Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Rope On Staysail Luff?"
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Thread: "Rope On Staysail Luff?"

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


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Rope On Staysail Luff?

Mike McCoy

OK, I'm going to display my ignorance here...

There is a small line laced thru the (jib hank) grommets on the luff of my staysail. It begins about 1/2 - 2/3 up the luff and has a tail extending beyond the tack for 2-3 ft.

I thought it might be a downhaul for reefing but it's length is much higher than the reef points.

What is the purpose of this line and how/when do you use it?

Dave King

Ahoy Mike,
Here's the short story: It's called a jack line and it allows the sail to come down without a need for loosening the clew/outhaul. Once adjusted, the line is tied off tight at the tack.
This is the long story: The LP (luff perpendicular) of the staysail is shorter than the foot length. The clew represents both one end of the LP and one end of the foot. If the clew is fixed in position then the luff of the sail cannot move further away as would be necessary when the sail is lowered. The sail will bind when the halyard is slackened and not come down - unless the clew is loosened. The jack line, when properly adjusted, has the effect of allowing the luff to move closer to the clew on it's way down. This whole affair is usually preferable to always having to loosen then re-tension the clew/outhaul.

Mike McCoy

Thanks for the explanation. Makes complete sense now as when I first bought the boat (and still had the boomed staysail) I ran into that exact problem.

The PO apparently didn't know what the line was for either and thus didn't have it adjusted. So when I tried to lower the staysail I had to release the outhaul to get it down. A PITA indeed.

Now that I've removed the boom (to clear the foredeck & safety) I guess it's 'redundant'.

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