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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
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Our boat has a Hunter-like swept spreader fractional rig, and since adding a roachier main we have gone to a dyneema backstay with a supporting whip to clear the sail in light breezes and DDW.
This allows the security/support of a backstay in the heavier going and a quick and easy way to avoid the leech of the main hanging up in light air tacks and gybes.
I think the BIG plus for properly engineered unstayed rigs is that they are meant to stand on their own, so there's none of that reliance on standing rigging (the failure of which, one way or another, must be the leading cause of mast breakages). However the downsides (windage, reduced sail shape control, marginalized headsails if any at all) would, for me, negate them for coastal cruising
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)