Why don’t toy boats use headstays???

Happy Yachting - Kip

They do.

Or to put it another way - perhaps I don’t understand your question.

Most of the toy boats I see use jibstays & are not equipped with a seperate proper headstay.

Happy Yachting - Kip

There are two very good reasons not to use a headstay.

First, it woudl split the tension from the backstay onto the head stay and jib stay. That in turn would allow the jib stay to sag, changing the shape of the entry of the jib. That is slow and reduces pointing ability.

Second reason is windage. Also slow.

Not many full-sized boats use headstays anymore for the same reason.

A modern yacht has a forestay and the jib or genoa is attached directly to it.

I have seen some plastic kit boats that came with a headsay and they just tie the jib tack to the jib boom and tie the jib head to the mast. The forces are just carried by the cloth of the jib’s luff seam. If you have one of these types of boat, remove the forestay and the boat will sail better because the jib luff will be tighter.

Next step is to put a forestay into the jib luff and attach that to the jib boom and mast, Now the jib is properly supported and you will be amazed at how much the boat improves.

Thanks for clarifying your question.

A forestay has only two primary purposes.

  1. To hold the mast up.
  2. To provide a foundation for attachment along the luff of the jib.

As some classes have the ability to step unstayed rigs (e.g. my Marblehead), even holding the mast up does not require a forestay.

The secondary purposes are:

  1. To control mast rake, and;
  2. To serve as one of the various controls of mast bend.

All model racing sailboats that use a jib have a forestay which serves these purposes. This is what you are referring to as the jibstay.

Any other stay forward of the mast is redundant.

Agree, One small (amd basically humorous) cavil with Muzza.

It’s not just Marbleheads. If you can produce cantilever masts on a Freedom 60, you can do it on any model yacht if the class rules allow. The enginnering is sorted. :graduate::zbeer::zbeer::devil3:

My Dear Angus,

Did you not note my use of “exempli gratia”? :slight_smile:

I had the pleasure of a day out on this vessel earlier this year. 65 feet (20m).

I must admit that after years of racing and cruising similar sized boats with conventional rigs, I was very impressed at the easy of use of the Freedom style rig.


another reason for the jibstay, is that it provides tension on the leach in combination with the offset jib club attachment point… If that make sense…

Except what doesn’t make sense is that using a separate forstay and offset jib boom, when sialing to weather, the luff of the jib is to weather of the cernterline of the hull. If one visualized it, with the jib luff to windward, it would “seem” that you have to foot off to allow the luff to be more in line with true wind. And then add in that apparent wind mores forward the faster you go, and perhaps our r/c boats are “footing” more than we think.

Hence the popularity of the jib radial in UK free-sailing Ms in the 50s and 60s, a very competitive time/place.



id never use a seperate head-jib stay. the head/jib stay are one, at least they are on my vic and my soling. Maybe I did not explain myself well enough…in ofset I mean the jib club attachment point for the deck is a few inches aft of the forewardmost point on the jib club.

I do sail with a bunch of older guys and they use a forestay on their vics that are attached to the deck at the leading edge of the jib club. and as a result, no tension in the leach and as a result (at least one of them) is they are not really fast…

The main reason for my question is the rig on my antique Star 45. She carries a dedicated headstay. The jib is rigged with a flexible luff wire & a halyard to adjust the jib luff tension. The jib boom is pivoted from the extreme forward end of the spar. Is it worth my time & effort to update to a more modern rig?? Will she point higher?? I don’t race the boat, she’s only for mucking about. Is there no advantage in being able to tune the mast with the headstay/backstay & tensioning the jib luff seperately with a halyard?? Is there no advantage to keeping the jib luff as close to the centerline as possible with use of the forward pivoted jib boom??

Happy Yachting - Kip


if the boat is for toyyinga round with, then there is no real reason to mess with it.

however, onmy soling and vic, I run a wire through the luff seam wich allows me tension that wire (which can tune the mast and add leach tension) and then use another line on the head and the tack such that I can adjust the luff tension of the jib.

With just the tack of the jib attached, you have no way of controlling jib twist remember, on big boats when you tune the jib, you are pulling back and down on the tack and you can adjust the blocks on the deck to add or take out twist.

granted, to change the attachment point and the head stay is not a big deal.


if you look at this picture and how they have it set up.

you can still have an adjustable forestay and an adjustable luff tension. and throw in a lib topping lift to control twist, by changing one thing you’ve added three points of added control on the jib…

By “toy boats”, surly you not referring to these very expensive RC Sailing craft sailed by contentious fanatics, in grueling competition regardless of weather conditions? If so, I believe that term to be incorrect. We do not sail “toy boats”, little kids do that. Toy boat, good grief…we are way too serious…for that!

Rick Thaxton #14705
US1M #325 “Bow Movement” :zbeer:

Well it at least fit the definition of a boat: A hole in the water in which massive amounts of money are tossed and never seen again.