What do you people use for shrouds and backstay? Stainless? Stranded or solid? Spectra? What breaking strength? Do you find that they stretch? Do you use turnbuckles or bowsies for adjustments? Where do you get the wire? Any other thoughts?
I’ll stop now, I’ve run out of question marks.

Living on Vancouver Island you should know someone who fishes for salmon? See if they have any downrigger wire, stainless, I just pick some up at a fishing store shutting down. 150ft for $7. I have even tried the wire used to hang up pictures, then use a small piece of copper tube and crimp it. Being the cheep guy I am I use the smallest turnbuckle from the hardware store around 2" long.

Don -

if you decide to go the fishing wire route ( I use stainless leader often used for “Muskies”) get the uncoated stuff. I tried the coated stuff and had problems with my crimps letting go and allowing the wire to slide.

For the multihull, I have been using some 80 lb. test black braided Dacron line I found on an old casting reel. It has been strong enough for the 1 Meter and I use some custom made walnut bowsies for adjustment. After set-up, I make a small indelible white/silver ink mark on the line which helps to get in the “ballpark” when re-setting the mast. (one problem with big boats - need to remove mast to transport.)

If you can’t find any, let me know - we have a couple of very large “chain” outdoor stores around here. I can send you a roll plus correct sized crimp tubes. If you have any near you - check Cabelas, Gander Mountain, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc. - but a local store will probably have and be a bit less expensive. Purchase the crimps at the same time with the right size. Maybe $1.19 a bag for 50 as I recall.

Because of the beating free sailing boats take (one full speed T-bone of the pond side at Spreckles will make a believer of you :-)) I’m pretty careful with my rig. I use Sevenstrand brand “Toothy Critter” cable, 90 lb test, uncoated, double diagonal crimp. I also pull test my loops when possible to 60 lbs. I dress the crimps with heat shrink tubing to prevent getting stuck by individual strands when handling the boat. The stuff does stretch, so I now put a mast jack on all my rigs – takes care of it it nicely and makes derigging/rerigging a snap – slack the shrouds with the jack and don’t touch the turnbuckles and you don’t lose your differential adjustment.

I order my supplies from Charkbait (, who have been extremely reliable and who meet or beat the big box sporting goods stores on price almost all the time.



If you have a Wal-Mart near you then you are good to go. Their stores usually have a good selection of fishing gear.

I have used 60 pound stranded leader on my EC12 with no problems at all. The EC12 has 1200 square inches of sail and a 72 inch mast. 60 pound is all you will ever need. On a footy I’d use much lighter wire. The fishermans department also has little packages of crimp sleeves and a tool to do the crimps neatly and securely. You can buy the wire in small quantities of 20 feet or so. Cheap!

Why do you need rigging at all on a Footy? A teeny little stick of carbon fiber will free stand easily with a sail as small as a Footy. Maybe some of the Footy experts can shed some light on this question.

I didn’t think Don was building a footy… maybe that would shed a little light on the situation… Don?

I am working on a USOM. I think the hot item for Footys is spider web. ;)Downrigger line is 300#, a little overkill. The fish in this area aren’t hard on lines so steel leaders and lines aren’t common. The commercial guys use solid stainless .030" dia, it seems a bit big. It’s either that or 18 lb coated stainless, a bit light. My wife wants to go to Courtenay to shop for shoes tomorrow but it’s snowing. I think I’ll take her, there’s a Walmart there. I’ll see what they have.

Oh, turnbuckles or bowsies, which is preferred for shrouds and backstays and why?

Shrouds = neither - I, like Earl, use a mast-jack. Basically a T-nut in bottom of mast, round/flat head machine screw with locking double nuts.

Backstay = Dacron braided line with bowsie - easy/quick to adjust - fine adjustments more difficult than with turnbuckle.

I use braided line all around with bowsies for quick adjustments. The bridle wire from side front/rear cross-beams is fishing leader, however and I use an “S” hook where they meet. No backstay to allow mast to rotate so line not an issue.

Basically turnbuckles allow fine adjustments, but bigger adjustment take time - or need longer turnbuckles. Bowsies make quick work of primary setup and adjustment but take a bit of patience to make minor or small adjustments.

You can use a mast mounted turnbuckle as in photo. Two side stays (and/or diamond wires) attach to bottom of brass tube. Brass screw tightens shrouds as screw is turned into the brass tube. Just thread inside of tube to match threads on screw. Flatten end of brass tube and drill hole for shrouds. Requires two screw eyes in front of mast. NOT high tech, but does what it is supposed to do - and a fraction of cost of a “real” turnbuckle with left/right hand threads.

Probably have seen this photo before, but a replay for new sailors.

Does someone have a picture of a mast jack? I built some for my schooner but they allow the mast to rotate.


Gone Fishin’ in Courtenay sometimes has Berkley Steelon 80# Nylon Coated Wire. 30’ spool/$6, ouch. Left wall closer to the front of the store than the rest of the line/cable…You can always remove the casing at the crimps.

I couldn’t find this stuff at River Sportsman in CR but a salesman there gave me a tarnished part roll of lighter weight DR cable to try. Seems a bit overkill…

I think you need to be deck stepping your mast to use a mast jack…


IOM CAN 226 Deep Bay


I’ve got a pic of the mast jack on my Soling 1M.

T-nut mounted in base of mast. Machine screw with brass handle and locking nut.



Shrouds/stays - I use Kevlar line (I used to get it at kite stores and more recently eBay - maybe 80#, can’t remember… this 150#) that I wax with beeswax sewing wax.

Zero stretch.

And make turnbuckles from aluminum posts (used for post binders) from a stationary store. Cut off head, flatten, slot or hole to attach to chainplate… substitute short bolt for longer brass one, flatten/hole, tie line to it up to Berkley Cross-Lok Snap Swivels (#12, black) at mask.


Yar, do yo have a picture of a finishes turnbuckle? Sound good.

Hi A.B. - Here’s a photo, not a “traditional” turnbuckle in the sense that the bolt has two threads, two receivers yet works great for me. The slight twisting (from adjusting it) is taken up in the line. Pictured is a lock nut made from a nylon hex nut made smaller on the grinder, labeled since I disassemble boat for transport. Line appears kinked because I CA glue tag ends of Kevlar line together.

Thanks for asking…


I’m headed there this morning, also going to Walmart to see what they have.
How does your mast jack stop the mast from rotating? Quiet day on Sunday,eh(Canadian content). Did you have to use the skiff to get your boats back?

Hell of an idea. I’ve been tapping out thick wall aluminum tubing. Do you know what thread is in them and how deep does it go? My 4-40 tap will only reach about 1/2 inch and kind of limits things.

Thanks guys

Don - if you use two side shrouds, a rear backstay and a front forestay to jib, there is little chance the mast will rotate (mainly due to the pressure on the mast crane from the backstay. You have (virtually) four standing rigging lines - one going in each direction. Once you tighten up the backstay, there will be little if any movement - certainly not enough to warrant any protests** since masts - unless “pinned” to mast track all will have a tendency to twist.

** Note: :scared: NOT intended as an opinion on your class rules, as even round carbon masts inside of a keel mounted tube will be able to rotate as far as their shrouds allow.

Yar, thank you for the picture, now I know how to make one. I have been using the smallest turnbuckle from the hardware store with success but a little over kill. I probable missed this but what boat do you use this arrangement on?

Do you know what thread is in them and how deep does it go?
Don, Sorry, don’t know the thread. I get the brass machine screws from the pull-out drawers at the hardware store. The thread size is printed on the box top yet it escapes my mind now. Looks like about 9/16ths depth so you’re not gaining much with the posts yet I have the kevlar line so close to the right length that I only need to turn the screw a couple of turns at most to tighten/loosen for tuning.

… what boat do you use this arrangement on?
A.B., I use it for Meter boats. And now on a 50" ketch (built last year, now building new hull & using old rigging)…
Main: forestay, two sets of strouds, backstay
Mizen: line between mast tips, one set of shrouds, backstay

PS: with spreaders made from Rohacell.


Bowsies work fine but tuning is tentative as mentioned above. Her’s another method. Rig up a small piece of flat aluminum or brass plate. The plate will be about 4mm wide and 25 or 30 mm long. file or cut a narrow slot in one end, down the middle of the plate maybe 6mm deep and 1mm wide. Bend the slotted end into a rounded shape, sort of like a fish hook. In the end of the backstay line, vang line, outhaul line, down haul line, string 8 or 10 small beads. Tie a knot in the backstay line end so the beads will not escape. The fish hook plate will be attached to the deck or where ever. Hook the beaded end into the slot in the plate. Select the bead that gives the desired tension on the line. Simple, cheap, repeatable adjustment.