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Old 02-05-2011, 07:52   #1
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Ketch - Sail Trim to Windward

Hi all, we have been sailing our ketch for 2 years now - and enough is enough! Time to ask for help. We have a lot of trouble balancing boat speed, sail configuration and steerage. This especially becomes a problem when we try to tack, we generally either stall; or go round too far before we get the steerage to counteract the Jib.

Any tips for getting the sail plan right on a ketch when beating to windward.
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Old 02-05-2011, 08:05   #2
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Re: Ketch - sail trim to windward

I don't know if it helps in a ketch specific occurrence but when we tack we usually let the headsail back wind to push the bow.

Also if the headsail is pulling you off after the tack ease it a bit, get the main (and mizzen?) drawing again and then trim.
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Old 04-05-2011, 18:39   #3
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Re: Ketch: Sail Trim to Windward

I used to have the same problem when I first got my old ketch many years ago. It turned out that I kept sheeting in too tight and pinching too high before starting my tack. That's ok most times on a fin keel sloop but not on a full keel ketch. I learned to ease the jib out a bit and fall off a hair to get some speed up before tacking. Its worth a try. Yes, you can keep the jib backwinded just a bit to pull the bow around but that really kills your speed.
Happy experimenting!
kind regards,
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Old 04-05-2011, 18:57   #4
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Re: Ketch: Sail Trim to Windward

No matter what your sail configuration, it's timing and momentum that carries a good tack. If I wind up in irons it's usually because I don't have enough speed, the wind is light or variable, and I screwed up the timing. Holding the jib/genny too long is like putting the brakes on. It should be released and pulled over the same time as the main starts to swing. Some folks actually roll up the genny a bit to get it past the shrouds quickly. Maybe you're paying too much attention to the mizzen. It'll follow the rest.
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Old 04-05-2011, 19:10   #5
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Re: Ketch: Sail Trim to Windward

Sailing a cutter, not a ketch, but principles are the same. With a full keel heavy boat I fall off the wind enough to get speed up, then swing through the tack but keep the yankee sheeted until we've gone through the eye, then unsheet the yankee and let the wind blow her through quickly between the stays'l stay and the forestay. It's all a matter of timing and speed. I'm only guessing here, but I imagine the mizzen should be pretty much self tacking so it's probably a matter of getting the headsails across, no? Also important to round up early rather than late so as not to be too far off the wind when the tack is completed.
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Old 04-05-2011, 20:03   #6
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It is all about sequence and feeling.
1. One needs speed so don't pinch and then tack
2. With "ready, helm to lee" (meaning the moment we never say much more than let's go...) let go a bit of the jib sheet so that the main force is out of the sail. Not completely loose because it will mess up.
3. Depending on the speed of turning you can decide to pull in the sheet when you are in the wind to backwind the jib a bit and give the bow a push as it were (my school was dutch sailing barges that needed significant backwinding to even be able to turn, with a keel yacht it is much easier but this is a neat trick also when you fear you are stalling)
4. When you see that you are through the "dead point" of the tack move the jib over if you do this well timed you won't even need the winch.
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:06   #7
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Re: Ketch: Sail Trim to Windward

Bill,

I have been sailing a ketch for twenty years and I will tell you the the mizzen does not add much at all when beating. Take it down and sail her as a sloop. You will see boat speed as good as with it up and less weather helm. I can sail our Camper Nicolson 39 close hauled without the mizzen and the helm lashed.

Try it, you'll like it.
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:24   #8
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Re: Ketch: Sail Trim to Windward

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Originally Posted by AnsleyS View Post
Bill,

I have been sailing a ketch for twenty years and I will tell you the the mizzen does not add much at all when beating. Take it down and sail her as a sloop. You will see boat speed as good as with it up and less weather helm. I can sail our Camper Nicolson 39 close hauled without the mizzen and the helm lashed.

Try it, you'll like it.
+1 Same thing with my yawl.
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