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Sail & Rigging - Swan 411 staysail
20 July 2020 - 18:21
Join Date: 20 July 2020
Posts: 19

Swan 411 staysail

As a new owner of Swan 411 I'm pleased with performance of the boat, I however feel that the boat (given that it has quite a big rig) could use a staysail in bit stronger winds (25-30knts and above) when sailing close hauled.


Then the questions:

-There is a track on the foredeck, can it be used for inner forestay + staysail? (now there is a removable inner forestay with a Wichard ratchet, which I would like to keep)

-If the track can be used, and as it is rather long, which position would be the best for a staysail in such wind conditions? (Where to start iterating with the sailmaker)

-Possible sail plan for such force 6-7 winds?

-Does anybody have an experience on 411 staysail setup?

-Or some other alternative advice?

21 July 2020 - 08:51
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear TapioF

The track can be used for an inner forestay, and the recommendation is that the slider should then be near the forepeak bulkhead, which provides some support for the deck. Originally there was a small tackle pulling the slider forward thereby tensioning the stay.
The sailplan on Matteo's webside does not show a storm jib, but I found one with such information, will be uploaded
Kind regards

21 July 2020 - 08:59
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Lars and Tapio,

new Sail Plan (thanks Lars) it's now online.

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

22 July 2020 - 07:17
Join Date: 20 July 2020
Posts: 19

Thank you Lars and Matteo, the uploaded sail plan including original sail/reefing suggestion is great!


According to the plan what I'm after is something like Jib #3-4, which in the plan is attached to the forestay where I have a furling genoa. The storm jib, as Lars mentioned, is attached to the inner forestay, but storm jib is bit too small for my purpose. What I'm looking is a sail that could be used in a removable inner forestay while the genoa is furled. 

I attached a picture of the track, and have some assorted questions

If the cart in the track is moved forward the sail area could be increased, but then the inner forestay is no longer parallel to the forestay. Would that cause problems in the sail design?

In the sail plan storm jib seems such that the cart in the track is all they way aft. Inside the boat there is a pole/rod which I guess is proving extra support for this. Is this right?

Third item in the picture is a heavy duty pad eye in the front of the track. What is the original purpose of this?




22 July 2020 - 11:10
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Tapio

The Offshore Special Regulations specify how big a storm jib can be, and it is likely that you need something bigger for your purposes - hard weather jib is maybe a better name.
The inner forestay must not be parallel with the headstay, discuss with your sailmaker.
The tie rod at the aft end of the track is not standard, and not shown in the drawings or specifications, maybe a previous owner has noted that the deck flexes.
Do other 411s have such a tie rod? Owners pls inform
The pad eye at the bow is intended for the spinnaker foreguy blocks.
Kind regards

22 July 2020 - 16:02
Join Date: 20 July 2020
Posts: 19

Hello Lars,


Thank you for a swift reply. I have had the boat less than a year so there are still lot of things to learn. I took a liberty checking other 411 interiors online, it seems that all of them have similar pole (attached six different 411 pictures that I could find all showing it). However as the end of it is hidden under the roof boards I just assumed it is a tie rod, or it has has a tie rod inside (I must admit that I didn't give more attention to it before this). Maybe it has other purpose?

Would be interesting to hear other 411 owners comments.

24 July 2020 - 06:21
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547


Thank you för checking the 411 photos, indeed there are boats with this feature.
A guess is that this occurs on higher hull numbers
Picture 5 probably shows an anchor chain tube, as it is bigger and slightly inclined
Kind regards

24 July 2020 - 07:18
Join Date: 06 January 2012
Posts: 67

Hi, we have a slightly different but original staysail arrangement in our 431 CAID, hope it might help you to describe it's construction.

At the deck level teres a small grp box built in the foredeck. In the box lies a aluminium handle to tighten the removable staysail.

Inside the boat in the forepeak theres a strong SS pipe bolted to the aftside of the grp box. At the lower end of the pipe there is a rigging screw that attaches to the lower edge of a strongly laminated bulkhead with an u-bolt. This pipe also leads the water out of the boat just above the waterline.

Please check out the picture, it was taken this spring after the renovation of the forepeak was finally finished. The teak box covering the grp deck box is not assembled at that stage.

Our Yacht is located at Turku, You're welcome to visit to find out the details if You dont find any 411 owners to help You. Godd luck with Your new Yacht!


431-12 CAID

29 July 2020 - 07:07
Join Date: 20 July 2020
Posts: 19

Hi IHe,


It is interesting to see bit different designs of almost same size and age Swans. The grp box (compared to a track) makes it more clear to decide where to attach the inner forestay :D.


Have you been using a staysail in you 431, if yes how did it perform?




btw. the forepeak looks good!

28 August 2020 - 22:24
Join Date: 07 October 2014
Posts: 74

hi, i am having also the aluminum pole just in front of the hatch.

hull number 02


13 September 2020 - 17:22
Join Date: 12 January 2011
Posts: 12

Hi Tapio,

We have a 431, quite similar deck plan. We had the stay sail rebuild as it was removed by a previous owner.

We wanted to rebuild at the exact position as on the deck/sail plan. To be sure the stay connection on deck has a counter pull under deck as original designed. We had it rebuild by adding a double pad eye on deck and a stay under deck connected to the original position low in the front, that original attachment point was still there. Unfortunately the original quick release box was removed before and we could not build it back.

The stay is a dynema line connected to the original position on the mast. It can be connected to the deck with a turnbuckle (maybe a wichard ratchet would be better for quicker setting and removal) Under deck there is a wire stay used and stays connected all times.

We used the stay sail a only couple of times so far on the Atlantic. The staysail could also be rigged with a storm jib. We had some discussion to set the deck position more to the front but we wanted to stick with the original sail plan. It does give a small sail area but we thought it would be better for the storm sail and we liked to stay with the original design. For us it was not an option to change the position on deck because of the design. In our opinion the inner stay to the bottom of the ship, is there to be a counterforce to the stay sail stay on deck. And we that the original position is there for a reason. So yes, we do now have a small stays sail.

We also had a discussion with the sail maker as we wanted the original staysail dimensions on the sail plan. This time the sail maker won, he advised us to have a high cut sail. He told us the angle of the clew should be high so to be at the right angle on the fore deck rails. We still do not know if we would be better off to stay with the original dimension, the clew closer to the deck. Now we have sailed with it, we like the advantage that you can see under it. We have an hanked on stay sail so we can change it to our hanked on storm sail. We wanted something simple, removable but fool proof. Setting a storm sail will be an adventure when the need arrives, we still need to figure out a solution for that, or just face the fact/waves.

We have a couple of experiences sailing the stay by now an really, really like it, especially in combination with reef 2 or 3, it feels beautifully balanced and feels bomb proof. Even sailing alone on the staysail in 22-28 knots worked good. Another thing we like is the fact that we can tie the sail down, keep it on the stay and keep it floating from the deck. So it is ready for use but does not shave on the deck and water can pass under it. We think sailing the stay sail is great, it feels very safe. We set the sheet on the first winch on the fore deck (closed to the cockpit) so you only have to leave the cockpit a little bit to adjust the sheet. We found that a stay sail ‘stays’ and there is not much adjusting possible with the sheet so it’s no problem to have it on an that winch as you barely change it.

We are happy with the small stay sail in stronger winds, if we want more power we roll out a little genoa. I’m still not sure if it was smart to abandoned the original sail plan and agreed to go for a high cut stay sail but that said, it is a great plus to be able to see what’s in front of you and we feel the current dimensions are powerful enough.

I include some pictures and if you like we have a short video and writing of sailing on the stay alone on our website here.

Good luck with your choice


13 September 2020 - 17:27
Join Date: 12 January 2011
Posts: 12

22 September 2020 - 11:33
Join Date: 03 July 2007
Posts: 10

Hello Tapio,

and congratulations for the new boat.

About the pole inside the fore cabin: do you not have one or are you planing to remove it for some reason. The pole is needed to support the deck when the inner fore stay is fastened to aft end of the track. I recommend to use inner fore stay in that position when sailing on rough sea, regardless of the wind speed, in order to reduce the mast pumping. For the same reason you need to adjust a significant prebend to the mast.

In general the boat needs the most of power from the fore sail to maintain a good balance and boat speed. When wind rises, start from flattening the main sail then reefing it once and only after that start rolling the genoa smaller. This concerns a genoa2, about 65 m2, which I have on the fore stay.  Instead of genoa1 I use a gennager. Depending of the keel version (hulls before no20 have shallower keel) the wind speeds for these operations can be vary but basically the order is the same. Some of the older hulls may have their keels modified deeper afterwards, like mine allso.

If you want to use a stay sail close hauled, there must be blocks and tracks for the sheets on the roof. Without them the stay sail is absolutely useless. A storm jib may be sheeted outer to genoa tracks, but a storm jib is for surviving and a stay sail for sailing. I just renewed my stay sail for this season and the old one is available if you wish to try how it can work.

Best regards,

Ilkka (411/006 Serenissima)



24 September 2020 - 11:38
Join Date: 20 July 2020
Posts: 19

Hello Ilkka,


I'm not planning to remove the tie rod from the aft end of the track, and I have indeed used the inner forestay for the purpose you mentioned (reduce pumping & introduce pre-bend). I'm also having the same setup to use a gennaker instead of genoa 1. Also using the suggested reef plan: first reef the main and the reef the genoa.

However single and especially double reefer furling genoa 2 doesn't really work close hauled, and it feels like I'm punishing the sail too much. In apparent wind around 14m/s and above I have to just reduce the sail area (double reefed main and genoa).

What I'm looking is a convenient sail plan so that I can just furl the genoa 2 and use a staysail in the inner forestay in strong winds when I would otherwise be overpowered compared to the crew (short handed with kid(s)) (cannot really take down the genoa 2 and switch to a small jib with kids trying to "help", too much hassle.. with an all adult crew it would be a different matter).

We had a consultation/measurement meeting on the boat with North Sails, the outcome was roughtly that if the inner forestay is in the aft position it can fit a storm jib. If the cart is moved around the bulkead a 19m^2 staysail would fit. According to North Sails measurements the foremost "rings" (on same line as the mast) used for the running backstay when not used (at least I'm using them for that) are in good position to be used as the staysail sheeting points (use with removable blocks). Question is are backling plates sturdy enough? At least they between the shrouds and the mast. Maybe Lars could comment.

However I'm not sure that the bulhead provides enough added support if the cart is moved forward, so an extra tie rod would be needed.


Ilkka, are you using your staysail in the forestay? What size is it? 


We are also consulting the D-Marin about their viewpoint.


Bacchus is 411/027

26 September 2020 - 06:44
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Tapio
It is suggested that D-Marin inspect the backing plate sizes for the staysail sheet points, and if rather small (this is what I remember) add bigger ones over the original, and fill the created void around them with some hard stuff.
If you have wire runners it is advisable to stow them so far aft of the main shroud chainplates that they do not touch the spreaders, as this would cause chafe, and may with the time wear through the spreader trailing edge welds.
This is not important if your runners are made of some low stretch fiber, and there are no sharp spreader edges from previous chafe.
Kind regards

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