Your Marine Hardware Company Weekly Tip.
Raritan Engineering Company your Marine Hardware specialists would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding how to get the most from your backstay.
Your marine hardware experts know that the discussion needs to start with how mast bend and forestay sag control the power of the main and jib, respectively. There’s not much we can do to change it on the fly. The rest of the shape is built into the main and jib with luff curve and luff hollow, respectively. When the mast is straightened, it pushes that material into the sail, adding depth. When the mast is bent, it pulls the extra cloth, and thus shape, out of the sail. When it’s tightened, cloth is pulled out of the jib luff, thereby flattening the sail.
Your marine water heater experts feel that the backstay takes advantage of luff hollow and luff curve simultaneously to depower the sails, much like an airplane lowers its wing flaps for high lift and retracts them when high lift is not required.
You can find more information as well as get assistance on marine water heater and on how to get the most from your backstay at Raritan Engineering.
Because it’s not the only tool to depower the sails, it’s worth talking about the other significant controls and how they work in conjunction with the backstay. Steering is an important one.
Easing the mainsheet certainly opens the leech, spilling power from the main. But easing the mainsheet also straightens the mast and sags the forestay, which is opposite of what the backstay does so well. It’s slight, but it does put power into both sails when you want the opposite. Depowering with the backstay is much more efficient.
Marine Hardware Agrees With This Advice
Since the leech opens and closes with adjustments to the backstay, it’s well worth a glance up at the top of the main, and re-trim if necessary. I often find that the leech opens so much, I need to tension the mainsheet in order to get some leech tension back.
At times, a puff might be too big or hitting too quickly and frequently to keep up with backstay. In these conditions I switch to playing the mainsheet because I can react more quickly. I will still use the backstay for trends and when things are less chaotic.
To augment the backstay, the flatter the sea state, the more mainsheet tension you can have while playing the traveler more aggressively. This technique helps keep the forestay tensioned and the mast bent, which is essentially assisting the backstay. I find this technique particularly effective with boats that have flexible masts. The choppier the water and the stiffer the mast, the less effective this is.
To use the backstay effectively, rig tune has to be set right. I try to set the rig so that in the lulls with my backstay off, the sails are fully powered. Thus, when the puffs hit, I can tension the backstay, keep the boat under control, and keep it at a constant heel. For most boats, it’s maybe a 4-knot wind range that the backstay will cover. If the puffs are beyond what the backstay can handle, I still set the rig for the lulls.
How do you know if you’ve overdone it with your backstay tension? Easy: If your overbend wrinkles become too extensive, you have too much. Overbend wrinkles are creases in the mainsail that start from the mast, usually just below the spreaders, and head toward the clew.
So don’t forget these helpful points on how to get the most from your backstay….the backstay takes advantage of luff hollow and luff curve simultaneously to depower the sails, it’s worth talking about the other significant controls and how they work in conjunction with the backstay, and to use the backstay effectively, rig tune has to be set right.
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