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Robb
1st Mate

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Canada
31 Posts

Initially Posted - 02/12/2024 :  12:13:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello all! Starting to think about some performance upgrades for the C250 in time for spring. My stock traveler came apart and I was able to jerry rig it for the season so it seems like a good time to upgrade it. Catalina Direct has an upgrade kit for the C250 for $580 and I'm thinking of pulling the trigger on that. Since its 4 feet long, I'll need to have the cockpit seat cushions shortened but other than that it can be bolted right into the same place in front of the companionway. Has anyone else made this upgrade with the kit that's available from Catalina Direct? Also, they sell a backstay tensioner kit for the C250 so that you can make adjustments on the fly. Has anyone installed one? Is this a bad idea for the C250? I've been racing a bit lately (not on the C250) and adjustable backstays and decent travelers seem to be pretty basic on performance boats. Thanks in advance for any advice or guidance!

Robb
2004 C250 WK hull# 739

DavidCrosby
Navigator

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USA
226 Posts

Response Posted - 02/12/2024 :  15:06:19  Show Profile  Visit DavidCrosby's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I replaced my traveler last year. If you decide not to upgrade, I can sell you my old traveler for a reasonable price.

I replaced my traveler with the following:
https://defender.com/en_us/barton-size-1-recirculating-ball-bearing-traveler-kit-with-cleats-20902

Now that it is on the boat, I am really pleased with the upgrade. When purchasing, I liked this traveler because the bolts are hidden within the track and I could reuse existing holes. This feature turned out to be a pain in the ... The bolts do not come with the traveler and the heads need to be a very specific bolt head. I found the proper head, but then length became the next problem since I could not find any with full threads or the proper length shank.


David Crosby "Small World"
'02 C250 WK #614
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DavidCrosby
Navigator

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USA
226 Posts

Response Posted - 02/12/2024 :  15:15:09  Show Profile  Visit DavidCrosby's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Regarding backstay: I think the biggest advantage of having the backstay tensioner would be that you could easily tighten or loosen the forestay tension. I think the C250 mast is too rigid to be able to induce bend and alter the shape of the main.

I think the traveler is a vital item for enhancing performance. I also think an easily adjusted boom vang and outhaul would be useful. Adding in a cunnigham as well. These items are going to allow more mainsail control than backstay adjustment on a C250.

That's my two cents. I am sure others will comment as well.

David Crosby "Small World"
'02 C250 WK #614
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alippold
Deckhand

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USA
22 Posts

Response Posted - 02/12/2024 :  15:44:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I installed the traveler from Catalina Direct on my 250 WB. The WB did not come with a traveler. It originally had a barney post with a swivel cleat attached. It wasn't too hard to install the traveler. The traveler has made a big improvement in boat handling and performance.

Amber Waves
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Robb
1st Mate

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Canada
31 Posts

Response Posted - 02/13/2024 :  12:09:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks very much for the feedback all! Agree with your comments David; my position on the racing boat (a Santana 525) is to operate the mainsheet, backstay, vang, outhaul and Cunningham. I basically control the boat with just the traveler and usually don't touch the mainsheet block much. Although the C250 will never raced, the need to squeeze out a bit more performance is always there. I do use the Cunningham on the C250 occasionally but am going to need to upgrade the outhaul as well, as the stock one (I believe its a 2:1?) doesn't work all that well.

Robb
2004 C250 WK hull# 739
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5843 Posts

Response Posted - 02/13/2024 :  16:30:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Robb, here's a link to a previous discussion of a backstay adjuster on a C250. https://catalina-capri-25s.org/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=21066&SearchTerms=backstay,adjuster Windsong added a backstay adjuster and reported on his experience. I think he misunderstood how a backstay adjuster works on a C250. He tried to use the backstay adjuster to bend the mast, but the C250 has a masthead rig.

On a fractional rig, like the Santana 525, a backstay adjuster bends the mast and changes the shape of the mainsail. On a masthead rig, the backstay adjuster does not bend the mast or affect the shape of the mainsail. It lets the rig tilt forward, which induces forestay sag and thus powers up the jib. A fractional rig is primarily driven by it's mainsail, and a backstay adjuster enables you to depower the mainsail quickly in strong winds. A masthead rig is primarily driven by it's jib, and a backstay adjuster enables you to power it up in light air and downwind by inducing forestay sag.

Windsong said he couldn't decide whether to tune the rig with the backstay adjuster on or off. His concern was that too much tension on the offset single backstay would pull the mast askew, putting too much tension on some stays. The correct way to tune the rig is to tune it as recommended in the owner's manual, with the backstay adjuster "on." You should never add tension to the backstay adjuster, because it won't do anything to make the boat point higher. You only ease the backstay tension in light air and downwind. If you want to flatten your mainsail to keep the boat on its feet, you do it with the outhaul and cunningham. I've used backstay adjusters on masthead rigs and fractional rigs. They're great on either type rig. Windsong said he couldn't recommend it, but he tried to use it the way you would on a fractional rig.

I've never used one on a C250 specifically, but see no reason why it won't work if you use it correctly and tune it correctly.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
9007 Posts

Response Posted - 02/13/2024 :  22:00:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'll throw in a "theory" here based only on experience on some boats not including the C-250: The masthead rig does affect the ability to bend the C-250 mast by tensioning the backstay... but it doesn't necessarily eliminate it. On a masthead rig with double lower shrouds (which the C-250 doesn't have), the forward lower shrouds can be tensioned and the aft lowers slackened a little to pull the mid-section of the mast forward the way the forestay does on a fractional rig. When the rig has single lower shrouds and the uppers rigged to swept-back spreaders (like the C-250 to some degree), upper shroud tension can make the spreaders "push" the mid-section of the mast forward as the backstay pulls the head back. (It's geometry and force-vectors.)

From what I've seen, the swept spreaders might not be as effective as the forward lower shrouds or fractional forestay, but they can be at least part of the process, even on some fractional rigs. And it might work on the masthead C-250. (The C-25 has double lowers, non-swept spreaders, and a mast that's sorta like an oak tree, so.......)

Many boats built for performance, and for sailors who want to bend their masts to flatten their mains, have tapered, relatively thin-walled masts for their fractional rigs. My C-25 was not built with maximal race-tuning in mind. (It was built more for folks like me.)

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic/Stonington CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, USCG "sixpack" (expired),
Now on Eastern 27 $+!nkp*+ Sarge

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 02/13/2024 22:18:10
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5843 Posts

Response Posted - 02/14/2024 :  09:28:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dave is correct that a C25's rig can be tuned so that you can slightly bend the mast. I tuned mine that way years ago, but I decided that it wasn't the best choice. Doing it that way puts loads on the rig and chainplates that they weren't designed for, and there's a risk of damaging the boat. The amount of bend is so slight that the benefit gained is quite small. By using the outhaul and a cunningham, you can move the mainsail draft forward, which is the same thing that a backstay adjuster does. On a masthead rig boat, you get the greatest benefit by forgetting about trying to bend the mast and by tuning the rig so that easing the backstay adjuster induces forestay sag. Also, because of the offset backstay on the C250, and other differences, I don't think there would be any benefit to trying to bend the C250 mast.

To be clear, on a masthead boat, a backstay adjuster doesn't help the boat point higher going to windward. It increases power and speed when in light air or sailing off the wind.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore

Edited by - Steve Milby on 02/14/2024 11:32:52
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Dave Brown
Navigator

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USA
172 Posts

Response Posted - 02/14/2024 :  16:38:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a back stay adjuster on my C 250 wing K.
I also have the Tall rig. I picked up a used boom vang , ( 4 to 1 ). And
attached it to the back stay. It will not bend the mast, but does
help adjust the forestry tension. And that alone helps windward performance
for me.
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5843 Posts

Response Posted - 02/14/2024 :  18:22:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's true, but there isn't much difference between the "recommended" forestay tension and "bar tight." That small difference helps the boat point a little better, but not by much. Many people think the boat will point higher if they really crank down the backstay adjuster, but the law of diminishing returns applies here. Once the forestay becomes bar tight, you've taken all the slack and stretch out of the forestay. If you apply still more pressure, something has to give, and it might be the fiberglass or the chainplates. When I over-stressed my C25 with the backstay adjuster, it caused a long crack in the gelcoat on the transom.

There's a widespread misunderstanding about backstay adjusters. Many people think they help fractional rigs and masthead rigs alike to point to windward better, but backstay adjusters help fractional and masthead rigs very differently. Many think the harder they crank it down, the higher the boat will point. Because you can't significantly bend the mast on a masthead rig boat, increasing backstay tension doesn't improve pointing very much.

Re-think how you use the backstay adjuster. Instead of cranking it down to sail to windward, think of it as a tool to slacken the forestay when you sail in light air or downwind. Adding sag to the forestay powers up the jib, and that maximizes boat speed in light air and downwind. If you're sailing to windward in 4-6 kts of wind and you induce a wee bit of forestay sag, your boat speed will increase, and that will cause your apparent wind to increase, and, effectively, you'll be sailing in stronger wind than the other boats around you. Moreover, as boat speed increases, a sailboat's ability to sail close to the wind also increases. Thus, in light air, a little forestay sag will help the boat foot faster and point higher. These are the types of situations that really help a masthead boat.

The writers of sailing articles are mostly responsible for the widespread misunderstanding. You seldom see articles that discuss, in any depth, the differences between backstay adjusters on fractional rigs and masthead rigs.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore

Edited by - Steve Milby on 02/14/2024 18:29:18
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Robb
1st Mate

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Canada
31 Posts

Response Posted - 02/14/2024 :  23:28:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Steve; Dave: thanks so much for your detailed responses. Lots to think to about. I'm going to go with a traveler upgrade for sure this season, but may wait until next year to look at a backstay option. I checked with Catalina Direct, and I wasn't aware that I needed to change out the existing backstay, which will mean dropping the mast etc. My 250 is currently on the hard with the mast up. Not a big issue to drop the mast on these boats but another thing on the spring to-do list. Other thing is the $$. The kit is about $1000. for the backstay and fiddle blocks. The other thing is the reality that the C250 isn't really a racer...when asked by folks at the club why I'm not racing her, I tell them she's a party girl, not a racer - and that's ok.

Robb
2004 C250 WK hull# 739
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
9007 Posts

Response Posted - 02/15/2024 :  22:15:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robb

...The other thing is the reality that the C250 isn't really a racer...
And that's what PHRF is for. (...being awarded in the clubhouse after crossing the line behind 13 other boats.) A friend and past commodore here entered some ocean races with his C-25 SR where he finished after the awards parties were over and everyone had left the bars. He was too late to get his time corrected, so who knows?? Eventually he switched to a Pearson Flyer (an aging sled) and made the parties. (For long-timers here, Jim B. is no longer with us--I forget when and where, but he died a few years ago in some Central American country. Pardon the hijack...)

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic/Stonington CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, USCG "sixpack" (expired),
Now on Eastern 27 $+!nkp*+ Sarge

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 02/15/2024 22:37:10
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5843 Posts

Response Posted - 02/16/2024 :  06:47:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
At the time, I didn't understand why Jim was having such a hard time, because he was a skilled racer with a good crew and well prepped boat and a very good racing record. Later I realized it was because he began racing in long distance races along the California coast. Small boats take more of a beating offshore. When the wind and choppy waves are on the bow, they don't have enough mass to punch through the chop. Bigger, heavier boats ride up over the chop and punch through it. Also, in long races you have to learn new skills, or improve them, such as navigation, and you have to learn to cope with tidal currents. In a 12 hour race, you'll surely encounter tidal changes, and, if the fast boats enter an inlet on a rising tide, they'll be carried in. Slower boats might enter at slack tide or even a falling tide. 25' sailboats are better suited to race shorter races, where they are much more competitive, even against bigger boats.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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alippold
Deckhand

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USA
22 Posts

Response Posted - 02/16/2024 :  08:04:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have lots of fun racing my 250 WB. Just Wed night around the cans. We have a "cruising" class in our races. Fun to beat guys with Catalina 36s that are really party boats!

Amber Waves
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5843 Posts

Response Posted - 02/16/2024 :  08:33:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by alippold

I have lots of fun racing my 250 WB. Just Wed night around the cans. We have a "cruising" class in our races. Fun to beat guys with Catalina 36s that are really party boats!

For sure! Racing isn't just about winning. It's about competing against yourself, beating a few boats that, theoretically, you shouldn't. It's about making a few good moves and mark roundings along the way that you'll replay in your mind. It's about learning new skills and especially about the camaraderie with your crew, who will change from time-to-time, and with other racers at the after race parties. In around-the-marks racing, it really isn't about the boat. I crewed for almost 20 years on a friend's 65 year old heavy, full keel boat and had as much fun as racing on big, high tech boats. It's all good!

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
9007 Posts

Response Posted - 02/16/2024 :  21:42:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Milby
...Racing isn't just about winning. It's about competing against yourself, beating a few boats that, theoretically, you shouldn't. It's about making a few good moves and mark roundings along the way that you'll replay in your mind...
The little racing that I did (only as crew), I appreciated PHRF fleet racing where you might beat somebody rated above you while enjoying all of what Steve describes. One-design racing has its plusses--the skipper is the issue, not the boat (theoretically), but that requires a dedicated fleet and enforcement of specs and rules (such as how often sails can be replaced). To those who are into that, I say enjoy yourselves (in your own way).

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic/Stonington CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, USCG "sixpack" (expired),
Now on Eastern 27 $+!nkp*+ Sarge

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 02/16/2024 21:44:08
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Robb
1st Mate

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Canada
31 Posts

Response Posted - 02/20/2024 :  16:05:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gents, as always very good comments! As Alipold mentioned, the racing I'm talking about is lake racing on Wednesday nights around the cans. Yes there is a sophisticated PHRF system in place and I totally agree that its not just about winning, but rather having fun, building your skills and trying to beat last weeks performance. Unfortunately, the way my girl is configured, we'd be behind the 8 ball right away. I wonder how a PHRF would treat a 25' boat with an inboard diesel, sail drive hanging down, 40 liter diesel tank in the stern and throw in a bow thruster for good measure - as if there weren't enough underwater "toys" to stir up the water.

Robb
2004 C250 WK hull# 739
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5843 Posts

Response Posted - 02/20/2024 :  18:40:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
PHRF gives additional handicap allowances for lots of reasons. There's an allowance for an inboard engine. The handicap might vary depending on whether your boat has a fixed or folding prop. I doubt that a bow thruster, properly installed, would affect boat speed significantly, but the race committee could grant an allowance for anything that might have an effect. Discuss it with your RC. An inboard engine hurts boat speed more on a small boat than on a big, heavy boat. How well you do might also depend on the skill level of the racers.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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Russ.Johnson
Commodore

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USA
832 Posts

Response Posted - 02/24/2024 :  12:54:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Robb,

Your C250WK has many options, which makes it non-typical.
Unfortunately, those options hurts your performance.

I agree with Steve
PHRF has a "base rating" formula for the hull shape.
That rating usually does not include how the boat is rigged or option installed.
Each region can have separate ratings, based on local conditions or fleet results.

Not many sailors race a C250, so the PHRF rating is not very accurate.
There is an exception "as sailed" PHRF certificate process.
Hear are some examples:
Roller Furler (PHRF credit)
Fixed backstay (PHRF credit)
No Spinnaker (PHRF credit)
Inboard Diesel (PHRF credit)
Bow Thruster (PHRF credit)

Talk to your local club about which PHRF region they are using and the base rating for your boat.
Then discuss the "as sailed" exception for your boat.
It's worth a try.
If they are not interested, then work on your "personal best".


Russ Johnson
2005 C250WB Hull 793

Edited by - Russ.Johnson on 02/24/2024 12:55:54
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
9007 Posts

Response Posted - 02/24/2024 :  13:20:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
PHRF likely misses some of the most basic variations of the C-250, since as Russ says, it isn't a commonly raced boat. Most apparent the combinations of the rig (two, although not many tall rigs were built), three keels (not many fins were built), and auxiliary power (with relatively few inboards). And I believe the standard headsail size varied between models. It is far from a one-design class. So discussion of and adjustments to the PHRF rating should be perfectly reasonable.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic/Stonington CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, USCG "sixpack" (expired),
Now on Eastern 27 $+!nkp*+ Sarge

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 02/24/2024 13:24:23
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