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Old 08-08-2009, 21:21   #1
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Staysail Boom, Keep or Toss?

Always wanted a cutter rig after sailing on a couple and finally got one. Now have a question. The boat has a boom for the staysail that really fills up the foredeck. I've sailed on cutters (briefly) with and without booms and, from my very limited experience, seems like the boom contributes little to the affair.

Unless I'm missing something I think I would like to off the boom and make a lot more room on the foredeck. Any suggestions?

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Old 08-08-2009, 22:58   #2
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Well a correct staysail boom gooseneck is normally mounted on the foredeck a percentage of the staysail foot length back from the tack (I don't remember the percentage). That way the sail is self trimming as well as self tacking (ie: the tighter you sheet it in, the flatter the staysail). That means that you only have to tack the jib (on a cutter) or tack no headsail on a sloop, Yawl, or ketch. It is obviously a very convenient cruising rig. If you are sailing big jibs and genoas like a sloop, you probably don't need it, or the stay, or the running backs or the cutter rig.

If you like the cutter rig, and always have the hands on deck to tack a loose footed staysail and a jib at the same time, get rid of it.

Your decision

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Old 09-08-2009, 00:08   #3
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I think you need to first ask yourself; “What is the primary purpose of my staysail?”

When I first bought my boat, the staysail boom was off and it was nice to use that foredeck space at anchor for sunbathing and folding chairs.

However, for me, the staysail is to hank on a small self tending heavy weather sail, so as not to stress my 3 other large furling sails, (Headsail and both Fwd and Aft Mains).

It also gives me better helm balance, if the weather turns nasty.

Rarely use it with the headsail, as you can see from the first photo and if I do….. as you can see on the 2nd photo…. it doesn’t contribute much. ( I don’t race)

I have 2 staysail sizes and normally leave the larger size bent on and packaged nicely on the boom.

For me it is simply a storm sail and the self tending boom helps me control it in heavy seas. So the boom is back on now.
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Old 09-08-2009, 00:25   #4
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Hmm…*I thought a schooner has a foremast and a mainmast.

Skipmac: I'd leave it on until it had a chance to show me what it can do when the breeze pipes up. A self-tacking foresail sounds nice when my hands are full w/ other things. Once you see that boom do its job, you'll have something to put in the scales to decide with.
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:04   #5
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the staysail provides increased lift in conjunction with the jib/yankee and main not so much with a genoa or aft of beam by going without a boom it allows a slightly larger(overlapping staysail) giving more power. I usually tack with the staysail allowing the jib to backwind and then popping the jib through easily done with one or two. with a boom it is easier(selftending) without you have a clear foredeck and a little better sail control
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:09   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starbuck View Post
Hmm…*I thought a schooner has a foremast and a mainmast.
I imagine like in many other nautical terms there is more than one accepted term and it depends on how you happen to learn to use it.

For me , having sailed on a few tall ships including a 2 mast Brigantine we did use the term Foremast and Main mast on that one, since the Main was a Fore and Aft rig and the Foremast was square rigged, but the Main was slightly taller.

In a Fore and Aft rig the tallest mast is called the Main.

But if the Masts were all of equal height (as in 4,5, or 6 mast schooners) then the “Main”sail is just a description of that sail position on any given Mast.

That is why I got used to calling the main sails on my boat Fore and Aft.

(My apologies to any purists)
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:25   #7
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When we were building our W32 made a delivery of a Westsail with staysail booms. First thing I did afterwards was cancel the order for the boom on our boat. Worst contraption I've ever seen. First thing, they are exceedingly dangerous. Good thing my wife is a good seamstress to close the cut on my head. Unless you've got a Hoyt boom, the boom makes for a really crappy setting sail as soon as you crack off a bit. The boom kites and intoduces a bunch of twist in the sail. You have to vang the boom to get the twist out. That means it's no longer self tending.

It seemed like no matter what tack I was on, the boom was always in the way. For anchoring, forget it. The boom made working the manual windlass a pain and, once again, was in the way when I had to do something on the foredeck.

With the boom gone, was able to get a maximum sized staysail built with a little bit of overlap. More drive from the staysail. Sheeted to short tracks on the deck, the sail set very nicely whether cranked in tight on a beat or eased out on a reach. Nothing on the foredeck to bean you or get in the way when anchoring.

As far as tacking, no problem. Crank the self steering around to the new tack, Pull the staysail through in irons and roughly set it without needing a winch. Tack the jib as the bow comes through and the staysail begins to draw. Once the jib is set on the new tack, go back and fine tune the staysail if necessary.

By all means, lose the staysail boom. The boat will perform better and sail with fewer headaches, both literally and figuratively. We never regretted doing away with the boom and almost daily thanked the heavens that we didn't have it.

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Old 09-08-2009, 07:04   #8
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To clarify a bit, the staysail is roller furling. The gooseneck is pretty much directly under the tack of the staysail. There is also a track for the staysail sheet. The staysail is high cut (some call a Yankee but since, like Hud, I originally hail from the south tend to use other terminology )

Rigging includes:
1. furling line to the drum, lead to the cockpit.
2. line to pull the sail out (what the heck do you call these, unfurling line, setting line?) lead to the cockpit.
3. outhaul, rigged on the staysail boom.
4. sheet, from the end of the boom, to the track to the cockpit.
5. topping lift.

With this setup I guess the rig would be self tacking and self trimming.

Jib is also roller furling. Current jib is also a Yankee cut.

So based on my preconceptions and suggestions here my ideas for the rig are:

1. Set up the staysail sail w/o boom, remove the roller furling and make the stay moveable (Highfield lever?) for light air sailing.
2. Have two staysails, "regular" and storm. Use the regular for extra sail area in light air especially reaching, short tacking in a channel, but especially to balance the rig in heavy weather with reefed main and furled jib. Then use the storm jib if it really gets nasty.
3. Jib. Keep the Yankee and add a Genoa for better upwind performance in light to medium air.
4. Pick up a whisker pole for the jib or Genoa and/or drifter (which sets on the spinnaker halyard). for downwind.

So if I get rid of the staysail boom I can clean up the foredeck, get rid of some extra lines running about but still have a self tacking staysail with the track. Maybe not perfectly self trimming but I can deal with that.

So, thoughts on this plan?

Skip
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:21   #9
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That's kinda what I'm planning too. The spruce staysail boom is a deck sweeper and my staysail stay is already rigged with a Hayfield. I have the Genny but no Yankee yet, and plan to add pulleys to the end of my staysail track for better control i.e. better pointing. I've used the boom in several storms and if you're close to DDW it's very tough on the boat from all of the slamming back and forth in shifts. The staysail is loose footed so I think it'll work fine.
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Old 09-08-2009, 13:31   #10
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Somewhere here on the forum I saw a video of a self tacking boomless staysail. Anyone else remember where?
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Old 09-08-2009, 14:00   #11
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Don't know about the video but I did crew on a delivery many years back on a cutter that had a boomless, self tacking staysail. It was an older wood boat and instead of a track for the staysail there was a pipe mounted athwartships with the sheet attached to a ring that slid back and forth around the pipe when you tacked. Not exactly elegant but did the job.

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Old 09-08-2009, 15:22   #12
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I think it was a curved track system with a sliding block on a car that led to the clue and was sheeted to a block near the tack and then led aft to the cockpit to a winch.
It seem like a good system.
The boom on the foredeck is a real killer if you happen to accidentally jibe while you're up there. Had a friend come back pretty bloody having been caught in the forehead by the aft end of the jib boom. Ouch.
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Old 09-08-2009, 16:19   #13
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The problem with a track is that as soon as you want the sail out further than the track goes, you introduce power robbing twist into the sail. Even if the track goes completely from thwart to thwart, you'd still end up with reaching conditions where you'd lose the ability to maintain proper sail shape. Since most boats would have the track on the cabin top, the track just can't be all that wide and more points of sail where you'll be introducing twist.

Self tacking is 'nice' thing to have if you are going to be sailing in congested waters most of the time. Is really easy to tack just using the tiller. Unfortunately, you'll be stuck with an poorly shaped sail unless you go with a Hoyt boom. On a cruising boat, you don't do all that much tacking. We've gone as long as six days where we didn't touch a string.

As I said above, tacking a loose footed staysail isn't all that much of a problem even all by your lonesome as long as you have selfsteering or an autopilot.

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Old 09-08-2009, 18:27   #14
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We have had a club footed stay sail and a roller furling stay sail. Stay sails seem to get a lot of crap about them. They are not light air sails and most would say while they may look nice they don't add a whole lot.

I've found they can add a bit on close work. They come into their won when you can't reef the head sail. In gale plus conditions the staysail can be the only sail at times. A good friend did a late Atlantic crossing Halifax to Azores and when things got bad he went to sleep and flew the club foot ed stay sail on a 33 ft boat.

Having had a the club footed and the roller furling staysail on a track, I will say the roller furling with the track has more adjustment. In a tack you deal with it last in any case. In serious wind I have flown no head sail with a reefed stay sail and a double reefed main. The stay sail as the only head sail is when they really earn their keep.

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The problem with a track is that as soon as you want the sail out further than the track goes, you introduce power robbing twist into the sail.
When you lose a little performance with a stay sail the easier handling may be the feature you actually care about. Self tending sails won't do everything and it's in realistic to expect it. What they offer is easier handling at a time when perform ace is not the key issue.

Yes, we can go on and on about what those small worthless little sails do. On a close reach they look pretty in the pictures yet add maybe a 1/3 of a knot. I'll still take it when I can get it but it's not the whole game. Flying a staysail on a non cutter rigged boat is not the same thing. I have flown it on two cutters with high Yankee's.
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Old 09-08-2009, 21:54   #15
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skipmac your plan is okay but to correct somethings you said I would point out that a traveler is still a traveler whether it is a pipe or a track. A pipe or rod traveler is just the old technology. You do have a self tending staysail but it is not self trimming because the tack is too close to the staysail stay. Thus the foot of the staysail is fixed. If the gooseneck was further aft, the clew as controlled by the end of the staysail boom would move toward or away from the tack with easing or trimming, and thus changing the curve of the sail.

Good luck

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