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Old 29-04-2011, 00:45   #1
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Cutter Rig Sailplan

I need to get a new headsail for my cutter rig. My old headsail is a 130% genoa, which obviously makes the boat pick up her skirts and go really well, but she doesn't seem to need the help of the staysail much.

Somebody told me that the idea behind the cutter rig sailplan was that the total sail area forward of the mast should 100% of the triangle.

It would be nice to be able to have several sails to try out and see what gives best performance, balance, fun etc., but first I would have to organize winning the lottery. So, next best thing is to ask this learned forum about opinions and options. Should I go for a yankee or a genoa? Should I stick with what I have or try a smaller headsail and and perhaps use both sails together more? How about a spinnaker (I have my eye on a parasailor) for those days when even the genoa won't pull enough?

Over to you.
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Old 29-04-2011, 09:41   #2
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Re: Cutter rig sailplan

I think you are on the right track: Try everything. Borrow sails that approximate the shape and style you wish to try and then go looking for a steady 15-20 knots. I can't advise directly, because much depends on configuration...the placement of the staysail from the mast, whether the genoa/foresail is on a sprit, the position of the mast as a percentage of the LOA and so on.

Definitely try to get that staysail drawing. Accept advice from others on when to deploy it and when to take down everything else. I find at 30 knots, I can quite comfortably plow along with staysail alone at six knots or so, but that in light air on a reach, I want everything out. You also will want to figure out how more or less drive forward affects how you use your main in terms of moving its draft, applying twist and outhaul, and so on. Helm response and XTE (to see if you are making leeway) is helpful here. If possible, I would try testing this sort of thing in similar windspeeds between a couple of buoys 2 NM or so apart. Assuming you can find, say, 14-18 kn breezes coming from a 60 degree wide direction on several days over the summer, you should have a far more rigorous idea not only of what you need and how to use it, but what doesn't work. As for obtaining the sails, just ask if you can borrow a spare from a boat with a similar game plan. I find a gift of a 40 oz of dark rum is a customary consideration, as is folding it back up better than you found it.

Contrastingly, I have a yankee jib and want to try a 130% genoa for more drive forward, so I understand the desire to play around and experiment...wait until you try a Code Zero!
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Old 29-04-2011, 10:00   #3
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Re: Cutter rig sailplan

When the 130 on my cutter was ready to be replaced I bought a 110 yankee and really like it. The old 130 was a bear to tack, always hanging up on the staysail stay. The yankee slides right through. I have also found that having too much headsail up significantly affected the boat's ability to go to weather. In 30 knots with both the staysail and the 130 I literally could not point much higher than 80 degrees. Rolled up the 130 and used just the staysail and could point to about 50-55 degrees. Cutters are not high pointing boats when compared to a sloop but I sure like them.

Rich
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Old 29-04-2011, 13:38   #4
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Re: Cutter rig sailplan

My boat came with a 110% yankee on a furler. It was fine for most conditions, and absolutely stellar on offshore passages in heavy winds. I found the staysail added about 1/2 knot upwind, plus it gives you a lot of sail plan options as wind conditions change. Staysail and triple-reefed main is a good combo for really heavy conditions.

The 110% was not all that great off the wind in light air conditions. In fact it stunk. The solution was an asymmetric spinnaker. I've been very happy on a number of occasions not to have a big genoa to wrestle with. Adding the asym filled the performance gap, and since it was in a sock, I could even fly it while single-handing.

If your kind of sailing is mostly 15-20 knots or less, you'd probably want to stay with a 130, but if you're looking at offshore passage making or cruising the islands, stick with the 110 and a spinnaker.

p.s. I had luff pads sewn into the yankee to help it keep a flat profile when partially rolled up. That really made a difference in the sail's performance.
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Old 29-04-2011, 14:46   #5
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Re: Cutter rig sailplan

Hud,

That is basically the same as what I use. For light air I bought a NorthSail G3 cruising spinnaker. They call it a medium reacher, it has 1.5 oz for the outer edges and 1 oz for the inner panels. Works a charm with the sock. Only problem I've had was the first time I let the sheets trail into the water and they got twisted about the prop shaft. Spurs on the shaft made short work of it and I had to replace a sheet. I've been more careful ever since. I also use it with the ATN Tacker. I think it lets me carry it a little bit closer to the wind than without.

My yankee is also North and they use strands of rope in the luff instead of the foam luff pads. They think they last longer I guess.

Rich
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Old 29-04-2011, 16:43   #6
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Re: Cutter rig sailplan

I have sailed a cutter (inner stay about 2/3 way to the top and about 2/3 way from the stem, outer stay top to stem, no fixed bowsprit) with the following layout:

Outer jib: mid-weight/light dacron (about 4 oz, SA about 400) (huge, perhaps 150%), on a furler - full out or full in only, deep.

Inner jib: heavy (about 8 oz, SA about 200) (no overlap), on a furler, furlable to any percentage, flat.

Main: mid-weight main, 2 reef points, flattish, with a flattening foot pocket.

And she sailed fantastic. The only thing missing out was a short sprit to set up a Zero or an asymmetric chute on a furler.

We sailed the boat with the outer jib and main and as soon as the wind went beyond 10 knots or so, we furled the big jib all in and unfurled the smaller jib. As the wind went up we first reefed the main, then furled the small jib a bit in.

With next to nil effort and without leaving the cockpit we could sail the boat in anything from 5 to ... knots.

As said - just add a short sprit and you can fly the Zero or an asymmetric if the wind drops below 5 knots.

If I were to ever change my boat for something different - it will be a proper cutter rig.

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Old 29-04-2011, 17:09   #7
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Re: Cutter rig sailplan

I must be in a mood to post pics of our boat.

The bow sprit does make a difference. We got this boat last year and are still futzing with it. I have got to get used to the genoa. Being way out there like that it is a lot of sail. The staysail is nearly at the stem making it almost like a fractional layout.

I think other 'cutter' rigs, esp. w/o a sprit, would be much different.

But then I am a rookie and don't have all that much experience. 2
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Old 29-04-2011, 19:37   #8
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Re: Cutter rig sailplan

All good suggestions. I was hoping that someone was going to come up with a formula to win the lottery as well. Or even better organize a good holdup.

I think I will go for a 110, the 130 does not like pointing (much like Hud describes) and the staysail alone doesn't go anywhere in light winds. I spend my (sailing) life in the doldrums so I've been looking into the spinnaker/chute/code 0 themes for a while. Has anyone tried the Parasailors? I don't have a pole so I am tempted by it.
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Old 29-04-2011, 19:55   #9
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pirate Re: Cutter rig sailplan

I think cutters are magic....
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Old 29-04-2011, 21:56   #10
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Re: Cutter rig sailplan

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
I think cutters are magic....
ME TOO...........i2f
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Old 29-04-2011, 22:01   #11
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Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
ME TOO...........i2f
Please don't post pictures like that.... screws up my pacemaker....

Just joking.... MORE
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Old 29-04-2011, 22:13   #12
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Re: Cutter rig sailplan

She's causing me to get one........i2f
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Old 29-04-2011, 23:47   #13
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Re: Cutter rig sailplan

Y'all are great! looking forward to putting our rig to work these posts are really helpful!
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Old 30-04-2011, 06:48   #14
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Re: Cutter Rig Sailplan

The rig support in post #10 - how does it affect your stability? Your cruising budget? Your sheworthiness?

b.
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Old 30-04-2011, 07:07   #15
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Re: Cutter rig sailplan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capn Morgan View Post

I spend my (sailing) life in the doldrums so I've been looking into the spinnaker/chute/code 0 themes for a while. Has anyone tried the Parasailors? I don't have a pole so I am tempted by it.
I would steer clear from a Parasailor then. They are flown with the pole - just what you want to avoid. BTW a spinnaker is a sail for downwind racing. Cruising, you will probably avoid running in the first place.

The Zero you will only need if racing.

However, if you are cruising in predominantly light conditions, you may be tempted to try out one of those screecher-like (Zero-like) free luff furlable sails.

- they are very light and big area,
- they are inexpensive (light dacron or 'heavy' nylon cloth),
- they can be quickly furled in when you see a squall coming,
- they ask for no strut, or only a very short one,
- they can be quickly replaced with a furlable nylon MPR sail.

In a word - you will have two light sails - a tight reacher and a broad reacher that can be furled and replaced / removed, on the go. You deploy them from the same furling unit.

BTW If you do sail a lot of light wind passages it does make sense to go with a lighter, stiffer main too.

b.
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