I have a little bit of experience with cutters:
I used to sail a 75’ Rhodes steel ketch
, “Cybola”, down through the Caribbean
running charters. She had wire runners and highfield levers for each one. The flying blocks were heavy, and wicked when releasing or setting them up in a bit of wind
, I thought they were dangerous and a PITA but was happy to have them when the wind picked up.
I sailed an 80’ Frers cutter (now named Volterra) around the world with my wife, our runners were Spectra, the flying blocks were light and above head
level, we would set them up on the windward spinnaker
or staysail winch. Easy to use single
handed and a pleasure to have.
I used to sail a 154’ ketch
(I think she is named Asolare now) with hydraulic sheets
and halyards, even the Spectra runners were on hydraulic captive winches. It would have been easier had they just been run through a turning block and to a regular winch, but it was not a problem, just takes time with slower turning hydraulic winches. I would not have liked to have sailed her without them, main mast was 200’ off the water
I now have a little 46’ Kelly Peterson
cutter now with spectra runners, they are on a 4 part tackle and easy to use as well.
You can set up the new runner before you tack, then just throw off the leeward runner as you tack, then when things are squared away and you have time you can square it away. Gybing you want to throw it off before the gybe, then again after the gybe take your time and set up the new one and square away the leeward one. Easy to single hand modern runners.
Don’t be afraid of runners, (unless they have heavy flying blocks and are on highfield levers) they are simple to use and very good to have when you need to support the rig.
A cutter is IMHO the best rig for offshore
, easy to power down when the wind comes up and the center of effort is near the center of the boat with a staysail and reefed main. Easy to heave to, easy to roll up the headsail and roll out the staysail, and easy to do the opposite. Cutters need the support of runners otherwise the staysail will sag and the mast will start pumping as you come off swells, and when it blows like stink it is nice to have that extra support no matter what you have up.
Hope this helps,