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Tuning shrouds on Capri 18

Jul 20, 2018
Catalina Capri 18 Everett, WA
Hello all,

I am not happy with how few threads I have exposed on my fore-stay turnbuckle, so I am intending on messing with my shrouds/stays.

How does the off-set back-stay on a 18 factor into balancing the shrouds?
Should the turnbuckles on the shrouds not balance due to this? (By balance I mean show the equal amount of thread usage.)

Additionally. I am planning on doing this with the boat at the dock.
Is there any risk in loosening the shrouds and back-stay too much and leaving too much play in the mast?

I am considering reconnecting the fore-stay completely and am a little worried about the risk of the mast falling backwards during the process.
I am soloing it, so I am planning on securing the jib halyard to the bow pulpit to keep it from falling.

Any other tips?

Jan 1, 2006
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
OK. You can use the jib halyard to hold the mast up while working on the forestay. Or spinnaker halyard if you have one.
The forestay turnbuckle issue is another question. If you are down to just a few threads on the turnbuckle for the forestay something has changed. Maybe the PO moved the rake back (To increase weather helm), or some other reason. Maybe stretch of the standing rigging but I don't think that would be that much. Maybe the mast step is collapsing - not fun to contemplate but possible. But in general the turnbuckles on standing rigging should be near the center of the threads. If not look for a reason.
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Jun 1, 2004
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
I would tune the mast first, then contemplate the amount of exposed threads. The shrouds are charged with keeping the mast straight in all conditions, so setting tension is critical. The stays will not be locked in to a particular tension setting because they allow the mast to react to sail trim and sea conditions..... That's why most sailboats have a backstay adjuster..... There is an excellent mast tuning guide at this website that can apply to practically any size sailboat.... www.cncphotoalbum.com.
Once you're happy with the mast's set up... you can fiddle with the forestay, but the amount of exposed thread is irrelevant as long as your mast is tuned. If you raise and lower your mast a lot, you might consider installing "shroud/stay adjusters" to replace the threaded turnbuckles. They uses clevis pins and perforated tangs to anchor the wires.... way way faster and the settings are easily duplicated each session. I use the version on the left for my Beach cat's forestay. The middle and right work well for shrouds. There are also "quick release" versions... which give you more options when racing. Backstay is completely different.... you can google that

The forestay's primary function is to control mast rake ... which is how much the mast "leans" back. But the backstay on your fractional rig is very important for sail trim so some kind of adjusting device would be an excellent addition. Therefore, you would essentially leave the forestay fixed and use the backstay to control the tension (or sag) in the forestay and the mast's bend (not rake, that's different)… All of this will become clear if you opportune yourself to read the suggested mast tuning guide and also consult a good sail trim guide... such as Don Guillette's tome offered for purchase on this site. Have fun.