I often get asked about my Mizzen Staysail on “Nell”

Here is a message from my blog I received today.

Lewis Garnham says:
September 25, 2011 at 11:27 am

Hi,I own a Nauticat 38 Minerva, built in 1984 so she is not as swish as your beautiful boat.She was imported into Australia and in 2007 i bought her in Queensland and sailed her to Hobart Tasmania.She had been treated for osmosis and currently on the slip having had all the thick cracking ant foul removed to the glass. Will be epoxied.
How did you get 12 knots ? surfing a wave. What speed can she sail at ? I have a Bruntons Auto Prop to lessen drag and improve efficiency motoring.
I am considering a mizzen stay sail, so please tell me the size of yours. I noted its tack was to windward, ? where to? Can you tighten the luff for windward work?Do you find ithe sail useful?
I have a large asymmetric kite and sock. I mounted two extra winches on the back of the cockpit seats with the lead from a snatch block on the aft cleats. Please tell me your emailfor photos and correspondence.

Here is what I replied


That 12 knts was over the ground through an area in the English
channel to the west of an Island called Alderney, at certain times of
a spring tide it races through at 7-8 knts so to hit 12knts over the
ground was quite easy. Using just the engine (Yanmar 110hp) I get
8.9knts at full revs (3000) but for economy run it at 1800-1900 revs
which gives a motoring speed of 6.5 to 7.0 knts. The fastest I’ve ever
sailed my boat was in Plymouth Sound 8.9 knts in 23knts of wind but to
achieve that we had the gunnel touching the water and nearly had the
deck at water level too. 🙂 not very comfortable for passengers 🙂

The mizzen staysail is really only a fun sail, it needs quite a lot of
work to put it up. You can’t go to windward with it up, so it’s only
any good with the wind at 90 deg on your beam to about 30 deg astern
of you. it’s that angle where it comes into it’s own. I haven’t got
any measurements but I’ll attach a pic showing where it’s attached to
the boat and where to measure to size it. Saying all that it’s sail
area is as big if not bigger than the main so it does help quite a
lot, unlike the mizzen which is only any good for balancing the boat.

Hope it all helps you

From my primitive drawing the tack is to windward and goes to a eyelet
in the deck which is about level with the main mast. The head (top)
of the sail goes to a single block fitted to the front of the mizzen
as high as you can fit one. The sheet on the clew at the foot of the
sail goes to a single block fitted to the end of the mizzen boom and
from there it gets tied off on one of the cleats on the deck.

To measure for the sail I marked a rope and hoisted it up the mizzen
so the mark was at the top of the mizzen, then the other end I tied it
off to where it is tied to the deck, this rope is what will be the
luff. I then put a mark on the rope where I wanted the tack to be
(about 6″ above the pilot house roof), the distance between the two
marks will be the luff length. I then measured from the tack mark to
the end of the boom this gave me the foot length. When the sail was
made I assumed the tack to be 90deg from foot to luff.

Hope you understand everything.


This little apple tree never ceases to amaze me.

Apple crop 2011, all these from one little tree.