Jay Renton devises a tackle for tensioning
When the square sail is raised on my vessel Zephelios, the head loads are carried by the yard and normally absorbed by the braces, writes Jay Renton.
As a safety precaution, I attach two running backstays to support the mast should the braces fail or be inadvertently released.
These backstays are tensioned using a simple 3:1 purchase but my original system was a bit tedious to set up and take down, so I set about finding a better solution to the problem.
During the age of sail, deadeye tackles were used to tension the shrouds and stays of the square-rigged ships, and I wanted to stay true to this maritime legacy by designing and fabricating a purchase assembly that was simple, reliable, robust, with no moving parts (eg without rotating sheaves in a block) and – after a few iterations – came up with this deadeye tackle arrangement.
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The deadeyes are made of oak and will be reinforced with glassfibre sheathing before deployment on the boat.
The lanyards are 1/4in (6mm) double braid polyester line, and the tackle assembly is attached to the chainplate and upper backstay thimble using soft shackles.
For more details and Jay’s construction drawings, visit sailingheretic.blogspot.com
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