Does your mast stick straight up?

Thread starter #1
I know this sounds like a silly (stupid?) question, but just yesterday I noticed that the mast on my 14.2 seems to lean slightly forward. Most boats I see have their mast leaning slightly to the rear, if at all. Catamarans, especially, seem to have a pretty steep rearward rake.

I recently put new shrouds and a forestay/furling jib on the boat, but failed to notice if it had this forward rake with the old rigging, so I don't know if it's always been this way or not. It's hard to tell in photos.
Nothing should have changed. I compared the new rigging to the old before installing it, and everything was the same length.

I'm 99% sure the mast isn't warped forward. If I look at the foot of the mast, I can see that the rear of the foot is slightly farther from the deck than the front, reinforcing the belief that it's leaning. Then again, I only noticed this while the boat was sitting on the trailer, so perhaps the bunk boards are holding the stern up higher, giving the illusion of the mast leaning.
To my eye, it looks pretty level on the trailer, but I'll put a bubble-level on the rail when I get the chance.

Thing is, my forestay is crazy-loose and needs to be tensioned, and I fear that if I accomplish this by shortening the forestay adjuster, the mast really will lean forward, and a lot.

I know the shrouds and forestay are adjustable, but my forestay adjuster is on its last (longest setting) hole, and the shroud adjusters are just too tight to shorten them any further..

So I ordered a longer forestay adjuster and plan/hope to extend the forestay length just enough to let me shorten the shrouds one hole and lean the mast back a little bit.

Thing is, if slightly forward is the way things are supposed to be, I'll skip it and leave it alone. The only thing I could find in the manual was something about leaving the shrouds loose so the mast could move forward when sailing downwind, allowing the jib to fill with with wind better (or something like that)...


- W


What do you mean by, "the shrouds are too tight to shorten them any further"? Are they on the last setting hole? Or are they just tight when the mast is up?
Thread starter #3
The shrouds are on the 4th hole from the top, but the forestay is adjusted as far "out" (long) as it will go, so I can't move the shrouds to the 5th hole and tighten them. For this reason, I'm going to install a longer stay adjuster to lengthen the jib wire further, even though it's already slacked, so I can lean the mast back and shorten the shrouds.

I can shorten the stay adjuster on the jib, but that won't solve my leaning mast issue. In fact it will likely pull it further forward, once the slack is taken up in the too-loose shrouds.

Hopefully pulling the mast back works and I don't simply wind up with slacked shrouds and a mast that leans back too far.


Thread starter #4
It has been brought to my attention that I may have bent the mast myself when I installed a set of trapeze wires that I mounted *below* the spreaders. (yeah, I'm an idiot). I did this for back support while hiking out, without taking into account what might happen if I supported the mast from the top of the jib, and the pulled on the middle of the mast with my upper body weight. Ugh, I fear this may be the culprit.

A bend in the mast would explain every issue I'm having with the length, and slop, in the rigging.

I'll be checking it this weekend, and hopefully, if it's not too badly bent, I can shove it back into line.
I know there is variation from boat to boat. However, my shrouds are around the third hole from the deck, and I have thought about moving them down another notch. It is fleet wisdom to sail with a slack rig, but I find it very annoying to have the rig banging around as I roll through a power boat wake.

Check into the bent mast idea. But you may want to move the shrouds down a notch or two or three.

It sounds like the jib halyard is too tight, and you are fighting that while trying to set the shrouds. Get the shrouds and forestay adjusted with the jib down or slacked, then set the jib halyard to roughly the same tension as the forestay. I even recommend setting the shrouds with the mast layed back. The forestay should not be hanging any looser once the jib halyard is set.
If, after setting the shrouds, you have difficulty attaching the forestay, use the jib halyard to pull the mast forward a little while you pin the forestay.


Well-Known Member
Your mast does look slightly pre-bent the "wrong" way. Whether that's caused by the trapeze or not is hard to say, but the big problem is that you don't get the jib luff wire (and therefore the shrouds) tight enough. You need to install a jib halyard and a purchase system so you can adjust both mast rake and rig tension. A simple 3:1 is very easy to incorporate at the end of the halyard; one way to do it is shown at 6:27 in this video. (By the way, he ties the halyard wrong at the cleat at 7:58 :D ) Once you have that, you can use the whole range of the shroud adjusters.

Again, I have to admit having no class-specific tuning information, so you have to find the "good" rake and tension settings by yourself. Test different ones until you have just a little weather helm sailing flat upwind in medium air. The North tuning guide is probably a good starting point.

About mast rake in general: I remember my local sailmaker telling years ago that a raked mast on a sloop is aerodynamically better (has to do with the flow at the jib head level), and that when they made sails for and tuned a non-class boat, they started with a rake of 15 degrees.

Thread starter #8
You need to install a jib halyard and a purchase system so you can adjust both mast rake and rig tension.
I have a furling jib, so it's always in place. Are you saying I should install a jib halyard anyway, just so I can have better leverage on the mast when tensioning the rigging?

With my mast already slightly bent forward, wouldn't putting more "pull" in that direction just make things worse?


Well-Known Member
I have a furling jib, so it's always in place. Are you saying I should install a jib halyard anyway
Watching the video I already linked to (from 2:11 on), a furler and a halyard don't seem to exclude one another.

With my mast already slightly bent forward, wouldn't putting more "pull" in that direction just make things worse?
No, because you're pulling against the shrouds, and when they tighten at the same time, the spreaders force the mast to bend aft.

The Capri is designed so that the only purpose of the forestay is to hold the mast up when the jib is down. Rig tension is controlled by the jib halyard, just like FJ's and 420's.
Now I can't say much about mast rake but I sure wish I could have at least one turnbuckle on the forestay. My Catalina 22 had 100% turnbuckles and that was great. On Capri I'm able to easily raise/lower mast alone with the assistance of a wood crutch I built. Holding the forestay cable while walking up the mast, keep the pin in my teeth so I can pop up the mast and insert pin at a relatively loose setting. Then get down on the ground and attach the halyard to the bow plate and tension it up as desired. Once you're good with that just adjust pin, insert the retainer, release the halyard, and you're done!
Word of caution, don't go crazy with pressure on the halyard, just apply enough to get you taut.