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: Mon Nov 6, 2000 6:24 pm

One last comment on mainsail reefing vs, no main: I have just roamed up and down the Sound for 3 days in gusty offshore 20-26 kts Northerly from 20 degree aft of the beam to full-and-by, at an average of 7.5 kts, with good long runs at 8+kts and several rushes at 9.1 kts, all under my old unreefed mizzen and 8 (wind abeam or slightly abaft) to 11 (full & by) turns on the 130% Genoa. I believe even at two reefs a main would have added stress and wetness (lee rail underwater, more spray) with no extra speed. And it is so much easier to douse sail when coming into my secret coves...

Date: Tue Nov 7, 2000 2:00 pm

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 7:11 pm

I was watching my mizzen jump around this weekend. It seems to develop a resonance that's a bit alarming. I do plan to rerig with 1/4 wire this winter, and to beef up the tanks and chainplates. But I wonder if the mizzen really needs a set of spreaders to calm it down? If so, how would one rig them? I was thinking the after shroud could go over a pair of swept-back (Hunter style) spreaders. But I don't know if that would work, or even if it's necessary

Date: Wed Nov 8, 2000 11:42 am

Spreaders NOT Necessary! We went to 1/4" wire, and using the existing bolthole pattern on the tangs had a local machine shop make up the new tangs the same size as those for the mainsail, the installation was simple same holes, bolts and nuts were used. The attachment on the uppper portion of the mast was modified slightly but again used the old hardware, enlarged the boltholes, added a short tang from the preexisting setup 2" downward, drilled a new hole thru the mast and attached the tangs at this point. The system has been flawless and we did the

installation in accordance to Thomas Gillmers directions.

Date: Wed Nov 8, 2000 9:14 am

I have raised the mizzen mast by 14", for headroom and windvane room.

Date: Wed Nov 8, 2000 9:02 am

By all means, beef up your mizzen stays to the original 1/4" design, with adequate chainplates (try to get the latter electropolished, cheap and a good protection against crevice corrosion in unaerated areas).

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.

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?

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: Thu Nov 9, 2000 1:48 pm

Speaking of the mizzen shrouds, I was thinking of going to 1/4" wire but using "aircraft eyes" ( I think that's what they are called) so I don't need to change the tangs or chain plates. My theory, which is probably wrong, is that the vibration is due to excessive stretch not a lack of inherent strength. The 1/4" should stretch less. Any comments?


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 aloft.

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.

Also, I enjoyed reading about your various modification/upgrades to Pianissimo. A couple of them I am considering doing myself at some point in time. I would like the opportunity to get more info from you when the time comes if you don't mind.

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: Fri Jun 22, 2001 6:18 pm

I am glad I raised the mast instead of the boom, to avoid reducing an already small mizzen sail (compared to modern ketches, and remember: jib and jigger is the more common way of life offshore), especially if you have not yet upgraded the stays to 1/4". I would go the whole 14", as it allows to place a windvane off the transom (10" might be short).

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.

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.

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 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 10:13 am

I'm not the most knowledgeable about the Seawinds II, but I'm fairly familiar with the mechanics of rigs and especially the non-marconi rigs.

For a ketch- or yawl-rigged boat making the mizzen a lug would probably not be a very good choice. The mizzen is already in the wash of the foresails and main, the less-close-winded lug would make it even less effective on the beat. If you absolutely must have a loose-footed sail and aren't willing to lose all of your windward ability, try sailing the marconi without the boom. If that works at all you can rig a spritsail, which will give you a lot of sail area. Because of the current configuration, I would suggest a smallish spritsail cut very very flat and don't plan on reefing it.

Things to keep in mind: lug or sprit will give a lot more sail area aft of the CLR (center of lateral resistance), which may seriously affect how the boat handles. Expect more weather helm. Both will have more area, so take a good look at the mizzen's standing rigging and ask yourself if it's up to it. And as long as you're at it, think about the mast section; most likely it's the same or nearly the same as the mast, but you're thinking about adding a lot of potential force so can it handle it?

Date: Thu Oct 25, 2001 3:58 pm

The cruising sailor with a long weather leg is always faced with certain dynamics that are inherent to the rig they sail under. Morphodite rigs have met with more dissatisfaction than appreciation for centuries. Some sailing vessels are quite accepting of critical changes but most, I fear, are not. Rigs and sail design are quite technically sisters and should be treated with equal respect. In most cases unless imminently qualified I suggest an owner should trust the discretion of the designer and a good sailmaker when making changes in the designed rig.

Two boats ago, (a Tartan 27 yawl) I was pleased to find that the mizzen was quite a help in adjusting weather helm. She was a tiller steered boat and could easily tire the helmsperson on a beat or reach with an over-trimmed mizzen. My habit was to ease the mizzen slightly when in most upwind points and the steering effort was similarly eased. My trim habits with my Seawind II have been dictated by this experience as well.

The alterations I have made since raising the mizzen boom 11 inches; installing a relatively flat-chord, full-batten, mild-roach and loose-footed mizzen have improved the upwind slot effect immeasurably and made her helm even more tolerant on all points of sail. Each of these alterations from the original plan were done with the consultation of a trusted sailmaker from Doyle. Quite remarkably he first pointed out that the mizzen boom was so much lower than the main boom that little if any power had been derived form the foot panels of the sail originally, as the spoilage from the main and coach-roof caused much of the negative turbulence effects on up-wind points. His blessing initiated the raising of the mizzen boom to fit the bimini and predicted the bimini would cause more turbulence than the missing few square feet of sail. I have noticed no difference in performance with the loss of that 7 square feet.

The planned installation of a mizzen traveler will certainly improve the off and down-wind power as well by enabling the sail to be twisted to match the mainsail dihedral. Once again since all of my new sails were designed and built by the same loft and the specs CAD tested the traveler was a suggestion from the sailmaker.

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: Sat Oct 27, 2001 11:57 am

What a timely discussion! I plan to replace my mizzen this winter and am looking for ideas. A couple of questions about your fascinating comments:

What does a "flat chord" mean? Do you mean a flat sail, one with little draft? My gut feeling is that this is what the boat needs since my mizzen currently luffs very early.

Where are your reef points? I'm struggling with coming up with a heavy weather rig, feeling that the very small storm staysail plus a heavily reefed mizzen might be the best choice in severe conditions. Currently Voyager has one reefpoint in her mizzen and, when building a new one, I'm wondering if two makes sense.

Date: Sun Oct 28, 2001 9:48 am

Thanks for your response on mizzen sail. I am interested in your fully battened loose footed mizzen. Is it using the same boom as the standard marconi mizzen used? Which Doyle loft made your sail and how long ago?

Date: Mon Oct 29, 2001 7:45 pm

Flat chord is just about exactly that. The chord is the draft area. It can be cut to allow very little depth in the draft and maintain the lift quite forward in the sail.

Aside from the one reef I put in to allow the boom to clear the wind vane I have yet to decide about the second reef. The "cock-up" reef seems to do quite well as it is but for heavy weather the mizzen should be struck except in the case where "heaving-to" may be required. My boat will weather-cock quite well on mizzen alone and it seems to be the most recommended tactic by most knowledgeable ketch sailors. If I were to hazard an observant guess I would much prefer a reef-point midway up the luff to keep the center of effort quite low in serious conditions. The mast and the rigging are really not designed for the beating they could receive from any more sail exposure.

Date: Mon Oct 29, 2001 8:03 pm

We use the mizzen as designed by Gillmer and have a monitor steering vane mounted on the stern with no operational problems. We have not raised the boom, or changed any of Gillmers design. We just finished a short voyage with another Seawind among 7 other vessels, the two Seawinds outsailed the following vessels:

Caliber 38

Endeavor 37

Morgan 36

Irwin 37

Endeavor 32

Catalina 30

After a run of 140 miles the two seawinds came in first, my own, early enough to record all the other vessels times as they lay down there anchors, and we did it with the original mizzen and boom and a monitor steering vane and a comfortable ride in winds of 23 knots. The other SW was Tuesdays Child owned by Bob Forsman.

Date: Tue Oct 30, 2001 7:33 am

As much as I am loathe to bore holes in my stern and mount a windvane, I concede that it is probably the only viable solution for extended offshore steering. Which model Monitor windvane is mounted on your boat?

It was great to hear that the Seawinds prevailed in your sailing group.

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 9:39 am

I would add that my new 10oz mizzen is also loose-footed, and uses the old boom without change (I raised the mast by 14", and brought forward the sheet attachment so it does not interfere with the Cape Horn windvane).

I also agree with Paul that the mizzen should be entirely struck down in heavy weather, whether you go downwind, or when you still have a bit of mainsail up going upwind. This helps reduce the windhelm to workable levels (for your windvane or autopilot, or arms!), and you can always send back the reefed mizzen when you strike down the mainsail entirely.

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.



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 itself not only provides for slightly more sail area than a sloop rig but also allows for the center of effort to be effectively lowered a bit. For most 'split-rig' sailors the recognition that the mizzen loses shape, power and efficiency somewhat before the helm brings the yacht tightly upwind, tends to find them striking the sail or simply letting it luff for the beat.

The Allied Seawind II ketch design is nearly unique in that it carries a relatively small mizzen to mainsail size ratio. A balanced helm generally provides far better hull efficiency when the rudder angle is less than a 10% offset from the keel's centerline. To the ketch or yawl sailor it is wiser to understand the role of their mizzen within the basic "balance" scheme of the split rig.

If one were to imagine for a moment that wind effects each sail trimmed as to the effort balance effects upon a playground sea saw; in most conditions where the wind is ahead, abeam or just aft of the beam, the jib would affect the bow by either forcing it down and off the course if over-trimmed and would draw the bow nominally upwind if properly trimmed. The mainsail offers similar effect when the designer places the mast further forward of the center of lateral resistance. Using the same visual perception, the mizzen, when over trimmed forces the stern down and conversely, the bow up-wind and again, away from the course. Therefore, even upwind, when the main and jib are trimmed to best efficiency and the rudder approaches an almost neutral helm condition the boat moves with less drag from the rudder and the sails benefit from the most efficient use of their designed draft and slot effect. Add the mizzen to the same equation so that when it is trimmed just slightly "off power" it will not affect the helm's slight weather tendency. When a puff or gust drives the bow off-wind in a beat or close reach it conversely brings the mizzen towards the wind and so it begins to draw the stern down, effectively bringing the bow back up-wind.

I have sailed thousands of miles without the benefit of wind steering or auto- pilots, under, loosely, lashed helm and properly trimmed sails by simply offering a trim combination that encourages this "hands-off" approach. Ketches, schooners and cutters certainly lend themselves far better to this balance philosophy than sloops. The overall course may not be perfectly straight but generally each naturally induced course correction oscillation is not more than five to ten degrees total and always comfortable. When using this approach to trim under the capable and accurate helm watch of either a wind powered steering or the autopilot one finds far less wear and tear on the gear as well as the welcome benefit of reducing the power consumption of the pilot.

The broad reach and the run change the dynamics considerably. The mizzen being so far aft has a constant, predictable and less controllable negative effect by causing or initiating the "round-up". Coupled with following or crossing seas approaching from astern, the rudder is over-used to counter the constant slewing effect. In higher winds adjusting sails for the broad reach and run is to place the power (center of effort) as far forward as possible. Often this necessitates striking the mizzen, reefing the main and insuring that the headsail area is superior to that of the main. In this case the mainsail is immediately trimmed and vanged/prevented "off-power" to prevent constant rounding up.

The mizzen, in the case of the ASW II, due to its relatively low aspect ratio, generates its greatest power from the lower eight feet of the sail, down and off-wind but often becomes a hindrance as the apparent wind angle approaches 60% if the draft is relatively full. The air existing off the leach of the mainsail fouls a full cut chord at the sail's leading edge and creates the offending result.

Considering that the most effective power from the mizzen is generated when the sail's luff edge is offered "clean air" up-wind but rapidly loses the need for a deep chord (draft) as the wind angle approaches 90 through 120% and slot effect becomes minimized, it is more useful in these attitudes if the low pressure area is localized to the center of the sail, then it requires little built-in draft, if at all. For the sailor faced with a long, light air, broad reach or run while using the mizzen this is easier accomplished with a "loose-footed" mizzen by easing the outhaul slightly, adding a bit of pressure to the topping lift and creating a centralized chord, to maximize the down-wind performance/power of the mizzen.

From all best information sources; insuring that sail shape is optimized for each point of sail, the best, modern, modification for the ASW II, without changing the rig dimensions, is to consider the full-battened, loose-foot, mizzen, coupled with at least a simple vang/preventer arrangement for those broad reaches/runs, in light air, the sailor thus keeps the billowing draft from chafing on the mizzen stays. The more sophisticated/expensive installation of a mizzen traveler allows the mizzen to be similarly "twisted" by setting the sheeting 'lead-point' sufficiently upwind, with an eased sheet, allowing the upper reaches of the sail to best utilize the light, and "cleaner" air, aloft when sailing off-wind without the costly chafing. The added benefit to this is, when flying the mizzen staysail, a wider range of trim is allowed to the staysail as well.




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 6:53 pm

I intend to replace Voyager's mizzen this winter, and got a quote from Port Townsend Sails (360-385-1640), who are reputed to be the best around for heavy-duty cruising sails. A friend here took their sail repair class and is very enthusiastic about the quality of their work, especially the hand finishing.

A sail with standard battens (not full length ones) runs $1291, which includes 8.5 oz material with one set of reef points.

Date: Tue Nov 6, 2001 6:36 pm

UKSailmakers (800 992 9422, delivered to me Nov98:

1. a 9.6 oz Dacron Mizzen of the original dimensions (I raised my mast rather than the boom), with 6" roach, loose foot, headboard, one reef with dacron tape across, 3 battens in handsewn pocket ends, and a longer than normal slug at the clew and top of luff, for $624.49 including 6.75% tax. The luff was a few mm too long, not a problem with using the otehr end of the reef line as a cunningham in stiff upwind conditions. They would correct that easily if warned.

2. a 96 sqft, 9.6oz Dacron storm jib, with hanks on luff, and head and tail pennants, for $634 plus 6.75% tax, or $676.80.

Even 3 years ago, these costs seem much lower than yours. They were negotiated at the Newport Boat Show (abt 10% extra-discount). The storm jib has served once (and killed the 65kts storm in one hour, I'll have it up earlier next time!), the Mizzen was up for a year and 10,000 NMiles without the mainsail, with wonderful ease, may be reefed a fifth of the time.

I had one batten pocket getting unglued after 7 months, which I sewed at sea. On my return, they apologize for having had an off-spec glue at the time, and replaced the pocket free.

Charles Ulmer, Pres., Kerry Klingler sales rep. are both knowledgeable and fine people.

Date: Tue Nov 6, 2001 7:10 pm

Three years ago we had a new mizzen made by Lidgard (now Halsey Lidgard with lofts on both coasts). We ordered 8 oz w/full length battens and an increased roach with all the bells and whistles for adjustment including two sets of reef points. This sail is much much better than its Hood predecessor and added about 1/2 knot to boat speed. The cost at that time was $925. We used Lidgard to replace the entire Hood suit of sails and felt that the new sails outperformed the Hood's. Of course that could be a function of improved technology over the 15 -18 years span.

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: Tue Nov 6, 2001 8:50 pm

Similarly, my new 8.5 oz. mizzen from Doyle with full length battens, loose foot, one reef point. leach line and head board ran $850

Date: Tue Nov 6, 2001 10:14 pm

You might want to consider having a second set of reef points, which can be used in storm anchoring to keep the bow pointed into the wind. (Winds above 40 knots)

Also, we had ours made without any battens and this has worked out very well, no chaff, no broken battens, no worries during gales.

Also we used 10 oz. cloth weight and your price may be a bit high, suggest getting 3 bids on the same sail with same specifics.

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.

As for your observations regarding mizzens, I refer to the very unusually short mizzen of the ASW II exclusively. I sail a Hans Christian 43 traditional ketch quite frequently and if the same statement is applied to this more standard mast height ratio I would agree.

The lug, junk and the gaff rig or any four cornered sail certainly uses the wind and its lowered effort in a different dynamic, again I agree. However, most ASW II's are rigged with the very simple and largely ineffective, single-point, sheeting arrangement. When utilizing that very obvious wind speed difference you describe, 'twisting off' the mizzen, for power, on an ASW II, the mizzen shrouds become a serious hindrance. Further, the more up-wind points find it almost impossible to shape the mizzen dihedral to compliment/enhance the exiting, laminar flow from the main, in the ASW II, without a broader range of sail shaping tools for our unique design. My comments reflect the fact that most of our owners have accepted the shortcomings of the original design, and again, live with the results.

My observations of how to describe and "use" the original mizzen design presents possibly the most utility for our design but suggests that improvements can become far better compromises.

I do not profess to be an expert in sailmaking or physics but I do relate to more than 50-years of sailing and almost 250,000 miles of yacht-delivery experience in most kinds of conditions over literally hundreds of deliveries and ownership of three yachts for my (personally) fascinating study of sails at work. Given this recognition I always recommend that a very qualified sailmaker be consulted. In this qualification I too often find that the sail designer(s) tend to embrace the performance sail or the cruising sail. In the case of our boats the performance vision is less likely to promote a sail design that offers more reasonable cruising compromises over performance.

You are certainly not 'nit-picking' and your arguments are well-founded but as in most things sailing, it is the 'attainable compromises' that allow each, singular design to be best implemented and complimented.

My congratulations upon keeping the ASW II high on your list of potentials, few of us would try to divert your attention.

Please join our group at the address in the CC box above so that you may become familiar with our owners and their often incisive and experienced contributions. You will find safe and welcomed harbor at any time. Several of us do keep the information saved in extensive files and you are certainly welcome to any or all of our chat.

I will "post" this exchange to our group and I feel certain it will elicit a number of comments and questions that will help you understand the differences in our cutter and ketch rigs.

Once Again, Many Thanks,

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 8:31 am

Similarly, my new 8.5 oz. mizzen from Doyle with full length battens, loose foot, one reef point. leach line and head board ran $850

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 8:56 am
What kind of lugs do you use in the mast track, in way of the full battens? different from the regular small lug?

Date: Sat Nov 10, 2001 9:54 am

Doyle built the sail.

Initially I thought their batten system seemed a bit over simplified, even "rinky-dink" but in actuality it is tough, adjustable and marvelously simple.

A tubular plastic fitting at the luff (bound) edge can be set at either the sail slide or stitched between slides. This fitting contains a wide, plastic screw, about 3/4" deep, set inside of the fitting and can be used to loosen or tension a 1/2", hollow, tubular, PVC batten that slips into a full-length batten pocket. The outboard end of the pocket is padded and filled with a resilient, spongy filler, captured in a double stitched pocket. As the lower batten is about 18 inches above the foot I am still offered a goodly amount of shape adjustment from the loose foot/outhaul accommodation. The elimination of protrusions at the leach side and those expensive/complicated luff slides suits my taste quite well.

When the halyard is released, the sail falls neatly, its far more easily flaked and gasketed for covering with the original sailcover. Since I must work above my bimini this makes life a whole lot easier than the original sail, billowing all over the place.

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.

Date: Wed Nov 21, 2001 8:40 am

While browsing in the recycle bin for other lost mail I have just come across your mail, dated October 28th..... I do use a SPAM filter and apparently four of your emails got caught in there.... In any case the original mizzen boom is used. Even as I had raised the gooseneck some years ago the new sail is made to the new measurements. The foot is not bound to the boom with the exception of the outhaul car. The four full-length battens are tubular and adjustable for tension. The cut allowed for a moderate roach. Even as I did have a leach line installed I have yet to find a condition that would require a leach adjustment. The outhaul adjustment is a simple cleat just above the helm seat and that I do use with regularity. Depending upon the point of wind, I have enjoyed as much as a one half knot increase in speed by keeping the mizzen dihedral consistent to that of the main.


Dec 29, 2001 3:54pm

I want to raise my mizzen boom for comfort, Bimini, and windvane clearance.

Since I'm going to raise the boom and not the mast, I would like to know the minimum height to clear the Cape Horn. Bert have you negotiated a deep discount yet?

I haven't looked at the gooseneck to see what it'll take to do the job. Any suggestions?

I'm going to take the sail in for cleaning, shortening and installing full length battens? Any suggestions.


Dec 29, 2001 11:50am

I seem to remember something in past messages to the group about the mizzen height as it relates to bimini's, wind vanes etc. I recall someone saying (Paul I think) that raising the boom (while easy enough) affects performance in a negative way. If you're listening, Bert, how did you raise your mizzenmast? (a new one or a raised step??). Since I'm also planning to install a cape horn (in the near future) I'm in a quandary as to how to handle the mizzen problem. I haven't yet gone to 1/4 mizzen stays so will do the whole project at the same time. I'm like you, Howard, sure could use a discount on the wind vane...


Dec 29, 2001 8:22pm

A previous owner raised Voyager's mizzen boom. It's about 6 feet off the cockpit sole now, which is ideal for a short person like me. They simply unbolted the gooseneck and tapped new holes a bit higher. No doubt they cut the sail down, though the sail is so old it's hard to tell how and where. A new one is on order.

I put an old Sail-O-Mat vane on last winter. The vane itself, when installed, sticks up REALLY high. It's impossible to tack without removing the vane blade. That's not too much of a problem since I rarely tack at sea. But, in case of an accidental gibe I'd hate to take out the vane so always rig a preventer, a 3/8 nylon line permanently attached to the boom bail. Generally I run that thru a snatch block on the genoa track, then to a cleat near the sheet winches.

A previous owner also installed what friends here call a sissy bar - really, a sort of mizzen boom gallows. It's a piece of 1 inch stainless pipe hose clamped to the pushpit and bent in a square U shape. I rarely drop the mizzen on to it, but the thing makes working over the side so much easier. Our mizzen booms stick out aft of the stern a lot. I can hang on the sissy bar and get to the end of the boom easily. Well, pretty easily. It's a little harder each year! The peril of this is not furling the sail properly, and having it chafe the bar. The last owner must have been pretty careless as there's quite a repair at that point on the sail.

Winter has attacked Baltimore with low temps. Living aboard is cold, though an electric heater and a temporary propane one makes life below pretty reasonable. An electric blanket and 50,000 BTU girlfriend help as well.

We all obviously have a lot of cool things to show off to each other at the GAM. I can't wait! What an opportunity to take a lot of photos for the web site!


Dec 29, 2001 6:49pm

Howard and all: I raised the mizzen boom by 14" (by raising the mast with a 10" piece of the original extrusion plus a 4" pedestal), and that clears the Cape Horn without problem, but not much more to spare, so that I would park the boom on the side (see below vang/preventer arrangement) when the sail is furled, just in case it hangs a bit loose. If you can't raise that much for some reason, say only by x = 10-13", speak with Yves Gelinas @, who has our measurements and can advise the maximum reduction advisable from my 14" rise. If you have to unhook the vane to tack, that is easy to do on the CH with one 4-thread butterfly screw hanging on a small line.

As to discount, I'll speak to Yves who has become a friend to see what he can do, knowing that our fleet is 120+ with only a dozen or so already fitted with windvanes. I hope everyone has heard me saying how that CH vane has changed my life (solo or companioned) even in the LI Sound.

Back to Mizzen Boom preventer, I have a reef leachline longer than necessary, so that even in its extended, full sail position, down the leach, around the block, then along the boom to a cleat on the boom above the wheel, it has enough spare length to serve as a vang and preventer by cleating the free end on the cleat aft of the primary winch. That is a most useful arrangement, whether to park the boom or when underway to tune the sail as a vang, or as a preventer, easy to undo from the wheel or the cockpit for tacking or any purpose, no need for extra hardware or line.

I note Jack's Simpy Stick for my (fast) declining years... although I only reach out there to tie up the sail cover end, and I could resolve that with a permanet loop or U-fitting closer to the mast.


We raised the mizzen boom twenty years ago. It was just too low. I found that the masts had been made by Metalmast Marine in Connecticut. They had a section for the mizzen mast that they sold me along with some pieces to fit inside the splice to make a bolted splice. I took them to a local spar shop. Instead they made a welded splice to the bottom of the mizzen mast that lengthened the mast 18 inches. This gave plenty of clearance for my head (6'1""), but the boom was so high that attaching the halyard and furling the sail were problems. The mizzen sail was the normal size. So I moved the gooseneck down 6 inches, with the boom 1 foot higher than stock, and all worked out OK. When I replaced the mizzen sail later, it was made with an additional 6" on the hoist. I was never able to notice any difference in sailing by changing the height of the boom or the size of the sail. I think Metalmast is still in business. The spliced section of mast is not anodized, so I have covered the bottom of the mast, below the compass mount with fancy rope work.


Dec 30, 2001 1:08pm

I was told 4 years ago by Metalmast Marine that the extrusion 10" length they had just sent me was the last of their stock. Since that was enough for my needs, I did not ask them if there could be other sources for that extrusion or any other reasonably compatible.


Sat Jan 5, 2002 5:22pm

I talked with Yves at Cape Horn and he said that the windvane needed twenty-four inches of clearance above the stern rail. When I took my measurements yesterday, I found the rail to be sixteen inches above the top edge of the transom and the bottom of the mizzen boom was sixteen inches above that and sixty inches above the cockpit. Since I wanted six feet of headroom to allow me to stand under a Bimini, that means raising the boom twelve inches. This also gives me twenty-eight inches above the rail so

everything should work out well.

My specific confusion, as opposed to my general state of confusion, is that Bert said he had to raise his boom fourteen inches and it was still close to the vane. is there any enlightenment out there.


Sun Jan 6, 2002 11:52am

Sorry if I caused confusion, but the 4-6" clearance is what I call small, meaning you have to watch the length of the topping lift when you bring down the sail under way (as for reefing, so the angle of the reefing band on the sail may be relevant), and that your furled sail may hang that much when stowed quickly at sea, so you have to make sure that it is kept on the side (as I do with the extra length of the reefing line cleated on the genoa sheet cleat). But I did not say I am unhappy with my situation, I am very happy, and could do with a smaller clearance!

If Metalmast, CT does not have anymore of the original extrusion (as they told me in sending my piece 4 years ago), they may direct you to another source of similar extrusion that may be ovalised to end up close enough, as long as their internal circumference are equal, so you can fit a substantial insert. 12" seems a bit too much for a pedestal, althoug it could be made too.

Bert dF 80K


1343 Jan 13, 2002 7:25pm

Generally the 8 - 11 inches rule works for raising the mizzen boom. The gooseneck is simple... drill and tap the gooseneck slide into the mast track.

Full length mizzen battens are very good... I like them on my boat and the extra roach seems to get back the lost sail area quite well. I am even considering shortening the boom, raising the mizzen mast on a pedestal and going high aspect ratio.... any comments?