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.

A deadeye tackle arrangement for a boat

The deadeye tackle arrangement. Credit: Jay Renton

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.

Continues below…

How to check your rigging

Maintenance of your rigging can save expensive failures and could be a lifesaver - here's how to check your boat's…

The deadeyes are made of oak and will be reinforced with glassfibre sheathing before deployment on the boat.

Parts of a deadeye tackle

Radii for the deadeye holes were smoothed and shaped with a Dremel and file. Credit: Jay Renton

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

Enjoyed reading how to make a simple deadeye tackle?

A subscription to Practical Boat Owner magazine costs around 40% less than the cover price.

Print and digital editions are available through Magazines Direct – where you can also find the latest deals.

PBO is packed with information to help you get the most from boat ownership – whether sail or power.

        • Take your DIY skills to the next level with trusted advice on boat maintenance and repairs
        • Impartial in-depth gear reviews
        • Practical cruising tips for making the most of your time afloat

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter