Latest News: Forums Technical Forestay ‘issues’ – help please

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  • #4657


    Any help/advice gratefully received!
    I have a MK4 with a furling drum on the jib. I like it when it works but I invariably manage to get the jib tangled up with the forestay. I’ve tried using a plastic ‘frisbee’ to keep the jib and forestay apart and also a metal triangle (supplied with the boat I think) with only moderate success. Is there a better solution? I also have a Laser 2000 where the recommended solution is to remove the forestay once the jib is raised and tie it to the mast or a shroud. Is there any good reason why I can’t do the same thing with the Wayfarer? I’ve never seen anyone else do it but why not? Anyone any thoughts please?


    @jamesandrew wrote:

    Is there any good reason why I can’t do the same thing with the Wayfarer?


    I have been sailing with a reefing-furler for 8 years now and I never use a forestay other then the one inside the furling spar. I did oversize the stay (in teh furler) by an extra millimetre though, just to be sure. So, if anyting breaks it will be the halyard, not the “stay”. But on sea voyages I tend to add a “forestay” between the top swivel and the mast to prevent the mast dropping down on me should the Genoa halyard break. Because rigging the boat with the safety wire on the swivel is complicated I tend to use it only when a voyage really demands it.

    Note that while racing I do use a standard racing Genoa and a forestay simply because the rules demand it.


    I think the solution depends a bit …

    Are you mainly racing, or cruising? and how often do you set the boat up from scratch? (i.e. step the mast etc)

    As we step the mast every time we sail I’ve found having the forestay is vital to being able to set the boat up easily. We find you need two lenghts – first a nice long setting which just gets the mast held upright, and makes it easy to attach the shrounds and a second shorter length which (in conjunction with a frisbee – or in our case two cd’s laminated together with some fibreglass cloth) is always tight enough to keep the stay out of the furling sail. Its quite easy to tighten the forestay once the rig tension is on and so at the bottom of our forestay we have two loops for each length/tension setting. To make it a quick swap between we use a winchard hook in the foreward part of the bow fitting (the furling drum being fitted to the aft part).

    If you aren’t racing and hoiking a spinny up and down and manoevering your heart out all the time you could just take the forestay off the prow and stow it on a shroud or the mast, but I’ve never liked it flapping around there when I’m racing

    Then again if you are out at sea you might want that belt and braces. Or do Ton’s thing with the back-up.

    I don’t think I have a picture of my set up and anyway the Delphy is utterly dismantled and only just about to get her second layer of epoxy on her bare hull on Wednesday … hoping to be back on the water in July.


    I have a length of strong line attached to the bottom end of my fore-stay which holds up the mast when the foresail is removed. The other end of the line is not attached to an adjuster shroud plate on the prow of the boat but instead, I run it through the fore-stay fitting on the prow and back over the deck to a cleat on the side of the tabernacle. This holds up the mast in the park.

    When I fit the foresail (with furler), and tension it, the original fore-stay and line goes a little slack. I then re-tighten (by hand) the original fore-stay and line onto the tabernacle cleat which keeps it out of the way of the furling foresail. I do also have a small RWO fitting (disc) at the top of the foresail which helps keep it clear at the top.

    Using this method, as long as I remembered to re-tighten the fore-stay line, I have never had a problem with the fore-stay snagging the furling foresail.

    Of course, you could always just up the fore-stay slack by moving the fore-stay further down the fore-stay adjuster plate after tensioning the foresail.

    Hope this helps. Davdor.


    Tried all kinds of spacers with little benefit.
    A block on the stemhead fitting with a rope adjuster to tension the forestay (similar to the original Bosun) is one way, but the most basic method seems to be to ease the tension on the jib luff by backing-off the Highfield (or muscle box, I suppose) a little until the forestay takes the load, furl or unfurl, then reset the Highfield. Stressed-up for racing, it might be more exciting…

    Dave Bevan

    I have a Selden drum and Harken top swivel with metal disc on my MKIV. The forestay is tied to an eye on the front but goes slack when the genoa is fastened and tensioned. I’ve added a loop of Bungy onto the forestay which has just enough tension to take up the slack. I did away with the triangle that came with the boat – I found that the twist in the forestay/genoa halyard was enough to wind the triangle so it was more likely to foul when furled. When racing, we use different sails without furler.

    Charles Morton

    I use a Harken High Tension drum and swivel on a Helyar Mk2 flexible spar. The forestay inevitably goes slack when the rig is tensioned and I lead the forestay “tail” back to the mast gate to take up that slack. No matter how tight I pulled the “tail” I still suffered from forestay wrap when reefing the genoa. Previous cheaper, low tension, drum/swivel sets came with either a ring or a rod to keep forestay and genoa luff apart, but I couldn’t make either of those fit the Harken system.

    Previously in this forum others have mentioned using CDs for this but I couldn’t see a way of keeping the plane of the CD perpendicular to the halyard*. Fiddling one day in my shed I discovered that 19mm plumbing pipe was a perfect fit and made a forestay protector using 2CDs and a short length of that pipe:

    The CDs have weathered a bit but I have a large stock from when they came free with magazines.


    * There is a picture of Harfren in the latest RYA magazine with what looks like a CD above the genoa swivel – without  a length of pipe so there must be other ways of doing this.

    Dave Barker

    I think (re)tightening the forestay hard can cause as many problems as it solves. By relieving some of the tension on the genoa luff it increases the sag. I tend – irrationally you might argue – to tie the forestay tail to the foot of the mast when sailing in sheltered waters, and especially when bridge shooting, i.e. Norfolk Broads. On the open sea I wouldn’t usually do this, but rely on a spacer up aloft and a little shroud adjuster “bow-sprit” on the bow fitting to keep the forestay and furler separate. (I don’t think the latter arrangement makes a significant difference to the tendency to tangle).

    P.S. not sure about this new forum layout…

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