developed and seo specialist Franco Danese

HOW TO- How and where to fit an additional forestay on board

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forestayWhile with a partially furled genoa, with a few square metres of canvas exposed, it is possible to sustain a bearing course in 50 knots of wind, with the same reduced sail it is not possible to sail upwind, even at wide angles. It is therefore necessary to rig a spitfire. (image source:

sailing equipment

In the drawing above: here is the equipment needed to fit a removable forestay. The top plate can also be fitted to the mast at a later date, together with the halyard sheave. At the bottom, the forestay should be routed below deck on the hull structure or on a bulkhead.

This raises the problem of where to set it, as the forestay is already occupied by the furled genoa. Removing the genoa means unwinding it completely, going to the bow, lowering it and then slipping it below deck, in order to hoist the storm jib on the same channel as the furling jib, a job that in that wind becomes an unpleasant undertaking.

The alternative is to equip oneself with a removable forestay on which to place the new sail, or to use one of the special stays to be attached directly above the furled genoa.


This is the most tried and tested solution and the one that provides better balance at the helm, thanks to the more rearward position of the sail.

Here, too, there are two alternatives: either fit the removable stay just below the forestay attachment on the mast (the distance should not be more than 60/70 cm) so as to avoid using flying shrouds; or fit a false stay (also called forestay) to be tacked at the height of the high spreader, bracing it with the flying shrouds. In both cases it is advisable to use a textile cable (Spectra, Vectran or PBO) rather than a steel one, both for reasons of weight (the difference is 1:10) and handling, and not least to prevent the cable at rest along the mast from damaging the anodising (or paint) of the mast profile.

The staysail is attached to the forestay with Velcro straps instead of metal staysails. Obviously, a fixed point with double eyelets is needed on deck, ideally the Wichard folding eyebolts, where both the removable forestay and the foresail tack can be fixed. This fixed point must be attached below deck to a structural bulkhead or, by means of a stay, to the starboard bow. A turnbuckle with a pelican carabiner is used to attach the stay to the fixed point, but a textile hoist with a suitable reduction gear may also be used.



Photos 1 and 2 illustrate a forestay on a removable steel stay, in the version with a rig without flying shrouds.
As can be seen from the arrow in photo 2, the insertion point of the removable stay is just below that of the main stay. Photos 3 and 4 show the removable stay in a version with a rig equipped with flying shrouds. In this case, the insertion point of the removable stay is placed in correspondence with the high spreader and consequently the stay is much further back than the main stay.



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