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Old 10-11-2009, 04:53 PM   #1
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I'm in Beaufort, NC now, and there's a boat here, a ketch, which has a backstay sail... at first when I saw it I thought my eyes were playing tricks and that it must be the forestay of another boat behind it... but nope... I went for a wander and found her on the dock... she does indeed have a roller furling gear going from the top of her main mast to boom height on her mizzen, sheeted to a single block on the top of her mizzen.... the guy apparently offers sunset cruises and what not... it certainly looks neat but my instincts say it is an affectation, just something to make the boat look different... I can't imagine it would set well.... althought it looks ok in the picture http://www.goodfortunesails.com/

I've never seen the skipper onboard or I would have/will ask him about it...

if this works why isn't it more broadly practiced??
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Old 10-11-2009, 05:01 PM   #2
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Many years ago I sailed on the Swedish Navy's schooner H.M.S. Falken.

She, in light winds, flew a sail called a fisherman which was rigged between the main and mizzen masts. If I remember rightly (and I am going back many years) the sail was rigged loose footed, it was triangular in shape with the head at the main truck, the tack at the mizzen truck and the clew about at the level of the mizzen cross trees.

Not quite the same as the sail you are refering to but somethiong along those lines.

The picture (apologies for the quality but it is a scanned copy of an old slide) does not show this sail but yopu will be able to work out where it would sit.

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Old 10-11-2009, 05:22 PM   #3
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I'm familiar with the fisherman... it's flown on schooners and the sail angles to wind make sense to me... but this thing is on a ketch and while again it does look good I can't see how it will work sheeted as it is to the mizzen top mast .... ...

i suppose perhaps it's only set in light airs on a close reach... seems like a lot of money (with roller furling gear and all) though for that purpose alone
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Old 10-11-2009, 05:27 PM   #4
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Strangely, it looks fine. I would think it would work on anything from a broad reach to running free. I can't imaging it providing any driving force when close hauled though.

Maybe I am wrong. Nevertheless, it is always interesting examining rig variations.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 10-11-2009, 05:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atavist View Post
I'm in Beaufort, NC now, and there's a boat here, a ketch, which has a backstay sail... at first when I saw it I thought my eyes were playing tricks and that it must be the forestay of another boat behind it... but nope... I went for a wander and found her on the dock... she does indeed have a roller furling gear going from the top of her main mast to boom height on her mizzen, sheeted to a single block on the top of her mizzen.... the guy apparently offers sunset cruises and what not... it certainly looks neat but my instincts say it is an affectation, just something to make the boat look different... I can't imagine it would set well.... althought it looks ok in the picture http://www.goodfortunesails.com/

I've never seen the skipper onboard or I would have/will ask him about it...

if this works why isn't it more broadly practiced??
Perhaps because it does look a bit...odd...?

I've got the book of SS Crocker designs and there is at least one backstay sail in one of the designs in that book as well. I imagine if one were serious about picking up the winds where that backstay sail does its work, (on a cutter, schooner, or sloop) one might get rid of the fixed backstay, put on runners and extend the main boom so that one would pick up extra sail area. With a ketch, it would seem that one could simply have a larger mizzen mast and sail which would suffice as well.

The air most certainly isn't clean in that location since the sail doesn't begin above the sails in front of it, so I'm not sure what the real benefit is other than getting as much canvas up as possible. If you think back to the days of people putting on water sails, etc, folks must know that there are times when every bit can help.
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:54 PM   #6
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Just had a conversation with the owner... it's called a Mule and is apparently common to Herschoff ketches.... as you said Stephen, he says it is great off the wind but nearly useless close hauled unless it is partially reefed to give the clew more space from it's sheeting block... He was adamant about it's usefullness saying that it gives him a good knot on any point of sail in any conditions since it is an extra 200 square foot of sail area (his main is 300 square foot)... the downside is that being so high aspect it does cause a lot of heal in anything but very light airs...
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:11 AM   #7
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Just had a conversation with the owner... it's called a Mule and is apparently common to Herschoff ketches.... as you said Stephen, he says it is great off the wind but nearly useless close hauled unless it is partially reefed to give the clew more space from it's sheeting block... He was adamant about it's usefullness saying that it gives him a good knot on any point of sail in any conditions since it is an extra 200 square foot of sail area (his main is 300 square foot)... the downside is that being so high aspect it does cause a lot of heal in anything but very light airs...
If you're talking about a mule, it's not a backstay sail like I was thinking of. Sorry I didn't look at the picture! I assumed you were talking about a backstay sail at the very back of the boat which hangs behind the backstay and does look odd. A mule is a variation of a mizzen staysail.

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Old 11-06-2009, 01:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbopeep View Post
If you're talking about a mule, it's not a backstay sail like I was thinking of. Sorry I didn't look at the picture! I assumed you were talking about a backstay sail at the very back of the boat which hangs behind the backstay and does look odd. A mule is a variation of a mizzen staysail.

If you are talking about a sail that is hanked onto a backstay. On a ketch this is really peculiar.

I have used small jib with the luff hanked onto a backstay while at anchor, a anchor riding sail.

This will keep the boat into the wind while at anchor, especially where you have a boat

with a high freeboard or one that sails around within it's anchor circle. Never seen on a ketch

as the mizzen sail will do the same.
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