A loose footed staysail can be cut oversize. Really increases the synergy between the jib
, the staysail and main. Had my staysail cut with a slight overlap. Allowed me to stay with the working sails
till winds got quite light. Tried a Genoa
Staysail with a good overlap. Was a great sail in conjunction with the Yankee working from force two to five. Unfortunately, the sheet fouled the forward lower as the sail was eased. Required moving the sheet from inside to outside the wire so didn't take it with us to SoPac. The more area the better for the staysail and a boom automatically limits you to quite a bit less than 100%. Had our loose footed staysail set up with reef points. Was easy to reef in moderate conditions fwhen we reefed it for practice.. Fortunately never had to do it in anger.
Having the staysail set on a short boom so you can get round it on the foredeck wastes sail area for the little advantage of self tending. Short tacking with the loose footed staysail was easy. The staysail is small enough that you can sheet it in while the boat is in irons with a tug on the sheet and then take care of the jib
as it comes through. Actually easier to tack than with a 135% genoa
on my current sloop
If you try and heave to with the typical staysail boomed boat you will have to go forward. Unless you haul the boom to windward, the boom will tack through as you come about. A loose footed sail can be hauled to windward from the cockpit or just not uncleated as you come about. anyway I can keep from going forward when the wind
is up is a major plus.
The loose footed staysail will require a short track and winch
on each side of the cabin
top. If you set it up right, you can also lead the mainsail
reefing lines back to the cockpit and use the staysail winches for reefing as well as the staysail. Love those rope clutches
. I've set up a double line reefiing system run to the cockpit. Really nice to reef while protected by the dodger
. Can reef the main in a minute without having to go forward and ride a bucking main boom. It's so easy I'll do it just for the fun of it.
I don't think I'd go with roller furling
on the staysail. For storm conditions, would hoist a storm jib
on the stay. A reefed or furled staysail can do double duty as a storm jib but you risk blowing it out or up. The staysail is small enough that it's relatively easy to hand even when it's blowing stink. If I did go with roller furling
, would have a foam luff. Makes for a way better setting sail when its rolled in to reef.
Unless you have a Hoyt boom, the staysail boom will kite as soon as you ease the sheet. Wonder what those who claim it doesn't are looking at. As the boom rises, the curvature in the leach increases making for a poorly setting sail. The sail will create more healing moment and less drive as the leech curls. You can vang the boom down or the clue with a traveler but that means you have to go forward. Worse, every time you adjust the sail, you've got to adjust the vang if you want an optimally setting sail.
Have sailed more than 10,000 miles with a loose footed staysail with never a problem. No way would I go back to a boomed staysail.