Mostly tangling with the jib sheets and messing with the spinnaker pole. LOL
Really, baby stays were the rage in the mid seventies as a method to bend the mast and flatten the main. Mast sections were REALLY thick then and near impossible to bend. Pulling the mast forward was the goal, without having to pull on a ton of backstay. Olson’s never had a thick mast section, so this was just…well not needed. Babystays were on early boats and all of them were single spreader. I don’t know when double spreaders were substituted (if ever). Most double spreader boats are “kits” or replacement masts. My boat is #212 and was a single. Previous owner replaced the mast with a double spreader from Ballenger. It also had a baby stay at one point..I could see the patched holes.
They do NOT support the mast in any way, with the small benefit of limiting pumping in a chop. Mast base wedges are all you need for that, so take that garbage off of the mast and deck!
I believe it was a left over of the 70’s. Your mainsail maker should be able to cut your main according to the bend you can put on your mast via backstay. Fat mains are slow, even in light air. (really fat)
I agree with Bruce. Double spreader masts were never stock on the Olson, they were always added later. I wouldn’t use the baby stay for a storm sail. I don’t think its strong enough at either end to take the beating of true storm situations. You can check with Buzz Ballenger or another mast builder to see what they have to say. Setting up sheeting block would also be a problem.
I literally just spoke with buzz about this topic. He is a great resource. I have ordered a new double spreader mast (not a kit) and it comes stock with the tang for use with a baby stay. I will be using a 6:1 (like the Pogo 3) high tech line that is easily removable when not needed (which is often). The purpose of the baby stay is to keep the mast from inverting or pumping too much. The only time you need it is when beating in heavy waves/wind. I asked buss about using this to support a sail – he said its too low on the mast for most sails and would recommend a reinforced topping lift sheave box. He did say that if you wanted to go this route you would need runners to keep the mast in place.
If you look at pictures of ULDBs sailing in heavy weather it is semi common to see inverted masts that would benefit from a babystay.