Do I really need a backstay on an X?

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Excatman
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Do I really need a backstay on an X?

Post by Excatman » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:17 pm

This has probably been asked before, and I've searched the forums but can't find a definitive answer, so sorry if I am repeating :|

Do I really need the backstay on my X?

I am thinking of updating my mainsail and am considering a high aspect sail, but the top of it would foul the backstay. I'm also considering installing a solar arch and this would also impact the position of the backstay, so if I could just do away with it, it would make life a lot simpler.

Thanks in advance... :)
Excat

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Whipsyjac
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Re: Do I really need a backstay on an X?

Post by Whipsyjac » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:14 am

My answer is Yes you do.

The Shrouds on an :macx: are not far enough aft to support the mast properly when running down wind, therefore you need a backstay for downwind sailing.

That's my opinion based on my understanding of how the rig works.

To follow through with your plan you could get some engineering done and move your chainplates aft and have new shrouds rigged there.

A comparison of the location of shrouds on an :macx: vs :macm: (factory no backstay) should give you an idea of wether or not you want to proceed.

Rick62
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Re: Do I really need a backstay on an X?

Post by Rick62 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:56 am

I was wondering about this as well.As I wanted to remove my back stay but your answer sounds like it has merit so looks like I have found the answer. :|

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sailboatmike
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Re: Do I really need a backstay on an X?

Post by sailboatmike » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:24 am

I have been tossing the same idea around, a square headed main sounds mighty inviting but alas not feasible with the current setup.

I was thinking of a mast crane to move the position of the back stay aft around 18 inches but thats not really going to give me much more sail area up high.

Of course the beauty of a square head main is the ability to depower the top of the sail easier

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NiceAft
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Re: Do I really need a backstay on an X?

Post by NiceAft » Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:54 am

I have a such a main sail on my :macm: . The extra square footage of the sail is up high on such a sail. It seems to me, that would increase stress higher up on the mast, thus increasing the need for the backstay on an :macx: . As stated above, an :macm:'s spreaders are much farther swept back.

There is a disadvantage to the :macm: spreader positioning. When sailing downwind, you can not let out the main sheet as much. The sail rubs the spreaders :( .

Day

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grady
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Re: Do I really need a backstay on an X?

Post by grady » Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:42 am

Go to a synthetic back stay then add a flicker and adjuster. Have your sail maker do a maximum roach on your sail. In higher winds when your back stay is tight there is enough wind to blow the sail past the back stay. In light winds when your back stay is loose the flicker will lift is some to help keep the sail from hanging on the back stay. Mine will still hang some times in 2 to 3 kts or so. You just have to pop the sail to get it to pass.

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Re: Do I really need a backstay on an X?

Post by DaveC426913 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:22 am

sailboatmike wrote:I have been tossing the same idea around, a square headed main sounds mighty inviting but alas not feasible with the current setup.
Is that the same as a gaff-rigged sail?

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BOAT
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Re: Do I really need a backstay on an X?

Post by BOAT » Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:52 pm

It's not just the spreaders -

40% of the force created by the main sail is transferred to the movement of the boat through the water BY THE MAIN-SHEET.

That is why the main-sheet traveler on the M boat is hard bolted through the deck, through the liner, and through heavy steel bars that make up the companionway ladder - and those steel bars are bolted to the sole liner and glassed into the hull. That's also why there is so much block and tackle turns to operate the main-sheet - there is a LOT of force there - it's a very large part of the force pulling the boat through the water.

The beefiest mounting structure on the entire M body is the main-sheet traveler structure - it's even beefier than the mast step structure which is supported by fiberglass.
The main-sheet on the M is supported with STEEL.

If you remove the back-stay on the X you will rip the pedestal right out of the cockpit - so then you will need to move the main-sheet to a stronger position. Where would you put it?
Last edited by BOAT on Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Do I really need a backstay on an X?

Post by Judy B » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:23 pm

Excatman wrote:This has probably been asked before, and I've searched the forums but can't find a definitive answer, so sorry if I am repeating :|

Do I really need the backstay on my X?

I am thinking of updating my mainsail and am considering a high aspect sail, but the top of it would foul the backstay. I'm also considering installing a solar arch and this would also impact the position of the backstay, so if I could just do away with it, it would make life a lot simpler.

Thanks in advance... :)
Excat
Removing the backstay might cause the mast to buckle. Removing the backstay WILL cause the forestay to sag, which would make the boat point less well and be harder to handle in the gusts. The mast will pump in waves going downwind. None of the foregoing are desireable.

If you get a backstay flicker you could put a fat headed mainsail on the X.... BUT the boat will heel noticably more in gusts, and get overpowered and round up more often. Heeling too much is slow, not fast. You will need to reef earlier.

The biggest roach I would recommend would be just touching the backstay or overlapping about an inch. That will give you a little more power, but not overwhelmingly so.

Judy B
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Last edited by Judy B on Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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grady
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Re: Do I really need a backstay on an X?

Post by grady » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:17 pm

Judy B wrote:
Excatman wrote:This has probably been asked before, and I've searched the forums but can't find a definitive answer, so sorry if I am repeating :|

Do I really need the backstay on my X?

I am thinking of updating my mainsail and am considering a high aspect sail, but the top of it would foul the backstay. I'm also considering installing a solar arch and this would also impact the position of the backstay, so if I could just do away with it, it would make life a lot simpler.

Thanks in advance... :)
Excat
Removing the backstay might cause the mast to buckle. Removing the backstay WILL cause the forestay to say, which would make the boat point less well and be harder to handle in the gusts. The mast will pump in waves going downwind. None of the foregoing are desireable.

If you get a backstay flicker you could put a fat headed mainsail on the X.... BUT the boat will heel noticably more in gusts, and get overpowered and round up more often. Heeling too much is slow, not fast. You will need to reef earlier.

The biggest roach I would recommend would be just touching the backstay or overlapping about an inch. That will give you a little more power, but not overwhelmingly so.

Judy B
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See, Contact your sail maker! :D

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NiceAft
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Re: Do I really need a backstay on an X?

Post by NiceAft » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:41 pm

Part of what Judy said was what I have reported In previous posts, but not in this one.

As I said, I have the type of sail you are interested in. What I did not say this time is that in low wind conditions, the extra cloth is great, BUT, when the wind picks up, you will find yourself reefing at speeds lower than you do now, or you can move the traveler to leeward. If you sail in areas that are gusty, you may wish to reconsider.

Ray

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