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Old 05-12-2015, 14:22   #16
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
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Re: Soliciting thoughts on ketch, center cockpit, hard dodger cruiser

Well, here's a different opinion;

We have chosen aft cockpit sloop/cutter rigged cruising boats every time. Why? Well, we believe that using something like 30 or 35% of the internal volume of a cruising yacht for a sleeping compartment (AKA "great aft cabin") where one spends 8 hours a day asleep is wasteful. C/c aft cabin boats suffer from smaller saloons and galley areas than similar sized aft cockpit boats due to the huge aft cabin, and those are the areas where one spends one's waking hours if below decks. Further, many c/cockpits are pretty small, and the high location does increase the amplitude of motion at sea. The commonly expressed safety from boarding seas issue is overstated IMO. We've done a lot of sea miles in our aft cockpit boats and never had the cockpit filled... never! Spray and slop, yes, but filling or flooding, nope!

Engine room? Well, some aft cockpit boats have superb engine access... like ours does. The engine lives under a large counter in the galley. Counter is on hinges, and when tilted up, one has 360 degree, full head room access to the engine.. lots better than the "engine rooms" we've seen on some c/c cruisers. No space for a gen set, but then we've never wanted one of those!

As to rig... we're kinda performance oriented sailors, and in the size range under consideration (<50 feet) the quoted advantages of the ketch (smaller sails, shorter masts, ease of reducing sail etc) are outweighed by the better performance afforded by the single mast configurations. With good furling gear the foresails are not routinely handed at sea, so that their size isn't an issue. There are various reefing schemes available for main sails that reduce the effort required there, all the way to in-mast or boom furling.

If one's sailing grounds include the ICW, the mast height can be an issue, and in that specific case, and in the 45+ foot range a ketch might be an advantage.

In the end, all this advice offered by others is not of much significance to you. You must make your own decisions based on your own needs and preferences. My suggestions and those offered above really reflect our own prejudices and situations; yours are unique and you alone can decide on the boat design that best meets your needs and wants.

Good luck with your decision.


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , lying Pittwater, NSW fora while.
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Old 05-12-2015, 15:09   #17
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Location: Port Ludlow Wa
Boat: Makela,Ingrid38,Idora
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Re: Soliciting thoughts on ketch, center cockpit, hard dodger cruiser

Though I haven't near the experience of Boatman, I have sailed all my life. What he said distills the actual use of a ketch rig. It's not a sloop with an extra mast. The business about drag upwind is buried in the smaller ketches for the most part. Comments about cost..rigging..sails, halyards...i.e. complexity are true. Idora is a true ketch, in sailing her I have found that giving her what she needs ends up exactly agreeing with Boatman. To some degree it's about what turns your crank. It's a bit old fashioned, but when you see it work and the entire rig is drawing and making power as one it feels like something ancient and powerful...just sayin.

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Old 07-12-2015, 03:31   #18
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Location: Hobart Australia
Boat: Catalina Morgan 45
Posts: 312
Re: Soliciting thoughts on ketch, center cockpit, hard dodger cruiser

Sorry. I misread you post. Further to the Morgan setup, we have a centre cockpit. It's good. Sheltered with the hard dodger and roomy. Because it also has a Bimini over it which is connected to the hard dodger, we get plenty of shelter from sun wind and spray. Never sailed a ketch but have no philosophical objection to them. Boatman' post is worth noting. He is an experienced seaman and knows what he is on about.

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