The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Running Rigging Recommendations—Part 1

During our cruise this summer to Labrador and the Quebec Lower North Shore, we motored quite a bit due to the fickle nature of the winds in that part of the world, but we also had some lovely and memorable sails.

On one of those great sailing days, as I was coiling down after tucking in a reef as Morgan’s Cloud bounded along over a sunlit—we had an amazing amount of sunshine—white-capped sea, it struck me how much I still enjoy the process of sail handling. Even after over a quarter of a century sailing this boat there are few things that bring me more satisfaction than a fast and clean mainsail hoist or a quick and efficient reefing.

And further, as advancing age takes its toll, making sure that our sail-handling systems are as easy to use and efficient as possible, particularly since we are sailing a 56-foot 26-ton (17-metre 23.6-tonne) boat with just two people in a part of the world where the wind speed tends to change quickly and with little warning, becomes ever more important.

Selecting the right rope for each halyard, sheet, lift and downhaul has been a big part of making our rig work efficiently and that’s what this chapter is about.

Would you believe I’m old enough to remember when even cruising boats had wire halyards and some racing boats even had wire spinnaker guys? Now that was scary. Thankfully those days are long gone, and of course the reason for their passing was the advent of high-modulus low-stretch ropes made of fibres that go under a plethora of names.

The downside is that some of these fibres and the ropes spun from them have a place on an offshore cruising boat and some don’t. So when faced with all these choices, how are we to know what will and will not work well for each purpose, and when high-tech rope may not be the right choice at all?

The good news is that I have an oracle we can refer to, his name is Jay Maloney. He has been our rigger for 25 years, during which we have sailed our boat over 100,000 miles. And each time we returned from a cruise, Jay and I have combined what I had learned in all those miles with what he had learned from rigging hundreds of boats, to improve our running rigging.

All this came together when we replaced our aging and cracked mast in 2005 and, at the same time, replaced most of the running rigging. Since then we have tweaked a couple of things, but now there is nothing that we would change.

So I’m going to share exactly what rope we use for each purpose, and why, including brand names.

Let’s dig in:

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More Articles From Online Book: Sail Handling and Rigging Made Easy:

  1. Six Reasons To Leave The Cockpit Often
  2. Don’t Forget About The Sails
  3. Your Mainsail Is Your Friend
  4. Hoisting the Mainsail Made Easy—Simplicity in Action
  5. Reefs: How Many and How Deep
  6. Reefing Made Easy
  7. Reefing From The Cockpit 2.0—Thinking Things Through
  8. Reefing Questions and Answers
  9. A Dangerous Myth about Reefing
  10. Mainsail Handling Made Easy with Lazyjacks
  11. Topping Lift Tips and a Hack
  12. 12 Reasons The Cutter Is A Great Offshore Voyaging Rig
  13. Cutter Rig—Should You Buy or Convert?
  14. Cutter Rig—Optimizing and/or Converting
  15. Cruising Rigs—Sloop, Cutter, or Solent?
  16. Sailboat Deck Layouts
  17. The Case For Roller-Furling Headsails
  18. UV Protection For Roller Furling Sails
  19. In-Mast, In-Boom, or Slab Reefing—Convenience and Reliability
  20. In-Mast, In-Boom, or Slab Reefing —Performance, Cost and Safety
  21. The Case For Hank On Headsails
  22. Making Life Easier—Roller Reefing/Furling
  23. Making Life Easier—Storm Jib
  24. Gennaker Furlers Come Of Age
  25. Swept-Back Spreaders—We Just Don’t Get It!
  26. Q&A: Staysail Stay: Roller Furling And Fixed Vs Hanks And Removable
  27. Rigid Vangs
  28. Rigging a Proper Preventer, Part 1
  29. Rigging a Proper Preventer—Part 2
  30. Amidships “Preventers”—A Bad Idea That Can Kill
  31. Keeping The Boom Under Control—Boom Brakes
  32. Downwind Sailing, Tips and Tricks
  33. Downwind Sailing—Poling Out The Jib
  34. Setting and Striking a Spinnaker Made Easy and Safe
  35. Ten Tips To Fix Weather Helm
  36. Running Rigging Recommendations—Part 1
  37. Running Rigging Recommendations—Part 2
  38. Two Dangerous Rigging Mistakes
  39. Rig Tuning, Part 1—Preparation
  40. Rig Tuning, Part 2—Understanding Rake and Bend
  41. Rig Tuning, Part 3—6 Steps to a Great Tune
  42. Rig Tuning, Part 4—Mast Blocking, Stay Tension, and Spreaders
  43. Rig Tuning, Part 5—Sailing Tune
  44. 12 Great Rigging Hacks
  45. 9 Tips To Make Unstepping a Sailboat Mast Easier
  46. Cruising Sailboat Spar Inspection
  47. Cruising Sailboat Standing Rigging Inspection
  48. Cruising Sailboat Running Rigging Inspection
  49. Cruising Sailboat Rig Wiring and Lighting Inspection
  50. Cruising Sailboat Roller Furler and Track Inspection
  51. Download Cruising Sailboat Rig Checklist
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Dick Stevenson

Hi John,
Nice job and appreciated, as I have been out of the loop in this area for a while now.
One thought: I moved to HM asymmetrical spinnaker sheets for a couple of reasons: they are much lighter in general, which makes a difference in light air and, when dipped in the water, they shed the water and retain their lightness rather than Dacron which acts like a sponge and gets very heavy and drags the sail shape down. (We have 2 sets of asym sheets: very small diameter light air sheets and also sheets for when the air is medium velocity and above, both HM.) The shock loading potential is mitigated by the halyard being double braid Dacron.
And another: the chafe you experienced in your reef pennants may be an artifact of bigger mainsail loads. I have been quite surprised, and quite pleased, that the reef pennants on my 40 foot boat have almost 20 years and 50,000 miles on them (1/2 inch double braid Dacron) and are still looking fine. I might have thought that the tight turning radius of HM lines through the sail might be hard on HM lines, so it is good to hear that that has not occurred to you.
I also have experienced the pleasure (again a surprise) of both handling the line and man-handling the bundle (especially when wet) of smaller diameter lines when going to HM halyards. That alone is worth a lot.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy


I use plain 3/16” Amsteel for reef lines for my main with a cover spliced on at the clutch/winch end. The slippery nature of the line is great running through the boom and cringle. The line is very light and so there is no audible flapping of the line against the sail while underway.


I have Paul’s set up for reefing lines with the advantages he notes. Twice I have had a reefing line jam between the sheave and cheek of the block meant for larger line, just as you warn. Once I had to rolling hitch a line to the reef line and take it to a cockpit winch to unjam it. I feel I must change the lines or the blocks.

Matt Marsh

I wish blocks were built to tighter tolerances, but no, the larger ones always seem to have a great big gap between sheave and cheek. I have yet to learn a good reason why this should be so. It just is.
Reducing that gap enough that a thinner line won’t jam always seems to require going to a smaller block, i.e. weaker load ratings on the hardware and a tighter turn for the line. I don’t consider that to be acceptable.
I’ve come across a rare handful of blocks that don’t mangle thinner high-modulus lines for breakfast, but they tend to be fancy, marketed for racing, and horrifically expensive. Hint hint, Harken & Lewmar & friends…..


Hi John,

thank you for another timely article just as I was about to look for new halyards to replace the old steel / rope braided ones.

One small recommendation for improvement of the chapter and to reduce the confusion: Could you please mention the difference between Spectra and Dyneema and what kind of Dyneema is the good one (SK-??) ?

When I started to look for comparable lines to those you mentioned available to me in Europe, all I was left with was confusion. If you have similar European products to recommend, please do so.

Colin Speedie

Hi John
I have used composite halyards for years on my last two boats and would always wish to do so, but when we specified a Dyneema based line for our Ovni main halyard where the lines are led aft too the cockpit we had difficulty with it slipping in the clutch. After much experimentation we drew a blank and ended up with a larger diameter Kevlar based halyard. This didn’t end well as readers of my posts will be aware.
So when it finally died the season before last we were confronted with the same difficulty. We wanted a low stretch halyard, but really didn’t want to be sleeving the halyard in way of the clutch points. Acting on advice from the Yacht Shop in Halifax N.S. we eventually opted for a Maffioli Powergrip 12mm (2mm down) halyard. This is a double braid polyester outer with a Dyneema SK78 core and it has proved to be perfect – lighter, stronger, no (appreciable) creep and no slippage problem with the clutch at all. And it was good price, too.
So for anyone with similar slippage problems, it’s definitely worth a look.

Eric Klem

Hi John,

I have come to basically the same conclusion as you for what type of line we should use for different pieces of running rigging. Going to dyneema core halyards was an enormous improvement for our boat, especially when the wind is stronger. I have used a combination of New England Ropes and Samson products with good results. For example, I find that Sta-Set works with our jib sheet winches better than XLS as it holds it circular shape a bit better but generally I like both brands although our boat has much more Samson on it. The one line that I will not use is Sta-Set X, I find that there are other lines out there that are at least as good for the application and are easier to splice and coil. I have been sailing mostly coastal the last several years but even with this comparatively easier use, I have been able to tell a significant difference in chafe of certain lines thanks to the lower stretch.

The one place where we currently differ is in our traveler line where we use double braid nylon. This helps to dampen slamming but has a very small effect on performance as the traveler is rarely loaded in the horizontal very much. If you want perfect fine tuning of traveler position, it is certainly harder to tune but the difference is relatively small. I know that some people use climbing rope in this application but I have no experience with it.

With improving all of our running rigging, one thing that became obvious was that our sheaves needed replacing too so we are doing all of them this winter.



While not about line per se, just wanted to say I have used Jay Maloney for rigging for about 15 years, and he is one of my most trusted, go to people I rely on. Surprised and glad to see him in this chapter.


Stein Varjord

Hi John.

I support all you say. It’s surprising how much difference there is between the right rope and the not so right one. I have some additional thoughts.

John mentions the basic rule of equipment, that it should be tested in the relevant use for 20 years or so before it should be deemed reliable. I fully support that rule, but I still tend to look for new solutions when I think the standard ones are not ideal. I can do that, since I have the experience to evaluate a solution and the skill and equipment to fix it at sea if necessary. For most cruisers, that attitude is probably not smart.

I don’t race seriously anymore, but still pay attention to developments. In extreme racing like Formula classes and IMOCA, equipment development is decades ahead of other racing classes and those races are the most brutal testing thinkable. So, I think one might consider if some of their equipment is tested well enough to be trusted, even if it’s been in use less time.

As some here will have read in previous comments, I mostly sail multihulls and have my background in extreme boat racing. This type of boats have extreme loads in the rig and the reasoning in this article MUST be followed properly. Still, there are a couple of related solutions that can be interesting to know about, perhaps also for normal cruisers:

There’s apparently a new type of rope covers coming now. Probably more rope makers have it, but here in the Netherlands, pretty much all the elite level sailors in dinghies and keelboats have this year changed to ropes from french Corderie Lancelin. I don’t know the model name. They are normal double braid, but seem to have a finer tighter weave in the cover, which also apparently has some high modulus fibres. Smaller racing boats nowadays tend to wear out most of the ropes in one or two races. These new ropes last a whole season without signs of wear. Expensive but still much cheaper.

In that context, Paul mentions something above here: “I use plain 3/16” Amsteel for reef lines for my main with a cover spliced on at the clutch/winch end.” I assume this is the same as we used much on the Formula 18 and such. Normal Spectra/Dyneema core rope. The part that would never be hand held, because it was inside the mast or in a pulley system, we’d cut off the cover to save weight and reduce friction. The remaining cover was then spliced into the core to make a smooth transition and make sure it wouldn’t slide. Works better than a fully covered rope, but as John mentions, it needs attention to detail as the thin slippery core can easily jam into tiny cracks.

Reefing hooks have become the only used solution in the extreme classes. In the nineties we made complicated and clumsy versions ourselves, but now very simple and foolproof versions can be bought off the shelf. I like the best. The point is that the reef line can be very light because it’s not loaded. It just pulls the sail onto the hook. All the load goes on the hook, so there will be no wear and no flex. Reefing goes faster and safer. The attachments on the boom etc must be adapted, and perhaps rings or so set in the sail, so it’s not a five minute job to implement, but still relatively easy on most boats.

To get a similar advantage on halyards, halyard locks have become usual. All the IMOCA boats use it. At least 80% of them use Karver-systems. A 60 foot crazy fast boat sailed around the world, solo, non stop…. Tested! These guys only use equipment that never (!) fails. The lock is lashed at the top and the halyard goes through it. No control lines or anything. Just pull the halyard. First pull, it locks. Second pull, it releases. And so on. They have versions with work loads from 2 to 12 tons. Breaking loads are twice that. Halyard locks mean much lighter halyards, zero flex and much lower loads on the mast, as the halyard compression disappears.

I’d like to repeat: These points were just to give ideas for solving problems some might have in this context. They’re not meant as recommendations all should follow. However, I do think most will benefit from having a look at the reefing hooks. That’s a clear improvement over the traditional system.


Again, very useful article. Thanks John. And thanks for Stein for mentioning those Karver-gizmos, they’re very interesting!
FWIW, I found a video on UT on how those reef hooks work. Quite clever:

Stein Varjord

Hi John
I fully understand your fears about halyard locks. Not being able to get a sail down is unacceptably dangerous. However, this can also happen with plain rope halyards jamming somewhere. Especially double halyards are vulnerable. I never want that again….

The halyard locks from Karver-systems are quite different from what was used some years ago. Very simple and robust. Made “to last forever”. Still they are, of course, one more item that could fail and in a hard to reach place.

There’s no way to remove all possibilities for failure. Still, these locks are supposed to be made so they will stop locking before they stop releasing, and they have very few and simple parts. My take on them is that they are a risk but that they reduce other problems and risks more, so the result might be lower risk of dramatic problems.

I forgot to comment something in my already too long comment above. You explain it in the main piece and Drew and others mention it, WHY some ropes should be low stretch and others can or should be high stretch. It’s obvious to you, but some readers have less experience, so it might be worthwhile trying to make it clear:

Most sails relevant for cruising are stretched in three directions,
1. Up, halyard
2. Down forwards, clew, cunningham…
3. Down aft, sheet.
All three directions influence the shape and angles of the sail.

In a gust, they will all stretch and the shape of the sail will change. The stretch between 1 and 2 will make the luff looser, the sail shape deeper and move the depth aft in the sail. This increases the heeling forces, which is the opposite of what we want in a gust.

The stretch of item 3 reduces the leach tension, which spills some power, especially in the top of the sail, which is exactly what we want in a gust, to even things out a bit.

There are more sail shape related items. They are quite similar in effect to the above issues, but have different controls. Mast negative bend (middle moving aft in gusts) and head stay sagging have even worse effect than a looser luff. Bad. Boom outhaul or reef line flex makes the sail deeper. Bad. Main sheet traveller line flex has the same effect as sheet flex. Good. And so on.

This is very superficial, but my point is to show the inexperienced that rigs have some fairly simple basic principles one can use to understand where one should look for improvements. Most rigs can be improved significantly by simple remedies.

John Christopher

Hi John and Stein and all,

Thank you for a great article. The overall article and comments have provided a wealth of insights and information to my wife and I who have far less experience. The 3 points above really helped clarify a lot. We realize this site is a place for experienced sailors to go and share their wealth of knowledge, so we limit our questions and do the research on things/subjects we don’t understand. However, context such as the above is difficult to come by in searches. So thanks… very simple to most, but you turned on 2 lightbulbs :).

Happy New Year

/Emilie and John

Sam Shafer

Hi John,
One thing I would say is that not every dyneema/spectra cored rope with polyester cover is the same. Some dyneema lines stretch a lot more that you think and trying to find that data can be time consuming. The fiber used, core thickness and how the rope was made play a part in how much the rope stretches and elongates. I have had several high tech lines that after initial loading have lengthen considerably (constructional stretch I think it is called) and this has led to re-splicing. Creep is another issue all together and trying to get those values is even more difficult to get than % stretch at a given load.

Jo mentioned the different sk numbers. The way that it was explained to me is that has to do with the molecular composition. But what it really means to us is: the higher the value, the greater the strength and usually less stretch. The heat set lines are even stronger and even less stretch but can also be quite stiff and difficult to coil or flake. 6mm NER HSR is almost as hard to coil as 1×19 galvanized cable.

Dyneema chafe sleeve amazing stuff.

I have used a lot of different dyneema line on race boats, but do not have long term offshore testing. I have taken the rigging lessons from different race boats and increased the safety factor and applied them to the cruising boat when I replaced all the running rigging in 2016. I then sailed her hard in the winter and spring of 2017 before stripping the boat for the refit with no problems. I am currently in the process of refitting my cruising boat, Morgan 323, and hope to be cruising in 2 years.

Drew Frye

My 10 cents.

Stayset X is terrible to handle and does not last longer. Don’t even bother. Go either polyester or high modulus.

I’ve spliced a cover over Amsteel many times. Often I only need 10 feet of cover, and I have a scrap that will do it for free Since it is hollow braid to hollow braid, the splice is the easy work of ten minutes. Taper and make sure you tension the cover to match the core. That said, I only like Dyneema for halyards and lines that are not adjusted often. If you like low friction rings, Amsteel is the stuff to run through them. I have a tackle on my bobstay (the bowsprit folds), and Amsteel with low friction rings is the simpler, lighter, and more reliable than a system with blocks.

Kevlar. The PO on my PDQ installed Kevlar sheets, and the core failed at the larks head attaching the clew, without the sunburned polyester cover failing! I had a Kevlar halyard on my prior boat; it outlasted the cover, but the core was failing. It does not like flex.

Sheets. Yup, polyester seems better to me.

Traveler. I Once installed a Spectra core line in the main traveler, because I got the line for free and the polyester line was gone. It was pretty. It was also exactly like jibing against a brick wall. A good way to break things. I then switched to nylon climbing rope. Much better. Yes, it stretches a few inches in a gust, but is that a bad thing? Since it is a hand tensioned line, the real stretch only happens in a sloppy jibe. I understand some professional riggers are using nylon, and I know racers who have switched. Polyester is a reasonable choice. But NOT high modulus anything.

As John teaches, the line should be selected for the application. Some like low stretch. Some like lots of stretch. Some like something in between. If you want the “best,” seek out quality before a knee-jerk selection of high modulus line.


I’d like to put in a good word for Brooks Jones and his crew at Sailing Services in Miami, Florida. They have a huge stock and mail all over the US and the world at excellent prices.
We recently renewed all our standing rigging and they were one of the few riggers we contacted that carry metric as well as imperial sizes of 316 1 x 19 and compact strand wire. In addition they have both rotary hammer and roller swaging machines that they test regularly to ensure that they are operating within tolerance. Beyond that they also occasionally test their swages to destruction using industrial equipment.

tristan mortimer

Hi John,
Merry Christmas to you both.
I haven’t ever stepped back and looked at my running rigging with a great deal of scrutiny so this has been a useful catalyst. You say that without exception halyards should be low modulus. My boat is 31ft long with a main sail area of 180 sq feet. Is there not a point where the loads relative to the diameter of the rope required for comfortable handling negate the need for more technical materials due to the minimal percentage of the breaking strain being seen by the halyard thus resulting in less stretch?

Ronnie Ricca

Hey John and crew,

What are you using for your runners from the Crystaline to the winch/clutch? It looks like New England Ropes VPC, is that correct? At least the flecking looks similar.

I’m finally getting to my runners and I have 11mm NER Endura 12 that will terminate with a 28mm Antal ring. The line from there will terminate to a large Wichard padeye to the 28mm ring and back to a second padeye with a 20mm Antal ring. from there to a clutch and the winch. I figured I could go with something polyester but also maybe a blended core rope like the NER VPC or Samson XLS Extra T.

Always learn more coming back to re-read these articles John, worth every penny sir.


Kim Graven

Hi John,
I understand that the world has turned to HM for halyards. But when I 12 months ago had this discussion with my rigger at Halberg Rassy, I asked what will give me the least amount of shafe on the genoa and main – wire spilced or HM. He said wire and I replaced wire with new wire! Right or wrong ?
Our boat is 50 feet.

Thanks for a great source of informationer and a forum for learning..


Hi John,

What are you using for roller-furling lines?
Seems Harken recommends Dyneema core with Polyester cover, but some people recommend using only cover without core…

sebastian Hjort

Good read… Any special thoughts for Genoa furling line?

Harold Breuninger

John. I know this is an older post, but we are sailing a Morgan 44 cc as a liveaboard. Our furled genoa only has a cleat to tie off to. Once we use winch, we always loose some tension. So. We want to add a double clutch. We have 12mm endura braid. Looking for a clutch recommendation. Thanks!

Ee Kiat Goh

Hi John, I am taking your advice to install an Antal Line Driver for my Pole and trying to find the best location for it. From looking at the photos of Morganscloud, you have installed the end of the pole to be roughly the mast winch level (4ft above deck) and the line driver 3ft above deck. That would put the pole about 4ft higher up the mast contributing to weight aloft. What may be your reason for doing so? Thanks,

Ee Kiat Goh

Hi John, thank you for your good tips.

Arne Mogstad

Hi. Can you give a bit more detail on the running backstays? Did I understand correctly that you use “high-tech-rope” from the mast termination and down to the blocks, instead of wire? And then double braid polyester for the block-and-tackle tightener at the bottom? I would very much like something similar on my OVNI as I don’t enjoy the wire very much in heavy seas if the runners are “parked”.

Vesa Ikonen

Hi John,
” Jay had to shorten them by about 6″ (~15 mm) ”

Perhaps you mean 15 cm as in centimeters, rather than mm (millimeters) ?
You are saying 6 inches, right?

Richard Cordovano

Hi John, our Shannon 38 “cutter rigged ketch” (i.e., we have a yankee, staysail, main and mizzen) came to us with running backstays attached to the mizzenmast at the masthead. The mizzenmast is linked to the mainmast by a triatic stay. The staysail stay is attached to the mainmast several feet below the masthead in the usual way. We fly the yankee and staysail together, as intended, and use the running backstays. But I wonder, in this rig, are the running backstays actually able to contribute to maintaining staysail stay tension in a transitive way? Can they “stabilize the rig and stop it pumping when sailing in big waves” per your recommendation?

Richard Cordovano

John, the running backstays are attached at the masthead of the mizzenmast. They are not attached to the mainmast at all. Could that be something you missed?

The mizzenmast has upper shrouds, lower shrouds below the spreaders that terminate fore and aft of the mast, and the triatic stay running forward to the masthead of the mainmast.

The mainmast has the headstay and the staysail stay, and a backstay that splits at the mizzenmast, with each leg terminating aft of the mizzenmast. It has upper shrouds, additional shrouds attached midway between the masthead and the spreaders, and lowers attached under the spreaders and terminating fore and aft of the mast, similar to the mizzenmast lowers. And of course, the triatic stay connects back to the mizzenmast.

As I understand it, the triatic stay in the ketch rig exists to prevent the mizzenmast from being pulled back by tying it in to the mainmast. I have heard criticism of the triatic because if one mast goes, both masts go. Not a happy thought. But schooners have triatic stays as well.

As I see it, for the running backstays on the mizzenmast to have any affect on the staysail stay on the mainmast, it would seem they would have to exert a force *through* the triatic stay to the masthead of the mainmast. Maybe?

As for stabilizing the rig, these running backstays on the mizzenmast do terminate farther back than the aft most lower of the mizzenmast, so maybe they provide additional stability to the mizzenmast? Maybe they tie the whole rig together via the triatic somehow?

The previous owner told me the running backstays were added by the original owner, his Dad, at the insistence of a the inspectors for a Marion-Bermuda race. Maybe they were applying one rule to all rigs? I believe that both the father and the son pretty much ignored them…

I can try to send some photos or sketches, but I’m finding it difficult to make either in a clear way.

I can also talk to Bill Ramos at Shannon, who was there from the beginning. Even though Shannon doesn’t make boats any more, and Bill is near retirement, he was around from the beginning, and the 38 was Shannon’s first boat.

Richard Cordovano

Thanks, John. Adding running backstays to the mainmast at the same height as the staysail stay makes sense to me.

We do have an ancient, 1980s vintage mizzen staysail with a masthead halyard. We’ve only used it on a few occasions so far. I set up a block on the mizzen boom for its sheet, and cleat hitched the long tack pendant to a low cleat on the mainmast. I hadn’t thought about the benefits of the mizzenmast runners in that context.

I’ll stop using the mizzenmast runners for anything other than flying the mizzen staysail, although it occurs to me that they could also come in handy if a mizzen shroud broke. One thing I can say for our rig is that I have lots of strings to play with…

Richard Cordovano

To tie up this thread…

I mentioned that the mainmast on our Shannon 38 “cutter-rigged” ketch has shrouds in addition to the cap shrouds and lower shrouds. A more careful and better informed look at the rigging reveals that these shrouds attach to the same fitting as the staysail stay and provide for proper tensioning of the stay.

John, Bill Ramos at Shannon confirms that the running backstays attached to the masthead of the mizzenmast are indeed there for our mizzen staysail.