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Old 05-03-2016, 21:41   #1
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Twin parallel headstays

In the 70s I sailed a 32' ferrocement ketch 6000 offshore miles. We used twin headstays at bowsprit end for (1) downwind wing/wing and (2) keeping an alternate sized jib bagged for quick swapout before the ubiquitous Pacific line squalls. The staysail flew when possible. Question: I bought a 35' Baba on which I wish to replace the single headstay with side by side stays. I will remove the jib roller furling which I detest. My calculations indicate that the bowsprit will need some upgrade modifications followed by dynamic testing. Any ideas, has anyone run a Baba with twin headstays?
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Old 05-03-2016, 21:50   #2
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

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In the 70s I sailed a 32' ferrocement ketch 6000 offshore miles. We used twin headstays at bowsprit end for (1) downwind wing/wing and (2) keeping an alternate sized jib bagged for quick swapout before the ubiquitous Pacific line squalls. The staysail flew when possible. Question: I bought a 35' Baba on which I wish to replace the single headstay with side by side stays. I will remove the jib roller furling which I detest. My calculations indicate that the bowsprit will need some upgrade modifications followed by dynamic testing. Any ideas, has anyone run a Baba with twin headstays?
There was a thread recently where I brought that up too, interestingly enough. We both must be of the same vintage. I remember those twin headstays too and I thought they worked well. Most folks eschew hank-ons now, but I still prefer them too. Now if I could just remember which thread it was... we were discussing the pros/cons of roller furling and hank-ons...
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Old 05-03-2016, 21:56   #3
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

OK here are two, though there maybe others too:
Hank On or Furling Head Sails

Twin headstays
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Old 05-03-2016, 22:14   #4
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

If I was preparing for an ocean crossing I would take the furler off, install twin forestays and use hank on sails.
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Old 06-03-2016, 00:59   #5
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

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If I was preparing for an ocean crossing I would take the furler off, install twin forestays and use hank on sails.

We've got twin head stays at the stem head for stay sails but only a single jib on the sprit. All hanked on sails. No furler. Love our system.


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Old 06-03-2016, 04:32   #6
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

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If I was preparing for an ocean crossing I would take the furler off, install twin forestays and use hank on sails.
Perhaps when you were preparing for your second ocean crossing, you'd be refitting your furler so that you could stay safely esconced in the cockpit, rather than be heading up the side-deck during dark and squally night's when you're 1000 miles from land?
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Old 06-03-2016, 14:08   #7
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

They were a brief fad in the '60s. Side by side stays have problems with the loaded stay sagging into the unloaded one on anything but DDW. The sagging can unhook hanks or worse, have a hank jump from one stay to the other.

If you want to go with two stays do them one in front of the other. Kind of a permanent solent rig.
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Old 06-03-2016, 14:29   #8
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

These days a solent rig makes the most sense, INMO it makes a great downwind rig if you like forward twins and offers good options on all other points of sail without running backstays
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Old 06-03-2016, 15:54   #9
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
If you want to go with two stays do them one in front of the other. Kind of a permanent solent rig.

+1.

This is our setup, plus the staysail stay, and it gives you so many options. (More options than we actually have sails for.). Stays separated by nearly 12 inches along their entire length so the loaded stay never comes close to the unloaded stay.


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Old 06-03-2016, 18:26   #10
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

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+1.

This is our setup, plus the staysail stay, and it gives you so many options. (More options than we actually have sails for.). Stays separated by nearly 12 inches along their entire length so the loaded stay never comes close to the unloaded stay.


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Ours are about 12" apart but they are on either side of the stemhead (wood boat, wide stem) and it works great. Sort of strange looking in that the boomed staysail is off on the port side a bit but all's good otherwise. You can see them on each side of the stemhead in the pic below.

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Old 07-03-2016, 18:27   #11
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

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Originally Posted by bobnlesley View Post
Perhaps when you were preparing for your second ocean crossing, you'd be refitting your furler so that you could stay safely esconced in the cockpit, rather than be heading up the side-deck during dark and squally night's when you're 1000 miles from land?
Perhaps it's an age related thing (60+), but truer words were never spoken
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Old 07-03-2016, 19:20   #12
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

I'm curious as to what the appeal might be for having twin headstays instead of going with a Solent Stay as your #2?
Especially as, if it's light, I'd probably be more inclined to throw up one of the following; a kite, a reacher or drifter with a built in luff wire/tape, a reacher or drifter set on the Solent Stay

Particularly when you consider that from a VMG perspective, DDW is slow (well, in under 25kts TWS). Not to mention you roll a lot more than when you're reaching. And reaching also boosts the AWS, further stabilizing things.

FYI, here's a couple of resources on Solent Stays. Removable Cutter Stay vs Solent Stay
Adding a Solent Stay - Practical Sailor Print Edition Article
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Old 07-03-2016, 20:19   #13
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

We just happen to have twin stays because it allows the bowsprit to ship inboard to have them either side of the stem head.

A benefit is you CAN use them as a fairly robust self steer system going downwind if say your wind steerer is broke, autopilot on the fritz, etc.

As a schooner we have plenty of sail combos and haven't taken advantage of the twin stays for anything other than redundancy in the rig.


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Old 08-03-2016, 02:32   #14
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

My father's boat had twin forestays; what a PITA. Impossible to get any worthwhile tension, hanks kept on getting hooked up, etc. The system got junked after a couple of seasons.

One of the best things about having a good furling system is the boat always has just the right amount of sail up. I've done my time with separate headsails and the debate when you've just changed sails and the wind alters. 'Dammn, change back again? No wait and see' Work of a moment with a furler. Lots of squalls on tradewind passages ...

Use the money you are going to spend on changing to twin forestays on a good furler, matched to a new sail.
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Old 08-03-2016, 04:01   #15
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Re: Twin parallel headstays

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One of the best things about having a good furling system is the boat always has just the right amount of sail up.
Ah yes, but what about sail shape? A furled foresail is often a really horrid shape. I made that mistake trying to beat home one night with a partially furled headsail. Took forever, when really I should have bitten the bullet and put up the right sail. I would have been home hours earlier.


That being said, we have a furler on the foresail, and plan to put one on the staysail. But I do think it is worth considering the compromise a partially furled headsail presents. The new sail has those little foam inserts to make the sail furl to a better shape, have not yet had a chance to asses their effectiveness.
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