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Old 09-02-2008, 03:46   #1
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Storm Staysail - Silly Idea?

Please tell me if this is a silly way of adding a storm staysail to the sail wardrobe. The basic details are 31 ft LOA masthead sloop with single spreaders and single forestay. Existing sails are main (2 reefs), 130% roller reefing genny, symetrical spinnaker and storm trisail (on seperate track). Rather than having storm staysail made to suit the roller reefing foil (thus requiring the removal of the genny before hoisting it) or fitting a short inner forestay from the spreader band to a new hardpoint on the foredeck I am thinking a storm staysail with a one piece spectra bolt rope / haliyard combination (of suitable size) and set it from the forestay stemhead fitting (tack) to a block at the spreader band (head). Use the jib haliyard winch to tension it up really hard and hey pesto, storm staysail is hoisted using it's sprectra boltrope as the stay. Please tell me how silly (or otherwise) this idea is. I am not a sailmaker - this might be obvious
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:03   #2
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We're doing something similar. You don't want to consider taking your roller reefing genny down when it starts to blow so we're fitting a temporary inner forestay from a deck hardpoint up to the spreaders. You can then hank on a storm sail or unclip the inner stay and clip it out of the way for lesser weather....... unless of course you fancy being a cutter.
Chris.
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:19   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt Hook View Post
We're doing something similar.
Are you planning to do something similar or have you already got this setup working, if the later, how well does it work.

I concerned the triangle will be to small if I fix the tack at a hardpoint somewhere between the mast step and stemhead but I am also concerned the luff will be to "horizontal" if I fix the tack at the stemhead (with head at the spreader band). Also wondering if using spectra as a combination boltrope/stay/haliyard will really work. If it will work, it will save having a temporary SS stay to deal with. Haven't had the courage to ask the sailmaker yet - might get laughed out of the loft
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:45   #4
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We haven't fitted ours yet but I've been looking at it for some time and done some research. I'll be fitting it in a couple of weeks time. A forestay from the spreaders will be supported by the rear inner shrouds and if you bring it down parallel to your existing forestay it'll look right and carry enough sail for a storm sail. If anything you'll want too little sail area rather than too much. You'll need to invest in a good tensioner so it doesn't sag.
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Old 09-02-2008, 08:12   #5
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What about the Gale Sail from ATN? ATN Home Page -- sailing, sail, storm, gale, tacker, spinnaker, sleeve, stasher, flasher, douser, chute scoop, sally, case, furler, roller, reefed sail, single handed, short handed, cruising, transatlantic, round the world, Jules Verne Trophy, BOC, w
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Old 09-02-2008, 08:33   #6
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That is similar to my setup only I am using a wire bolt rope that mounts to a ubolt in the foredeck. I believe you need to keep your staysail stay parallel to the headstay.
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:41   #7
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Headsails built with an integral stay in the luff are nothing new, so no sailmaker should laugh you out of the loft. Usually these sails are built for either end of the spectrum: heavy weather jibs (with wire luff), drifter, spin staysail, etc. As for a spectra luff storm staysail, I haven’t designed or built a sail in 14 year; but in concept it will work if properly done.
First, this is at least as much a rigger’s question as a sailmaker’s question. You can’t just stick a pad eye in the middle of the deck for the tack or add a new sheave/halyard in the middle of the mast and expect it to naturally take the loads generated by a storm staysail. This may be obvious, but…
Deck component: Don’t think you can use the existing furler tack because it wouldn’t be a fair lead with a furled sail up. Putting 2nd tack back from stem head makes sense, but of course it needs to be engineered to handle the loads.
Hoist component: If you use an existing halyard, be sure it, along with the shackle, sheave/pin, etc., are rated for this application. Sailing from San Francisco to Seattle last summer, I popped the halyard with my heavy weather staysail up in a moderate gale with big seas. It was after dark and made for a “fun” sail handling event. Totem was new to me and it turns out the top of the furler foil was installed wrong and so chafed the wire halyard.
Also, the force on the mast exerted by a stay increases significantly as the stay is further from the top of the mast. Within a certain distance from the headstay/mast intersection, the backstay offsets this load. Further down, such as a cutter rig inner headstay a lot of forward pulling force exists; and must be countered by something – extra thick mast wall, running backstays, that sort of thing. This inner stay does not need to be parallel to the headstay; but this inner stay system, even as a temporary system, must work in conjunction the primary mast support “system”.
Sail component: I’ve made this sort of sail with a wire luff; though have never heard one way or the other of how this approach worked in extreme conditions. The wire luff makes the sail challenging to fold without over bending it; and corrosion is always a consideration. Spectra is plenty strong. I see 2 tricks to building this sail right: 1) the Spectra must be pre-stretched; otherwise the stretch will come out under load, possibly over-loading the sail luff. 2) at the head, the spectra must be spliced with an eye and then appropriately strapped to the sail. At the other end, the spectra eye and tack should NOT be fixed, but rather allow the tack to “float”. The spectra eye at the bottom attaches to the deck. The staysail tack will be a few feet above that. Then have a strap or rope attached to the tack and setup as a purchase between the spectra eye and tack so that you can adjust the staysail luff tension independent of the spectra stay. I’m not suggesting you go forward in a storm to do this; rather pre-adjust it on a nice 20 kt day; and you’ll have the ability to make adjustments later as the spectra and sail change.
Other options: There are 2 other ways to achieve the same goal. 1) install a removable inner forestay. This can be wire or spectra. It is fixed at the top and attached to a tensioning devise and shackle at the bottom (I think CS Johnson makes one Home - C.S. Johnson). The benefits include: being removable so it’s out of the way and doesn’t interfere with tacking headsail, also makes it a usable stay for a drifter or reaching staysail. 2) Use Gale Sail, as mentioned by Capt Hook. I think it would work ok and may be less expensive (not sure). I wonder about chafe on the furled sail and how easy it is to prep for hoist in the middle of the night when it blowing and waved coming over the bow.
This is already way too long, but FYI, on a similar issue here’s what I’m doing.
I am tweaking my rig/sail configurations (new standing and running rigging). Totem had a furler on the headstay and a furler on an inner headstay. Headsails consist of a 100% high clew jib (yankee) and an “all purpose” staysail. If only winds were always 20 kts, this would be perfect. I like the idea of a cutter rig, but think that many boats today are more modified sloop then true cutter. Maybe it’s semantics? As a sloop I want an overlapping headsail so that my boat sails the way it was intended in wind up to 15 or 20 kts. Tacking a 135% genoa around a fixed inner headstay isn’t good for anything –is it ever a clean tack? Chafe. Fouled sheets.
So I have a furler on the headstay and am adding a removable inner stay; fixed at the top, tensioned / removable from the bottom. Likely it’ll be made from spectra and have sails with soft hanks. Also, I will locate it much closer to the headstay, as a solent stay, rather than as a “cutter” type setup. It offers more versatility in headsails and doesn’t require running backstays. I also have the idea for passages, but need to test. Have the staysail attached and ready on the solent stay that is stowed back by the mast. To hoist: unlash, unclip the solent stay shackle from its stowed position, pull the it forward and clip onto the solent stay tack, tension, and hoist (halyard, luff hardware, and sheets are already attached).
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:59   #8
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svTOTEM, WOW! Thanks so much for that information and insight.
I have a question. My boat has a furling genoa jib. The boat came with a large lightweight drifter with hank-ons. Is there an easy way I could fly this sail without removing the genny from the furler foil ?

Paul
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Old 09-02-2008, 13:48   #9
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The Solent stay can solve the running backstay problem (not required) and if the stay is removable for use in lighter airs you will have the best of both worlds.
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Old 09-02-2008, 20:08   #10
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Morgan Paul - if it's a true drifter (made from spinnaker cloth, very very full, for use up to about 4kts of wind) then I'd consider making it a free floating luff. Set it up exactly as I described the staysail with spectra luff; though usng 1/8" kevlar or spectra (keep the take "floating" as described). This setup allows you easily adjust the fullness of the sail by easing/tightening the luff tension.

If the sail is made a little heavier then that, as in a light #1, the approach above may still work if you don't intend to try and point upwind with it. Doing so increases the lateral forces and with a free floating luff will tend to pull you sideways. Another approach is to use webbing hanks. These can be made so that they slide over the furled sail and keep the luff loosely attached to the headstay. No doubt they will catch on the edges of the furled sail when hoisting, but I think still less work then dropping the furled sail.

I hope makes sense. I just walked in the door from another 10 hours put into working on Totem. I'm beat! Let me know if you want to do the free floating approach. I can explain in more detail so you can do it yourself.
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Old 09-02-2008, 20:21   #11
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There is no valid reason to make the inner stay parallel to the headstay, and if you do you will not be able to optimize or maximize the stays'l design. Solent stays give superior performance and do not require running backs.

I first had a stays'l with the stay built in to the luff, as others have mentioned already. I'm telling you that when you are in 40-plus knots of wind you will have trouble on your hands when raising or lowering the sail and will wish that you had a stay in place. In addition, with a properly tensioned inner stay and properly tensioned sail luff you will get a better trim than without the stay.

Do not count on getting as much sail area to occupy the inner stay triangle because if the head of the stays'l is too high the sailmaker cannot make the head attachment "bullet-proof" due to the small angle that the geometry would force on the design.

To get around that problem I had my stays'l made with a ROACH which resulted in a bullet-proof design. In addition I had it made with battens, much like a main, not full battens or else you can't bag it in a short space. With the battens, like a main, the stays'l will start pulling with only 12kts of apparent wind and can be flattened to depower in over 40 kts...quite a dynamic wind speed range for any sail. Of course you can reef the stays'l and get even more wind range.
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Old 09-02-2008, 22:37   #12
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Thanks

OK, this is getting interesting. First let me thank everyone for the time taken to reply especially with such detail.
The Gale Sail looks interesting but not having seen one in action, I wonder about sitting up at the bow trying to attach it over the furled headsail and hoist it in the dark, 40 kts, breaking crests, cold - well I am sure you all know the feeling.
I am only talking about a storm staysail, not staysails in general so some of the design parameters of a working staysail can be ignored while the design parameters of a storm jib must be strictly observed. I am trying to make the design simple, as well as the deployment simple however sometimes the design must be complex to ensure simple deployment (and use); if so, so be it.
I was planing to use the spreader band as the termination of the stay because I have a suitable lug there already (i.e. strong) and the forward vector of the load should be handled by the existing aft lower shrouds (as well as a the aft load of the trisail which in most cases will already be set under the conditions I envisage).
I can engineer the foredeck hard point if I have to use one. Physically the stemhead fitting would be strong enough (of course,) and I should get a fair lead as the roller drum is some 18 / 20 inches above the stemhead (why - I will explain another day ). I wanted to keep wire out of the luff if possible (due - as you mention - stowage, corrosion etc) so I am looking at spectra.
When you say pre-stretched, I am assuming you are refering to the "creep" or longitudial deformation aspects of spectra rather than actual stretch or elasticity. May just be sematics, I think I know what you mean.
As to the floating tack, I understand you to mean that I can adjust the tension of the luff compared to tension of the "intergral" spectra stay as the compoments of the sail luff / stay system age differently and not (as you say) be racing up to the foredeck to adjust it during the "not nice" conditions.

Back to the question of attaching the the tack to the stemhead, the loads on the rigging (and sail) are sorted out, the hoisting and setting of the sail is sorted out (see below); but what about the performace of the storm staysail? What will happen to it's force vetcor's with a "more horizontal" luff than normal. With the wind aft the beam, I don't see a problem but on the beam and forward of it, I am thinking the "leading edge" of the aerodyamic shape will be a combination of it's luff and foot. The centre of effort (lift) will be a fair way back in the sail and also its area of lift will be quite small (compared to a similar sized sail with a more vertical luff). But I am speculating here, I have no working knowledge of these aspects.

I would like to avoid a temporary stay and its associated tensioning device if possible (due to KISS) and I don't believe in trying to make a sloop into a pretend cutter. I am sure the designer (Van DeStat) got it right and I shouldn't mess with that aspect of the rig design. I am trying to make deployment and use of a stormstaysail as easy, simple and foolproof as possible and so am looking a bit outside the box. Normally when I do that, I end up finding the box was alreay there for a good reason - normally, not always.
As to hoisting said staysail, I am thinking it is flaked about its luff and stopped with suitable small stuff. I crawl forwards, fixing the sheets along the way, attach the tack / stay to either stemhead or other suitable hardpoint. Attach the dedicated haliyard to the head, crawl back to mast and hoist like mad hoping I can get enough tension using the headsail haliyard winch. If the stops haven't already broken, the tighting up the leeward sheet from the cockpit should do it. A quick check all round and go below and read the farming handbook .
In the past I have had a permanent inner forestay along with its attendant pro and cons. Perhaps Rick is on the mark when he suggests having the stay (even if temporary) already up before attempting to hoist the staysail.
If the stay is temporary (and especially if it is spectra), maybe it should be set up as a solent stay. I am assuming a solent stay is terminated somewhere higher than say 7/8's of the way up the mast but I was hoping to just use the existing fittings at the spreader band (1/2 way up the mast). When the blow is over, the sail is handed, the temporary stay (solent or otherwise) is removed and stowed and the forestay triangle is clear again for normal headsail operation.
Thanks again everyone for you time and thoughts!
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Old 09-02-2008, 23:51   #13
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The solent stay goes to the top and connects as close to the forestay fitting as possible without allowing it to affect the existing furler setup. The back stays then take the load from both stays. The only down side is if it is permanent you may have to partially furl thehead sail to allow it to pass between the 2 stays as they are very close at the head attachment. Furling reduces friction as the sail passes through and of course the top of the partially furled sail is much lower down the forestay where there is a wider gap.
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:23   #14
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Thanks svTOTEM and everyone here for the discussion.

Quote:
Let me know if you want to do the free floating approach. I can explain in more detail so you can do it yourself.
That would be very helpful to me. Good luck with Totem, I just looked at your image Totem Charging, That is one beautiful looking boat man !!

Thanks again,
Paul
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:41   #15
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I found this a useful link. It illustrates and explains what svTOTEM mentioned about the force on the mast by a stay.

Coates Marine, serving the needs of the small boatsman from the heart of Whitby, North Yorkshire
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