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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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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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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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Bluenoser
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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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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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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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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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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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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.
:)
 

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To make a staysail / headsail combo 'really work'... you really need running backstays to 'help' with the 'two forward shroud' tension interplay problem.
:)
True - both the C&C 44 and Saga 409 had running backstays.
 

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I have a Crealock 37 and sail singlehanded 99% of the time. My stay is permanent.
A staysail is all about balancing and center of power for your boat.

I love my staysail and find it's my most useful sail especially as a singlehander. Great for helping to balance and power with or without my monitor windvane.

Use upwind, downwind, light winds and heavy winds
Use instead of partial furling jib in heavy winds
Use in conjunction with my aso
Use when heaving-to
Use only stay when a chubasco or elephante is on the horizon, etc.

Never had the need for the storm sail or para-sea anchor that came with my boat...Hawaii & Mexico vet. Always check the forecasts and avoid the need...storms are no bueno for me :)

Read about staysail use but you'll only learn how cool/useful a staysail is with experience...
Go sailing, go sailing often. Sail with main & stay only upwind, downwind, beam, light and heavy wind, etc.
Practice heaving to, practice balancing boat with main and stay, then practice balancing with main, stay & jib.

Go sailing, go sailing often!
That last thing---A staysail looks so cool!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you everyone! Very useful information! I will check out the articles. jsaronson and macswift: since the boat was designed specifically for racing, your explanations make sense. Thanks again.
 

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Oops, forgot the 'important' stuff.
Use a full set of tell tales on all the sails, trim the staysl as per the leech tell tales ...... then final 'trim' in/out and to set best proximity to the headsail ..... and adjust that in/out according to your SPEEDO or VMG.
You get the 'best' interaction adjusting the slot-distance between the stay'sl and head'sl using the SPEEDO ... and you probably wont see much change in the tell tale flow.
 

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For the benefit of anyone who, like me, went to the link shown above for the staysail info and found it pointing to a German-language site about rice cooking, here is a link to the PDF we wanted:

w w w .
f t p .
tognews.
com/Publications/Arvel%20Gentry%20Articles/07_The_Double_Head_Rig.pdf

I had to corrupt the URL because I don't have enough posts credited to my username to be allowed to post links.... argh...! All these rules!!
Just remove the obvious spaces and line breaks.. hope this works!!
Tom
 

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Barquito
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Thanks for the update. I'm not a expert in hydrodynamic physics, so, was trying to figure out how rice cooking and the slot effect are related. :)

BTW, welcome to Sailnet.
 

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Arvel Gentry died several years ago (2013) and his family has apparently elected to not continue his website. Further, the TOG (Tayana Owners Group) ftp website has also been abandoned several years ago, although ftp data is still 'up'.

There was some discussion of capturing most of Arvel Gentry's for repository/archive publication here at Sailnet .... didn't happen. Would have been a most valued resource.

Here's probably the only currently reliable still active link(s) for Gentry's works on sail aerodynamics (based in Spanish Language but the articles remain in Englisch): https://arvelgentry.jimdo.com/articles/ I dont know how long this website will remain active. It doesnt contain all the 'important' Gentry articles, especially the correct treatises that explain on a strictly aero-technical basis of how wings/sails 'actually' work ... as opposed to the foolishness of what one reads in high school general science courses and 'how to sail' books.
Its really quite sad that ultimately all of these seminal Arvel Gentry articles on 'how sails work' ... based on actual aerodynamics (actual aerodynamic field effect plotting) are slowly becoming lost. Very very sad.
 

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Out of the 5 boats we owned, 2 had staysails. One with a detachable forestay, the other with the staysail on a roller.

IMHO, initially at least, don't make this complicated. The main benefit is heavy wind. When the wind pipes up, you want to get as much of the effort concentrated in the middle of the boat so it balances. The sail on the front of the boat is trying to force the boat to turn down wind. The sail on the back of the boat is trying to make it turn into the wind. When these 2 forces are relatively balanced, the rudder doesn't work too hard, the effort you need to place on the tiller or wheel is right, and the boat doesn't end up on its ear.

So the normal drill is, the wind pipes up, take down (or roll up the genoa), reef the mainsail, and deploy the staysail.


Yea, I know, in some situations it makes sense to run both of the forward sails, but try this first. It works great. First time you sail upwind, into 35 kts true, and are comfortable, you'll really like this having a staysail, especially with when your friends with big genoa's are hanging on their moorings.

Good luck, sounds like a great setup.
 

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So, while rummaging through my storage, I've found what seems to be a wire luff Stays'l. I connected the head to the stays'l halyard, the tack to a car on the foredeck and hoisted it. You can see in the picture that it does look like a stays'l. But, with no baby stay, is this safe to run this way? or should the halyard be run along the luff, through a turning block and back up? Not sure my halyard is long enough for that. Anyway, is the thin wire in the luff enough to support this in a strong wind? I've had this boat six years and until now never even considered this!
 

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al brazzi
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So, while rummaging through my storage, I've found what seems to be a wire luff Stays'l. I connected the head to the stays'l halyard, the tack to a car on the foredeck and hoisted it. You can see in the picture that it does look like a stays'l. But, with no baby stay, is this safe to run this way? or should the halyard be run along the luff, through a turning block and back up? Not sure my halyard is long enough for that. Anyway, is the thin wire in the luff enough to support this in a strong wind? I've had this boat six years and until now never even considered this!
That's not what a baby stay does, what you are talking about are running backstays. With the main up there is some support there but I will wait for more experience to speak up. Do you have signs of runners?

I should have said Check stays, not running backs.
 
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