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Barefoot Children
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 8
Adding a Backstay adjuster

Any recommendations as to what type of backstay adjuster to add, the more expensive hydraulic or the less costly block and tackle system? We have started to scout around and get some prices and recommendations from some local riggers. I'm also thinking of send an email to Catalina to see what they recommend. We will be racing the boat in the local beer can series.

Thanks

Barefoot Children
Pat and Roy
2001 FK, TR Hull#1994
Kittery, ME

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Barefoot Children
Pat and Roy
2001 FK, TR Hull#1994
Kittery, ME
Nimue's picture
Nimue
Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 429

I would suggest that by the time you buy adequately strong block and tackles you might not be much cheaper than a hydraulic unit. But that all depends. You should specify if you are using a split backstay or not - the oldest boats just bring the backstay to a single central chainplate on the transom and with that setup I think a hydraulic or maybe a Harken winch-handle geared unit are the way to go.

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Jason V
Vancouver, BC, Canada
GloryDaze's picture
GloryDaze
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: 2/24/10
Posts: 140

If the rig is tuned properly,you wont get much headstay sag. Removing forestay sag is really the only reason to have a backstay adjuster on a C36. You would get more performance out of the boat with adjustable jib cars and high qaulity racing sails.

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Carl Wehe
1985 C36TM #443
Hillsboro Inlet,FL
Nimue's picture
Nimue
Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 429

Yes I should note that we race all the time and while I would like an adjustable backstay, it is a ways down the list of things we need. I do adjust the backstay turnbuckle through a range of about 12-16 turns before going sailing, based on really light or really heavy winds, but mostly I just leave it. This isn't a boat where you adjust the backstay in each puff, just tuning the rig properly and making sure it isn't too tight for the given conditions seems to be plenty.

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Jason V
Vancouver, BC, Canada
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SailorJackson
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 2/9/11
Posts: 152

I had backstay adjustment on my Catalina 25. It never really seemed to make much difference beyond a decent tune.

Seems like it would make a lot of sense with a fractional rig, where it would do so much to alter mainsail shape and boat balance.

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Greg Jackson
SV Jacqui Marie
2004 C36, MKII
tall rig, wing keel,

Barefoot Children
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 8

I see the our "signature" didn't come through on my original post so we have a 2001 fin keel, tall rig and eliptical rudder with a split backstay.

Talked to 2 riggers and a sailmaker since I first posted this and all recommended installing an adjuster. The Marblehead rigger suggested a hydraulic one at about $2300 installed and the local guy in Maine thought a manual "block and tackle" would be fine and no where near the $2300. I'm thinking it will be under $500 for the whole thing. He talked about using CS Johnson #39-201 backstay car for just under $100. The Marblehead guy wants to use a car that costs $600. The Navtec hydraulic is around $1200.

Our last two boats were a fractional rig, so it will be interesting learning how to get the most out of a masthead rig.

Are there any documents on rig tuning specifics for the Catalina 36 that would give me a starting point for how much tension to put on the uppers and lowers? We generally have fairly light diminishing winds, 6-12 knots for our Tuesday night races.

Thanks for the input so far,
Roy

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Barefoot Children
Pat and Roy
2001 FK, TR Hull#1994
Kittery, ME
Nimue's picture
Nimue
Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 429

Roy,

So I see you are looking a the split backstay / pinch style adjusters. That is the most cost effective way to go for sure. Problem withe these is that the tighter they get, the less mechanical advantage they have. To me they create diminishing returns pretty quickly. However for the cost I would certainly have one if I already had a split backstay. The expensive rope system is when you don't go for a pinch and actually add a cascading tackle that has to withstand the whole backstay load, but of course gives you full power all the way through the range.

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Jason V
Vancouver, BC, Canada
GloryDaze's picture
GloryDaze
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: 2/24/10
Posts: 140

The C36 rig is probablythe easiest rig in the world to tune. A goggle search will give you lots of info. If you have done alot of tuning you don't even need a gauge. Set the forestay length,get the mast plumb with the uppers. Then do the lowers,aft first,then crank the backstay. If you are sailing in flat water the lowers dont need alot of tension. If you sail in big waves like I do, you will need more tension to reduce the mast pump. I think I run about 15 to 20 percent on the uppers and 15 on the lowers. Backstay is tight enough to get a good twang when tapped with a wrench. This gives me about 2-3 inches of forestay sag in 20knots of wind.

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Carl Wehe
1985 C36TM #443
Hillsboro Inlet,FL
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stu jackson c34
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 12/3/08
Posts: 1269

Garhauer makes a very nice adjuster, and I bought one of their four part vangs. I installed large D shackles where the chainplates hit the transom. Connect the vang to one side, and run a line up through the adjuster block and down to the other side. We also raised the split so the adjuster has a lot of area to work and the head banging backstays are a thing of the past.

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Stu Jackson, C34IA Secretary, C34 #224, 1986, SR/FK, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)

caprice 1050
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 7/1/07
Posts: 345

If you want to try out a back stay tension device before spending a lot of money to see if you really want to use one I can offer a suggestion. Tie a "Truckers Hitch" in a piece of line then wrap it around your split backstay as high as you can reach. You can pull it as tight as you want and you can determine whether or not you get better results with a tension device.

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__/)__/)__/)__Capt Mike__/)__/)__/)__
Punta Gorda Florida
1990 Std WK M35 Hull #1050

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Taas
Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
Joined: 10/19/08
Posts: 23

I don't think an expensive back stay adjuster is going to do much good on a C36. It has a masthead rig, rather than a fractional rig. Any extra tension on the back stay(s) will only help to increase tension on the forestay and possibly the lower forward shrouds.

Interested in any comments on this view....

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S/Y 'EASY'
C36 MkII #1739
Monnickendam -The Netherlands
www.taas.it

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stu jackson c34
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 12/3/08
Posts: 1269

[QUOTE=Taas;17582]will only help to increase tension on the forestay

Interested in any comments on this view....[/QUOTE]

That's the entire point of adding one. And they don't have to be expensive. Garhauer makes a nice one, and their 4:1 vang goes nicely with it for adjusting.

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Stu Jackson, C34IA Secretary, C34 #224, 1986, SR/FK, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)

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gforaker
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: 7/20/07
Posts: 133

I have had the block and tackle type on my 1999 since new. I specified it from the dealer after using a similar one on my old C30.

I can say that is less effective than on the 30, and I don't use it as often. It only takes the sag out of the headstay and does not have enough purchase to do anything more than that. Note that I do not race and only cruise. I could see an immediate difference when I used it on the C30, but the change is much more subtle on the C36 with little obvious change.

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Gene Foraker
Sandusky Yacht Club
Sandusky, OH
1999  C36  #1786
Gypsy Wagon

Barefoot Children
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 8

After playing with a lot of stuff for our first year of owning a C36, the rig tune we ended up using for most of the year is this:

We initially setup the mast using the C36 manual. Then I grabbed a Loos gauge and wrote down the settings from the initial setup. The uppers were set for 1200 lbs, a semi-random choice based off the setting from our last boat. Then adjusted all the lowers so they had the same tension, 500 lbs. And set the backstay to 500 lbs, after the "twang" test.

Our wind is fairly light most of the time, under 12 knots, and the seas are flat, lots of current though. This setting seems to look good going upwind, with the center of the mast falling off about an inch or so and a little pre-bend. We had a long time C36 owner on board one race night and he verified that the setup seemed OK, though he was a little surprised to see the slight bend and was curious to see how we would do. We ended up taking a first, with his help.

We are keeping up with the front runners in our fleet and have won 4 of the 18 races and been in the top 3 for 10 of those races. We do very well in winds under 8 knots (the original 150% doesn't stretch as much). A caveat is we have 12 year old original thin, stretchy, baggy Catalina sails. It will be interesting to see what happens with the rig tune and our lead settings when we get real Dacron sails next year made out of 7.5 oz radian cloth.

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Barefoot Children
Pat and Roy
2001 FK, TR Hull#1994
Kittery, ME
jviss
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 8/8/11
Posts: 63

Interesting topic to me.

I've done some reading on this and ended up with a target tension of 15% of breaking strength for the cap shrouds, 15% for the forward lowers, 10% for the aft lowers, and a range of 15% to 30% for the backstay (nominal to max).

Cap shrouds and stays are 5/16' 1x19, breaking strength 12,000 lb.
Lowers are 1/4" 1x19, breaking strength 8,500 lb.

This gives me 1800 lb. on the caps, 1275 on the forward lowers, 850 on the after lowers, and 1800 to 3600 on the backstay. Because of the geometry the forestay tensions will be higher, but still O.K.

I'm surprised that you are running much lower tensions and having success. I still got mast pumping with my setup! I don't know why.

jv

p.s. but the way, I am not happy with the mast wedging I have, and just purchased a continuous, extruded rubber mast wedge that I will install this weekend. My boat originally had this. It's such that the mast collar is exactly 1/2" bigger in radius all around the mast, and this piece is pressed in between the mast and collar, all around. No adjustment, it's true, but a nicely distributed wedge load all around. We'll see.

p.p.s. I have a Harken screw-type backstay adjuster, the kind you adjust with a winch handle. Marine consignment store find at $220!

Barefoot Children
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 8

Well the season has ended, we placed 2nd and are pretty happy with that for this year.

I am beginning to think we might need to crank on another 250 lbs of tension when the winds get up over 12-14 knots, we struggle to keep up with some of the other boats on reaches and sometimes upwind. We are generally faster than any of the boats in any downwind conditions. So if the other boats haven't gone too far ahead of us, we can usually catch them downwind and they all owe us a little handicap time.

Next year we will have the new sails and if we still struggle on reaches, I'll try increasing the tension a bit and see if there is an adjustment somewhere between the light air and the medium air that is a good compromise so we can set it and leave it for both conditions.

We haven't seen any mast pumping. And next year we will finally get the backstay adjuster on and that should help in the higher winds to reduce the headstay sag.

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Barefoot Children
Pat and Roy
2001 FK, TR Hull#1994
Kittery, ME
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GaryB
Last seen: 16 hours 48 min ago
Joined: 10/26/08
Posts: 521

[QUOTE=jviss;19476]Interesting topic to me.

p.s. but the way, I am not happy with the mast wedging I have, and just purchased a continuous, extruded rubber mast wedge that I will install this weekend. My boat originally had this. It's such that the mast collar is exactly 1/2" bigger in radius all around the mast, and this piece is pressed in between the mast and collar, all around. No adjustment, it's true, but a nicely distributed wedge load all around. We'll see.

please explain this continuous wedge and where you purchased, Thanks!

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Gary Bain
S/V "Gone With The Wind"
Catalina 36', Hull #: 1056, Year: 1990, Engine: M-35
Standard Rig
Moored: East Boothbay, Maine
Home: Auburn, Maine

jviss
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 8/8/11
Posts: 63

[QUOTE=Gary Bain;19730]
please explain this continuous wedge and where you purchased, Thanks![/QUOTE]

It is what appears to be an extruded synthetic rubber product. I purchased it from Rig-Rite in Rhode Island.

[URL="http://www.rigrite.com/Spars/SparParts/Mast_wedges.html"]http://www.rigrite.com/Spars/SparParts/Mast_wedges.html[/URL]

[IMG]http://www.rigrite.com/Spars/SparParts/_derived/mast_wedges.html_txt_K-7...

"Standard" lengths are much less expensive than "custom." The circumference of my mast is 23 3/8". A piece this length was quoted at about $175. The standard length of 24" was $135. It's not too hard to cut, so I bought the longer piece.

GaryB's picture
GaryB
Last seen: 16 hours 48 min ago
Joined: 10/26/08
Posts: 521

OK I'm familiar with them. Never really red the detail and always thought they were smaller. I'm tired of picking them up and it should make for a better fit.
Thanks again!

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Gary Bain
S/V "Gone With The Wind"
Catalina 36', Hull #: 1056, Year: 1990, Engine: M-35
Standard Rig
Moored: East Boothbay, Maine
Home: Auburn, Maine

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