Question about Jib/autofurler vs forestay

Thread starter #1
Hey! Please forgive my mistakes, I'm a new sailor and still learning.

My friends and I recently came across an old 24ft sailboat, and it seems in fine condition.

The mast, boom (and mainsheet), and jib/furler were all down and rolled up.

We tried to raise the mast, but the forestay that seems to be directly embedded into the masthead is too short to reach the corner of the bow where the connection point is.

The boat also came with a jib furled up around an auto-furler. I was wondering if that would be adequate to just use the jib/autofurler as the forestay to keep the mast up? Or do we need to use the actual forestay wire?

Thanks for your time and consideration.

I am not sure about your boat but.. all of the roller furling set ups I am familiar with use the furling rod its self at the head/fore stay. I don't know what the second stay would be unless the boat is fitted with a stay sail. I don't know of a 24' boat that has a stay sail as standard equipment. There is no reason why a stay sail couldn't be used but it seems a little over kill on that small of a boat. If fitted for a foresail you should find an attachment point on the for-deck that will match up with the "short for-sail" you mention. Caution! without visiting the boat and looking at the actual rigging I can not guarantee that my "GUESS" is valid... You may want to have a rigger look at the boat just to be on the safe side.;)

Let us know what you find.


New Member
Is there only one hard connection point on the bow? If so, it's likely that the roller furler units connects into the bottom of the forestay. Most boats I've sailed are setup that way, but I have seen some older ones that run a forestay in addition to the jib stay/furling point, but the forestay runs only a few inches forward of the jib luff
Thread starter #4
Thank you, boat and JTulls, for your insightful answers! I went today and inspected the boat's mast and rigging. It turns out the wire that I thought was a forestay was actually some kind of wire that was meant to be on a pully that goes through thte top of the mast (maybe it's for raising the mainsail?) There is already a halyard, so I'm not sure what this second one is for.

It was pulled through all the way and the little clip was stuck inside the masthead, so I thought it was a forestay that was directly embedded into the masthead.

We unfurled the jib, and checked the autofurler. Inside there is a long wire that is definitely the forestay, so we are confident in using it to support the mast, now. We're going to try and raise the mast next weekend, I feel it's clear that we have all the necessary wires around it to keep it supported well.

I don't think this sailboat has a stay sail, seems it is just the mainsail and the jib and just the rigging for those two things. There is only one hard connection point on the bow, but I think it has maybe 3 holes.

There are lots of pulleys on the boat, and a lot of them are mounted on the roof surface of the hull near the mast anchor point. I'm not sure what these are for, yet. There is a block and tackle system of some kind near the bottom of the mast. Oh! Wait, that is probably the thing for the boom, right? Boom vang. That makes sense, now.

Thank you for your help, you definitely helped me come to a better understanding because you pointed me in the right direction with your thoughts and hints, and inspired me to investigate the rigging.

I will post more updates next week :)
It sounds like you need to look the Capri 14.2 manual located on this site or any basic sailing book. Go to the top of the page and click on Capri 14 forum, then click on the heading for the C-14 manual. Check to see how the rigging is arranged. The rigging on l C14 is typical of most smaller boats.

The only things I can think of that lives near the top of the mast is the main halyard which will be some kind of a line or cable that runs up the front of the mast to the top front then through the pulley and down to the main sail. this is used to raise the main. You have already found the forestay which will be either attached to the mast at the very top or down a bit from the top depending on the stile of rigging used on the boat. You may find a topping lift which is used to hold the boom up when the mail sail is down. This can be adjusted either on the boom or using a separate line through a pulley near the top of the boom and terminating at the base of the boom. Again, this depends first upon if it is used at all and second, the personal choice of the rigger.

You are correct about the "thing" that holds the boom down - the boomvang. This is a line that goes through a couple of blocks with one end available to a crew member to adjust, one block attached at the base of the mast and the other attached to the bottom of the boom some distance out from the mast. This is used to shape the sail by adjusting the height/angle of the boom.

Look around and find a book or two that explains the very basics of sailing and spend some time studying the rigging, terms used when sailing, boat handling and other related items especially safety. Here is a couple of books that may be of interest:

Royce's Sailing Illustrated by Patrick M Royce, Published by Western Marine Enterprises, inc. This is a small and inexpensive book that packs a lot of information for new sailors. It was originally released in 1956 but is just as useful today as it was then It contains 289 pages all of which contain a number if illustrations. The book also contains a comprehensive 34 page glossary. Hard for prospective/new sailor to go wrong with this old book.

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship by John Rousmaniere, Published by Simon and Schuster. This book will cost you a few more bucks but it is a very good book for new sailors. The book is a bit more technical than the one above and covers topics such as the environment, safety, navigation, boat construction, and a lot of "how-to" stuff. It may be more than what you want to know but it definitely covers a lot of good to know stuff.

There are a lot of books out there that can provide all of the help you may need. However, don't over look finding someone to provide basic training related to sailing or at lease try to find someone needing a deck hand, sigh up and then watch and learn...

Good luck!
Thread starter #6
Thank you, boat! Solid advice, and great insights! I think that second pulley wire that runs beside the halyard wire might just be the topping lift.

So when the sail is up, then we don't need anything to hold the boom up other than the sail? We inspected the sails, the material is in fine condition (no fraying, a few small mildew spots / dirt). The zigzag threading seemed to be frayed / broken in certain places along the edges, but it is very small damages, and the sail was holding its shape.

I just ordered a used copy of Sailing Illustrated. Looking forward to absorbing it. I have taken some introductory and intermediate sailing classes that were using a small catalina 12ft sloop sailboats, but it was in a lake, and I didn't learn about currents or tides.

The masts and rigging on those sailboats were already up, and the focus was more about raising/lowering the sails, and using the existing rigging to adjust the sail shape (like outhaul, boom vang, etc). I didn't learn about what/where to look on the lines and wires for wear/tear and what should be of concern and be replaced.

My sailboat is in the san francisco bay. I am planning to sail a short distance across the bay to another marina. I am going to read about tides, and try to plan my voyage on a day when the wind conditions and fog are expected to be average or calmer than average.

Before i make that voyage, I'm going to triple check all of the lines and rigging, replace them if needed, and get the mast up. And then I'll talk to some of the local mariners about what spots to avoid and where to go for a close-by easy sail, and I will take the boat out close-by and sail it in a loop for 30 min to 1 hour to see how she holds up in the wind.
Correct, the mainsail holds the boom up allowing the sail to be adjusted. The curve of the luff is used in part to control the power of the main.

The condition of the sail encompasses a number of things. The actual condition of the cloth and the stitching is important but the cut of the sail and how much it has stretched has a lot to do with “condition”. A blown out sail can still look and feel great but its ability to create and hold a good foil may make it useless except for practice or just puttering around a lake.

Generally, if the standing and running components look OK they probably are especially on a boat of this size; larger boats are a whole different story. The exception would be any cable that has something crimped to the end. Hardware crimped to wire always presents a corrosion problem and sometimes an electrolysis issue. If the boat is older it may be wise to consider replacing the shrouds and fore-stay as a precaution. I see a lot of comments about people loosing masts due to corroded shrouds.

Without sailing experience I would think twice about anything that even looks like open water. Depending upon where you are sailing shipping lanes can be very dangerous for small sail boats. Big ships have the right of way. Getting close to a ship or in its path either in front or behind should be reserved for experienced sailors.

Winds and currents are somewhat predictable on a daily basis but I have been out on a “calm day” when the winds have built in a matter of minutes representing quite a challenge for even the experienced sailor. Just be safe and advance in small steps. Going turtle in a swift current has drug many a small boat toward the ocean! With the big stick pointing at the bottom of the channel a small boat can be very hard to see…
Thread starter #8
Thank you, boat. Great advice, once again! I will heed your advice when the time comes.

About the mast and shrouds... This past weekend, we raised the mast. The back and forestays seem in fine condition. The shrouds also seem ok, no signs of the wire breaking. There are some bends in it from being stored for a long time in a non-straight fashion (the mast had some bungee cords holding all of the wires and lines together).

My main cause for concern are the turnbuckles on the shrouds. They are all warped from previous stress, so we cannot tighten them past certain points, and thus we do not have precise control over the tension in the shrouds.

The mast is currently leaning towards the starboard by a few degrees maybe 3-5 degrees, and one of the starboard shrouds is tightened as far as the bent turnbuckle can allow, but it is still loose. The other shrouds are taught.

It looks like the turnbuckles are the kinds that are crimped on one end to the shroud, and I fear if we must replace them that we will need to take the mast down and replace the whole wire. Or maybe its possible to cut above the crimp and re-crimp the replacement turnbuckle at that point as long as it wont be too short.

About the current crimping point on the shrouds, I didn't notice any rusting, but there was some slight discoloration at those points. I will double check that.

Is that crimping option ok? I saw online that crimping will reduce the max strength of the wire down. Do you know if it's standard to crimp a shackle/clip to the shroud and use a turnbuckle that has shackles on both ends with that? And if we replace the wires, how should we calculate the strength that the replacement wire should have?
Thread starter #9
Update - We found a tension gauge instrument aboard the boat that had the desired tensions written on the back for the gauge of wire (1/8th) for the shrouds and stays.

We replaced one of the turnbuckles (only the bottom part of it, in order to avoid having to replace the whole shroud), and the rest were in fine enough condition to tighten as much as necessary to achieve the desired tensions. When we adjusted all of the tensions to reach the desired and equal tensions, the mast became straightened.

As for forestay and backstay, the tension only said a desired tension for the forestay, but the forestay is wrapped inside the jibfurler, so we cannot reach the wire to measure the tension. So we just measured it on the backstay hoping that the two should counter each other and have the same tension.

The forestay is tightened shorter than the backstay, so the mast is leaning forward very slightly (maybe 1 degree or so). My friend said this is ok, as the two ways to have the mast are either completely vertical or slightly leaning forward. Is it ok for us to have it lean forward, or is that a configuration meant for specially designed boats/setups?

We also changed the boots on the mast crossbeam (one was missing, the other was very weatherworn shriveling apart) so that the sails don't get chaffed at those points.

We purchased an old yamaha 4-stroke engine, and my friend ordered an adjustable mount for it. The boat already has a wood/fiberglass mounting bracket, but it is not adjustable (It is like a box that is bolted to the hull). My friend wants to remove the current bracket from the hull, and bolt the new mount to the hull. I'm not sure if we can directly bolt it there to the fibergrall hull, or if we need to bolt a piece of wood to the hull, and bolt the mount to the wood? Now that I think about it, that doesn't make too much sense unless the extra wood somehow provides some protection for the hull.

We accidentally attached the forestay/jobfurler backwards (the mouth of the autofurler casing is facing to the fore of the ship), so we need to turn that around, and after that is fixed and the tensions are readjusted, we will attach the boom to the mast, and raise the sails (loosely) and unfurl the jib while docked, just to make sure all the rigging and sails are fine and working.

Once we get the engine up and running, we're going to review a bunch of things, like charts of the bay, and make sure we understand right of way rules, do some dry runs of the basic sailing maneuvers and tasks. We will also get a lifepreserve and enough lifejackets for all the crew. Then we'll take the sloop out close to the marina and sail it back and forth at a few different points of sail. I want to take my friends on a smaller boat in a lake and teach them all the basics first.

EDIT: we also cut PVC pipe to cover the bottom of the shrouds and turnbuckles. I saw the covers at west marine, but they were a bit pricey, and my friend suggested just cutting pvc pipe, so we did it, but it turns out the pipe is a lot bulkier, but I suppose as long as it protects the shrouds/turnbuckles, its ok. Would there be any chance of it having an adverse effect or no protection for some reason?
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