View Full Version : Rigging a 15' Day Sailor

D Gobby
11-20-2005, 02:47 PM
I'm in the process of rigging the 15' daysailor that I've been working on, it seems like forever. The plans call for turnbuckles for the shrouds and forestay. Since the boat will be trailer sailed does anyone have any thoughts on alternatives to the turn buckles. I was thinking about one quick release attachment. What are your thoughts on the placement of the quick release. Would the best position be on the forestay or on one of the shrouds. I'm hoping that somone here with some experience will have some ideas!

11-20-2005, 03:40 PM
This is Bart, right? Are you still in touch with Anita and is all well with her? I've seen a great solution for your situation - I'll try to find the picture.


11-20-2005, 03:45 PM
turnbuckles are still your best bet- new rigging wire will stretch a bit and some adjustment is always nice to have. Its no big thing to loosen the headstay a couple turns and pull the pin- the shrouds should not require any adjustment when lowering the mast as the chainplates are usually located aft of the mast step if your mast has tabernackle. If your mast must be stepped verticaly thru the deck everything must come off anyway so just use the big cotter rings.

D Gobby
11-20-2005, 04:55 PM
Yes Steven this is Bart that I'm rigging. I've sent Anita several E-mails,with pictures of my progress. She has never replied back I wonder if anyone else has had contact with her. Maybe Shane? can get a hold of her.


Garth Jones
11-20-2005, 08:27 PM
Here's an alternative. A few weeks ago I had a very interesting conversation with Brion Toss (Complete Ship Rigger's Apprentice, etc.). He suggested that I rig my Ness Yawl (the sloop version) with Vectran stays (instead of wire)and deadeyes in place of turnbuckles. He had no problem with turnbuckles, but he thought that the deadeyes were traditional and boaty. And it sems that vectran is tough, strong, and not much stretchier than wire (for my size boat, anyway).

I'm not sure how quick this system would be to rig and unrig, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem for me since I'm not going to have to step the mast each time I go sailing (but I will, obviously, if I travel around with the boat on its trailer).

I wish I had already done this so I could comment on its success, but I thought I'd pass it along...


11-20-2005, 11:21 PM
That's what I was thinking of Garth, but I couldn't find the picture I was thinking of. Todd Bradshaw has a similar one in his book, maybe he'll wander by...
The one I saw had a rope shroud that came down to an eye at the gunwale, then up to another eye spliced into the shroud about a foot up from the gunwale then back down to a cleat. Very nice looking, simple and easy.
I hope Anita is well. Anybody hear from her? There were some health issues?

Garth Jones
11-20-2005, 11:44 PM
Steven - that sounds like an elegant solution. Brion didn't draw a complete picture for me (the napkin wasn't big enough!) but what I had in mind from our conversation was a stay that extended down from the masthead to a deadeye, another deadeye connected to the matching chainplate with a short length of line, and then a line (which would make a 3 part purchase) between the two deadeyes. This would be a miniature version of a standard deadeye/shroud arrangement on a tall ship. Only in this case I'd use vectran line and aluminum deadeyes.

I'll have to learn some more splicing and knot tying, but that sounds like a much more fun way to spend a few winter evenings than practicing on wire.


Todd Bradshaw
11-21-2005, 02:27 AM
Why aluminum deadeyes? They are pretty easy to make from wood and won't get black gunk all over your rope. These were made from 3/4" thick chunks of scrap walnut and are about 1.5"-1.75" in diameter (the line is 3/16").

Deadeyes can look nice, but in some cases they can also look kind of contrived and phoney. You need to look at the individual application and decide whether they look right or not. The same thing can also be done with thimbles or rings (metal rings or wooden doughnut-shaped lizards) attached to the ends of the stays and to chainplates with about six inches between them. The gap is then spanned and the stay tensioned by passing a small chunk of line through them several times, connecting the stay's ring to the chainplate's ring and pulling them together. With something like 1/8" non-stretch line and several turns through the rings, finished-off with half-hitches, you end up with something pretty strong and it really doesn't stretch very much at all in use. It's quite similar to a deadeye, except all the turns go through one big hole, instead of three little holes. It does the job in a nice, traditional, less-metallic way without calling as much visual attention to itself as a deadeye system. On some boats, this slightly more subtle approach looks better and maybe a bit more "honest".

I think the shroud system that Steven mentioned was one that I saw being used on Norwegian boats. The shroud was about 8"-12" short of the gunwale and had a ring on it's lower end. The tensioner was a simple, short chunk of line. It was secured to the hull or gunwale slightly forward (a few inches) of the shroud position. It ran up through the ring on the bottom of the wire and back down to a cleat on the hull a few inches aft of the shroud position, forming an upside-down "V".

Since I don't know what you're building, I can't really say whether these approaches would be as good as the turnbuckles specified in your plans. They are easy to rig as well as fairly quick to adjust and they work on a lot of traditional rigs. On the other hand, traditional rigs often don't need the kind of stay tension to support or tune a mast that many more modern boats require.

[ 11-21-2005, 02:30 AM: Message edited by: Todd Bradshaw ]

Carl Simmons
11-21-2005, 09:33 AM
Here are some alternatives to turnbuckles:

These are from RWO but I'm sure there are alot of other sources. The one I use has a pull pin on the shroud line.


11-21-2005, 09:41 AM
The initial question was what to use for both forestay and shrouds - and I'd say just go for standard turnbuckle on the shrouds.

The forestay is another matter, and a proven, reliable quick-release turnbuckle can be really handy for rigging small-ish boats. Nothing less fun than crouching on the bow with tools in hand (or dropping them in the water) trying to adjust the durn thing.

The one marked R4470 above looks pretty nice...

Edited to add that I really like the trad look of the wood and cordage deadeye shrouds shown above, and when rigging my dory for more theatrical appearances (17th-19th C. reenactment) I may give them a try. Just picked up a cotton sail for $35 - wheeee!

[ 11-21-2005, 11:27 AM: Message edited by: Thorne ]

11-23-2005, 12:58 AM
I vote for rigging adjusters (the RWO stuff) or low stretch rope lashed between shackles. I think you only need a turnbuckle on the headstay if you want a taut rig (not always desirable on a 15-footer). A 15' boat just does not need the power of turnbuckles to adjust the shrouds.

You really don't need much at all for the shrouds or headstay if you just sew an extra strip of fabric up the jib luff. You can then use the halyard to tension the rig (the headstay becomes limp but that is OK). Many racing dinghies in this size range use this method effectively.

11-23-2005, 07:11 AM
Dead eyes might be a bit overkill for a 15' boat. They look beautiful on a larger boat, but small boats were usually rigged more simply, rings/lashings and such. A proper, but handy, rig for a trailer boat might give far more pleasure than deadeyes, which are not as handy.

11-23-2005, 09:47 AM
I agree with the other posts that deadeyes might be a little over the top. John Gardner described something very similar to Todd's second sketch on the rigging for the Beachcomber-Alpha dory, which was a 21' boat.

11-23-2005, 09:54 AM
If you must use turnbuckles you can simply attach a pelican hook to the bottom of the tunrbuckles and mount a ring at the chainplate, no big deal.
The second sketch is a nice alternative and the ring can easily be replced by a small block, simply my preference, it was my choice for my shrouds and running backstays on a 22 foot gaff sloop.

Philip Maynard
11-23-2005, 10:59 PM
On my 15' daysailor I simply attach the side stay turnbuckles to the chain plates using the slugs that came with the turnbuckles and quick release type cotter pins and and then walk the mast upright on it's hinge and then keeping tension on the forestay secure it with a quick release shackle. I can raise the mast by myself, under 5 min.

Brent B
11-25-2005, 09:35 AM
Several times I have also used lashing as a method of tensioning shrouds on small boats (21 ft and under). One easy way that is quite compact is to use U-bolts for chainplates, and install thimbled eyes at the ends of the shrouds. Use 3 or 4 turns of light line to lash between the thimble and U-bolt. Without deadeyes the turns of lashing will bind a bit on each other while thghtening, but a little patience makes it work fine.

This method works fine with either wire or high-mod-line shrouds.