Stus-List Backstay length and tension

Josh Muckley muckleyj at
Thu May 11 00:37:48 EDT 2017

The yard's travel lift is small enough (height and length) that in order to
balance the weight of the boat on the slings the lift has to move forward -
towards the boat's center of gravity.  The cross bar that connects both
sides of the travel lift will run into the backstay.  I used to disconnect
mine and then this year I realized that I could just release the hydraulics
and the backstay would sag enough to give room for the travel lift.

Without a mainsail up (no leach tension) the topping lift (if there is one)
and the main sheet work in conjunction with the back stay.
Removing/releasing the backstay will apply full load to the topping lift
and mainsheet.  Without a topping lift or mainsheet the head stay will sag
and pull the top of the mast forward.  This is even more pronounced if you
have the jib sheets on and tightened.

If you don't have a topping lift then set the main halyard to the end of
the boom.  Make sure that the halyard/topping lift is actually lifting the
boom and not just tight against the vang.  Then harden up the mainsheet
against the topper.  Now when the yard releases the backstay the mast won't
sag forward.

Josh Muckley
S/V Sea Hawk
1989 C&C 37+
Solomons, MD

On May 10, 2017 10:35 PM, "David Knecht via CnC-List" <cnc-list at>

> My boat has a split backstay with an adjuster that is pulled down with
> block and tackle to pinch the split and increase tension (Is there a
> nautical name I should know?).  My boat was splashed today and the yard
> crew complained for the second year about the difficulty reattaching the
> backstay.  I don’t think previous yards even disconnected it, but something
> about their sling and lift system means they have to come in with the sling
> from the rear with no backstay.  I am pretty sure the mast has a slight
> backward rake, so I can’t see why the length of the backstay would be a
> problem, but apparently even with the turnbuckles and adjuster loosened,
> they can barely get it reattached.  I can’t come up with a reason why they
> would have such a problem and if it means that something is not right with
> the rig.  I will check the rake again tomorrow now that the boat is
> floating and level, but it has always had some amount of rake as measured
> by a weight hanging from the main halyard.  Any thoughts on something I
> might be missing or is it normal for that kind of backstay to have limited
> adjustability?  Thanks- Dave
> Aries
> 1990 C&C 34+
> New London, CT
> _______________________________________________
> This list is supported by the generous donations of our members. If you
> wish to make a contribution to offset our costs, please go to:
> All Contributions are greatly appreciated!
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: pastedGraphic.tiff
Type: image/tiff
Size: 6852 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the CnC-List mailing list