Mizzen Staysail or Mule sail experience?

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    Does anyone fly a mizzen staysail, or a mule sail? We’re considering adding these to our sail inventory, and wondering if anyone has words of wisdom on these.

    The original sailplan provides sizing for the mizzen staysail:
    Luff: 23′ 6″, Leach: 20′ 6″, Foot: 23′ 6″ area: 215 sq ft.

    There is no mention of a mule in the original sail plan, but we’ve read interesting articles about them, for example, here:


    We have a mizzen staysail and have used it a few times. It isn’t much of a driver. Wind angle has to be just right and it rarely is in our sailing area. It is the only “original” sail left on the boat so maybe that is testimony to how much use it has had.
    SV Gosling

    Ronar M

    We use ours a lot and it pulls very well. Sometimes I use it with the mizzen up, sometimes down – it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Ours is to the original dimensions and has red and white stripes. It causes quite a stir with other boats especially when I fly the spinnaker as well. We don’t have a mule

    Trevor (Ronar M)


    Are you sure those dimensions are correct? They describe a large isosceles triangle with area 241 sq ft and I have no idea how it could be rigged……. A picture would be wonderful. We did have a go with a mainsail off a GP14 on Voltair, but couldn’t really figure out how to rig it to advantage. We’re off for another visit to her on 26th Sept, so we could have another go if you supply a bit more info. John K


    I double checked the the dimensions I provided at the top against the sail plan, and they are indeed correct. Mizzen stays’l are huge – on the order of the size of the mainsail.

    Here’s how to rig it according to the Nic 38 owners manual:
    The mizzen staysail is made of nylon and should be treated generally in the same way as the spinnaker. It can only be used effectively with the wind way on the beam to nearly dead aft. The tack pennant of 1” terylene and about 6 ft long should be permanently attached to the tack of the sail and the sheet should be snapshackled to the sail clew.
    1. Ensure the boom is held down firmly by the boom vang.
    2. Attach snatch block to aft end of mizzen boom for sheet.
    3. Attach tack pennant to weather mainmast capshroud chainplate, leaving the tack of the sail about 3 ft above deck.
    4. Pass the sheet over the mainsheet and to leeward and outside of all mizzen rigging, through the sheet block and down to the lee cleat on the aft deck.
    5. The halyard should the be taken around the leeside of the main backstay and with the sheet cleated the sail may be hoisted until its luff is just clear of the main backstay. Also see that the sail is not snagged on the windscreen wiper. The sail should be set as high as possible.
    6. This sail must be lowered and the halyard and sheet released before tacking or gybing.


    Thanks for that – so its not rigged on a “stay” at all. I wonder why it’s called a staysail. I also wonder why the area is listed 10% smaller than the dimensions would predict. I guess the halyard coming from the top of the mizzen has to bet set quite loosely under the main backstay so the sail and halyard blow to leeward away from the backstay. Presumably the luff on a real one has no bolt-rope or anything sewn to it – its just like a spinnaker luff/leach is it? Maybe we can have another go with the dinghy mainsail, but make the leach the luff, (and the head the tack) so it will curve and set better. Does anyone have a picture of one set?

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