Aquarius has the fittings for one but its not there. I am wondering if I should refit it or not?
She seems to sail well without it, so would she do any better with it? And considering the angle its on and the stiffness of the mast its hard to believe it would do anything. I do use the back stay but I must admit that I haven't gone forward to see if it puts a bend in the mast.
I have seen other Hollands with them and some without. Can someone tell me if they work?
Aquarius, Below is a pic of the stay connection at deck level on my boat. Even though it's tensionable by hand, as you can see there is not a great deal of adjustment available. The stay is just another part of the standing rigging, (even though it is adjustable without any special tools required).
Compare the amount of threaded section on the little forestay with the amount of adjustment on the back stay rigging (on my boat Omega anyway). The threaded adjustment area on the forestay is very close to that found on the side stays ie not a great deal, only enough to correctly 'tune' the standing rig. The backstay is clearly designed to be adjusted to affect mast bend on a day to day, sail to sail basis but not so the forestay.
My boat is a masthead rig with a running backstay.
If the running backstay on my boat was tightened and there was no intermediate forestay then the backstay adjustment would have no affect on bending the mast (one stay pulling on another at the same point but in opposite directions) and would only cause the whole mast to move (tilt) in one direction or the other. If you look at a fractional rig, the back stay and main forestay are attached at different points on the mast and will therefore induce a bend into the mast when one of (usually the backstay) is tensioned or relaxed.
IMO the baby forestay is required to induce mast bend if you have a masthead rig and a running backstay running backstay as is fitted to my ship. The intermediate (baby) forestay is not required on a fractional rigged boat.
Still waiting to hear back from Colin re: how to attach more than one photo to a post but below is a photo of the clearly adjustable (whipped 2:1 therefore 4:1 ) adjustable backstay fitted to Omega and a little drawing of my above explanation.
The question for you is is your boat a masthead or fractional rig? And do you have a running backstay?
;D Please download attached PDF and then read the post below.
Note: In top pic the mast is not bent (concave/vex) but just tilted. In the bottom pic, a stay at some other point down the mast would allow bend so long as there was some give in the main forestay. I may be wrong but I have never seen adjustable forestays used to give mast bend on the fly. It's a bit hard to get up to the front end of the boat to adjust as you're sailing! Common sense says put the adjustment close to the operator therefore lets make the backstay adjustable. A backstay attached to the top of the mast also has more purchase than a stay further down the mast.