What are the pros and cons of adding a bowsprit ?

Asked by Hans Bavelaar (#072, Tahei)

a. Pros: 1. Increases the area available for the headsail; boat can go faster. 2. Decreases angle the headsail makes with the centerline of the boat. Boat can point better when closehauled. 3. Enables placement of anchor roller forward of prow, but best if rollers are placed at forward end of bowsprit. Moves overall center-of-effort forward, reducing weather helm. Cons: 1.Reduces maneuverability of boat in marinas. 2. Increases LOA, increases marina fees. 3. Is OK when used with a furler, dangerous with hanked-on headsails. 4. Bowsprit tends to move aft under headsail forces.
Lester Helmus (s/v #010, Insouciance)

b. As Lester suggests, the bowsprit tends to go aft, making it difficult to hold headstay tension when the headsail forces increase. It can be bad news when you’re in 35 KTS + winds for many hours. Our bobstay mount was displaced on two occasions while crossing the Pacific. Half inch bolts were bent. We also took a little water on. We think that we have now solved the problem. We welded 8″ x 8″ plates on the sides of the mount. This has allowed us to bolt from the sides. This also gives us the option of attaching our sea anchor to the new mount. Richard Bacon (s/v #043, Balmacara), now in Oz.