Running Backstays on mainmast for babystay

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    Czarina Blue

    Greetings all. I am on Czarina Blue, 1973, gold-anodised spars, Procter main mast. The PO had attached a baby stay fixing to the front of my mainmast, about 15% of the way down the height of the foretriangle, so about 1.7m or 5.5 ‘  below the forestay fixing.

    The bottom of this baby stay is turnbuckled onto a steel deck ring just behind ( aft of )  the central aluminium large mooring cleat which is 102cm aft of where the forestay meets the stemhead fitting.

    I have an orange stormsail and also a small storm jib/yankee hybrid which hank on to this baby stay, which I rarely use. But my question is: with a mast of this type (stiff, thick-walled), would it be wise to install running backstays? Presumably some expensive dyneema, with snatch blocks, to mizzen shroud chainplates or something? Fixed slightly above the top of the baby stay?

    Or should I not worry, with such relatively small sails?


    Czarina Blue

    Images attached, and forgot to say that, below decks, the steel fixing for the bottom of the babystay has a dyneema strop tensioned with turnbuckles to a fixing point on the inside of the V of the hull which is glassed in, all this to strengthen the stay and not pull up the deck.

    Czarina Blue

    bot fixing and second image showing size of storm jib realtive to 140 genoa


    Hi Duncan –

    I’m not answering your question, but I want to include a link to where the PO describes how he added this feature to Czarina Blue (including photos). Topic starts with a discussion about how others have done something similar.

    Inner Forestay discussion

    There is an earlier topic where this was also discussed.

    Removable Forestay discussion

    Note that in the earlier discussion about Removable Forestay, Van mentions that he talked to a rigger (the late Brion Toss) about adding such a forestay, and it seems Brion did not think a running backstay was necessary with the attachment point mounted just under the cap shroud tangs.

    We eventually did add a removable inner forestay as Brion Toss suggested and we have no running backstay.

    Marilyn, moderator

    Czarina Blue

    Hi Marilyn


    That’s really helpful. I note that Mike skipped past where he had mounted the top attachment for the stay. He had actually mounted it about 5.5 ‘ down the mast below the tangs. That’s a long way down and I make that to be 15% of the foretriangle height. The usual rec is not more than 5% and some say max 10% on certain stiff masts. I have run this question through the FB Sails and Rigging forum where many retired riggers and various sailors comment, and I got the whole range of answers from “Definitely need running backstays” to “It’s best practice” to  “Don’t need apart from in extreme winds”, to “Don’t bother!”

    It was actually Ollie Holden (of this Nic38 forum) who said I might want to check on my inner stay security factor when he heard it was substantially down the foretriangle.

    One idea is to put a reef set-up into my staysail so that the forces are at least less when reefed in winds above 30 knots, if and when I get to sail in those winds…which would make the whole thing more useful, perhaps.



    Just an odd thought here, what if you simply moved the top attachment up to the recommended 5% from the top, and get a longer inner stay? I see you have mechanical terminal fittings which can be reused, so you would just need to buy a new longer wire, and maybe some new cones for the fittings.

    Probably a lot easier and cheaper than making two running backstays. For backstays, you need hardware, attachment points at the mast, and also on the deck. And most likely, you will not want to deal with running backstays while you are at sea.

    Now, this will change the angle of the inner stay a bit.  Try it, and see if it works for your sails or if the sheeting angles no longer work.  If not, (or if you just think it makes sense) you can also move the deck attachment forward to keep the inner stay parallel to the forestay.  There are several ways to do this that have been discussed on the forum.  The way we do it on Rainshadow uses the bollard and the stem fitting, with pennants and a turnbuckle, and does not require any deck penetrations or hardware. I can send a picture of that if you want.



    Czarina Blue

    Hi Van,

    That thought had crossed my mind, ie moving the top fixture higher. I have read about your foredeck set up and I think I know what you mean but I would love to see a photo of that, with the pennants/ triangular set up. Thanks for your input.

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