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Re: Ignorant question about cutter rig versus sloop?
I'm curious, is there a way to balance the two forstays so they are both fairly tight? With a hanked on sail could you tighten the halyards or install a downhaul on the tack(Cunningham?) to effectively mimic, if not actually achieve, the balanced tightening of the forstays? Or is that just an exercise in futility?
If the staysl has a cunningham then yes its possible to tension the luff boltrope sleeve to affect good (draft far forward) shape to the staysl and with minimal load on the forestay.
Overtightening the halyard on one of the foresails will cause a loosening in the stay tension of the 'other' headsail.
Its just plain simpler to slacken the forestay when beating so that most of the backstay tension reacts with the headstay.
If you want both headstay forestay combo to be tight, then you really need to apply tension to the running backstays.
For 'almost best' pointing ability with the least hassle with a cutter, remove/stow the forestay, hoist a large LP genoa onto the headstay .... and sail it like a sloop.