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Old 05-04-2015, 18:30   #1
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A Paean to my Staysail

The Oyster I almost bought -- whose original owner was the guy who owns the UK America's Cup team -- had a simple sloop rig. No inner forestay, no staysail, no secondary winches. Coming from another simple sloop rig with a genoa headsail, I didn't think this was a big deal.

How wrong I was, and now I'm really glad I didn't end up with that boat. The staysail is the most amazingly versatile and useful sail. I just never imagined. It is made of extra-heavy Dacron, and is set on extra-heavy duty furling gear, in fact, the same furling gear the yankee jib, three times the size, is set on, Furlex S400.

How is it useful? Well, let me count the ways.

First of all, it adds a lot of drive on a reach. It picks up air from the deck, left by the high-cut yankee jib. I don't understand anything about slot effects -- whether that is also at play here. But on a reach, you clearly get drive from it. I know the old joke about staysails -- "Set it, and lose a half a knot. Then furl it -- and lose a half a knot." But that is clearly not the case here, on a reach. Gain a half a knot or more.

Secondly, it even adds drive upwind. It didn't much before I started barber-hauling it. Because it is on a self-tacking track, the position of which is optimized for a reach. You can't get enough foot tension on it for going upwind. Unless you barber-haul it

Third, it is the mother of all storm sails, when it's blowing old boots. Over 30 knots true, you put away the yankee altogether, and the staysail gives you 1/3 of the area, with center of effort far aft and far lower, than the principle headsail. That's just what you need when it's blowing hard. The center of effort is so low, that there's little heel. With the main reefed down so that the head is near the top of the inner forestay, the whole rig is self-tacking, low, and centered around the mast -- just what you want for stress-free sailing in strong weather.

The last thing to love about my staysail I learned only after I shredded my yankee, and had to sail without it. And that is that it works fine with the full main up -- something I would never have even tried for fear of horrible weather helm. But modern hull forms don't care about fore-aft balance of the sail plan, as much as they care about heel angle -- something I never understood. As long as the heel angle is ok (20 degrees or less), this combination works perfectly without significant helm.

I have not ordered a new staysail. It seems to me wrong to have it made out of laminate. And there's nothing wrong with the shape of the old one. It will look kind of stupid with the new yankee and main.
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Old 05-04-2015, 18:48   #2
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re: A Paean to my Staysail

I love mine as well. Funny you mentioned 1\2 a knot. That's what I usually get. The only down side is it's hanked on...when its time to shorten sail, guess who's on the fore deck. Since its usually only me aboard, I tend to strike it early, before it gets too active up forward. Its disappointing to feel her slow as the slot disappears. When I have crew I can push longer, strike it during a tack. By then its time to reduce sail anyway.
Can't wait to get out of the yard with a clean bottom and let the fun begin.
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Old 05-04-2015, 19:26   #3
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

But an Oyster mast will likely have a fitting ready as I have seen most Oysters with staysails.

You did not cross that boat of the list only because it did not have a staysail, did you?

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Old 05-04-2015, 19:36   #4
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
SNIP.....

... it is the mother of all storm sails, when it's blowing old boots.
And with winds at Force 11, gusting Force 12, flying the staysail & trysail combo saves the rather expensive mainsail - not to mention saving bits & bobs like, you know, the wife, the ship.... stuff like that.

And with a staysail heaving-to is a breeze even at Force 12. (No pun intended. Well okay... a little intended ;-)

Our staysail / trysail combo is one of the main reasons we stayed afloat - and alive - when we were wacked coming out of New Zealand a few years back. (Yeah: I know... I've mentioned some of that in other threads.)

And I LIKE our hank-on stay - especially when the winds are up and it's time to replace it with the storm staysail.

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Old 06-04-2015, 07:04   #5
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
But an Oyster mast will likely have a fitting ready as I have seen most Oysters with staysails.

You did not cross that boat of the list only because it did not have a staysail, did you?

b.
No, I didn't buy it because the survey came up a horror movie, and I couldn't agree with the owner on adjustments to the price. I had a deposit paid, contract signed, etc. -- came very close to buying it.

It had a removeable inner forestay for a storm jib, with Highfield lever, but otherwise no rigging for a staysail. It had a surprisingly simple rig with only four cockpit winches (vs. 8 on my boat), non-towable jib cars, etc.

It was ordered that way -- other 485's I looked at were cutter rigged with high-cut yankee and more winches.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:07   #6
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

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And with winds at Force 11, gusting Force 12, flying the staysail & trysail combo saves the rather expensive mainsail - not to mention saving bits & bobs like, you know, the wife, the ship.... stuff like that.

And with a staysail heaving-to is a breeze even at Force 12. (No pun intended. Well okay... a little intended ;-)

Our staysail / trysail combo is one of the main reasons we stayed afloat - and alive - when we were wacked coming out of New Zealand a few years back. (Yeah: I know... I've mentioned some of that in other threads.)

And I LIKE our hank-on stay - especially when the winds are up and it's time to replace it with the storm staysail.

James
I don't have a trisail, and hadn't thought about it, since the in-mast furling main works very well when furled well in.

But that was the old Dacron mainsail. I think I won't really want to subject the new carbon mainsail to such duty. So I probably need to acquire a trisail. I have a special track and halyard for a trisail, so I don't need anything but the sail. Thanks for the tip.

The staysail is designed for storm jib duty, so no need for a separate storm jib.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:30   #7
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

I love our staysail on a furler and in the Caribbean we use it often when reaching going down island and when the wind is really piped up it is our headsail of choice. Even helps when motor sailing just a bit off the wind, once in awhile I miss the ease of tacking up a channel we had on our last boat which was a sloop but that doesn't happen often!


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Old 06-04-2015, 07:35   #8
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

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I love our staysail on a furler and in the Caribbean we use it often when reaching going down island and when the wind is really piped up it is our headsail of choice. Even helps when motor sailing just a bit off the wind, once in awhile I miss the ease of tacking up a channel we had on our last boat which was a sloop but that doesn't happen often!
I met another M54 owner for the very first time, when I bought my spinnaker pole.

He said that he had a very hard time tacking his yankee jib across the inner forestay, and would generally roll up the yankee to do it.

I was really surprised to hear that -- I've never had the slightest trouble with tacking. I guess it is a question of how slippery the the sun cover of the staysail is. I will keep this in mind if I do change the staysail.
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:59   #9
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

Hi,
now your all in with heavy wind and storms. But what about the very light winds as I would expect in the Med? I will have to right my boat Nicholson 26 with a inner forestay and plan to use extrem light material for a staysail maybe together with a main made of spinacker cloth (read Pardey). Any words from you to that, guys?
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Old 06-04-2015, 09:03   #10
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

Couldn't agree more --on my Gozzard 36 (a true cutter with the mast more mid-ship/central than on a sloop) having a furling staysail is like having an extra set of gears in a car ---I can pick any combination of differently reefed headsail/yankee, staysail and mainsail to suit the particular conditions.

And as the staysail is self-tacking on a track, tacking is a dream.

And, when the wind really starts piping up I can easily reduce sail by reefing my main down to its 3rd or deepest reef and have a nicely balanced sail plan with my staysail pulling and the the foresail fully reefed.

For the life of me, I can't understand why cutter rigs aren't more popular.
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Old 06-04-2015, 09:31   #11
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

Dockhead, mine is a different smaller boat but I agree with your love of the staysail. This is a true cutter with the staysail on a boom. I fly the staysail almost all the time. It sets under the Yankee from a broad reach to close beating. Self tacking in a narrow place with staysail and main or day sailing too many guests to move around for easy sheeting is a pleasure. Reducing sail is a piece of cake. With staysail and reefed main she remains perfectly balanced. When I was caught out in Santa Ana winds of 45-50k I sailed a beam reach with staysail alone for hours on end as calm and secure as a duck on a pond.


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Old 06-04-2015, 09:49   #12
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
No, I didn't buy it because the survey came up a horror movie, and I couldn't agree with the owner on adjustments to the price. I had a deposit paid, contract signed, etc. -- came very close to buying it.

It had a removeable inner forestay for a storm jib, with Highfield lever, but otherwise no rigging for a staysail. It had a surprisingly simple rig with only four cockpit winches (vs. 8 on my boat), non-towable jib cars, etc.

It was ordered that way -- other 485's I looked at were cutter rigged with high-cut yankee and more winches.
You are not alone. I know of a handful of O boats that do not sell because the potentials are not willing to fund the original owners' follies (based mostly in 90's and 00's stock and property bubbles). Nothing wrong with the boats, just the askings are not in line with what the boats are worth and with how much money and effort it will take to get the boats to seagoing condition again.

When you see "only" four winches on an O boat, the fore two are the staysail. The main is trimmed to the winch on the side of the companion. The kite is trimmed to genoa winch.

You may be lucky not to have bought an O boat - the older ones have probably the worst, most cluttered side-deck layout I can think of. New O boats have all that ...p hidden below deck and inside the coamings - exactly where it should have been in the first place.

Bueno. Have fun fumbling around with that blade. It is well worth the effort. You WILL love the sail.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 06-04-2015, 09:58   #13
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I met another M54 owner for the very first time, when I bought my spinnaker pole.

He said that he had a very hard time tacking his yankee jib across the inner forestay, and would generally roll up the yankee to do it.

I was really surprised to hear that -- I've never had the slightest trouble with tacking. I guess it is a question of how slippery the the sun cover of the staysail is. I will keep this in mind if I do change the staysail.
I have a Yankee on a bobsprit and the staysail stay terminating in the anchor well, so there's not a vast gap for the Yankee to pass through. But it does, fairly non-dramatically, because you have to blend the timing of the tack with a slight "backing of the jib" to start the rolling motion. You also have to avoid the temptation to haul in the new weather sheet and you (naturally) have to slack off the old weather sheet considerably.

The fold of the jib should pick up speed through the tack and you can slow the tack at the helm and start bringing in the clew on the new side just as it's passing the stay. Of course, you bugger about with the staysail sheets afterwards, unless you've got more crew than me!

Like anything, it just takes practice and co-ordination, and I won't claim it's 100% successful, but I will claim in the 90% or better range.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:15   #14
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

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Hi,
now your all in with heavy wind and storms. But what about the very light winds as I would expect in the Med? I will have to right my boat Nicholson 26 with a inner forestay and plan to use extrem light material for a staysail maybe together with a main made of spinacker cloth (read Pardey). Any words from you to that, guys?
Light winds are the least of my problems. I just put on the iron topsail and motorsail. Eventually I will add a cruising Code 0.

My main priority is to first solve those things which the motor can't. I was slightly traumatized by sailing 3,000 miles last summer hard on the wind and mostly in 20 knots plus. The motor, even 100 Yanmar horses, just doesn't cut it for that. You need to be able to sail upwind, using the winds own power to move you, instead of fighting it with diesel, which is inefficient, slow, and unpleasant.

The staysail is a great weapon for this. My new blade jib I hope will be even more useful.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:32   #15
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Re: A Paean to my Staysail

yep, I love the staysail. So easy when the wind pipes up to 30-35 two reefs in the main and the staysail. The boat sails flat and fast. Almost to the point where you look forward to wind like that!
Pretty useless in light winds to me. But at ~22+ love it.
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