|SJ23 Tech Tip F36, (Updated 2019-06-02) Bob Schimmel
While not a "go fast" gadget, a storm sail or a staysail set on a removable inner forestay can keep you going in rough weather by maintaining a more balanced sail plan with your reefed mainsail. Think of the sail plan as a small jib with a double reefed main centered over the hull. (IE: The center of effort over the center of resistance). Many sailors prefer a staysail over a deeply reefed roller furling jib since it results in less heel with more speed that is easier to manage in heavy weather. This is the way I intend to use it to save the lighter cloth of the furled jib. By the way, there is no pretext here to convert an SJ23 into a heavy air passage maker. This removable staysail is an alternative to a deep furled jib or a storm jib slipped over a furled jib. The staysail with double reefed main combo can go faster than a furled jib if you bear off a bit and can point higher. I'll test this to confirm if its true for an SJ23 as well.
STAYS on a SLOOP - By definition a Solent stay connects to the mast slightly below the backstay connection and to the deck just aft of the forestay. As such the mast requires no additional support. A staysail stay or inner forestay usually connects to the mast where the top of a double reefed mainsail sits and the tack connects to the deck quite a bit further aft than a Solent, so it parallels the forestay. The mast requires running backstays for support. Either stay is usually removable and can support a staysail or storm jib.
DEPLOY THE STAYSAIL - A staysail can be deployed easier and safer on the wider foredeck closer to the mast. Having the sheets permanently tied to the clew with a cow knot speeds up the job and prevents them from being lost overboard. This staysail has a high clew for visibility forward with the sheets having a fair lead to the same lead block position on the deck track as the 110% jib. How convenient is that? Although it should be hoisted in advance of worsening weather so you know where to position the deck blocks. I marked my deck tracks for this. I chose this calm day for exactly this reason. Its a good idea to use a red or day glow orange jib or at least attach (glue, sew) a triangle of coloured nylon to the head of the jib. Anything to improve visibility during lousy weather. This one is applied to a Dacron panel with sticky backed double rip stop nylon. The same stuff that is used for sail numbers, etc. The triangle has since been expanded. The tell tales are; starboard green high and port red low, separated vertically by about 3" to more easily determine port from starboard in difficult light conditions. The bottom tell tale is just visible from the helm for trimming the jib and steering.
STAYSAIL SPECS - This stay sail is 10 Oz Dacron with a wire luff. 40 ft2 - (luff 11' 1/2") (foot 6' 8") (leech 12'). I once sailed a close reach into 4' waves and felt quite comfortable with it. At the time it was hanked to the forestay and a double reefed main.
DESIGN IDEAS - When Panache had hanked jibs this sail was hanked to the forestay during really rough weather. Now that she has roller furling I developed the following technique around the storm jib and an extra deck fitting I had.
There are other ways a staysail can be rigged with a furled jib.
On a cutter the inner stay is usually
parallel to the forestay, especially if you want to fly the
staysail with a rolled out working jib. This one on Panache becomes
sort of parallel
when the wind blows. I haven't tried flying both
jibs yet because that is not the intention. Its surprisingly quick
and easy to roll up the jib and hoist the stay sail.
INSTALLED on REINFORCED DECK - A pad eye must be installed on the deck to attach
the staysail to. Since the deck was never
designed to hold this force it MUST be reinforced. To that end I installed a folding pad eye above the anchor locker bulkhead
and reinforced it below deck with aluminum angle through bolted to the
locker bulkhead. As you can see from the diagram at right and the photos below, I included the
teak bulkhead for strength.
Panache's anchor locker bulkhead is angled 200 forward, leaning to the bow. On later manufactured hulls equipped with the through deck anchor locker, the bulkhead leans aft about 50 to achieve a larger locker opening while retaining berth space.
If you want the pad eye further aft you could use one of the following ideas to reinforce the deck. I'd be interested to hear your version of a solution to this. Email me.
To prevent movement or corrosion use a liberal application of bedding compound behind any fitting installed on the mast.
NOTE - I have done significant research to explore the forces and requirements of this
installation. It needs to be well thought out and you should do some
research to confirm this for yourself. If you have experience with it I
would appreciate an email from you. Bob
(Food for Thought) - Another go fast gadget you could try is a
that goes from the spreaders to a deck pad eye, forward of the hatch. Equip the bottom end with a
6' long roller tube to cover an 8:1 block and tackle.
The free end of the line can be fed back to the cockpit. I installed one of these on my previous
masthead Venture 222 and it worked
wonders for flattening the mainsail. What makes this gadget work so well is that it takes
little effort to pull the middle of the mast forward to flatten the
NOTE - The underside of the deck MUST be reinforced to support the pull of the baby stay. In
addition, you MUST have a stopper knot on the line to limit the amount of
pull since there are lots of deck apes out there who don't know their own
strength. Under the rolling motion of the boat it is easy to over
tighten this. The stopper knot makes the operation idiot
proof, which is no reflection on the deck apes by the way!