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Free Luff Tri Sail

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I have a situation where I need to move the tri sail luff track on the mast, doing so will involve adding yet more fastener holes which  I would prefer to avoid.

I have heard of a tri sail arrangement  where the luff is free standing using spectra as a luff rope. The sail is then hoisted on the main halyard and secured somehow at the foot.

Does anyone have experience with this or has seen one set up ?any advice appreciated, I will check with the local sail maker as well.



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I have seen Parrel Beads around the mast.

Of the very few trysails I have seen up, they hoist above the first spreaders, so I don't see how you'd attach the head, maybe you don't?

This is from the Ran Tan II Facebook page when they did a prestart driveby, no idea if this was their proper setup or they were just mocking it up... I really liked the idea but haven't investigated it any further.... 

I have also seen setups where the main halyard is attached to the goose neck and cranked on, then the trysail is hanked on to the halyard with soft hanks and hoisted using the topping lift. 

Both of these setups I have only seen for drive bys at the start of off shore races. Never used them in anger, and no idea how they would actually perform in reality. 


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Some good possibilities there thanks Carpe Diem, I will discuss these with the sailmaker.

BP sorry  I haven't explained the situation well but basically the track needs to be moved further away from the mainsail luff groove. The track extends from below the gooseneck almost to the second spreaders and is fixed with screws at 150 mm intervals hence re-positioning it involves  a lot of new holes, the mast height is 51 ft. We want to retrofit batten cars with external rollers but a test fit shows the rollers will foul tri sail track.



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3 hours ago, Frank said:

We want to retrofit batten cars with external rollers but a test fit shows the rollers will foul tri sail track.

Harken has trysail switch tracks.  Which, as the name suggests, switches two lower tracks onto one main mast track. 


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Have you spoken with a spar maker about this topic? 

Our 16.8m mast (Mast section is 124 x 204 x 4 mm) is very-very lightly built and has 5/16" fasteners every 10cm and it's been no problem in over three years of hard sailing up to 68 knot winds off-shore and many more years of costal sailing.  My gut tells me that If your fasteners are around 12mm or less... I would not worry about the extra holes at 15cm spacing. The mast track you are adding will increase the strength of the mast somewhat and it sounds like the extrusion has a built-in luff grove already stiffening the back.  

So it might be worth running the thought of extra holes by someone who actually knows and asking them about this.

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I agree 2flit, years ago I had experience  designing repairs for airframes and based on that I'm confident the mast would not be significantly weakened.

I measured up last night and the attaching screws are 4mm at 70mm spacing there is probably 80 to 100 to holes to drill and tap, so I'm more put off by the amount of work involved than any structural concerns. Also it wont do much for the cosmetics unless you're a colander :-)

The sailmaker was concerned that a free standing luff would move around too much and generate chafe on the stowed mainsail particularly if you a carried the rig for a day or more. I pulled the trysail (sic) out of its bag and unsurprisingly it presents as brand new, I'm sure it never been hoisted in anger. Matt of IT has been helpful and the plan is to remove the track and ensure

1. There is a 50% reef point in the main and 

2. If practical modify the trisail so it will fit in the main track and ensure it is cut so as to clear the stacked main.

Although the rig is well engineered I'm sure the sail would be far more secure in the main luff groove than on the tri sail track.


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