These fine gentlemen have it covered; I would add one comment. Some rigs pump excessively when moored in a crosswind. A babystay can minimize this as well when tensioned.
If your rig seems stable under sail without the babystay, by all means stow it as it makes tacking and spinnaker pole handling much easier. You may want to re-attach it if the rig pumps at the dock. Then you would also have it still handy for those few days where the sea conditions would advise using it under sail.
09-25-2006 11:31 AM
I concur with Gary - skip the baby stay unless you decide you need it for shape or to control pumping. On my boat, we use the spin pole topping lift as the baby stay under those circumstances. We also have check stays. Just make sure you rig it up inside the jib sheets to avoid a problem when you tack. Don't ask me how I know this ;-)
09-25-2006 10:58 AM
I think the majority of boaters with baby stays do not use them. On some boats such as my S2 9.1 which is primarly geared to racing they are used to induce more bend into the mast.
They also are used to stablize a mast that is "pumping" a lot while sailing into wave action. If you monitor your mast under these conditions and do not see a lot of "pumping" your rig should be OK in my opinion. If how ever you do see this then you probably should be using the baby stay at those times. Make sure your backstay is tensioned first as it will induce mast bend and which may stop the pumping.
Obviuosly continuous pumping will be hard on the rig and could lead to failure.
09-25-2006 10:03 AM
Sailing without a BabyStay
I'm looking an a Peterson 33 that has a babystay. As I've never sailed with a babystay before I'm wondering if I should simply unhook it for the beer can races around the harbour. Is the prebend created by the babystay simply a performance issue or will I be putting the rig at risk without it.