Split or Double Backstays? Mizzen Staysails.. - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 05-05-2008
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Split or Double Backstays? Mizzen Staysails..

On our Formosa 41 Ketch or main mast currently has a double backstay. That is two wires each independently running from the cockpit to the masthead.

I've been recently looking into adding a mizzen staysail to the boat because I like to keep the boat sailing in light airs and, they look like fun. I've been told by the sail makers that I must change to a split backstay in order to have a mizzen staysail.

I have to rip out and replace one of them anyway for an SSB antenna so the expense of the switchover shouldn't be that bad. I'm a little reluctant to give up the security of two backstays in favor of one but I wonder if that's sane or not.

Are there other rigging advantages/disadvantages to split vs double backstays?

Anyone else use a mizzen staysail? Are they worth having?

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Old 05-05-2008
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Mines split ...no issues...boat didnt come with a mizzen stay sail ..

I dont worry as much about loosing the back stay as you have the main sheet helping out..more concerned with a head stay..

Edit...Dont know the particulars but that dosent make much sense unless he is talking about relocating the chain plates...as the anchor points would still be the same so whats the differance..Mine dosent go to single wire till half way up the mast..so there is a little angle advantage but not that much.

Last edited by Stillraining; 05-05-2008 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 05-05-2008
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The mizzen staysail is the best reason for a mizzen. If you sail where winds are from a constant direction but light then the Mizzen Staysail can be a big help. it is a pain when tacking/gybing because you have to take it down each time. On a long beam reach they are a great addition.
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Old 05-06-2008
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I don't have a Mizzen staysail YET. Working on adding one this summer. I still have some details to work out. Maybe Plumper- can help with this, but often the mizzen staysail is tacked on the windward rail. My sail maker is suggesting that mine sheet to the end of the mizzen boom. with double backstays it would be very hard to fly the staysail with head at top of mizzen mast, tack on windward rail and clew back on or around the mizzen boom near mid-line. I think the concept of going to a single, split backstay narrows the angle higher up to allow the luff to cross the mid-line of the boat.
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Old 05-06-2008
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I fly a Mizzen Staysail with no backstay at all. No issues there. The only time a backstay would be necessary for me is with a Mizzen Spinnaker. Of course, I have a Yawl so my MS is smaller than what you'd find on a Ketch. The MS is a good little sail for everything from 15* forward of the beam to a Broad Run. Funny thing is, it's one of those sails that gains ya a knot when ya put it up and when ya douse it.
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Old 05-06-2008
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MedSailor,

Check out the Force 50 / Formosa 51 board. There are two threads addressing this:

Mizzen Staysail or Drifter and Mule Sail?


You should join us there!
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Old 05-06-2008
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On the ketch I skippered, there was a fixed backstays and a split backstay on the main. The mizzen staysail (could be called a mizzen spinnaker) was a nylon sail that hoisted to the top of the mizzen, tacked anywhere up near the foot of the main mast and sheeted to the end of the mizzen boom. It was a challenge to fly because you had to make sure it was on the proper side of all the stays when hoisting it and that all changed with various wind angles and tacks. Once up it gave us a knot or two and looked great.
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Split or Double Backstays? Mizzen Staysails..-oriole_8_s.jpg   Split or Double Backstays? Mizzen Staysails..-oriole_s.jpg  
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Old 05-06-2008
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Did I mention that the mizzen was about 70 feet high?
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There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217
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