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Too much mast rake

Jul 2, 2021
14
Sirius 21 North
There is a great "Free" guide to solo sailing which may provide ideas to help you. Solo sailing is a great experience. Sailing with a crew is also a great experience. Heck Sailing is self is where it is at.
I look forward to digging my teeth into this read. Thanks for the share!

I've really been enjoying single-handed sailing since it has exponentially sped up the learning curve for me. It gives instant feedback for trim changes and forces you to think/problem solve quickly. It's also just nice to know that I *can* do it. There's lots to juggle and it can be stressful at times but hey that's half the fun I guess haha.
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,857
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
If I'm understanding your description correctly, a tight mainsheet and boom vang should essentially take all of the load off the rearstay when the boom's pulled in tight to centre-line during a closehaul...?
Yes, the main sheet takes the load, the vang helps flatten the luff, which allows the boom's tension from the sheet to transfer better. But, because vangs are usually connected at the base of the mast, they don't actually contribute directly to backwards tension on the forestay.

One quick question before I try to retackle the rig tuning: to readjust the rake do I first need to de-tension EVERYTHING (including all of the shrouds) as well? Also, should it be rigged with the added weight of the boom/mainsail/topping lift attached? I'm assuming so, but want to be sure to do it right.
If you're sure everything is aligned and straight, the mast looks good and doesn't bend the wrong way or have an 's' bend in it or you've over tightened, you may not need to loosen everything, but it seems starting fresh is a good approach.

-Will
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,722
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I have not been following your rig tuning to closely. I read your statements about "tight" and began to wonder.

Here is a generic article about basic rig tuning that can apply to all sail boats.

It is a good starting point. I know when I was sailing my 15ft Montgomery "pocket yacht", trailing her all over searching the waters of the PacificNW, that I started "TOO TIGHT". I gradually learned that I sailed faster and under more control the less tight I rigged the boat. I am not talking floppy, more the tension on the deepest string of a base guitar. It helped to talk to the designer and to interact with some of the skilled racers of the boat. It seems counterintuitive that a loose rig can be faster.
 

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,394
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
If I'm understanding your description correctly, a tight mainsheet and boom vang should essentially take all of the load off the rearstay when the boom's pulled in tight to centre-line during a closehaul...? In my case I was sheeted in tightly on the main when I noticed the otherwise tight forestay begin to sag during puffs and had the vang on too. I previously thought that the vang had more to do with controlling boom height while reaching downwind when there is more mainsheet out... So much to learn!
The backstay is about the mast and forestay sag, so assuming the sail's leech is a viable substitute for it will quickly get you out of sorts with mainsail trim. Therefore, I suggest you reduce the mounting confusion by going back to your initial understanding.... Upwind the mainsheet controls leech tension, aka twist. The traveler controls the angle of attack, or the direction the mainsail points into the apparent wind direction. The vang, especially on a loose foot main is not especially needed on these points of sail, but it can be firmed up to reduce rattling sounds.
Downwind As the boom eases outside the range of the traveler's vertical control, the mainsail takes over the angle of attack function... and the vang is used to maintain the desired leech tension... essentially to keep the boom from bouncing. Can you visualize that in this case neither the mainsail leech, vang, mainsheet, etc would have any effect on the backstay...so clear that idea from your head. The only reason it was mentioned is to suggest the mast would be stable even if the backstay were floppy... because the sail would help keep it upright... as long as your're going upwind, of course. Downwind, with the boom swung out wide... who knows.. but your boat has swept back shrouds also, offering more fore and aft support.
One quick question before I try to retackle the rig tuning: to readjust the rake do I first need to de-tension EVERYTHING (including all of the shrouds) as well? Also, should it be rigged with the added weight of the boom/mainsail/topping lift attached? I'm assuming so, but want to be sure to do it right.
Try the forestay by itself at first, with the plumb line rigged with mast and boom set up. You'll probably need to ease the swept back shrouds and the backstay. If the Cap shrouds (uppers) are abeam, not swept back) you will most likely not need to change them. The baby stay will most likely show some slack, so you'll want to address that once you've got your rake set. Listen.... All you're doing here is adjusting the fore and aft position of the mast. Which means that if you make an adjustment to the shrouds you need to make them equal on each side. ex. two turns port, two turns starboard... Keeping the tension equal is more important than the amount of tension.... because that's what keeps the mast straight. Once everything else is set up you can go back and tweak the shrouds... there are many good mast tuning guides on line... basic for all sailboats... try the one at www.cncphotoalbum.com or any spar maker's website.
 
  • Helpful
Likes: Will Gilmore
May 14, 2009
19
Sirius 21 Pelican Yacht Club, Manitoba
Your shrouds will also affect the rake by limiting how far forward your mast will go. They may need to be loosened, set your rake with front and rear stays, and readjust.
 
Jul 2, 2021
14
Sirius 21 North
Thanks for all the great feedback everyone! I'm still waiting for a calm day on dock to do the adjustments but will report back when it's all done. Hopefully by the weekend, fingers crossed.
 
Jul 2, 2021
14
Sirius 21 North
Just a quick update for anyone who's still interested:

I was able to loosen-off everything off and start from scratch with the tuning.
Thanks to everyone for all the great tips on how to do so!

It's now clear that what's causing the excessive rake is a forestay that's too long and a backstay that's too short.
I pulled-in everything as much as I could while keeping the tensions within reason, which resulted in a nearly maxed-out forestay and a backstay that has a bare minimum of thread going into the turnbuckle that I feel comfortable with...

All-in-all I was able to reduce the rake by about 2" (though this still puts me far past the recommended settings) and I applied quite a bit more pre-bend using the babystay to help me get there. I think I'll have to play with the babystay more as I see how the whole rig sails.

Short of replacing the rigging though I think I've got it about as good as I can for the time being!

Cheers
 
  • Like
Likes: Will Gilmore
Oct 22, 2014
15,722
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Just a swag here but do you think the rigging was initially installed wrong?
Could someone have swapped the fore and back stays?
Could they have errored in the original lengths?
Could the rigging have stretched that much over the years of use by previous owner?
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,956
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Just a swag here but do you think the rigging was initially installed wrong?
Could someone have swapped the fore and back stays?
Could they have errored in the original lengths?
Could the rigging have stretched that much over the years of use by previous owner?
Interesting idea
 
Dec 28, 2015
1,327
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
You can fudge the back stay with a shackle. The forestry is your problem. Is the cabin at the right elevation? No signs of sagging?
 
  • Like
Likes: Will Gilmore
Jul 2, 2021
14
Sirius 21 North
Just a swag here but do you think the rigging was initially installed wrong?
Could someone have swapped the fore and back stays?
Could they have errored in the original lengths?
Could the rigging have stretched that much over the years of use by previous owner?
This definitively crossed my mind after readjusting everything. I've only had a few months on this boat and just kept everything as-is while I've been learning. Next time I lower the mast I will definitely be measuring the stays to make sure they haven't been reversed!
 
Jul 2, 2021
14
Sirius 21 North
You can fudge the back stay with a shackle. The forestry is your problem. Is the cabin at the right elevation? No signs of sagging?
Great idea with extending the stay with a shackle in the back. Still limited in the front but this will buy some extra length at the back for sure.

The cabin is in great condition with no sagging. Thanks!
 
Dec 28, 2015
1,327
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
How cool would it be if the stay were just switched by accident. If not , take a look at the forestays hardware to see if there is a opportunity to use a shorter turnbuckle or something.