Redoing the adjustable backstay

My boat has an adjustable backstay (a stay is one of the big steel wires that keeps the mast from falling down) and ever since I have had it, I haven’t really touched it. It’s been locked in the same position by a ratty piece of rope with no blocks, so adjusting it was extremely hard. It is supposed to look like this (image from http://www.harken.com/content.aspx?id=3896)

This is the port side. Notice the extremely suspicious knot

The starboard side is just led to a cleat. Nice.

It works by forcing down this contraption, putting more tension on the backstay to flatten the foresail

Although having the possibility of the backstay loosening itself spectacularly added a certain ‘je ne suis qua’ (NB: I am NOT good at french) to sailing, it was time to fix it.

I found an old block and bought wire, another double block with a cam cleat (BLOCKS ARE SO EXPENSIVE, christ) and some crimping bits and bobs

First, I put a loop in the wire

This was then attached to the rear chainplate via my old halyard shackle that had been cut off

Then I threaded the wire through the gizmo (still not sure what that is called) and attached the double block to the other end

Then I attached the other fiddle block to the starboard chainplate and used 3/8 line to complete the run.

Done! It’s easily adjustable now so I can tighten it in high winds and loosen in low winds, with the added bonus it is a lot less likely to suddenly let go at the worst possible moment. Another thing off the list!

edit: yes there is a twist between the blocks – I’m going to fix it

Matt

2 Comments

  1. That was a bit confusing but, hey, I don’t have an adjustable backstay. But the pics are looking alot better. New cam?

    • I’ve added a new pic to helpfully clarify it a bit! I used my work phone camera and just sent the pictures over – a bit more work but less grimy 😉

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