Wednesday, 2 February 2011

LTW Readers Q&A (50);

 A LTW-readers Question from way down-under.
"Where they have been sailing al the time" he said between clenched teeth, while rolling his eyes in envy.....

At my club on the Swan River here in beautiful Perth, I sail on two different boats on different days:
  1. a 25ft fractional rigged aluminium custom design sailing in a mixed fleet, and
  2. a Herreshoff 28, a 28ft full-keeled fractional rigged boat (designed in 1942 by L. Francis Herreshoff, the fifth of Nathanael Herreshoff's six children) which sails in class races.
Each boat has a single rod or wire forestay.

My club’s sailing instructions include the following clause:
Spinnakers shall not be used during Mid-Week races or Twilights. For the purpose of this rule a spinnaker is defined as any sail set forward of the mast not attached to the forestay at regular intervals or hoisted in a continuous groove device.
As changing headsails during a race can be a bit of a job with a single forestay, not to mention the loss of power whilst the change is being carried out, I had the idea of using a spare halyard (or the spinnaker halyard on heavy days when we’re too scared to fly a kite or in races designated as Jib & Main only) to hoist a light but strong line attached to the bow as a second temporary forestay to which another headsail could be hoisted, thus enabling the headsails to be quickly swapped if the need arose.

On the basis that the second headsail would be hanked-on to the temporary forestay (& therefore meet the “attached ... at regular intervals” requirement), the only relevant question I can think of is:

Would a halyard & extension thereof that is temporarily fastened to the bow (i.e. not forming part of the standing rigging of the boat) qualify as “the forestay”?

I’m not aware of anything (other than H28 class rules perhaps?) that says a boat can’t have two forestays, but I think the question that will be asked is whether running rigging can be used as a forestay.
I’d appreciate your thoughts or comments.

Col Delane

Let the wind take you to places
your imagination has not yet been.

Well Bruce, eeeeh sorry, Col,

There are a number of rules dealing with sails;
Rule 50.1; Changing Sails: No problem with your set up there;
Rule 50.4; Headsails; also no issue;
Rule 54; As long as you attach your line approximately to the boat's centreline, again no problemo.

I don't see any issue with using a line as a temporary forestay within the rules - unless something is written in the class-rules or the NOR about this.
These SI's prevent you from using a headsail without a forestay.

 Anybody else?

Slap, step back, raise knee, lower knee, step foreward, slap with great big Fish, step back, etc, etc.....
Oooh, sorry, that's English, isn't it?


  1. I agree with Jos that unless there is a prohibition in the NOR or SI or Class Rules, the 'mainstream' RRS don't prohibit what you propose. Double forestays used to be quite common on cruising boats.

    You may run into trouble if you have class rules that prohibit adjustable forestays.

    You may also have some engineering problems:

    1. the 'forestays' have to be far enough apart to allow the hanks on one to pass the hanks on the other;

    2. Unless you only use the 'temporary' forestay to hold light air sails, you are going to need to put as much tension on it as you have got on your 'main' forestay: you may need vectran or PBO, you will need to find a strong structural fitting to tack it down to, and you may have trouble with loads of that size and angle in your masthead sheave box.

  2. A while ago I crewed on Nancy, the famous 6m designed and raced by Olin Stephens. She had (probably still has) twin forestays. As I remember, there was a problem whichever way you worked it. If you hoisted the new sail on the windward stay, it blew against the old sail and was difficult to hoist.

    If the old sail was on the windward stay, the pressure on it pushed that stay sideways beyond the unloaded leeward stay, making the new sail difficult to hoist.

    I bet Olin had the technique but I didnt.


  3. The fall-back, dictionary definition of "forestay" would surely classify it as one member of the standing rigging.
    If your "light, strong line" were standing throughout the race, even while the original foresail is flying on the wire forestay, you would be okay. But not as you describe it.


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