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Old 30-08-2011, 07:23   #1
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Proper Tensioning of New Headstay with Roller Furling

I replaced all my wire, and the rigger who helped step the mast suggested I bend the mast so she would point better -- he'd had a similar boat, so I thought it was a good idea.

However, he's more into racing and is now in Europe racing other folks boats -- I'm not into racing.

Anyway, it looks like my headstay is way too loose (almost sloppy), but since it's roller furling, I can't check the tension. To fix it, I'm planning to loosen the backstay, adjust the shrouds as necessary to make the mast vertical, then slide the furler up and tension the headstay and backstay in concert, keeping the mast vertical.

I was considering putting a little bend in her, but am unsure how to go about it. Any advice would be great. I guess I could make her straight, do some sailing, then adjust, but am curious about how much tension to use and how to control the headstay tension. I have a Lose gauge I can use for all the other wires.

thanks...
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Old 30-08-2011, 07:46   #2
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Re: Proper tensioning of new headstay with roller furling

See also ➥ Tension on 4stay with Roller Furling
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Old 30-08-2011, 07:47   #3
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Great, thanks Gord. Btw, what happened to your special search link. I switched to an iPhone and no longer have it.
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:03   #4
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Re: Proper tensioning of new headstay with roller furling

Although you want the mast to be vertical (in column) laterally (port and starboard) you also want it to lean aftwards (rake). You do not want it to be absolutely vertical fore and aft. Average rake on a cruising style boat is about 4 degrees. Some masts can be "bent" and others cannot. If the boat comes with a backstay adjuster built in then it is probably has a bendable mast.
- - For rigging tension and procedures go to Brian Toss's website: Brion Toss Yacht Riggers, Sailboat Rigging
and his forum. And it is very worthwhile to get his DVD's on Tuning/inspecting your rigging. Brion Toss Yacht Riggers, Sailboat Rigging - DVDs & CD's & Videos
- - Along with his most excellent book - The Complete Rigger's Apprentice. Brion Toss Yacht Riggers, Sailboat Rigging::Books
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:18   #5
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Good point, vertical was incorrect.

The lowers should control the rake up to the spreaders, and the bend from the spreaders to the masthead -- right now, she's got a pretty good bend, which I don't think is a good idea.

I'll check the rake, but think it's okay. I already had questions about the headstay tension, but after all the racket it made during the hurricane, I definitely need to address it.

Thanks for al the responses...
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:30   #6
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Re: Proper tensioning of new headstay with roller furling

Bending that mast controls the draft of the mainsail. Is your sail tunable to some degree.
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:39   #7
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Bending that mast controls the draft of the mainsail. Is your sail tunable to some degree.
No idea, which probably translates into no. It's an old, but serviceable.
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:48   #8
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That water bucket technique, a la Nick on the other thread, works great.
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:51   #9
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Re: Proper tensioning of new headstay with roller furling

No problem. Just a general comment on one of the effects of bending the mast, to tune the draft.
My wooden mast, built in 1965,has designed in pre-bend. Draft is set with the battens.
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:59   #10
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Btw, I have one other problem.

The mast is deck stepped and is currently rotated a few degrees off center, not sure how much, but easy to see with the naked eye. Is this a problem/dangerous? Should I be able to straighten it out by myself? I'm alone at anchor.
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Old 30-08-2011, 09:00   #11
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Re: Proper tensioning of new headstay with roller furling

Quote:
Originally Posted by nv5l View Post
Great, thanks Gord. Btw, what happened to your special search link. I switched to an iPhone and no longer have it.
Quote:
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In the menu bar that runs just below your User Name when you're logged in, click on Search . . . in the drop-down menu that opens, scroll down to Google Custom Search and enter your search term. Click Go and you'll quickly have your search result based on a Google search of Cruisers Forum.
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Google custom search ➥ Google Custom Search

Or ➥ Google Custom Search - Cruising & Sailing Forums

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Old 30-08-2011, 09:23   #12
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Re: Proper tensioning of new headstay with roller furling

Your boat was built in 1971, so I'm assuming your mast is 40 years old.

At that age, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Take the sag out of your forestay by tightening the backstay. That will help you point higher.

Don't mess with an old mast.
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Old 30-08-2011, 09:27   #13
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Thanks, that was my thought as well. Wish I hadn't let the rigger mess with it in the first place.
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Old 30-08-2011, 10:00   #14
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Re: Proper tensioning of new headstay with roller furling

After I bought my boat and sea tested it I realized the mast pumped alot.There was alot of bend in it,about 6in. over length.When sitting with both stays loose mast has about 2in. of bend naturally.I think this was because the headstay was too long,resulting in Harken furler drum threads being at the end ,so they just tightened backstay more.I have since shortened the toggle plate on headstay 1.5in. and now have adjustment on the drum so I can tension headstay enough before pulling the bend in(now about 3 in. overall).My question is,how much sag in headstay should I see when looking up headstay foil when beating to weather in say 15 knots?I think I get about 6in. under full sail.
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Old 30-08-2011, 10:17   #15
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Re: Proper tensioning of new headstay with roller furling

I always like just a little bend (not rake) aft in my cruisers. When the wind really blows, go up to the mast and give a peek up the mast. You may find that the masthead is bent up to 6" forward in a blow! For that reason I like to preload it a little. Of course, as mentioned, mast bend will flatten your sail, so it may depend on how your mainsail was cut..... did the designer expect a bend?
I think whether it's raked or not really has more to do with controlling weather helm or looks!
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