Please note: Paul Watson wrote an article for the Knowledge Base which summarized the recent discussion about Mizzens and Mizzen Staysails. It's located at November 1, 2001.


Date: Thu May 13, 1999 8:21 am

After rigging a fwd halyard on the mizzen, and trying some dinghy sails successfully, I have procured a 1.5 oz nylon (Challenge Ripstop) staysail for less than $250 from Newsails, actually made in Taiwan by an Australian firm... It is somewhat narrower than the equilateral triangle I have seen on pictures, but I'll try it next week and report.

Date: Thursday, May 13, 1999 12:29 PM

We have had a mizzen staysail since we purchsed our Seawind in 1980. In the right conditions it is a tremendous sail, with it and an asymetical Drifter we can just about outrun anything in our size range.

We feel that it gives us close to 1 knot in speed in winds under 12 knots.

Date: Thu May 13, 1999 6:13 pm

no special adaptions for staysail.. I have photo I will scan at home, but its really simple. It's hoisted on the Mizzen - the luff is cleated to the the base of the mast, actually we just run a hitch around the base, the the foot goes to a block at the end of the mizzen boom. With the sheet running along the to mid-boom and cleated on the mizzen boom. To tack yoou have to lower it and switch to other side of the triadic. We generally only use when we have a long tack. It fills the triangle formed by the luff of the main to the end of the mizzen boom

Date: Wed Jun 21, 2000 3:45 pm

When I added a mizzen staysail (an easy great booster for winds aft of full & by), I also put in flying backstays on the mizzen mast, besides upgrading the stays to the Gilmer-specified 1/4" which Allied at cheapened down, thus ensuring 2 ways to hold the masts in any direction. I did all that and much more when upgrading for offshore.

Date: Mon Nov 6, 2000 6:24 pm

My mizzen staysail is a tiny little thing, far too small for the Seawind. I got it cheap, and just as an experiment to see if it was of use. My sense is that for some courses it's great, but a bigger version is a must. This past weekend I was sailing under spinnaker, mizzen staysail, and mizzen on a broad to beam reach.

I suspect a proper mizzen staysail should go from the base of the mainmast to the top of the mizzenmast (the luff), and have a foot that extends almost as far aft as the end of the mizzen boom - perhaps just a couple of feet less. Like a spinnaker it should be very full, and made of a very light nylon.

Date: Mon Nov 6, 2000 4:55 pm

I agree with the mizzen staysail position from mast foot to mizzen mast top and aft to close to the mizzen boom end once extended abeam. I have estimated my full staysail of 20x20x16 in that position.

However, in a downwind run, I have tacked the staysail to the foot of the leeward aft shroud, to reduce the masking effect on the poled Genoa. That worked well. It also worked with twin poled genoa and working jig (on flying forestay).

As to sail cloth/weight, I would advise against very thin nylon, say 0.5 oz, as in most mizzen staysails I have seen in Sail source or others. My small 20x16x10 staysail is 1.5 oz "challenge" nylon, very strong and light, and I would not go any lower. I would consider something heavier if I can find it for the larger sail.

Date: Tue Nov 7, 2000 2:00 pm

One other item that might be of value to you is that on our vessel we have a port and starboard cleat to attach the tack of the mizzen staysail to with a 3 foot piece of 1/2 inch line. The top of the sail goes to the top of the mizzen mast. A long line, maybe 15 foot of 1/2 inch line attaches the clew through a block on the end of the mizzen boom and runs forward to a cleat on the mizzen mast., Also with the heavier 6 oz mizzen staysail, in winds of 30 plus, the triatic stay began to swing around. I contacted the designer and found that the builder, Allied, did not follow the design, and instead reduced the size of the wire shrouds for the mizzen. We then changed the shrouds to what the designer wanted, 1/4 inch shrouds and larger tangs, and their was no longer a problem.

Date: Tue Nov 7, 2000 12:38 pm

Regards the size of a mizzen staysail, we use two, one 6 oz and one 3/4 oz. The 3/4 oz. has a luff of 23' 9" , the leach l7' 9", the foot 19'6". The 6 oz. luff 23'2", Leach 18'4" and foot 15'5".

Date: Tue Nov 7, 2000 7:11 pm

Thanks so much for the info, and for the sail sizes. To anyone on this list not using a mizzen staysail, go get one! They are a ton of fun.

Date: Wed Nov 8, 2000 9:14 am

Thank you very much, Don, for the measurements. Where do you tie the tack and the clew? I can barely fit 20-21' of luff between my mast foot and the mast top, and I have raised the mizzen mast by 14", for headroom and windvane room.

Do you tighten the luff, or do you keep it slack, like that of a drifter or cruising spinaker?

Date: Wed Nov 8, 2000 9:02 am

When I added the staysail gear, I also put in flying back stays which have worked well, and may help your vibration problem.

At the same time, I replaced the triatic, if that is the name of the fixed wire stay between the two mast heads, by a high tensile rope so that it may be readjusted (in high wind, the wire goes into a high frequency rotating vibration), and may be more importantly, untied or cut off if one of the

masts seems ready to come down, in order to save the other mast. Lots of savvy English cruisers commented on that aspect and decided to do the same on their ketch.

Also, my staysail halyard goes through an orientable sheave on top, and another one at the lower end, so that it may be wrapped around the port jibsheet winch, allowing my wife to hoist me back overboard, and saving the time to rig a special system to hoist an unconscious MOB.

Still looking for sail measurements and thickness on a full size mizzen staysail. Who has one and can comment on uses? We seem to all have a smaller type of our own device...

Date: Thu Nov 9, 2000 10:55 am

You're certainly a fountain of Seawind wisdom! The triatic idea is brilliant (I lost a mast at sea once on another boat... it does happen and it's no fun). Does it come down to deck level? If so, did you run it inside the mast to avoid it slapping and making noise?

I also like the idea of using the staysail halyard to retrieve MOBs.

Date: Thu Nov 9, 2000 5:20 am

The triatic rope is T100 and comes down to the same cleat as the staysail halyard (under it) on port side, above the hinged sheave that leads the halyard to the port primary winch (for MOB or sailboard pick up);

It remains outside like all my halyards (except for the working jib on the flying forestay), as I find it simpler to tie the halyards on each side as a group to a mizzen stay via a 2.5 ft line. I have enough noise from electric cables inside the mast!


Date: Tue Nov 14, 2000 10:50 am

We installed the Thomas Gillmer designed 1/4" shrouds, new larger tangs, and attachments aloft on the mizzen. Done as Gillmer originally designed the vessel, no problems have emerged since and we can use the mizzen staysail in 30 knots of wind without the wipping of the triatic stay


Date: Sun Nov 26, 2000 9:57 am

Regards the attachment points of the mizzen. We connect the tack at the base of the mast, aft side for close-hauled work OR on the breast cleat located just aft of the aft lower shroud on the cap rail when more off the wind. The clew line goes aft through a block on the end of the mizzen boom and forward to the mizzen mast to a cleat. The halyard goes to the top of the mizzen mast. The critical adjustments are the clew line and halyard. We generally leave the halyard attachment point one foot below the top of the mizzen. Then adjust the clew line as necessary. For our purposes, we only use this sail when off the wind 90 degrees or more

Date: Sun Nov 26, 2000 9:57 am
Regards the attachment points of the mizzen. We connect the tack at the base of the mast, aft side for close-hauled work OR on the breast cleat located just aft of the aft lower shroud on the cap rail when more off the wind. The clew line goes aft through a block on the end of the mizzen boom and forward to the mizzen mast to a cleat. The halyard goes to the top of the mizzen mast. The critical adjustments are the clew line and halyard. We generally leave the halyard attachment point one foot below the top of the mizzen. Then adjust the clew line as necessary. For our purposes, we only use this sail when off the wind 90 degrees or more

Date: Mon Dec 11, 2000 11:08 am

i did not have a turnbuckle, which made it easier to decide to go textile and adjustable from the cockpit. Although I have geared an orientable sheave below the cleat to be able to rappel to the port primary winch, that was not for the triatic, but for the mizzen staysail halyard which doubles as a MOB and Dinghie haul line. We might use a winch if necessary in a blow to readjust the triatic, but I have never done so nor found it necessary.

Date: Monday, December 11, 2000 12:15 PM

You mentioned your very interesting triatic - running high strength synthetic line instead of wire, and running it to a block on the mizzen and down to a cleat. Do you need a winch or tackle to set this up? I pulled my mizzen mast last week, a very simple operation using just a few friends and no crane. It's time to rerig with the proper 1/4 wire. I find the current wire triatic a pain, as adjusting anything on either mast messes it up, and climbing the mast to adjust that turnbuckle is a real pain!

Date: Tue Dec 12, 2000 12:32 pm

I too had problems with the triatic, until, that is, we changed the skinny mizzen shroud wires to 1/4". With that change all problems have gone away. Result: We did not have to change anything at the top!

Interesting enough, Mr. Gillmer had specified 1/4" wire, but the maufacturer knew better. Another example of how people try to be engineers when they are not. Gillmer had it right, and right from the beginning.

Date: Wed Dec 13, 2000 11:42 am

Could you explain how you comfigured the main mast and the mizzen mast attachments for the triatic stay? I like the idea of being able to perform any adjustments from the cockpit.

Date: Wed Dec 13, 2000 10:20 am

Any time for other modifs. On the triatic, I attached a heavy block at the mizzen mast top, and used T100 hi-tensile synthetic line, 3/8" diameter, tied to the main mt top above the topping lift attachment to avoid chafing, through the block and down on a cleat on the mizzen mast port side, which is big enough to accomodate the mizzen staysail halyard on top of the triatic. About a foot under the cleat is a hinged block that allows to rappel the tail of either the triatic or the halyard (the latter on premanently so it can be sued as a MOB lift in emergency) towards the primary winch, to help lifting a heavy MOB, or adjusting the triatic under heavy tension which I never found necessary.

Date: Sun Apr 15, 2001 8:52 pm

You said that you raised the mizzen mast. Was that actually the case or did you raise the mizzen boom.

I'm planning to raise the boom so there's about six feet of headroom. Then I'm going to install a bimini. Any comments?

Date: Mon Apr 16, 2001 6:55 pm

As just mentioned to Warren Chafe, I raised the whole mizzen mast so that I would not have to reduce an already small mizzen, and I feel the additional 14" I could get from a 10" extrusion (the last original piece extant, i believe) plus a four inch pedestal, has improved the look of the ketch.

It also gave me ample headroom for head and a windvane, without making it too hazardous to stow the mizzen in a blow. The reef is simply taken at the mast and along the boom. I have a new 10 oz mizzen which was the basic sail through the sabbaticruise, and have just added a reef to the old mizzen which has a few years of life left.

At the same time, I upgraded the stays to the original spec of 1/4" and changed all the chainplates as well (electropolishing them for better resistance to crevice corrosion).

Finally, I added two flying backstays to handle the new mizzen staysail, so that the masts are held securely at least twice in any direction (I set a flying forestay ahead), with a T-100 or spectra line between mast tops that can be tightened and cleated on the mizzen to avoid vibrations up there, and allows to release/cut that top stay (triatic?) in case of problem with either mast: Old English salts praised this feature highly in Horta and other places.

Date: Tue Jul 24, 2001 3:39 pm

Has any one had a similar problem with sagging mizzen. I am having problems finding an expert repairman to solve this problem.
Any comments on what is the best approach . Is the type of repair that oneself can carry out ....If someone out there has knowledge on this subject please reply. It will definitely be appreciated.

Date: Wed Jul 25, 2001 1:11 am

Could you be a bit more specific on the problem? As I was upgrading for offshore in 1997-98, which included raising the mizzen mast foot by 14", I noticed that the mizzen mast was moving back and forth on its new pedestal, with flexing of the cokpit sole. On further investigation below, we determined that the support under the sole comes from an arch with feet resting on the hull. The flexing was really occurring on the hull, because these arch feet were resting on relatively large unreinforced flat sections away from the longitudinal hald round stiffeners.

P>We reinforced these flat parts with fiberglass, all the way to the stiffeners, and stronger fairing mats at the junction with the arch feet. That seems to have resolved the problem and I have felt better about flexing of the hull. No cracks or undue motion have been noted during or after half of the Perfect Storm (65Kts wind and 12m waves) encountered in the Gulf Stream on the way to the Azores, July 1999.

Note I also replaced the wire between the mast tops by a spectra line which can be tightened at the mizzen foot or released in case of problem at either mast, to disconnect the two masts. That may have helped reduce the motions of the mizzen, but I don't think so.

Date: Wed Jul 25, 2001 9:06 am

If you are referring to the mizzen support bridge located under the cockpit, it is fairly easy to replace.

1. Remove the mast, easily done with the main halyard and a bit of help to swing it clear.

2. Using a saber saw cut a three inch section from the middle of the uprights.

3. Gently prize the upright away from the lightly fiberglassed contact with the hull. Use a hacksaw blade to cut away the residual glass as you prize the uprights.

4. Remove the mast step fitting.

5. Remove the cross-member.

6. Carefully grind or sand the hull mating surfaces

7. Fabricate and dry fit the new pieces from 2X4 and coat with West epoxy.

8. Install individual pieces in place using thickened West epoxy to set the lower mating surface of the legs. Some string and clamps can be used to hold the position while the epoxy sets.

9. Using 12 ounce glass fabric and West epoxy reinforce the two upper corners.

10. Reinstall the mast step and the mast.

Date: Thu Jul 26, 2001 5:13 am

The sagging has caused severe cracks in the cockpit sole jelcoat and from the thickness of the jelcoat I get the feeling that there was some work done on this before. I also notice ,on rainy days, some water collecting at the base of the mizzen making me suspect that it may have jeopardized the integrity of the balsa core sandwich. Does this mean that I need to cut out a partial area of the cockpit sole and rebuild it? I have assumed that along with the rest of the "support solutions" I have to address also the above mentioned area. Any more suggestions??...

Thank you for the responses...its nice to know there a support group out there.

Date: Thu Jul 26, 2001 11:53 am

You may find that the core is waterlogged. In this case the job gets bigger. Drill a couple of 1/8th inch sample holes to test the core. After drilling insert the short end of an Allen key into the core material to determine its water content. If it is soaked there are a few options and must be determined by the size of the soaked area.

Date: Thu Jul 26, 2001 7:54 pm

I am no expert, but am not sure that the cockpit sole is a balsa-cored sandwich, it may well be a plain thick fiberglass, or a sandwich with a heavy marine plywood core, as in the head sole and bulkheads or some gussets, in which case your clean-up problem may be limited.

You may wish to check if the sagging is reflected on the underbelly of the sole, which would prove my hypothesis. Moving the mast back and forth and sideways showed us (it takes two: one to shake, the other one to watch the whole supporting structure underneath) that the root cause was the wide hull flats flexing under the feet of the suporting arch which lies under the sole, athwartship in the way of the mast. The motion was such that the main boom had problems passing when the mizzen was in its forward sag position. That is how we discovered the issue, while readjusting the mizzen top aftward.

If the whole sole is affected, the sagging incriminates the supporting arch, and you should check it out, both the integrity of the arch (could it be weakened, even split at one of the inside elbows?) and/or whether the hull flexes under the arch feet. I would check both these things anyway, just in case they cause part or all of your problem.

Date: Thu Jul 26, 2001 9:22 pm

I have drilled into the base of the mizzen mast support. The sole of the cockpit is a cored product with fiberglass on both sides of a core that is approximately half inch thick. We have serial number 129. Our mizzen mast is supported below the cockpit by a bridge like structure made of 2 X 4 white oak and fiberglassed to both the bottom of the cockpit and the sides of the lower hull although whoever did the job was pretty sloppy with the glass work. We have never had a problem with any structural weaknesses in this area yet. However we did have to increase the size of the standing rigging to 1/4" as specked out by Gilmer to reduce the wire from wipping aloft that connects the mizzen and the main mast.

Date: Sat Sep 22, 2001 1:37 am

BdF: it is the mizzen stays that are often under 1/4" spec, so you may want to check, especially if you have a miz. staysail (can you give me its dimensions?). I added 2 flying backstays when I geared up for a staysail. A good time to do that is when you raise the mizzen mast by some 14" for headroom and to accommodate a windvane.

Had a big day in the driveway. Finally got those staysail Dims you wanted.

I haven't flown this one yet. About how far forward abeam can the wind be before this sail luffs. Hopefully not less than Gen, main/ miz.

This sail was labeled "Australian Racing Designs. Don't know much about sailcloth weight but this one is somewhere between my 155 Gen and Spinnaker. The luff has a ~3/8'' braided line sewn in and the leech has a mild curvature. The foot is at ( mizstaysail.jpg) photo right.

Another issue:

I inherited a Famet Spool Reefurl unit not installed on PickPocket.

The previous owner left it off when he replaced the forestay. He said it had chewed thru some of the strands on the then 1/4''rigging.

I have been studying this artifact and found it in need of parts; Split plastic thrust bearing, bearing pad and at least two of the lower extrusion halves witch are bent ( these probably chafed the stay).

I am not happy that these extrusions are staggered and wrapped tight about the stay for it's entire length and held together with Munta, many many, setscrews. Is anyone still using this unit? Who carries these parts now?

For now my Gen has the luff strip sewn in and all the hanks so I can still sail with a pennant tied on the tack.

I think I will just collect some pennies and get a Profurl Classic in a year or two.

In closing I would like to express a heartfelt sympathy for my New Yorker Fellow Americans.

New York is America's Front Yard, the glitter for all to see and cherish and grieves all of us so to see it messed on by this mangey mutt bin Laden. May our military properly pooper scoop this guy and all his associates!

God Bless! New York

America and our troops.

Date: Sat Sep 22, 2001 8:18 am

Thanks for a yeoman job on photos and scanning. Try definitely to fly that humongous staysail. The one I designed without any idea, and after I had raised the mizzen mast by 14", is much narrower (21x16x10') and lighter (1.5 oz ripstop Challenge nylon), and California rainbow (red, orange, yellow) colored in honor of my wife Barbara, who his so nicknamed by students and grandchildren.

It works well between full and bye and aft of quarter winds, adding may be a knot but, above all adding joy to the heart and mind, since the whole boat is already at her best on these "allures" (the French word for wind angles, full and bye is "bon plein" meaning: "good fill", quarter off the beam wind is "largue", meaning "let go").

Your full staysail (dimensions sound right, I missed one like that on the Sail Exchange, and am still looking for one such sail) may have a narrower bandwidth. Four comments:

- the sail plan shows the sheet lower than the mizzen boom, which is surprising as there is no lower point to tie it really, unless you gear a shackle on a pennant on each of the aft cleats. My sheet goes to a snapping block hung at the end of the beam or the aft mizzen sheet bracket. Can someone comment on that? Don?

- The tack is shown tied to the deck fwd of the mast, ie a windward stanchion base. I have used that, but it makes the satysail luff earlier on full and bye, obviously. I move the tack (adjustable pennant, up to one foot up) depending on the "allure", from a windward stanchion base or chainplate on off beam winds to the fwd end of the windward cabin top handhold, to the foot of the main mast, as the wind moves forward to full and bye.

- The unless the tack is at the mast foot instead of windward, the luff will touch the Y mast stay if hauled tight, so you have to reinforce the luff in that area, and cannot fully straighten the luff, which hurts the windward performance, hence my moving the tack to the mast foot, when forward of the beam.

- If your mast is of the original size instead of raised 14" like mine, you may not be able to tighten the luff any way, as it may be too long, unless you bring the tack way forward.

Would love to have your comment once your sail is up and running. Don and Brenda, don't you have enlightened experience to contribute as usual? anyone else?

Date: Sat Sep 22, 2001 11:32 am

Thanks much for the sail dimensions and sailplan.

I bought a tiny mizzen staysail from Bacons for $75 a couple of years ago. It's too small for the boat, but is without a doubt one of the most fun sails on board. It's 1oz nylon. When off the wind sometimes I fly just the spinnaker and this. Part of the delight is the nice look; it gets attention from all of those sloop-owners!

Last week went sailing with friends, people with a lot of sailing experience. We popped up the mizzen staysail and all were simply delighted. Something about it brings out the kid in sailors.

I leave mine in the bag tied to the foot of the main mast and run the clew to either a snatch block on the end of the mizzen boom or to a stern cleat. It seems happiest with the mizzen down.

Date: Sat Sep 22, 2001 9:55 am

My mizzen staysail is 3/4 oz. and quite full-cut. Great for the broad reach but collapses as I head upwind. The two most successful places to lead the sheet seem to be the mizzen boom. Either near the center bail or to a sheeve at the extreme aft end. I have found a lead at the stern cleat requires a snatch block on a pennant but it will flatten the sail some and allow a slightly better draft and pulls well to almost the beam reach.

I have taken note of a friend's solution and have designed a much flatter cut 3/4 oz. staysail to augment my already swollen sail inventory. His old 40 (?) foot Freedom cat-ketch carried either one during cruising and racing. The flat cut tack was placed either at a tack point just upwind of the mast step or at the rail giving him a large degree of adjustment. I was amazed at the power he derived going upwind on a close reach with the flat one tacked on an dedicated, adjustable jib lead car.

Speaking of Sails! When I took over the then GiGi (1991) I found a very impressive line drawing of her, dated and dedicated, depicting the detailed sail plan, hand-drawn, on a piece of sailcloth about 24 X 34 inches in dimension. Recently I had it mounted, masked, matted and framed. It now hangs on my wall. I wonder if this is a rare find? Has anyone else been so lucky as to have this little treasure?

Date: Sat Sep 22, 2001 2:21 pm

Would be most interested in the dimensions of your proposed "improved" miz staysail. I look very much fwd to seeing that sailcloth drawing of the sail plan, a real antique!

Date: Mon Sep 24, 2001 1:35 am

Must have missed something? Are you asking how we rig our Mizzen Staysail? If so, we carry two Mizzen Staysails, one a 3/4 ounce nylon and the second a 6 oz. with a much smaller cut triple stiched for the strong winds, 15 to 30 knots. Both work very well. We connect the tack at two different locations, one the base of the main mast and the second on a breast cleat located on the toe rail. The other attachment is of course the mizzen halyard on the mizzen mast and the mizzen sheet runs out to a block on the end of the mizzen boom and back to the mizzen mast for adjustment. Both sails attach in this fashion. The only major difference is if we are working close to the wind, in which case the tack goes to the base of the main mast, or if we are working with winds from 90 to 150 degrees then the tack goes to the toe rail cleat and the sheet is eased to create a full spinaker like sail.

Date: Mon Sep 24, 2001 8:18 am

Thank you, this is what I do with my small 1.5oz staysail in terms of the 3 ends. Could I bother you for a few more details:

1. Approximate fore-aft location of the rail cleat? Same as used for spring lines? What kind of backing plate in that narrow space? (I chickened out and put a sliding cleat on the Genoa track rather than holes on the rail, with difficult access for backing plate...)

2. When you use the side cleat instead of the main mast base, your sail rubs on the Y stay, unless its luff is kept very slack. did you reinforce that area of the luff?

2. Dimensions of both your larger and smaller staysail? My small one is 21' luff, 16' leech and 10' foot. I assume the 6oz is dacron, not nylon as the 3/4 oz.

3. How high have you raised your original mizzen mast, if you did?

4. With both staysails, do you use systematically flying backstays on the mizzen mast? I installed them and religiously do when setting up the staysail, and even without that sail when in heavy winds off the beam such as in the trades, for additional masts holding.

Date: Fri Sep 28, 2001 12:08 pm

1. Rail cleat location approx. 4" aft of main mast lower aft stay. Through bolted with backing plate of SS.

2. Have not reinforced luff, simply keep an eye on it and set it to prevent chaff.

3. Have not modified mizzen mast height, as original design.

4. No flying backstays, did have and use until changing the mizzen shrouds to 1/4" as per Gillmers instruction. No problem in strong winds, so took off the running back stays.

5. Sail dimensions.

6 Oz. mizzen staysail Luff 23' 2"

Leach 18' 4"

Foot 15' 5"

.75 Oz. Missen staysail Luff 23' 9"

Leach 17' 9"

Foot 19' 6"

Hope this is helpful and your weather better than ours.

Date: Fri Sep 28, 2001 11:31 am

Thank you very much, very helpful. Your two mizzen staysails are large and very long on the luff. No wonder you are zooming with them!

I'll check, but would have a problem stretching them between tack and top, even with 14" extra top height. OK for ballooning with wind behind beam, and better than the mizzen (assuming you would lower that sail) for less windward helm

Date: Sun Sep 30, 2001 7:14 pm

My Flicka did not come with a mizzen staysail but several I ASWII's I sailed did. I would like to get one.

Anyone want to sell one or can recommend where to have one made? Any ideas on cost?

Date: Sun Sep 30, 2001 8:22 pm

I am also in search for a large one. There was one 3 years ago on Sail Source, but it went while I was designing and building my smaller one in Malaysia via Australia ($150, but the guys tried to get out of the deal, much too cheap I guess!). In my NY-Ct area, the best deals I got for other sails (10 oz reefed mizzen and storm jib, both 80sqft) where at UK Sail in competition with Doyle, both in City Island. On my next round of wild spending, I'll consult them on the large staysail, of heavy nylon or 4oz dacron.

Date: Sun Sep 30, 2001 9:01 pm

After viewing the photos of the staysail on Pianissimo I realize that my own is very different. As is the one shown in a recent photo from another member, Jack's, I believe.

Mine is very "spinnaker-like" as it has a very pronounced draft and is limited to a few degrees of utility but primarily cut for the broad reach.

As I have indicated previously, the utility of one that is cut with less draft allows more upwind performance. The two tack points, at the mast base & the toe rail provide for better angles therefore more utility.

My intension will be to keep the existing "balloon" and have one cut to somewhat smaller dimensions but with less draft to fit within the confines of the mainmast backstay, the mast to mizzen dimension and clewed at the mizzen boom outhaul. This staysail will be used for the closer reaches in light air. Since the project of tacking or jibing one seems to be dictated by the need to haul it down and re-set it on the opposite side I suspect the intension to use it should be for somewhat longer courses.

I do suggest that any staysail you decide upon become the product of a visit by a sailmaker. I think you will find that sails of this size and relative lack of sophistication are not expensive. The spinnaker for my old Lightning was recently replaced by her new owner for $274.00 and is only a few feet smaller than my current staysail. Hopefully that may help you with a cost reference.

Now, I have seen a photo of a Seawind II carrying a "mule", which may just be a totally different story.

Date: Fri Oct 12, 2001 10:44 pm

If any know what the dimensions of the mizzen staysaiil should be I would like same. I measured the distance from the foot of the mainmast to top of mizzen mast and got 23 feet. Also noted that due to the split backstay the staysail would have to curve arround the backstay. Any who have used this sail maybe can say how effective is it?

Date: Sat Oct 13, 2001 8:54 pm

We use two mizzen staysails, a 6 oz. and a 3/4 oz. Which one would you like the size of ? Each is cut different from the other.

Date: Mon Oct 15, 2001 9:00 pm

Can you give me both sail measurements or the measurements of one and your comments about its utility that will be appreciated

Date: Tue Oct 16, 2001 1:32 am

We use the 3/4 oz. for light apparent winds from 090 to 150 degrees.

Its size is Luff 23' 9", Leach 17' 9", Foot 19' 6"

We use the 6 oz. for heavy apparent winds from 070 to 160 degrees.

Its size is Luff 23' 2", Leach 18' 4", Foot 15' 5"

We can pick up a knot or more easily with these.

Another great sail we use although somewhat unconventional is a cruising spinaker designed for a 55 foot vessel. When hoisted to the top of the main mast 8 foot of it lays on the foredeck, but give it some wind and we can do 4 knots in a following 4 knot wind, one has to get it down however before the winds get into the teens or its a tiger thats gone wild. Its a lot of fun seeing it full and pulling hard. We haave passed many a larger vessel with it flying, the other crew looking on in disbelief.

Date: Sat Oct 20, 2001 4:41 pm

I was thinking about the mizzen boom which is always a threat. I know it can be raised and I have done that. However, it extends over the stern and I am not thrilled about that.

I thought that removing the boom and mounting a lug sail in place of the boom might be better. A lug sail has a yard (boom) that is hoisted to near the top of the mast. The sail hangs from this yard with its peak above the mizzen mast and at the aft end of the sail. The sail is near rectangular and its foot has no boom.

I would like to get your ideas and criticisms

Date: Thu Oct 25, 2001 4:01 pm

The loose foot of the mizzen is bound to the boom by the original outhaul car. If the outhaul is slacked, and the luff stack bound loosely the mizzen boom can be hauled well up to an angle of nearly 45 degrees to the mast. This certainly gets it out of the way in short docking situations.

Date: Thu Oct 25, 2001 6:30 pm

Could you expand this? Do you mean you are hauling the the tack or the clew up?

Date: Wed Oct 31, 2001 9:28 am

I have been very happy with my new 10oz mizzen from UK Sails in City Island, who were the lowest bidders. It has a reef just below the lower batten, Ill take exact measurements soon.

For a year, after the first leg, I never hoisted the main (Stoboom was a problem, now replaced with the old straight boom and old serviceable mainsail), but sailed with jib and jigger, reefing the mizzen at about 20kts, unless going down wind when I operate with twin jibs (the old yankee is hanked on the moveable flying forestay which hooks on the stem).

By the time I reef the mizzen, the Genoa is rolled 7 times, and I may roll up to 11-12 turns before I change to the 10oz, 80sqft storm jib which also hanks on the inside forestay. I have only used that once, and the 65kts wind abated within minutes, so I'll hoist that one earlier next time...

I am now saving that great miz by having put a reef on the old 7oz mizzen, which I use in the LI sound, and which successfully weathered the recent 50-55kts Souwester for a whole night of hard solo sailing upwind, with a superb performance by the CapeHorn windvane.

Date: Wed Oct 31, 2001 11:55 am

I love my small staysail, and would recommend using Don's dimensions for both, after checking that they fit your arrangement. I would reinforce with tape the area where it may rub against the Y backstay

Date: Thu Nov 1, 2001 6:44 am

This is in response to your email where you said you had a loose footed mizzen. Why do you have it loose footed? My original thought was to have a sail that did not require a boom attached to the mizzen. So I thought of a lug sail or a sprit sail. My thought was to sheet it where the mizzen is now sheeted on the transom. However, the transom is only 70 inches from the mizzen mast. That would make for a very small sail. Then I thought a full batten sail with no boom might do. Now I think I would be inclined to go to a full batten sail with foot attached to the original mizzen boom. But I am open to all criticisms or suggestions.


Mizzen Staysails

November 1, 2001

Within the past month the subject of mizzen staysails and mizzen sails seems to have generated a significant amount of mail.

The mizzen staysail has long been a part of the inventory of sailing ships and is used as an auxiliary sail, providing additional sail area and the added power in lighter winds.

Sail makers have long recognized that the particular shape of any given sail design has a designed range of affectivity based upon its cut or shape and its designed application.

Generally fuller cuts, with deeper drafts were used with the wind further aft and those cut flatter to be used when the course brought the wind angle forward. The flatter cut staysail becomes increasingly less efficient closer to the wind, as the luff is less able to maintain a "hardened" lead edge. Generally the "upwind" staysail should be built with a bound, wire-bolt, luff or the more modern Kevlar luff tape secured to this edge for optimum efficiency.

Rigging and setting the mizzen staysail requires three familiar corners; the head, tack and clew. The head of the mizzen mast on apparently all of the Seawind Mk II's is hauled to a point just about 18 feet above the original gooseneck mounting position by its halyard. The most commonly accepted rig interference during the process of launching or jibing is the mainmast backstay. Due to its inherent location the backstay hinders and or chafes the luff edge of the staysail or its halyard. With the staysail drawing full and by the luff is carried well clear of the backstay assuming the halyard is raised to leeward of the desired course.

The two Tack positions that seem to be accepted by most contributors appear to be the outboard position, located approximately opposite the mast and either on or near the toe rail as well as one located at the base of the mainmast. The outboard positions help to position the tack further upwind and allow the chosen staysail to be used in a slightly more weatherly aspect. Tacking near the base of the mainmast accommodates running and broad reaching with better results.

The staysail clew sheeve position maybe be varied in position much the same as a jib lead to provide various shaping options; the aft end of the mizzen boom seems universal but certainly not exclusive. Turning blocks at the aft section of the jib lead track, the middle of the boom and some others led through the aft quarter cleat area all seem to provide adequate sheeting access and utility according to the respondents. Certainly from my observation the mizzen boom seems the most mobile and probably offers a slightly larger range of trim options for the sheet dependent of course on the size and shape of the staysail being used.

As there seems no concurrent mail that determines the actual or most effective dimensions for the mizzen staysail on an ASW II, it seems best that I will say only that to each his own preference. The apparent conclusion however is that 'reaching' and 'running' staysails are certainly different cuts and possibly those who enjoy flying the staysails should probably have one of each. They certainly are small and light enough and are generally quite inexpensive enough to entertain finding space aboard for this useful luxury.




Date: Thu Nov 1, 2001 9:42 pm

The loose foot came from a UK Sail proposal for quicker setting and unbending of this heavy weather sail, which ended up permanently bent for the full year offshore. They stated that it would not affect the sail shape or up wind performance, and I tend to agree after going back to my conventional mizzen, attached by lugs sliding in the original boom.

I agree with Paul that changing sail type should be done carefully, with an eye to weight aloft. Our boats are already quite rolly. Lug sails are a case in point, but I still like having raised my mizzen mast by 14", although I agree with Paul that raising the boom instead should not affect performance if you use his improved Doyle design, and could actually help reduce weather helm. But I feel that the original mizzen mast was a bit short anyway for general looks... to close to a yawl outline!

I toyed with the idea of a fully battened and high roach mizzen, and then decided I should not combine this additional weight aloft and sail area aft with raising my sail center and weight aloft through the mast raising. I am reasonably satisfied with the current setting, and so seem my Cape Horn windvane and, so far, my weaker 4000+ Autohelm (touch wood!). If I need more sail area, I can always send up my mizstaysail (whose rainbow color is a joy to the heart anyway), or acquire a bigger one such as Don Bundy's 4oz monster...

If the boom bothers you for head room and windvane room, by all means raise either the mast (but finding the same extrusion may be hard, Metalmast sent me their last piece, and I had to complement it with a 6" pedestal) or the boom (which means new or recut mizzen).

Date: Sat Nov 3, 2001 10:38 pm

Because it is a core resource already for everyone, I would suggest the following additions, if you would agree;

1. MiSS

1.1. Dimensions: You could alter your disclaimer to propose, as a range, the sizes of Don Bundy's two small and large MiSS: a 3/4oz, 23' 9" luff x 17' 9" leach x 19' 6" foot, and a 6oz, 23' 2" x 18' 4" x 15' 5" as a start, from which to optimize for the particular boat/rig.

1.2. Halyard: You may wish to add that at least one owner has bent the MiSS halyard around a hinged sheave atop, with another hinged sheave on the mast at the level of one of the primary/genoa winches, so that it can be easily used to hoist MOB (even by the "weaker sex, thanks to the big winch) or other heavy loads (engine, dinghy).

1.3 Chafe on backstay: Even if unneeded in many conditions, chafe tape is advised on that luff tape area which may come to contact the backstay.

1.4 Tack: can even be located on the downwind rail with an adjustable pendant, when running downwind on twin poled jibs, in order to minimize interference with the downwind jib. This looks great, a sort of studsail of old. [We had a grand run that way in the Mona passage and along Santo Domingo between Puerto Rico and Luperon.]

2. Mizzen

2.1 Luff length: A brief discussion of raising the boom vs. the mast foot, when seeking head room or for a windvane, would be useful. You have modified your sail to compensate for the reduced luff, and found it effective. I have raised the mast itself, and was able to sail jib and jigger for almost a year offshore with the main sail stored in its silly Stoboom, altough I am glad to have recommissioned the old standard boom and main for the weak LISound winds.

2.2 Mizzen vanging: to minimize hardware and lines, I use an overlong reefing line at the leach, which I tie to the boom cleat above the helm. To vang, I run the free end to the downwind genoa cleat, very effective and always on hand, only one end to quickly free.

Date: Tue Nov 6, 2001 7:10 pm

Over the last few weeks I have seen lots of traffic on the chat room regarding Mizzen staysails. We would not give it up. While it is a nuisance to tack - hense it is only used on long runs - but worth all the effort. Our favorite is to set it, the loose footed genniker or drifter or whatever the current term is, put up the cockpit awning and run in the sun. Of course, not much opportunity for that in the NW, but we have lots of great memories of runs in the sun in the Caribbean.

Date: Wed Nov 7, 2001 11:54 am

I have sail prints at home, will endeavor to bring them in or search them out tonight. The mizzen staysail is my favorite, besides being beautiful and multicolored to match drifter, it's a head turner no matter where you are.

Date: Wed Nov 7, 2001 1:20 pm

Your assumption is correct regarding the stiffened luff for the "up-wind" MSS. Luff tension in this aspect becomes as important to the MSS as any of the other sails. Tacking to the upwind position with the flatter sail, allows for the potential of a slot effect where at the mast base there is likely none, preventing the potential range of heightened upwind efficiency. This of course becomes determined upon the actual cut of the MSS. If the decision to build one depends upon range of predicted use, I suggest that a sailmaker be consulted. Too often owners build to a basic dimension and learn to live with the resulting sail's limitations. My objective is always to build a sail to suit my sailing style or greatest expectations. My sailmaker will soon build an up-wind MSS for me that almost looks like a high-clew, blade configuration so that I place the center of effort/draft as far forward as possible yet maintains power by providing the longest luff edge allowable within the rig's dimensions.

Tack position is more often determined by which MSS you select for the prevailing point of wind.

In the Run/Reach aspect, using the down-wind sail, some owners have found that the tack position is very effective to the leeward rail, presenting a studding-sail effect. I suspect that this is done with the mainsail struck as it appears this position would certainly "shadow" the main. The alternative may be that on the dead-run the main could then be shifted to the opposite side bringing a huge amount of efficiency to carrying full sail, on the long board, in lighter air. Others shift from the windward tack position to the base of the mast for the run, steering in that situation where the apparent wind is between 120 degrees and 175 degrees.

Given that the halyard will likely come in contact with the backstay in either maneuver, the tack or the jibe, it requires the sail to be doused and reset to the opposite side leaving the halyard to the leeward side of the backstay. It appears generally accepted that the use of the MSS is best for the longer boards to reduce the acrobatics required in shorter boards.

Date: Thu Nov 8, 2001 9:50 pm

thanks Sharon, agree with color vs. heart strings, mine is rainbow (mostly the orange red and yellow, a la Californian... my wife is from there. thanks for dimensions when you can find them. Fair winds

Date: Fri Nov 9, 2001 2:18 pm

Here is what I find about our mizzen . It's 3/4 oz ripstop. The foot is 21 feet, the hoist is 23.25 feet and the luft is 21 feet. When I look at Gillmer's plans, he shows the tack of the sail at a point 1/2 between the gooseneck and the cabin top, secured by a pennant that is just aft of the foward hatch. We have always set ours from the base of the mast maybe moving it forward by installing a fitting further forward would be helpful. Then again i resist drilling holes in the deck. . We tried using a stantion base a couple of times and just didn't seem to draw as well. The sail also shows dropped below the mizzen mast head. We usually drop ours about 2 feet below the mast head to gain some additional fullness. Since our sail is of such light cloth, we have never flown it in winds above 15K. I get nervous with the sail up in winds over 15K, Robert is a little more daring. I have concerns for the rig with those higher wind speeds. Unlike you, we still have the originally sized rigging in the mizzen, perhaps I would be less concerned with the bigger shrouds. I recall reading Francis Chichester in Gypsy Moth saying that he specified a yawl just so he could fly a staysail. I certainly agree that it is a very useful sail - then I also believe that sails are like diamonds - those that have them wear them!

Date: Fri Nov 9, 2001 9:28 pm

I have just run across this line drawing for a mizzen staysail for the ASW II. I'm not sure of its origin.

I've inserted the basic cut for what appears to be a good design for the "upwind" sail within the outline of the "downwind" sail proposed by this designer.

Date: Sat Nov 10, 2001 8:44 am

Thank you Sharon, for a prompt retrieve: your mizzen is of the large type, although a foot shorter on both leach and foot than the MSS sketch just posted by Paul/Compass, but you luff (forward edge in my lingo) is 8" longer. My "blade" is shorter (21' luff) and quite thinner than Paul's upwind SS. It is probably too thin, although it can give me an extra 0.5 to 1kts in 10-20kts winds. It easily stores in a small bag at the foot of the mast, ready to hoist.

I am still toying with a full size MSS. I would not advise any new MSS, small (like my high clew blade) or large (like yours or Don's big one, which is 4oz sail cloth) to go below 1.5oz nylon, in order to save skipper's heart strings... (you can empathize!)

The luff has to be longer than the leach, so I suspect you call luft what we call leach, and hoist what we call luff (the tape-reinforced forward edge which luffs first close in), with foot and leach joining to the sheet at the clew, and foot and luff joining at the tack.

Date: Sat Nov 10, 2001 3:21 pm

Using the ASW II lines and superimposing a staysail of the provided maximum dimensions, I have tried to illustrate the difference between an "upwind" and the "downwind" configurations.

The full-draft "Downwind" mizzen staysail area at maximized square footage.

In this maximized configuration the dotted lines indicate two possible clew points to control and maximize the designed draft as the apparent wind goes aft.

This view only shows one of the three possible points, i.e.; 1. windward rail. 2. mast base. 3. Leeward rail. I have indicated with dotted lines the two probable clew points for this sail option.

Slacking halyard tension for almost any downwind point of sail increases fullness as well.

Presumably, this m.s.s. option should be flown far enough to leeward that the foot would not interfere with either a bimini or a dodger.

The relatively flat-cut, "Upwind" MSS.

This shows a fly-cut foot to allow clearance of the dodger and the bimini. The likelihood of 'spoilage' on the mizzen is also reduced with this cut.

Note that the luff edge maximizes power through the use of an almost full-hoist length.

In both views it does appear the center of effort appears to fall at just about the deepest point of keel draft. Presumably this should minimize slewing and maximize power.

Date: Thu Nov 15, 2001 3:23 pm

A good suggestion for temporary Mainmast backstay tension is to rig the main halyard to a single, rope bridle that runs from two after cleats and tension with the halyard winch.

If you intend to support the mizzen from falling forward. Assuming you have not un-shipped the mizzen boom, tension the mizzen sheet against the triadic stay (between the mastheads). If you have running back stays for the mizzen, run them with rope extensions fwd to the jib leads either on the caprails or the inner jib leads to for a pyramidal temporary support. If not use the vang and the mainsheet to tension the temporarily removed mizzen stays forward.