Etchells set up

my real concern is, is it normal to have this much mast rake and forestay sag? its a 1978 ontario yachts. i think thumper3 might be right, older boat ,shorter forestay. dtm said sydney fleet, sydney ns canada, 1 other etchells.

 

Livia

Super Anarchist
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Southern Ocean
i took it for my first sail last night. wow thats alot of mainsail to put up by yourself, i was singlehanded. i must say im dissapointed with the feedback. i was looking for some help. my mast is raked back almost 4 ft and my forestay still looks like a wet noodle. this seems wrong to me. a kirby 25 has running backstays to keep tension on the forestay. the wind was light under 10 knts, the helm felt balanced. when i got in i shortened the forestay an inch, with the backstay on its still sags. maybe when the mainsail is loaded up it straightens up.
Here is start for base (may depend on boat type)

Rake:  1080 (46.5 in)

Mast Base: 5325 (209 in) from transom edge

Caps: 18

Lowers: 12

 

SailAnotherDay

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USA
hi ive been sailing for over 20 yrs, always dreamed of an etchells, now i got one. forestay marked at gooseneck, then measured in place from deck 48 in, measured from back of partners to back deck, marked 12 ft. measured from mark to mast base 12ft 5 1/2 in. hung anchor from main halyard with full backstay, measured from mast to halyard at boom height 46in. wow thats alot of rake. forestay still sagging. i took a picture but this is my first time on sailing anarchy, and im still figuring out how to post a picture. im looking for help. i think a forestay should have tension on it
Used to race 1007, 46.5” was a good medium air number. We ran 47” under 10 knots. Blocking at the partners and mast step position is everything on this boat. As others have noted sag is a good thing, we can talk about mast sag to leeward another time. 
 

Strong was the breeze blowing?

 

SailAnotherDay

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USA
Just saw your under 10 knots part of post. At that wind speed you should have a fair amount of blocking behind the mast creating more prebend, this will accentuate the sag, which is a good thing. 
 

get the tuning guide from the sailmaker and follow it religiously until you understand how the set up works. The greatest gains in this class are made with the 1/2 turn here or there that are not in the guide and are specific to your boat. 

 

in_TO

Super Anarchist
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I'm no Etchells expert, but it might be that the mast has gone soft. Is it the original to the boat? With inline spreaders and a long lever arm between the backstay and the hounds, there is considerable bending moment around the hounds. A stiffer mast can translate backstay tension into the forestay, but over time I think you lose this. 

Speak to Sandy at North Atlantic. He was very active in Etchells once upon a time.

 
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jnye

Member
289
12
Western LIS
my real concern is, is it normal to have this much mast rake and forestay sag? its a 1978 ontario yachts. i think thumper3 might be right, older boat ,shorter forestay. dtm said sydney fleet, sydney ns canada, 1 other etchells.
Yes older boat shorter headstay. But that's to offset the fact the keels tended to be further forward so moving the rig forward balances the boat out. The mast should "fit" within the parameters you've provided. Maybe check and make sure for some crazy reason the mast wasn't shortened an inch at the base? Then again if the helm is balanced after shortening 1" to 45" you sound go-to-go. BTW... 45" for a max forward keel boat would not be out of line.

Do you have a fore and aft partner chocks? 

 
i have a mast lever. i think the mast base might be an inch aft to create more bend to compensate for an older sail. my headstay measured 48, so im happy i can go as far as 45

 

jnye

Member
289
12
Western LIS
i have a mast lever. i think the mast base might be an inch aft to create more bend to compensate for an older sail. my headstay measured 48, so im happy i can go as far as 45
The extra inch will make a huge difference. Alternative is to keep the mast base further forward and add aft chocking to induce bend if that's what you want to do.

 

jnye

Member
289
12
Western LIS
i have a mast lever. i think the mast base might be an inch aft to create more bend to compensate for an older sail. my headstay measured 48, so im happy i can go as far as 45
Re-read this thread. Yes if your rake measurement is 48" and your mast base is an inch back, you're going to have a very sloppy rig. Lots of local knowledge so I'm sure you'll get this sorted.

 
i got the boat in the fall, it was raced last summer, so i assumed it was all set up. when i first hooked everything up i was shocked at the rake and sag. im new to etchells, now im good with the rake but still not accepting the sag

 
It sounds like we have very similar boats. Mine is a 1982 Ontario yachts. I went through much of the frustration you are having. Here are some thoughts. Do not compare mast rack to any boat you have sailed before. This boat points higher than any boat you have sailed. Your rake looks just like mine. I was going to include a picture but can't figure out how. I downloaded all of the tuning guides and there is some variation between generations. I went with the Shore Sails tuning guide that calls for 45 1/2" of head stay length. This worked really well. That being said the head stay always sags. This tuning guide goes through that. Also, we use halyard tension to compliment the headstay tension. It works really well. You will want around 12" of sag. More in rough conditions. Because of the short waterline to boat gets knocked around a bit in rough weather and the sag acts as a shock absorber for the jib to keep it full. Here are a couple of other notes:

In light wind induce heel. Do not sail flat, does you boat have the outboard barber haulers right in front of the shrouds? If so rig them. They make the boat much faster off the wind reaching. I have a number of resources if you want them. Tuning guides, and a "quick start guide" just to make sure the crew is on the same page as far as set up and trim. Best of luck. The boat is a blast! Also, if you have Brolga turnbuckles get them replaced. I snapped my mast last year because of the failure. All good now.

Jay Gill - USA550

 
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We've got a rapidly growing fleet over in Charlottetown if you are interested and allowed to travel in the bubble this summer.   5 racing Monday and Wednesdays this summer.    Should have a couple more over for Race Week in July as well.  

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I have an Etchells in Charlottetown - 380. A friend of mine bought an Etchells from Montreal (580). It had an interesting issue in that we could never get the forestay tight even with a decent amount of backstay. It ended up that the spreader base (where it fits into the socket) had been wrapped with fibreglass tape in such a fashion that they were slightly angled forward. I did a lot of reading on the internet and found an old post somewhere that talked about this as a way to stiffen the mast. That may have been the case, but in following the tuning guides, there was no way we could figure out to set the boat up properly and get the right amount of forestay tension when there was a decent amount of breeze. We ended up just ripping off the fibreglass tape from the spreader base and redoing it so that the spreaders were in line.  After that, it was no problem setting the boat up according to the tuning guide. This might be something to look into. I have read and re-read the Doyle and North tuning guides and they are very helpful in setting the boat up. You should give some consideration to coming over to Charlottetown this summer for Charlottetown Race Week if Covid permits. We have 5 local boats and 1 from Halifax confirmed. Event details: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=14424

 
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