November 16, 2017
Quantum Expert Answer
On a fractional rig like the ILC 40 the running backstays are the primary power control. Winding them on tightens the headstay which depowers the jib and at the same time compresses the mast creating mastbend which depowers the mainsail. You will use very little in light air when you want power, but when you get up over 8 knots and the crew starts to hike hard, it is time to start winding on the backstay. In 12-14 knots and over you will wind on very hard until the mainsail blades out and the headstay is as tight as possible. In 8-12 knots the runner should be played aggressively in the puffs and lulls. A load cell on the headstay is useful to help repeat settings and know when maximum load is reached. The topmast backstay helps support the mast downwind when the spinnaker is up and also can add some mastbend to the top sections of the mainsail to help depower the portion of the mainsail above the hounds (headstay attachment point). Great question – I hope that helps!