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Old 10-11-2012
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Staysail: Purpose and trimming

Hello all:

I have recently purchased a '72 C&C 36R which is rigged not only for a jib and mainsail, but a staysail too. I am an aptly described "rookie" sailor, and I have no experience with staysails. Very few sloops that I have seen are rigged for a staysail. What benefit is there from flying such a sail? Is it flown in conjunction with the jib and main? If so, does it matter what size the jib is (100%, 135%, or 150% - I have all three)? Finally, is it trimmed in the same manner as a jib?

Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Kermit
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Re: Staysail: Purpose and trimming

I use my staysail generally in higher winds when the large genoa would be overpowering. Frequently I use a single reef in the main in combination with the self-tacking staysail. In lighter winds, I reposition the staysail stay back along a shroud to make tacking the genoa easier; i.e. not getting tangled on the staysail stay.
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Re: Staysail: Purpose and trimming

yeah...I'd also like to hear when and how to use them. And a storm jib would be flown on the foresail halyard correct? And Seaduction, you reposition the staysail back along a shroud? Can you clarify what you mean? is it to the side or in front of the mast? I had both on my Cal and didn't use either.

Is it a cutter rig that has a staysail?
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Re: Staysail: Purpose and trimming

I simply unscrew the turnbuckle from the stay and move the stay back along the first port side shroud, using a fitting (tie rod end) that I got at a hardware store to screw the stay into. There are some expensive gadgets available for bringing a babystay back to the mast and securing it ( Home - C.S. Johnson ), but my improvised method is very cheap.
On my IslandPacket cutter rig I nominally use 18 knot winds or higher as the threshold for going to staysail and reefed main.
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Old 10-11-2012
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Post Re: Staysail: Purpose and trimming

Quote:
Originally Posted by daledog View Post
yeah...I'd also like to hear when and how to use them. And a storm jib would be flown on the foresail halyard correct? And Seaduction, you reposition the staysail back along a shroud? Can you clarify what you mean? is it to the side or in front of the mast? I had both on my Cal and didn't use either.

Is it a cutter rig that has a staysail?
I sail a 1983 Hunter 37 Cutter. My staysail, and its forestay, are permanently installed. My furling jib at the bow is a "Yankee" - very high clew (10 -12' above the deck) and MUCH smaller than a genoa. So my staysail and jib work together, with the staysail "filling in the gap" below the Yankee jib. This is a conventional cutter setup - both sails are intended to be flown simultaneously. My 1st reef is to roller furl the Yankee and use the staysail as my sole headsail. Because the staysail is self-tacking on my boat, going to weather in heavy wind requires little effort. I love the rig, although it doesn't go to weather quite as well as a big genoa in lighter winds.

If you use a big genoa normally, and only intend to use the staysail in heavier winds, removing and storing the inner forestay for the staysail somewhere back by the shrouds is probably a good idea, making tacking the genny easier and saving on wear & tear...
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Re: Staysail: Purpose and trimming

Almost 40 years ago, Arvel Gentry wrote an article for SAIL that still remains the definitive take on staysails...

go to this link, and open the PDF file entitled "The Double Head Rig":

Magazine Articles

Staysails can be awesome...

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Re: Staysail: Purpose and trimming

The C&C staysail is used when reaching with a spinnaker. It is not used like a cutter rigged sail and generally is only used by racers.
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Re: Staysail: Purpose and trimming

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the C&C is a cutter per se? If that's the case, then what you have is a temporary inner forestay that can be used for a storm jib and maybe a staysail to be flown when reaching with a spinnaker.
It's likely to be too close to the forestay to be used in conjunction with a headsail.
I sail a 38ft cutter (Alacazam) and fly a yankee/staysail combination which is a great rig for cruising.
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Old 10-11-2012
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Re: Staysail: Purpose and trimming

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsaronson View Post
The C&C staysail is used when reaching with a spinnaker. It is not used like a cutter rigged sail and generally is only used by racers.
I have used both the staysail and the genoa together in light air upwind on a C&C 44 on two different trips from Maui to Vancouver. It worked very well as a cutter.

I also used the staysail in heavier air with a furled genoa and reefed main. I really liked the versatility. I have used that set up on a Nauticat 37 and Saga 409 as well.

On all three the stay could be stowed.
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Re: Staysail: Purpose and trimming

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Almost 40 years ago, Arvel Gentry wrote an article for SAIL that still remains the definitive take on staysails...

go to this link, and open the PDF file entitled "The Double Head Rig":

Magazine Articles

Staysails can be awesome...

ABSOLUTELY "the" most definitive article ever written regarding 'staysails', especially when flown 'under' a topsail or headsail, etc. Here's the direct link: http://arvelgentry.com/magaz/The_Double_Head_Rig.pdf

Caution: this article is referenced to 'true' cutter rigs with the mast at ~50% LOA and the with combined "CE" within the staysail or 'in front' of the mast.

The disadvantage of a staysail is realized in 'light' conditions when beating .... usually too much 'interference' between topsail and staysl ... @ less than ~6kts. on most boats.
As the article implies, the cord length SHAPE of the staysl (draft forward) is important ... not something that is easily attained from a sail loft that designed the staysail in similar geometry for a 'sloop' headsail/jib; I like my staysails to be draft-forward and with FLAT luff entry.

The 'mechanical / rigging' problem with flying staysails is the 'interplay' of headstay/forestay tensions ... in reactance to a single backstay. For the purposes of this/my discussion - the topsail is flown on a HEADstay - the furthest forward stay; the staysail (FORESTAYsail or staysl) flies from the FOREstay - the stay that is 'immediately forward' of the mast.
This problem usually results in the headstay loosening with increasing forestay tension / loading ... and can cause significant luff sag on the 'topsail' / headsail.
The pragmatic solution is to fly the staysail on a quite loose ~5-8% tensioned forestay, which automatically tightens the headstay .... only using full forestay tension when the headsail is doused or not flown. If you dont 'consider' the resultant sag to leeward of the headstay when 'reacting with the forestay', the cutter rig will point poorly, heel aggressively and can easily skid to leeward on an artificially 'powered-up' topsail/headsail. Once you are cognizant of the two forward stays have a 'tension interplay' problem ... you can make a cutter rig 'point' like a banshee --- mostly by loosening that FOREstay.

To make a staysail / headsail combo 'really work'... you really need running backstays to 'help' with the 'two forward shroud' tension interplay problem.
:-)

Last edited by RichH; 10-11-2012 at 12:28 PM.
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