Speed tips?

Some more newbie questions…
1) My boat is equipped for a cutter/staysail (it’s not rigged now) and came with a set of running backstays.  I get they are needed when I rig the staysail but how about without it?  Did the boat originally come with the running backstays and when do you use them?  Is there a way to look at mast bend or backstay pressure and see when you are in the range of needing the backstays?
2) Has anyone shared any go fast tips or tuning experience…any comments about real world vs the polars.
Jim (Sabrina)

Hi Jim,
We have check stays on our boat. These go from the aft corner to about 2/3 the way up the mast. Their function is to stop he mast from ‘pumping’ when going upwind in the chop with the backstay cranked on. In the Pacific Northwest we don’t use them all that much due to lack of wind/chop. It’s easy to watch the mast pump. In 15 knts+ go forward and sight up the front of the mast. Really put your eyeball right on the metal and focus about half way up. Can’t miss it going back and forth. Sort of spooky. A little bit is normal – say an inch or two – but anymore and I’d pull on the check stays. Remember to release them when you tack/gybe! On the check stay we have these EZLock rope clutches that anything but EZ! They defy logic and are a total pain in the ass if you ask me.
2) The polars are pretty close. We don’t seem to be quite that fast upwind but we’re close. The downwind angles seem to be good. My E34 doesn’t like to be pinched upwind. Footing of 5 degrees makes a world of difference to the VMG. That being said, without 5 people on the rail I don’t seem to be able to hang with the more weatherly boats. We do catch them on the downwind leg though…
Controlling weather helm is another big issues. Upwind I have one crew dedicated to working the traveler. In stronger winds the main will often have a large bubble in the luff. Reefing helps but a lot of times I’m just trying to get to the windward mark so I’ll suffer with being overpowered for a bit so I don’t have put in and then take out the reef. Lazy, I know!
The backstay is your friend for flattening the main as the wind picks up. I’m monkeying with mast rake as we speak to find the optimum balance.
Hope this helps
Greg S.
Wailana – Hull #1
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One thought on “Speed tips?

  1. Mark Williams Expressions

    As Greg pointed out the check stays help keep the mast from pumping in chop or or ocean waves. They are also helpful to maintain headstay tension for pointing in flat water in a good breeze as the more backstay you put on the more mast bend and at some point mast bending starts to actually ease the headstay tension if that makes any sense. It s mostly in flat water with adequate wind for that to be effective. the stock setup is cumbersome in my opinion and I mounted tabs on the transom on each side of the backstay and made two 6/1 tackle set ups to tension the check stays and don’t use the winches or stoppers. I have a bungee setup to the check stays so going downwind I just unclip from the tackle and the stays don’t interfere with the main. In cruise mode I only use them when we have large waves in the open ocean just to stabilize the mast. I have quite a bit of mast rake which helps the boat to weather.

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