I use the 'normal' Hobie sailkit on my AI hull (as a kayak) using an adapter I have made for the mast base to allow the roller reefing facility of the AI to be used on the smaller sail.
I have also started using a jib which I set 'flying' using a halyard running through a micro block attached to the top of the sail that I store inside the rolled up sail and a downhaul that I run through a micro block installed on a padeye just forward of the front hatch.
The jib creates too much bend in the mast for upwind sailing and the mast bend, which is inherent in an unstayed mast, means that very little luff tension can be achieved in the jib so the sail shape can be pretty poor - and again, this is not good for upwind sailing, or sailing at all really.
So to get better upwind performance, to be able to use the jib in higher wind strengths and to be able to get more luff tension in the jib I want to try to stay the mast and I am looking for input & ideas as to how best this can be achieved... !
My proposed 'chain plates' or lateral/aft deck-level staying points for the backstays are the holes at the ends of the forward aka bars where the AI aka extensions attach (I could also use the aft aka bars with running backstays, but I think there would be very little lateral tension applied by the stay to the mast from this point and therefore it may be difficult to prevent the mast from falling off to leeward from here). The forestay point would be the front padeye - easy enough. For simplicity I plan to use spectra for the stays but thin wire is a possible alternative.
I think it would be relatively easy to stay the mast if the roller-reefing facility of the mast is dispensed with, but this would mean always having the main sail up and deployed which is not ideal, so I am trying to develop a solution which still allows the main to roller reef....
This seems to imply that the stays would have to be connected at the top of the mast to some kind of cap or insert with a bearing system which will allow the mast to roll under the stays whilst still maintaining enough tension in the stays.
I have performed a simple trial which encouraged me to continue. This involved
1. putting an insert in the top of the mast (and through a hole punched through the strop tape at the top of the sail) to which the stays were attached.
2. hauling on the roller reefing line to see if the mast would still rotate.
The results were that the rotation was not trifically smooth and there was a tendency for the sail batten-end to get caught up on the backstays (until enough of the sail had been rolled away for it to clear them) but mast rotation could still be achieved.
Re the interefence between stays and batten-end: I have thought about a system of 'craning' out the stays at the top of the mast to hold the stays out from the mast so as to provide clearance for the batten end while rolling up the sail. A similar thing is available for the Blokart land yacht (www.blokart.co.nz
) but this would have to be modified for this application. A different non-catching batten end could be used.
I have now bought another complete sailkit mast and all to use as a development test-bed (got it cheap !)
When I started using the sailkit in my AI roller-reefing adapter I had to cut about 6" off the top of the mast to make the sail set lower down because the mast in the adapter sits higher than in the normal mast base. With my new mast, rather than chopping the mast down, I plan to use the extra mast length to provide clearance for the batten end by sewing a longer strop into the top of the sail so as to lower the sail down the mast. I don't yet know if it will afford enough clearance but hopefully it may. A different strop arrangement at the sail top should allow me to incorporate some kind of cap or insert for the top of the mast. The strop of the sail will then be attached to the cap/insert and the cap/insert would need to be designed to feature a bearing to which the stays are attached (still with cranes if needs be) to allow the mast to rotate freely underneath the stays.
So my challenge is how to design the mast cap, bearing, mast-top staying system (I think the nautical term for the attachment of the top of the stays to the mast is the 'hounds') including cranes if needed and also where to get suitable components/raw materials.
If there's anyone out there who can follow this description of my challenge and would like to offer some I would be delighted to receive suggestions...
"You must be barmy..." is a perfectly acceptable one, but "It'll never work..." is not, by the way !