A Staysail for Racing

Ask Sail: I own a 1973 C&C 30. It came with a staysail, which I have never flown. We typically use a mainsail, jib and spinnaker. We race frequently, and I am wondering if the boat would be faster with the staysail on.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
asksail_staysail

Lawrie Yearsley of St. Paul, Minnesota asks:

I own a 1973 C&C 30. It came with a staysail, which I have never flown. We typically use a mainsail, jib and spinnaker. We race frequently, and I am wondering if the boat would be faster with the staysail on. The sail looks pretty old and grungy, but is usable, and I have noticed them being flown on the large Volvo 70s. Is there any advantage to me using one on my boat? 

Win Fowler Replies:

WinFowler

There are many flavors of staysail, and probably the most useful ones for increasing speed every now and then are those you see on the Volvo 70s you mention—lightweight sails with a full hoist, high clew and vertical leech. These work best at apparent wind angles close to a beam reach. On a broad reach or run, they are mostly eclipsed by the mainsail, and on a tight reach there is not much room for them in the slot between a spinnaker and mainsail. A planing boat like a V70 is more likely to sail in the staysail’s apparent wind range than a boat like yours, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never find it useful. The ideal place to tack the sail is 60 to 70 percent of the distance from the mast to the spinnaker tack. 

Have a question you'd like to ask our experts? Email us at sailmail@sailmagazine.com!

Related

yandy-600x

Eight Bells: Olaf Harken 1939-2019

Olaf Harken, who along with his brother, Peter, created the now legendary sailing hardware company Harken in Pewaukee Wisconsin, has died. He was 80-years-old and is survived by his wife of 47 years, Ruth, three daughters, four granddaughters and one grandson. When Olaf and ...read more

Safe-and-Sound-Pelican-RUCK_CASE_PROPS_R20-614

Gear: RUCK Personal Utility Case

Safe and Sound An age-old problem for small-boat sailors has been taking care of their wallets, keys and other valuables while, say, tooling around the harbor, a problem that has only become all the more pressing in this age of cell phones and other digital products. Now, ...read more

Culebrita-Anchorage

Chartering: The Spanish Virgin Islands

The Spanish Virgin Islands are really a part of the U.S. along with Puerto Rico, and that means you can travel there without a passport or even a special international phone plan. You do, however, need to clear into the islands if you are arriving from the USVI or BVI, which are ...read more

CONNECTING-SHROUD-2048

Experience: Wild Ride

My Hartley 38, Moet, is pounding into massive Pacific Ocean seas. One week of continuous storm conditions has taken me 700 miles south of Fiji, heading for New Zealand. Every few seconds the bow lifts out of the water and hangs in midair for a moment while I tense my muscles, ...read more

01-LEAD-nSterling-ProCombi-S-2

Know-how: Inverter, Charger Combos Offshore

With solid-state inverters and domestic AC devices becoming increasingly efficient, it only makes sense for many sailors to install the necessary 120V AC power for the many appliances now finding their way onboard: including washing machines, TVs, microwave, laptops, chargers ...read more

IMG_5308

Chartering in the British Virgin Islands

Not for nothing are the BVI known as the “nursery slopes” of sailing charters. There simply is no better place to ease yourself into a first-time sailing vacation; for that matter, such is the appeal of these islands that many charterers return year after year. The islands ...read more