Ericson 35-2 Adjustable backstay

p.gazibara

Member III
Has anyone replaced their backstay with something adjustable? Cinderella came with a Navtec hydraulic cylinder that blew a seal en rout to New Zealand. The hydraulic shop here basically told me they won’t touch it.

I’m considering going to a 24:1 cascading setup with Dyneema and some low friction rings. Anyone else have experience with it? We already have dux rigging everywhere except the forestay.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
The stock system on the E-33RH was a cascading tackle setup with line exits on both sides of the transom at the rear of the cockpit. Friend of mine had one. I do not recall how many 'parts' there were total to give purchase, but it did take a healthy pull on either line.
He simplified it (IMHO) by changing to a SailTec hydraulic vang.
It is certainly a lot less complicated to look at. :)
As you found out, shops may or may not want to work on a given brand with proprietary parts. (That was one reason we changed from our original Navtec vang to a SailTec vang after a "rebuild" on our failed Navtec only lasted a few years.)

A local hydraulic shop told me, at the time, that the basics to this stuff are quite easy, but parts can hamstring a repair effort sometimes.
Best of luck.
Hopefully an E-33RH owner can check in with a parts diagram or a photo.
 

kapnkd

kapnkd
My son, being the racer in the family, put a hydraulic back stay on our E-32 years ago.

(We found it at a marine salvage store and bought it for only $75. ...Nice to win one in a row!)

It’s since had one factory rebuild to replace worn seals. We’ve now heard the company is since out of business so am not sure what to do come time for new seals again.

A941AEC4-227B-4B33-BE16-3E37619A53C0.jpeg
 

kapnkd

kapnkd
I don't understand the need for a backstay adjuster on a masthead rig cruising boat. What am I missing?
Hi Christian,

On older Ericson boats our masts are very heavy/rigid and really not meant to bend as with the newer fractional rigs.

That being said, my son says the ability to rake the mast slightly aft on certain points of sail and bend it to change sail draft (help from the lowers) can supposedly be an advantage for those precious additional seconds of time and speed on the race course.

Does it all work? ...We’ve got a lot of flags hanging on the old gal from over the years while even going against newer designs.
67A7831D-E1DF-4251-B37A-F1EE53E400B3.jpeg

As for me, when not with my son, I don’t mess with the adjuster but instead prefer to enjoy the simplicity of a relaxing day sail (or cruise) with a finishing sunset and good glass of wine. ;-))
 

Mjmcgrath

New Member
Here is the only picture of the hydraulic back stay on our E 33 I could find. Not a great photo, I can take a few more tomorrow if you like. I’ll also try and get more information on manufacturer.
 

Slick470

Member III
I don't understand the need for a backstay adjuster on a masthead rig cruising boat. What am I missing?
I guess it mainly depends on how you like to sail. I've raced a lot so even when cruising I like to adjust things on the boat to try and maximize performance. Not at the level of racing, but still. An adjustable backstay on a masthead rig allows you to adjust headstay tension and add mast bend. There are many times that I'll be out on our boat with non-sailing friends and I can quickly apply backstay tension to help flatten out the boat when the wind picks up, or loosen it to add power back if the wind dies. It's another tool that I can use to make sailing for me more enjoyable.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Yes, I like gizmos too. Playing with the rig is fun, and you need a tight headstay to get efficiently to the windwark mark, or just for the satisfaction of sailing to the potential.

I was thinking of the OP, who's cruising the world. Most of that is downwind, and when you do go to windward offshore it's a slog, usually under reef and into seas. The flattening of a bent mast is subtle, and you can't point in a seaway anyhow.

I wouldn't replace that busted backstay adjuster were I him. But then, I'm not him. I'm sitting on my butt in a chair. :)
 
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p.gazibara

Member III
You brought up a good question Christian, in short, it has been non-adjustable since we left Seattle (I didn’t trust the hydraulic cylinder enough to use it dry often)

Actually, sailing around the world is much more often to weather than you would think. 12 days of our 33 across the Pacific we were close hauled/close reaching. The perks of leaving from Costa Rica I guess.

Nearly the whole trip to NZ from Minerva reef was also a close reach.

Electric drives require you to sail more, an aspect I actually like.

I’m currently replacing our stern chainplate, and I’m going to split the backstay the last 6’ or so. Redundancy sounds good to me. After losing a shroud along the way, I don’t care to repeat the experience. (The backstay chainplate that got us to New Zealand is original 1971 Ericson).

When I split it, it will actually be more expensive to buy a new set of turnbuckles than it is to buy a couple of low friction rings and a short length of dyneema.

I also have an Express 34 noodle of a spar that welcomes adjustments and very easily changes main draft and forestay tension. And I like to play I guess.

In short, I don’t NEED to, but why not since I’m changing things anyway...

I’m just curious to hear if anyone put 24:1 system on an E-35. I actually had 2 navtec backstay units, both of which have failed on this trip and navtec is out of business (also why I went way from rod rigging)

Cinderella points just fine in a stiff wind and big sea, the question is if the crew on board can handle the pounding.
 

steven

Member III
on older boats, especially wth deck stepped mast, you should be sure the mast support is not soft either at the deck or at the base on the keel. A backstay adjuster pulls the mast down as well as back and puts pressure on the step. Also, rem to take off the tension when the boat is left.

--Steve
 

p.gazibara

Member III
on older boats, especially wth deck stepped mast, you should be sure the mast support is not soft either at the deck or at the base on the keel. A backstay adjuster pulls the mast down as well as back and puts pressure on the step. Also, rem to take off the tension when the boat is left.

--Steve
Thanks for the heads up, Cinderella has a keel stepped express 34 rig, no worries there.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
FWIW, I really value being able to increase head stay tension to enable the boat to point higher. If off wind, I relax it. Our rig can take some limited mast bending to flatten the main a bit, but that only happens when you get the pressure to 1500 to 2K #. Being lazy I bring it up to about 800 for everyday sailing and cruising, and only pump it up further for the 'weather leg'....
This is partly due to our sailing on a river where upwind sailing is mostly a long tight tack and a 'dog leg', and gets repeated many times. So the better the boat points, the less tacking is needed.
 
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Mark F

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
Hi Pajo,

Have you checked the transom sides for structural integrity? I can't imagine it's not strong enough but you may need to add some strength there. I sail on boats with split back stays and do like the room at the helm when sitting in the middle of the helm seat.

I have a ratcheting BS adjuster (no hydraulics) and other than the time it takes to change settings (it is slow) it has been issue free for over a decade. backstay.jpg
 

Keith Parcells

Sustaining Member
Has anyone replaced their backstay with something adjustable? Cinderella came with a Navtec hydraulic cylinder that blew a seal en rout to New Zealand. The hydraulic shop here basically told me they won’t touch it.

I’m considering going to a 24:1 cascading setup with Dyneema and some low friction rings. Anyone else have experience with it? We already have dux rigging everywhere except the forestay.
Seals may still be available here

 

p.gazibara

Member III
So I bought some bits and have decided to split my backstay and install a 24:1 cascade.

Since my backstay is already Dux, I just resplicd the bottom with more bury so my backstay terminates just below my solar panels.

I had a pair of 8mm 316 chainplates made (way overkill) at a local waterjet cutter here in NZ for $120 kiwi.

My plan is to install them just outboard of my windvane and glass in a couple of knees from the hull up to the top of the transom. That should solve any flex issues.

I’m aiming to try a 24:1 system from there similar to this

D4936D44-BE67-412D-842A-A19DB1749F89.jpeg

I’ll then cut the top off of the old chainplate and cover it in epoxy. It served us well, but it made it to NZ and I don’t want to ask anymore of it.

I have two spare 9mm dux cap shrouds I carry around, so I’ll probably use one of them as the donor line. All I need now are a couple of low friction tings and I shouldn’t have to worry about oil seals failing anymore.
 
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