Tension Tool - Sail Magazine

Tension Tool

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
Author:
Publish date:
TensionPhoto1

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 because there are many variables involved. How accurate is your gauge and does it register actual rig tension or pounds per square inch of pressure? If it’s the latter, what’s the conversion factor? Another important variable is the stiffness of the boat. Pearson 30s were solidly built, but they were always a bit flexible and there’s a good chance yours has become more so with age. This problem can be made worse if the backstay has been over tensioned on a regular basis.

That is why I suggest that you observe how much your headstay sags when you sail to windward. As a sailmaker, I assume a cruising headsail will sag off between 0.75 and 1.25 percent of its luff length; on your boat that is roughly 4 to 6 inches of sag when you are sailing hard. If you can keep the amount of headstay sag in that range you should be all right.

Hydraulic adjusters let you adjust backstay tension quickly and easily. If you feel you must replace the hydraulic unit, I recommend you get a mechanical adjuster rather than a simple turnbuckle. For more information on backstay adjusters go to: sailmagazine.com/boatworks/upgrades/adjustable_backstays.

Related

SouthernOcean

The 50th Anniversary of the Golden Globe

Here we go! The 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe, the first singlehanded nonstop round-the-world race, is upon us. On July 1 one tribute event, the Golden Globe Race 2018, will start out of Les Sables d’Olonne, France, with a fleet of 19 amateur skippers setting out in ...read more

180621-X01-Landing-Page

Volvo Ocean Race Cliffhanger

After racing over 44,000 miles round the world and battling their way past the world’s great capes, including the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, it’s all come down to the final 700-mile leg from Gothenburg, Sweden, to the Hague. Brunel, Mapfre, Dongfeng: going into the ...read more

Stearns Photo

Racing the Solo Mac for a Cause

There are plenty of reasons to do a Chicago-Mac race, and Rich Stearns, who has done literally dozens of ‘em should know. This year, though, he’s doing the Solo-Mac for an especially important reason: to help those with prostate cancer.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comRafting dangerOne unseen danger when sailing yachts lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they happen roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash ...read more

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more