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Forums / Technical / Adjustable backstay  
The discussions for this thread include the following:

Posted: 31 Jul 2007 at 12:32am
Are any Dolphin owners who are racing their boats rigged for an adjustable backstay? It seems to me that would be quite advantageous, yet I haven't seen too many boats rigged that way.

Posted: 01 Aug 2007 at 8:34am
Hi Erik
The following is from my Marionette restoration page "I kept the old heavy, bronze, folding double handle, back stay adjuster but one day I will change this to a multipart block system adjustable from the cockpit – when I can figure out a satisfactory way to lead the control lines back to the cockpit without making too many holes in the deck, messing up (operation of) the rear deck hatch and traveler, and being able to easily adjust the backstay while sitting on either the port or starboard side. Meanwhile, the adjustable back stay stays mostly unadjusted…"

A couple of other considerations - Marionette's mast rig is single inline lower shrouds. This makes mast bend problematic, especially with my heavy telephone pole mast - even S&S called these masts bridgebreakers. The wall section is .130 thick. So I use the backstay adjuster in preseason setup to get right rig tension and the little bit of rake I like - its easier that fooling with the turnbuckle. During the season I use it increase forestay tension in a breeze and ease tension and reduce rake on the run.

Later Dolphins had rigs with fore and aft lower shrouds and perhaps lighter mast sections so they have more options. Some boats were rigged with baby stays and/or added and repositioned their lower shrouds. Check out the S&S November 8, 1968 "Improving Performance" memo in the Technical section - barely readable. There is an interesting paragraph on what Harold White did to his rig on Imp, - now Jay Picotte's Recovery


ps I have been investigating new replacement Dolphin masts - laminated wood, ($$ - not much weight savings) carbon fiber ($$$$ - 30+ lbs weight savings)) and variable section aluminum (17-18 lbs weight savings). I hope to get some info up on the site soon on weight savings, costs, other considerations.

Posted: 05 Aug 2007 at 11:27am
I use an adjustable backstay on my dolphin. It is an in-line wheel type with a folding handle so I can still open the hatch cover. It is sometimes difficult to adjust while racing though, due to time and lack of bodies. Depends on the race course. I think that retrofitting a split backstay and using a system of blocks to adjust it would be easier to use, but I did not want to get into that at this point. It was much easier to just shorten the backstay. Using a strait system of blocks with enough purchase would work also, but be sure to add a safety cable in case of failure of any components. You don't want to watch your mast fall forward. I do have the lower shrouds, so I am able to get some mast bend. I think the greatest advantage on this type of rig is getting some control of the forstay tension, the shape of the main will only get a minimal benefit. Kind of depends on how good your sailmaker is.

Yankee Dolphin Hull # 203

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