Main-Sail rigging (back-stay & topping lift) & Keel Q's

William Kevin Scanlon (
Sun, 30 May 1999 07:00:34 -0700

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
West Wight Potter Website at URL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Hi All,

Thank you for all your advice and help to us fellow Potter Sailor's!

If some of you would please help me with some basic question about rigging. I haven't been able to find a very good/helpful (precise, detailed or close-up) diagram or picture or instructions on how to correctly rig the main sail. Especially the back end of the sail to the boom. But, again, overall the whole correct rigging and threading of the main-sheet too. Any directions to a helpful site or written direction would help.

I have a fair amount of sailing experience (larger boats in the past) and of course they are equipped and rigged differently. This is my first season with my Potter and I'm excited about it of course, but, I just want to get set-up correctly from the start.

I am also a new member of the Winthrop (Mass.) Yacht Cub and will being mooring "MicroShip" there for the season, although, I am lucky enough to have it at a slip for the next week. The sailors there are very helpful I'm going to the boat today to hopefully finish setting her up and completing the rigging and for a sail. Some of the seasoned sailors there had some questions/suggestions that I really couldn't yet answer about the Potter 19.

1) They were surprised to see that the Potter didn't have a back-stay or a topping lift. When I told them there is a Potter owner selling an after-market back-stay kit (that I was intending to purchase) they felt if the boat was not designed or engineered to have one then it probably isn't necessary to add one.

When I told them about the supposed benefits of adding a back-stay [improved stability in heavy weather, better sail shaping and a place to hang or add a topping lift] they felt I (we) should be able to add a topping lift without adding a back stay. Actually they feel there's probably a topping lift mechanism already but that I have just rigged it wrong. They also think that with or without a back-stay I probably don't want to be heavy-weather sailing. I agree, but if I (we) got surprised by a bad weather change it would be nice to have the added feature. These people (sailors) are very nice an helpful and quickly becoming friends, but, they are owners of a 33 ft. Catalina's and a 45 ft. Bennateau, therefore, they're unfamiliar (like me) with Potter rigging/sailing.

So is the #1 benefit of the back-stay having a place to hang a topping lift? I have a main-sail cover but it may look a little silly with the boom resting in the cockpit wit a cover on it. It just might be easier to stow the boom and sail in the cabin after day sailing, but then again if we want to sleep on the boat that won't do.

2) Retractable Keel: Given adequate water depth, while motoring, do you suggest motoring with the keel up or down? In my first and only spin around the harbor the other day, in a constant breeze, I noticed a fair amount of drift. I'm sure this is more a preference issue. And, again with adequate water depth, do you dock/moor with the keel up or down?

Thank you for any help you may provide!

Bill Scanlon
Winthrop YC
WWP 19' #870

"Starting Point Mail"