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Old 06-07-2007, 23:39   #1
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Double headstay on a sloop w/o bowsprit?

While travelling last week I saw an interesting rig on a larger, older trimaran and wondered if it would work on my Brown/Marples Searunner 25 sloop...

The big tri had a transverse (to the boat's centerline) chainplate on the stem/bow (like my Searunner) with a width of about 5" and TWO stays from there to the masthead, where they attached to two points on the mast cap, one above the other.

The stays had a gap or slot of just a couple of inches, so you could only fly one job at a time, but it struck me that with a downhaul you could keep 2 jibs hanked on and not have to visit the foredeck to reduce from genoa to working jib. This is the one shortcoming of the sloop rig on the Searunner 25 - having to leave the cockpit to reduce sail (mine won't sail well at all without a jib).

Has anybody here seen or sailed a rig like this? Does it work?
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Old 07-07-2007, 00:35   #2
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Aloha md7A,
Yes, it was pretty common to have dual headstays so you could fly double gennies downwind and have easier headsail changes. Still quite of few of those rigs around.
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Old 07-07-2007, 10:53   #3
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MD7A,

It is possible that what you describe are not dual headstays (which are rigged side-by-side and are theoretically designed to share the rigging loads. But rather a Solent Stay. These are rigged to run from more or less paralel to the headstay a few inches inside. It is not rigged to carry rigging loads except in an emergency, but only to carry additional sails.

Typically they can be detached from the stem and moved out of the way of sails rigged on the "real" headstay. They are a great solution for a boat that is carrying a roller jib but also wants a way to fly a storm jib, drifter, reacher, etc without dropping the jib.

Because the attachment point on the mast is so high, adding runners is not required making a solent stay relatively easy to retrofit to a standard sloop.

If you google "solent stay" you'll find lots of examples.

Bill
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Old 07-07-2007, 18:50   #4
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dual head stays

My "half cat" has 2 headstays that run parallel to the mast head, about 5" apart with 2 halyards serving them. It was advisable to have the snap handles on the hanks alternate left and right with each increasing sail size so that they would not accidently release by making contact on the other stay. Would not be an issue if you ran foils. Worked well.
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Old 07-07-2007, 21:44   #5
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Minots Light!! Where have I seen that name before?
JohnL
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Old 07-07-2007, 23:23   #6
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Talking Double Headstay vs. Solent Stay

It's my understanding that dual headstays are close together and parallel; the solent stay originates at the masthead, but takes a steeper angle down to the deck, diverging from the headstay, to attach at a point well behind the stem: more or less where a staysail attachment would be fitted. No backstays are necessary, but the solent rig can be used effectively on fewer points of sail than can an ordinary (fore)stay sail.

Here's a picture of Jack Tyler's solent rig (the solent stay can be seen on the right, following the headstay but diverging from it on the way down):


The ability to size pictures would be great, guys…

Jack writes about the installation and use of this rig (one of many very useful articles on the site).

md7a, with a double headstay, reducing canvass would work much as you imagined, but if you douse the genoa in favor of a working jib, the breeze is freshening, and at some time someone is going to have to go forward to put that genny to bed. The downhaul won't tie it to the pulpit by itself.

You'd have to figure out whether you wanted to install separate tracks/cars for the second sail, or try to change the sheet attachment between clews in the middle of the sail change, adjust the cars for the shorter sail foot, and campaign on.
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:53   #7
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Minots Light

was the cover boat on the old book, "The Proper Yacht". It has been on the West coast for more than 25 years.Robert
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Old 08-07-2007, 13:28   #8
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"The Proper Yacht" by Arthur Beiser's cover is "Minots Light" - Steel - built in Germany by Abeking and Rasmussen and designed by John G. Alden. Only displaces 64,000 lbs?
What a beauty!!
Congratulations
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Old 08-07-2007, 13:37   #9
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Two parallel headstays were the rage on cruising boats for awhile in the '50s-'60s. Probably because of the fun and games constantly changing hanked on headsails before the advent of roller furling. The big complaint was interference between the two stays with a sail hanked on. If the stays weren't far enough apart the unused stay could catch the hanks, pull the pin and allow the sail to unhank itselfl. Even heard of hanks swapping stays in rare occurences. Because of the problems with proximity of the two wires, they soon fell out of favor.

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Old 08-07-2007, 14:10   #10
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Solent vs. Double head

The rig I saw was not a Solent stay, but an amateur's double headstay more like what SkiprJohn and Roblanford decribe.

However, the Solent Stay reference certainly turned up a wealth of info, including the following:
Double Forestay - SparTalk
Solent Stay on Whoosh - Jack Tyler

... and a very good article by Larry Pardey from the 11/12, 2000 issue of Good Old Boat on the advantages of a cutter rig (which isn't available online). Pardey's suggested math (Solent staysail foot >= main boom) won't work on my boat.

So far a double head or a Solent does sound like a viable and potentially cheaper alternative to roller reefing.

Any thoughts on that comparison - roller reefing vs. double headstay?
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Old 08-07-2007, 14:16   #11
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Interesting. The max separation I could achieve on a double headstay without modifications would be small - about 4-5". This is pretty close to the dimensions of my hanks (about 2.5").
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Old 08-07-2007, 15:10   #12
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Twin Forestays "Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat" by Daniel Spurr 2nd edition has a good explanation and diagram on page 214 of twin forestays (side by side). If you can find a copy in the library it might be worth looking at.
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