26X Mast Rake

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26X Mast Rake

Post by Wet_Feet » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:20 pm

So I was finally getting our 26X out for the first time this season and did a quick check of the rigging only to find the forestay badly frayed at the top. No worries, BWY has replacement forestays so ordered one up and had it in hand the next day. However, the new stay is about 6" longer than the one the boat came with. Now it is very possible that a previous owner shortened the original stay either on purpose for tuning reasons or to save a buck because they experienced similar fraying problems. I believe that with the original stay, the mast stood near vertical as we always had to lean on it to get the forestay attached, however BWY website advises that the 26X should have a mast rake of 7-10 degrees (seems like a lot to me). Per the 1996 26X owners manual, it should be set to 4 degrees, they provide a template which I blew up and used to determine that with the new stay which is installed and adjusted about as short as I can get it, has substantially more than 4 degrees rake. So now I'm not sure what to do. Using a framing square, I measured a distance of 2 3/8" from the mast at a height of 24"...using a bit of trigonometry I determined that the current mast rake is ~5.65 degrees. I have read on here that some people advise to ditch Rodgers recommendation of 4 deg and go to 1.5 - 2. Does anyone have any real world experience playing around with the mast rake? From what I've read, more rake moves the sail plan back increasing weather helm. My options as I see them are, a) run with the increased rake or b) cut the nicopress fittings off of the cable and shorten it with the aim of perhaps 2 - 3 degrees rake. Tempted to run with it and see how it handles before taking the destructive option. Any voices of experience are well appreciated!

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Re: 26X Mast Rake

Post by sailboatmike » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:44 am

I would recommend that you don't run with the 4 or 5 degrees recommended unless you are a absolute rank beginner to sailing, the recommended mast rake throws your center of effort way back causing the boat to round up unless your running one big ass foresail (read genoa) all the time to balance the sail plan. This has many disadvantages such as poor sailing to windward (a genoa is not really a beating sail and the sheet are routed outside the shrouds making it hard to sheet in hard and create any sort of slot effect) and limiting your ability to sail in stronger winds as you will have much sail up unless reefed right down. The exaggerated mast rake on its own also makes sailing to windward much harder.

I run around 2 to 3 degrees and can point with most wizz bang "real sail boats" all be it slightly slower, however I do have new sails rather than the blown out rags that come with a 20 year old boat.

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Re: 26X Mast Rake

Post by paul I » Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:12 am

I replaced my standing rigging last year, all from BWY. I tried to set it up for the 4 degree recommendation, and I believe I succeeded. But in the marina, the rake is noticeably more than other boats (which look like they have no rake at all). My best guess is that it has about twice as much rake as the old rigging did.

My advise is to close down the turnbuckle on the forestay as far as possible and try it out for a season. If you do decide you need to cut it and re-swage, consider adding a shackle up top (the way the furler company says it should be, which Macgregor did not follow). You could also go a step further and add a Johnson lever.

All that being said, I do not notice any appreciable difference in roundup characteristics with the additional rake. But this statement does come with a few qualifiers:

1. I do have 18 year old blown out rags for sails.
2. I also have a 160 genoa and I am a lazy sailor. This means if the genoa alone gets the job done, the main just never gets hoisted up. If the wind is so light as to require the main, then both sails are up, avoiding the round up issues sailboatmike outlined. The main is seldom raised on its own.
3. I never try to race anything, especially something that could be classified as "wizz bang".

as with everything YMMV.

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