Flying flag from the backstay .. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Flying flag from the backstay ..

I've read in a Sailnet article that it's okay to fly your countries flag from the backstay of a marconi rigged boat, but I'm curious - how is that actually done ? I mean do you typically have a special flag halyard just for that purpose that you use to hoist the flag up the backstay ? This is what the article says ...

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In either case the flag may be sewn into the leech or hoisted on a halyard through a leech cringle (reinforced hole) so the ensign can be lowered to avoid chafe, say on a permanent backstay.
Sailnet article link

Anyone do this ? What are the issues ?

What are you pretending not to know ?

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post #2 of 19 Old 08-24-2008
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I don't think they mean (I hope) hoisted on the backstay at the same height as 2/3 up the leach. That would be just plain tacky and disrespectful. I fly my flag from the backstay, but at a height of exactly my reach when standing on the lazarette. This is my last choice, but there is no where on the stern to mount an appropriate flagstaff that wouldn't interfere with my radar mast, propane locker, windvane, dingy outboard etc... Lin and Larry Pardey do the same but I am not sure there is anything really appropriate. However, out of necessity (visiting foreign countries) this is the only place I can find that remotely resembles anything legitimate. Better than flying it from the spreaders or the masthead! I would say that if you can't fly it appropriately don't fly it at all, unless you are required to.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailboy21 View Post
I don't think they mean (I hope) hoisted on the backstay at the same height as 2/3 up the leach. That would be just plain tacky and disrespectful.[/IMG]
Thank you for the thoughts sailboy21.

Here is a picture of someone's boat flying their flag much higher, I don't think it looks tacky. Well, correction - yes, it looks tacky here, but that's because the flag is too big for the boat, but I don't think having the flag up higher is tacky. That's basically what I'm asking about, just not huge and obnoxious like this.



Edit - I certainly wouldn't want my own countries flag to be any bigger than the courtesy flag.

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post #4 of 19 Old 08-24-2008
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Windy...your US flag SHOULD be larger than any courtesy flag you fly from the spreaders. There is no rule on this but the general guideline is 1" of flag length for every foot of boat and going UP to the next standard flag size.
So...a 35' sailboat should have a flag 35" long...and the standard 24x36" flag would thus be appropriate.

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post #5 of 19 Old 08-24-2008
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Here are a couple of relatively recent threads on ensigns, jacks, pennants, burgees and flags: Flag Etiquette 2.0 and Flag etiquette queries

Found a couple Sailnet articles on the subject: Signal Flags and Flying the Flag

I do question one statement in that second article. The author states
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This is why many people opt to fly the burgee lower in the rig, hoisted to the end of the lowest starboard spreader on a flag halyard. While this practice is decried by purists...
Aren't burgees and pennants supposed to be hoisted on the port side? I understood the starboard side was for courtesy flags.

Jim

Last edited by SEMIJim; 08-24-2008 at 10:18 AM. Reason: Added a couple more references
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-24-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wind_magic View Post
Thank you for the thoughts sailboy21.

Here is a picture of someone's boat flying their flag much higher, I don't think it looks tacky. Well, correction - yes, it looks tacky here, but that's because the flag is too big for the boat, but I don't think having the flag up higher is tacky. That's basically what I'm asking about, just not huge and obnoxious like this.



Edit - I certainly wouldn't want my own countries flag to be any bigger than the courtesy flag.


I'll take your flag, and up you 1!




seriously...



and then there is the topping lift approach


Last edited by sailboy21; 08-24-2008 at 01:41 PM.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-24-2008
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There is an established etiquette for flying U.S. flags. It is very long standing, the result of tradition and practice over hundreds of years.

ALL of the flags depicted above -- and described above -- do NOT meet this protocol.

One source of information on flying flags is the U.S. Power Squadron:
Flag and Etiquette Committee

Another is Chapman's.

Much as I value SailNet, I wouldn't consider it an authoritative source on flag-flying.

From USPS:

"The national ensign worn by a vessel must be the flag of her registry—not necessarily that of the owner or operator.

Generally, the national ensign should be displayed at the peak of the gaff, i.e., the outer end of the spar extending aft from the mast of your boat—if you boat has a gaff. If it does not, fly it from the flagstaff at your boat's stern. If your boat has an overhanging boom or an outboard motor, your flagstaff may be offset to starboard (preferably) from your boat's centerline."

.... (sportfishing boats)

"Marconi-rigged sailboats may fly the ensign from the leech of the aftermost sail (or from the back stay), approximately 2/3 the distance up its length. This puts it in about the same position it would occupy if the boat were gaff-rigged.

At anchor or made fast, the ensign should be flown from the stern staff of all boats. The U.S. national ensign has a 10:19 hoist/fly ratio."

Bill
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-24-2008
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I'd add that the size of 1" in horizontal length (fly) per foot of LOA is confirmed by Bill's USPS link.

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post #9 of 19 Old 08-25-2008
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Holidays

It's permissible to fly a "holiday ensign" one size larger than standard on national holidays. The concept of a "battle ensign" is a little outdated, but that one's as big as you can carry!
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-25-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wind_magic View Post
Thank you for the thoughts sailboy21.

Here is a picture of someone's boat flying their flag much higher, I don't think it looks tacky. Well, correction - yes, it looks tacky here, but that's because the flag is too big for the boat, but I don't think having the flag up higher is tacky. That's basically what I'm asking about, just not huge and obnoxious like this.



Edit - I certainly wouldn't want my own countries flag to be any bigger than the courtesy flag.

Everybody gets through life differently. I think the flag looks lovely flying proud.
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