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The Staysail dilemma


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 We have an easily driven 45 ft ketch which continues to surprise me as to how little sail it needs to make miles. She's not tender but we can reef down to a scrap of sail and she still carries on with great  displacement type speeds for her length.

 This means we sail 90 % of the time with a #3 jib. Superb sail from one of the small lofts , this thing reefs really well and is heavy. It is literally a 5 to 50 knot sail.

 

Inside that is a removable inner forestay which we hank our staysail and storm sail on.

 We tend not use it because by the time we need it or want it  I'd prefer to not go forward and because we have such a good jib, we just reef that to a scrap, it flattens off and is , great.

 

But really we should have a storm staysail/ jib on a furler there.

 So the dilemma is this . Should that sail be on a traditional furler ( I'd buy another reefrite) or should that sail be on a modern exotic luff rope and be set flying ?. 'Flying 'meaning without being attached to a stay like a code zero.

 I was going to fit another furler and just get annoyed when I need to tack, but I was looking at a sundeer with the modern setup the other day . Giant advantage in being able to dump the whole thing on or below decks for tacking .

 Are the modern flying setups up to it? Any experience with them out there in crew.orgland.?

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I've no direct experience, but the modern race boats often run staysails on the modern stay-less systems. These tend to be downwind or reaching staysails though, not upwind. The cuts are deep ish, and aren't necessarily tacked to the centre line. Their purpose is to go faster with gennakers etc.

 

I think it depend on the purpose of your staysail. If you want it as a working sail, and to give extra  sail options (like mid-range wind to create extra slots etc) then a stay-less staysail is probably ideal.

 

If you want it for a storm sail, I'd say no. The risk of screw-ups, bad furls and the sail getting out of control at high wind speeds is still there. Ifhte primary purpsoe is a storm sail then the old removable forestay and hanks is the best / safest set up. The only drawback here is having the foresight to rig the stay and hank on the sail before things get too lively on the foredeck. 

 

Or as you say, you can rig a permanent stay and put the storm sail on a furler.

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Ive just replaced my furler with a selden code zero furler . It has a breaking strain of around 10 tons. I would be happy to use it for a storm furler.It unclips easily so can be put away complete 

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We do rig our inner and leave it on  if we're going to sea, it makes no real difference having it there cruising.

Depending on what might happen it'll have the heavy staysail or small storm jib rigged and ready. Still , not a fun job setting it  shorthanded in a seaway when there's a better and safer option.( which is why the furler in one shape or another will happen.)

 I have actually crewed on a boat rigged with a flying staysail but we never needed it, never used it. Noumea to Brisbane. It was this Dashew I saw recently that  made me start thinking of it.

 

 Another reason for a traditional furler is it'll reef , so we could go heavy staysail but keep area.

 And I could go to a #2 genoa if I have an easy staysail option.

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Ive just replaced my furler with a selden code zero furler . It has a breaking strain of around 10 tons. I would be happy to use it for a storm furler.It unclips easily so can be put away complete 

Might catch up at Easter perhaps.

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Ive just replaced my furler with a selden code zero furler . It has a breaking strain of around 10 tons. I would be happy to use it for a storm furler.It unclips easily so can be put away complete 

How is it at furling to windward in a reasonable breeze? Is it hard to get a good even furl and no baggy bits at the top?

 

I've got a very long J on my 37 ft yacht and have often toyed with installing a staysail. For the exact same reasons John b is talking about, having a working sail on a stay-less furler would be ideal.

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Twisty and I both come from classic boats and had  Wykham martin furlers on those.

 They are flying sails and systems just like  a modern zero type , except designed in the 1920's , made of bronze and  much less free running bearings. Jibs were wire luff and don't furl as evenly as the modern luff material. Quite small jibs as part of a cutter rig.

 

 Anyway, what I learnt there was that the best way to furl those less efficient units is to bear away , blanket the jib and furl it then.

I still do that on the 'modern'  most of the time , It means I can furl up 400 or 500 ft by hand without resorting to the winch. And you get a nice furl as opposed to one that is crunched   near the head and foot.

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For a storm jib my money would be on solid bullet proof old fashioned piston hanks. To set a storm jib "flying" would be to invite rips - the vibrations would be fierce enough with hanks.

 

If you have to use hanks, use the Wichard hook type hanks, rather than piston ones, I'd suggest. They open and close far more reliably when not used for months and months, which is typical for storm jibs. 

Note an offshore storm jib needs to be bright orange...

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We've used head sails with integrated 'wire' so to speak for decades problem free. Be even easier and better with todays technologies.

 

All you need is to have a way to tension it up nicely... like a halyard that runs to a winch. You'd want a flash halyard as well though.

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Twisty and I both come from classic boats and had  Wykham martin furlers on those.

 They are flying sails and systems just like  a modern zero type , except designed in the 1920's , made of bronze and  much less free running bearings. Jibs were wire luff and don't furl as evenly as the modern luff material. Quite small jibs as part of a cutter rig.

 

That sounds interesting, modern technology mimicking gear that was used 98 years ago...

I'd like to hear more about that.

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I have my solent jib set on a Selden top down furler from Norths.  Works well.  Also have a storm jib setup the same way.  Both sails fit the same furler.  We generally fit the storm jib for offshore work on the top down furler and leave it in place.  Only issue I have had is getting enough tension of the inner forestay, that's a work in progress.  

 

The good thing is they come down, you bag them and throw them downstairs out of the way and no issue for tacking when you are sailing around the harbour.  Also no UV damage.  

 

Bad thing is that it's expensive.  

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That sounds interesting, modern technology mimicking gear that was used 98 years ago...

I'd like to hear more about that.

I can't do pictures since Photobucket broke the internet ,Fish, but if you google Wykham Martin furling gear you'll see what it is.  Its the same as now functionally ( drum furler) but quite small, really heavy and its bronze.  Standard ball bearing races in them ,and the top swivel. The modern near frictionless gear is far superior to use.

 On our classic I ended up using the wykham martin drum and a modern torlon bearing top swivel and that really helped.

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I have my solent jib set on a Selden top down furler from Norths.  Works well.  Also have a storm jib setup the same way.  Both sails fit the same furler.  We generally fit the storm jib for offshore work on the top down furler and leave it in place.  Only issue I have had is getting enough tension of the inner forestay, that's a work in progress.  

 

The good thing is they come down, you bag them and throw them downstairs out of the way and no issue for tacking when you are sailing around the harbour.  Also no UV damage.  

 

Bad thing is that it's expensive.  

Thats food for thought , I don't know anything about top down furling.

 

 and the more I think about it the less I know. I thought top down furling was for gennaker ( or big zero)type sails set on the bow. I don't think I've heard of it being used as a solent jib inside another furler.

 

 So top down means a separate  high tensile luff rope running independent of the sail luff rope as I understand it.

 As opposed to a standard flying sail type furler with a drum attached directly to the sail and integral sail luff rope, and then a swivel at the top. halyard on a 2:1 and or winch for luff tension.

?

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