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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-16-2009
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Flag on backstay?

How do you put a flag on your backstay. I read that is a proper place to put the national flag vs putting it on a spreader halyard. Please advise, thanks!
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Old 04-16-2009
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You can also fly the ensign off a flag staff mounted on the transom. Which is often easier to deal with than a backstay flag halyard.
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One of the places that sells these is Boater's World, maybe you can find a set for cheap. As you can see, they come in two varietes; I think the lower one is for attachment to stays. Google "flag clips" and look for the hits from marine stores.
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Old 04-16-2009
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The so-called "flag halyard" that mounts to the spreader, usually on the starboard side of the mast, is the place for your yacht-club pennant, personal flag if you've got one, or your yellow quarrantine flag when entering a foreign port and not yet having cleared customs.

Old Glory (or any national flag) goes on a stern flag mast or on the aft side of the mainsail, like from a back stay or a topping lift.
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Old 04-16-2009
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If you really care about flag etiquette, the American Flag or Yacht Burgee should only be flown from a transom mounted flag staff when motoring or at anchor. Other wise it should be flown at the gaff of a gaff sail, or 2/3's of the way up the leech of the mainsail or aft most sail on a Bermuda rig. These days you do see people fly them from the backstay at that approximate height or use stern mounted flag staffs under sail with impunity.

Jeff
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Old 04-16-2009
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You should not fly the ensign (US flag) from the spreader flag halyard. This is where you fly a courtesy flag (the ensign from a country while visiting), the Q flag if you have not yet cleared customs, a yacht club burgee, and or cocktail invitation flag (a flag with an image of a cocktail).
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Old 04-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveInMD View Post
You should not fly the ensign (US flag) from the spreader flag halyard.
I've read this thread and I did not see one post that said it should be.
Everybody said it should be on the Transom on a staff, the Gaff, or the leach of the main.
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Old 04-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep192 View Post




One of the places that sells these is Boater's World, maybe you can find a set for cheap. As you can see, they come in two varietes; I think the lower one is for attachment to stays. Google "flag clips" and look for the hits from marine stores.
From personal experience I found that the 78351 flag clip is hard to attach and keep attached on the back stay of a 22' boat. I would think that on a larger boat it would be impossible to use.
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Defender sells a Backstay Flag Halyard Kit "Complete with 40' polyester 3/16" line, block with wire rope clamp, cleat and 2 bronze snaps. Attaches to 5/32" to 3/8 diameter Wire or rod."

I put one on my boat last year, but plan to remove it. It did what it said it would, but the clamp at the upper end of the halyard kept fouling the topping lift.

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Old 04-16-2009
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If you use the clips or attach the flag in some sort of permanent attachment to the back stay 2/3 of the way up, as you should, you won't be able to retrieve it when necessary. Personally, I don't like this arrangement, as I want to be able to retrieve the flag, after all you don't want it displayed after hours.
You should be able to mount a small block somewhere on the backside of the mast at the top and run a proper flag halyard along the backstay or topping lift. Be careful not to foul it in any standing or running rigging. Take it back to the stern rail and tie it off, you also might be able to find a cleat that will attach to the push pit. If you have a bimini it might be in the way and you will have to pass it through the bimini where your backstay passes through. If you don't want to drill holes in the mast to attach a block, there might be a way to clip a swivel block on at the masthead. Again, just be sure you are not fouling any running or standing rigging. You might even be able to clamp a small block right on to the backstay.
Edit: this is the type of block that Eric refers to in te above post.

With an arrangement like this, you have the ability to raise and lower the flag properly.
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Last edited by sailortjk1; 04-16-2009 at 10:43 AM.
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