Hylas 56/54 Common Question: Where Do You Run The Staysail Sheets?

By Rich

Every now and again I get a question a few times from friends or blog readers, and when I get them often enough I like to turn my responses into blog articles to let others weigh in. Here’s one I get a lot and one I’ve seen on the Hylas Facebook page:

Question: how should we run the staysail sheets? We can’t seem to get it to trim correctly.

My email reply to a 56 owner earlier today – others’ mileage may vary! If you have good results with other methods leave a comment 🙂

We run the staysail sheets * outside * of the forward lower shroud, then to the fixed block on the coach roof, then to a block run all the way forward on the genoa track and finally aft to the cheek block. See the attached photo – on the port side of Rover the sheet is of course not in use in this photo but it should make it more clear how it runs – it runs inside of the other two shrouds but outside of the forward one. In this configuration it’s a fantastic sail from a beam reach to a fairly close reach! And don’t forget the way this sail can be used with a partially unfurled jib for beam reaches in big breeze with MUCH less heel (scroll down to the section on Hatteras for the photo and description in this article).

Another important note about the staysail on Hylas 56/54 boats with the fixed staysail stay: We recommend that you keep the check stays tensioned whenever you are underway, especially in big seas. You should not see a lot of movement in the stay as the boat pitches. If you see movement and only have the check stays in place but not very tight, we would recommend increasing check stay tension (manual winches only please – no check stays on electric winches!) until the rig pumping is reduced to a nominal level and the staysail motion is stabilized. In general rig pumping is undesirable, but on boats with fixed staysail stays the rig can pump sufficiently to compress the wiring at the top of the staysail stay and ruin it. This had happened to Rover before we owned her – so we inherited a brand new staysail stay they had installed just before we bought her. The check stays will stretch after a while of being tensioned so tightening them when rig pumping is observed should be part of routine watch standing.

The issue is less of a concern on boats that have the removable staysail stay because it can move more (though in that case rig pumping remains undesirable just the same). If you * did * have plenty of check stay tension and still see too much movement, at the dock put a bunch of check stay tension on and then go and wiggle the staysail stay (with sail furled is fine). There should be minimal movement. If – with plenty of check stay tension on – the staysail can be bounced, you will want to shorten the staysail stay sufficiently that the act of tensioning the check stay tensions the staysail stay, thus stabilizing the rig. With plenty of check stay tension on, your rig should still have just a bit of pre bend so that both forward stays are accepting fore-and-aft loads. I have attached photos of the parts of the assembly that needed to be accessed to shorten the stay on our boat, as I had to do this on Rover. On ours the drum is pulled up to access the threading – other furler brands may vary.


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