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Tension Tool

by Win Fowler, Posted January 19, 2010
Paul Derby of Cadillac, Michigan, asks:   "My 1976 Pearson 30 has a hydraulic backstay tensioner and I am wondering what the optimum backstay tension should be when cruising. I’m also thinking about replacing the hydraulic system with something else. Any suggestions?" Win Fowler replies: I can’t give you exact advice on your backstay tension

Luff Considerations

by Win Fowler, Posted November 15, 2009
Bob Boller of Benicia, Califonia, asks:   "I have three headsails for my 1980 Catalina 30 and their LPs are 85, 110 and 150. As it does on many cruising boats, the bow pulpit interferes with the lower portion of the sails, especially the smaller two. What do you think about slightly raising the tacks of the sails up the forestay? What effect will that have on the performance

Strength in Numbers

by Win Fowler, Posted July 14, 2009
John M. Bollinger of Bellevue, Ohio, asks:   "I’m planning to replace my halyards this summer and I would like to learn how to splice them to the shackles myself. Where can I find this information?" Win Fowler replies: Splicing techniques vary depending on the type of cordage you plan to use. Most manufacturers provide detailed splicing

Clues for Clews

by Win Fowler, Posted June 14, 2009
Jim Ballantine of Charleston, S. Carolina, asks:   ’ve installed new adjustable cars for my genoa aboard my 39-foot sloop. But now that I have them, I’m not sure what adjustments I should make to the cars when sailing in different wind conditions. I do know that whenever I reef down the headsail I should move the cars forward. But I’m not sure what other adjustments to make

Reefing rules

by Win Fowler, Posted May 19, 2009
Henry Buckminster, of Seattle, Washington, asks:   "My 35-foot 7⁄8 rig sloop has a 135 percent roller-furling jib, and once the wind starts blowing over about 12–14 knots I want to take a reef. But I’m not sure whether I should reef the mainsail or the headsail first. Are there any reefing rules when going to windward, and does the protocol stay the same when I am running off

Rig pumper

by Win Fowler, Posted April 15, 2009
"Whenever I’m motoring with the wind about 10 degrees off the starboard bow, the mast starts pumping so badly that it shakes the whole boat. The same thing happens at anchor. The mast is deck-stepped, and I’ve beefed up the compression post under the deck to make it rock solid. I’ve also checked the mast with a plumb bob and found that the column is straight but has a slight rake aft. All the

Shine and show

by Win Fowler, Posted March 11, 2009
David Meyers of Kaysville, Utah, asks:   "I’m refurbishing my Ericson 30 this winter and am about to remove a light layer of rust that has accumulated on the boat’s stainless-steel rigging. What do you recommend for this sort of rust removal? Most of the rigging is in good shape, but it has lost its shine. I’ve heard of using an electrolytic process, but I don’t want to

Dirty deck lines

by Win Fowler, Posted December 15, 2008
Warren Beverung, of Cary, North Carolina, asks:   "I’ve been getting my Sabre 38 back in shape after it weathered some recent hurricanes, and I’ve noticed a lot of mold on the running rigging, particularly on the lines that go across the deck. What’s the best way to clean the lines and minimize the chance that they will grow mildew in the future? I don’t want to put them in

Rake and bag

by Win Fowler, Posted December 3, 2008
Pat Connolly, of Chatham, Massachusetts, asks:   "My 23-foot sloop has weather helm. I replaced the hanked-on jib with a furling headsail, but after the furler was installed I had to tighten the backstay to get the sag out of the furling system even though the new forestay was cut to the same length as the old one. The owner’s manual says there should be a mast rake of about

Snuff or Furl

by Win Fowler, Posted November 20, 2008
I usually sail with one other person, and I’m wondering how to choose between a continuous-line furler and a spinnaker sleeve for my asymmetric spinnaker. Which is easier to deploy, and is one better than the other for singlehanding?   -- Mark Trainor , Norwalk, Connecticut Win Fowler replies : Both a furler and a sleeve are effective ways to set and douse an
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