We received the following question from an owner of a 1997 Beneteau Oceanis 321:
“Is the baby-stay critical or could it be safely removed?”
The short answer is yes, the Baby-stay is critical and NO, the baby-stay should not be removed as it helps keep the mast vertical.
The longer answer is that if your boat was designed to use a baby stay the designer included it for a reason. In the case of this Beneteau Oceanis 321 with a deck-stepped roller-furling mast, the baby-stay keeps the mast from inverting and gives the mast stability while allowing the ability to have very little bend. The roller furling mast operates best with little bend.
What is a baby-stay?
A baby-stay is typically a wire attached to the mast near the lower spreaders and the deck approximately 25% forward for the mast step. The baby-stay, unlike an inner forestay, does not carry a sail. The stay is the forward counterpart to the aft lower shrouds.
A more detailed answer:
Boats with non-roller furling masts can use the baby-stay to create pre-bend, adding stability to the mast. Performance boats may have an adjustable baby stay, either on a track, block and tackle or hydraulic. The adjustment allows the draft of mainsail to be changed while sailing. Boats with adjustable backstays are able to use the baby stay in concert with the backstay for more fine tuning.
We recommend the Selden Mast Tuning Guide for more detailed reading on this subject.
Post by Stanton Murray, CPYB