept spreader masts with inner forestays allow for tensioning them without need for runners. However, many in-line (spreader-) masts will come out of column if one tries to tension the inner forestay without clipping in and tensioning the runner. Much depends on where the inner forestay attaches relative to the permanent backstay then.

So to say, any inner forestay has to be balanced either by (swept-spreader supported) shrouds, by runners, or else a by a permanent backstay. Trying to tension unbalanced/unchecked forestay may end up in pulling the mast section out of column and, in extremis, in a rig failure.

Talk to a rigger and they will tell you how to sort your specific mast out.

b.
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