Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Staysail Setup"
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Thread: "Staysail Setup"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Staysail Setup

Mike and Ivana Meyran

I am working on getting my running rigging setup now, and have made my way to the staysail. I can see that 2 options exist. 1 being the loose foot to a track and the other using the boom to a block on the deck. Being that the block has been installed, I plan to take this route and figure it out from there. I cant seem to find any real detail in the manual to guide me on the rest. I am guessing that the sheet is led from the set of blocks (btwn end of boom and deck)to a fairlead on the deck and then back to the cockpit where a jam cleat or rope clutch secures it. A little bit of muscle takes it from there? Some insight would be mucho appreciated.

Bud Taplin

The drawing is on the CD I have from the Westsail factory construction manual. I will send the drawing to you by email.

However, if you are going to use a staysail boom, a track across the cabintop with a roller car is much preferable.

Michael Dougan

I have a boomed staysail, with track and roller car as Bud suggests. However, my boat's previous owner said that force on the staysail yanked the car off the track. So, he installed an eyebolt on the centerline and the block attaches to that instead.

The eyebolt is very strong, but the downside of that setup is that the staysail boom tends to lift up in a breeze.

If the block is attached to a car that travels with the boom, then when sheeting the boom, you get more of a downward pull that help keeps the boom down and the sail flatter.

Mike and Ivana Meyran

Thanks Michael. So it sounds like you are back to the original design of having a block on the centerline of the boat which stays centered. Did the car actually break? I would think that a well designed car would hold as well as a genoa track car would. My main concern with the centered block is how well I will be able to trim the staysail. Not sure if there are any other benefits to consider? Sat is my first day under sail so i will have some practical input after that. Either way, I wont start drilling holes in the deck until I have a sound plan.. Appreciate the feedback

Norm Rhines


I currently have the NIco Fico track on the forward deck for the stay sail which works OK ( not sure on the comment on the force I also have a track on the bridge deck for the main which could have more than double the force on it.) so you just need to get a system set up for the loads (est for a 28' boat main sheet travler would be about right)

In any case I do use the track for sail shape and without it the sail shape would be a problem for me .

On my setup I have adjustable stops on the track which I have used for better sail shape.

Lastly with the staysail boom I have a line off the end of the boom I use to tie to the life line stansion as a preventer, this has served me well down wind, but in any case you may think of this if you are setup for a long downwind run.

I think you will regret using a single point block setup.

so fair winds to you an have a nice weekend .


Mike and Ivana Meyran

Thanks Norm. The single block is there now, so I will use it for the meantime. Bud has sent me some details on the track, which looks like a good way to go. Loose foot is the other option, but obviously a different track setup. Not sure how valuable the fwd deck space will be, but time will tell. Good to hear you are happy with the setup you have

Ahoy Mike,
Hope you are well. I've been able to spend a night out hove to on my boat, set up with the stays'l track. It worked great after I made a few adjustments. Like yourself, I'm very tempted to change to boomless to open up the foredeck and allow for a larger headsail. But, free is free and the sail cut is supposed to be modified, I understand, for the change. Since my stays'l set just fine, I'm leaving it alone, at least for a year or so.
I often think of you when I have to rip out, strip out, clean out and repair things, whereas you have to start everything from scratch. But you get to do it your way. Enjoy.

Michael Dougan

Hey Norm,

Thanks. I'm not exactly sure what "broke" originally. The track looks fine, and there is a sort of puney car on the track. Maybe it was a small shackle that broke? If I were to rig it I'd get a better car, beefier shackles, though, I'd probably want something else to fail before ripping the track out of the deck ;-)

Anyway, I haven't really felt the need to get it working because I do exactly as you suggested for longer runs, ie rig a preventer to a cleat which gives me some downward pull and gives the staysail a nice shape. That system works perfectly for me.

When tacking around the harbor on a daysail, I don't get very good sail shape though.

Regarding the boomed/unboomed stays'l dilemna:
I think I read in Sir Robin Knox-Johnson's book about SUHAILI and around the first solo world race, Golden Globe Race: a boomed stays'l is great for coastal cruising; for the ocean you want an unboomed stays'l because you don't tack that often. Anyway he won, and still complained about having to tack in relatively close quarters to get to the finish line. Always something, I suppose.

Mike and Ivana Meyran

Hey Randy. You didnt sail into that tropical storm, did you? Or is this training for your cruising life? Looking into the staysail setup, I have dorade boxes outboard of the staysail block, so if I put a track in it would be a real short one. I got a suggestion from one WS owner who set his boat up with 2 deck blocks (1 port, 1 stb) set out around the handrail. I am considering this as an option. Self tacking is a nice feature and dont want to lose that. Maybe combine that with a block on the clew. Decisions..

Michael Dougan

One advantage of the boomed staysail is that it acts sort of like a spinaker pole in light winds, and helps keep the staysail poled out in position and with a good shape.

Also, I notice that when sailing dead down wind, the staysail boom gybes before the main boom, which allows me a few seconds to correct before a disaster occurs! I'm not sure you'd get the same warning without a boom on the staysail.

Good thoughts Michael. A couple of things I never considered before. Definitely plusses for the boom.
No, Mike, I did not sail into any tropical storm that I am aware of. That's right AGAPE has dorades already. What do you think of them so far? I thought about you and your nice new shiny engine room as a labored through the hot, smelly, grimy one I have. Then I thought, only another day or so and I can degrease, paint, and have a shiny new engine room with a nice new engine that doesn't spit oil all over the place, at least for a few years.

Mike and Ivana Meyran

The dorades work well. They leak a bit, but just need to be sealed - the seams have dried up and opened just enough to let some water weep thru. The positioning of the vents is another story. They really get in the way of the staysail, and the rear vents block most good options to run lines aft to the cockpit. It can be done but the area reserved for the winch is totally blocked. So I like them, just would think through the placement. I am enjoying my nice clean engine room, thats for sure....

Gary and Charlotte Burton

I would like to resurrect this thread to discuss the merits of boomed staysail vs loose foot to tracks like what is described in the service manual Bud sells.

Is there anyone out there who has gone from the boom setup to the 2 track setup and would you care to comment? How is the track position attained for best performance?

Thanks for any input


David Wiencke

Here's the photo of the stays'l track placement on W32 Neverland. I'm going to guess that this was "factory" installed (1976), as there is no evidence of a previous stays'l boom installation. It looks very close to the placement on the drawing that Bud posted.
I don't think I'ld be tempted to use a boom setup because, in my limited experience with a jib boom, although convenient for tacking in close quarters, I'm never quite satisfied with how the sail sets. The track allows the ability to fiddle with the lead to get the best shape.
Also if you ever want to fly a different size sail like a stays'l genoa, you'll want the ability to adjust the lead.
When tacking, I often wait to release the staysail, backwinding to help bring the bow around. Which leads into the best reason to be able to easily backwind the jib: heaving-to.

Gary and Charlotte Burton

Thank you very much David for the picture and e-mail

Gary and Charlotte Burton

Are those mast rails factory?.....looks like they would work well for staysail sheeting (not getting in the way)

David Wiencke

I would guess yes since the teak deck pads are designed around the base of the rail. I'm sure I saw this style of mast rail as an option in the Westsail manual.
I am the 4th owner. The P.O. said something to the effect that the original owner spared no expense outfitting the boat, including, ordering the boat with many of the available options offered by the builder.

Frank and Melanie Scalfano

I have never seen that configuration of teak on the cabintop; my boat is from '76 and it does not have the rails or the decking. I wonder if this is the only 32 with such a setup.

Michael Dougan

I've seen the rails on a number of Westsails, but I've never seen the teak decking there.

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