Ask Sail: Speed with a Staysail

I own a 1973 C&C 30 sloop that came with a staysail setup. We race the boat frequently, and it’s surprisingly competitive for its age using just the jib, spinnaker and mainsail...
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Q:Lawrie Yearsley, White Bear Lake, MN

I own a 1973 C&C 30 sloop that came with a staysail setup. We race the boat frequently, and it’s surprisingly competitive for its age using just the jib, spinnaker and mainsail. I was wondering if it would help on any point of sail to use the staysail. I see quite a few large boats using them, like the Volvo Ocean 70s.
Win Fowler Replies

Fowler-head_0

Whether a staysail can help you depends entirely on what the staysail is. A full hoist, high-clew sail with a vertical leech (70 percent or so LP, i.e., the length from the luff to the clew) can sometimes help under spinnaker on a beam or broad reach, and can be quite useful as a wind seeker when there is too little wind to fill the genoa. Bear in mind, though, that flying the staysail with a spinnaker should only be attempted on a relatively long leg. Otherwise, you may lose more distance setting and dousing it than you gain from flying it.

Do you have a question for our experts? Submit it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Related

CCA-story-2048x

Safety Culture Starts with the Skipper

Sailing might not be the first pastime that comes to mind when you think of extreme sports, but that’s not to say risks don’t abound. The Cruising Club of America tackles many of them head-on in their newly released guide for skippers, Creating a Culture of Safety: The Skipper’s ...read more

GMR19_F53_0539

Boat Review: Beneteau First Yacht 53

Luxury performance-cruising isn’t entirely new. You can go fast and still be comfortable. You can even race if you make the right tradeoffs—or so says Groupe Beneteau, which recently launched its First Yacht 53, in the process also reinventing the company’s “First” brand. ...read more

BirdonBoard

Cruising: Birds of a Feather

One of the neatest things about sailing offshore is the other lifeforms we encounter. We smile when we see flying fish skimming over the surface of the sea. We cheer when dolphins leap and dance in our bow waves. We are duly reverent when mighty whales sound and spout, and ...read more

pirate-marlin-logo

Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament

This Spring has felt a bit like a slow day of fishing but it’s almost time to time to Bait…and Switch. The Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournaments offer something for every member of your crew. Exceptional fishing, fun times with family, old friends and new. Our run is short, our ...read more

Tusk.00_00_16_21.Still001

Tusk by Spyderco

Spyderco's Tusk knife combines a blade and marlinspike to create a multitool perfect for marine use. Made with corrosion resistant materials like titanium and LC200N steel, a nitrogen alloyed steel, and Spyderco-exclusive locking mechanisms, this knife is one of the toughest ...read more

IY11.98_fTaccola©DJI_0200

Italia 11.98 Performance-cruiser

This past winter, SAIL principal editor, Adam Cort, check out the new Italia Yachts’ new 11.98 performance-cruiser at the boot Dusseldorf show in German, and says he can attest to the fact it’s a boat more than worthy of the attention of North American sailors. Available in ...read more

01-LEAD-2017_IDALEWIS_0219

Racing: Doublehanded

I was born in 1955, and although I was a tad young to actually follow the first Observer Single-Handed Transatlantic Race, I grew up in the age of the pioneers of solo offshore sailing—Francis Chichester, Robin Knox-Johnson, Alec Rose, all Knighted for their singlehanded ...read more

newport-400c-updated

Spectra Watermakers

The world's quietest and most energy-efficient watermakers. Our product line ranges from hand operated desalinators that can make 6 gallons a day to our largest system that produces 20,000 gallons of fresh, potable water per day. Spectra Watermakers has the complete package: ...read more