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Old 20-12-2006, 21:02   #1
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Cat Rigged Ketch?

Hi people
Ive seen a few of these recently for sale - but I dont know anything about them - do they work well?? are they easy to sail? what are their drawbacks? - the ones Ive seen recently are both ben lexon designed 38s called "revolution" circa 85
Audrey
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Old 20-12-2006, 21:46   #2
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You'd like to think if they came from the board of the late, great Bob Miller [Ben Lexan] it would be a pretty good device, after all he designed Australia II, which won the America's Cup, and he did some good skiff's and other boat's while working for Norm Wright's in Brisbane, but here my knowledge end's.


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Old 20-12-2006, 23:51   #3
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Aloha Audrey,

Cat ketches fly no headsails so it is just main and mizzen. Simple rig and easy to sail. The mainmast is stepped more forward than other boats and lots of times they don't have stays and shrouds although it depends on which boat you are looking at.
Since they have no headsails their best performance is in downwind and beam reach but not a very good boat to weather. For a liveaboard and cruiser that really isn't an extremely important issue since most of the sailing will be with the wind and not beating into it. The Freedom 40 was an example of a cat ketch. I don't know anyone who owns one.

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Old 22-12-2006, 17:07   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cat man do
You'd like to think if they came from the board of the late, great Bob Miller [Ben Lexan] it would be a pretty good device, after all he designed Australia II, which won the America's Cup, and he did some good skiff's and other boat's while working for Norm Wright's in Brisbane, but here my knowledge end's.Dave
Apart from his America's Cup boats Lexcen was responsible for two of the greatest Australian racers being Apollo and Gingko. I don't remember the name of the boat but early in his career he designed a revolutionary 18' skiff. (Taipan, I googled it). His Revolution 36 was seemingly a rip off of the Freedom 40.
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Old 22-12-2006, 18:27   #5
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I have a friend in the yacht club with a Herrshoff 45 ft cat rigged ketch. The masts are carbon fiber so it is a modern version. It does well on reaches but does not point that well. On a reach however it is very fast.
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Old 23-12-2006, 14:54   #6
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Hi all,
About 15 years ago, I was designing boats and specialized in cat-ketches. I was involved with the company that did the Herreschoff 45 although my designs we all called Sparhawks (36 and 42). We also did some custom designs.
Cat ketches are superior on a reach, decent running, and not all that bad to windward. You see, I have never designed one that wouldn't go to windward all day with nobody at the helm. How high they point is a function of the quality of the masts and how well the sailmaker shapes the sails to account for the bend-off at the tips. The better ones actually point very well. In racing, I found that we got clobbered to windward between 8 and 15 knots...not in terms of pointing ability, but in terms of boatspeed. That is the range where a sloop with a 150 genoa creates lots of power and we couldn't match them. However, once at the windward mark, we started walking through the fleet on the reaching leg.

But this is a cruising forum. The pluses for the cat-ketch:
1) the bend-off at the mast tips depowers the sails in a puff, opening the leeches. As soon as the puff passes, the leeches close and the boat powers on. So you can wait longer before reefing.
2) a properly rigged cat-ketch should be able to be reefed from the cockpit, so there is no reason to go on deck
3) a cat-ketch with full battens is faster than anything in drifting conditions. During an Ensenada Race in the 80's, I was crewing on Skip Dashews 70 footer. When we arrived in Ensenada, we found that my 36 foot cat-ketch had already finished and was well on its way back to San Diego, winning it's class in the process.

The continued development and reliability of furling headsails took away a lot of the impetus towards the cat-ketch. Sailors are fundamentally conservative and like to get boats that are familiar to other boats. Cat-ketches looked to radical for most, but there are still some who see their merits - like the guy who owns West Marine.
Regards,
Richard Black
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Old 23-12-2006, 17:11   #7
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Quijote,
How does the strength of an unstayed kat rig compare to a fully stayed rig in heavy weather ? How difficult is it to reduce sail ?
Regards
Andrew
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Old 24-12-2006, 02:00   #8
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Eric W. Sponberg, NA ~ Several articles on Free-Standing masts:
Free Standing Masts

Modernizing the Free-Standing Rig ~ by Bruce Caldwell
Modernizing the Free-Standing Rig - SailNet Community

An Introduction to Cat Ketch and to Free-Standing Rig ~ Tanton Yachts
Tanton Yachts

A discussion at: Boat Design Net - the Boat Design and Boat Building Site
Rig handling: Cat Ketch, Cat Schooner, Sloop, Cutter
Rig handling: Cat Ketch, Cat Schooner, Sloop, Cutter - Boat Design Forums

Revisiting a Mast-Aft Sailing Rig ~ by Brian Eiland,
Revisiting a Mast-Aft Sailing Rig

For more information Google:
Gary Hoyt, & Freedom Yachts,
Mark Ellis, & George Hinterhoeller, & Nonsuch
AeroRig, & Catalina
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Old 24-12-2006, 08:51   #9
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Andrew,
The difficulty in reducing sail is exactly what you would expect from a normal mainsail. If the gear is laid out correctly, it's simple. Of course, you have two "mainsails". In my designs, we led all the reefing lines aft, so there was nothing to it.
Strength is a function of engineering. If the spars are designed for the loads correctly, they should last forever. I remember a cat-ketch that was doing the single-handed around the world race. I forget the name now, but I knew the engineer and he had wanted to use all carbon fiber.
But due to budgetary considerations, the masts had to be made with a mix of carbon fiber and S-glass. They still worked well.
As it came to pass, the boat was rolled and then pitchpoled off the Cape of Good Hope. The keel was torn off by the forces and was hanging by a flap of fiberglass, but the racer was able to keep sailing slowly (the spars were still up) and meet up with another competitor at which time he abandoned the boat. That was a pretty convincing demo of brute strength for the spars, especially considering the use of S-glass.
Fortunately, carbon fiber is cheaper now.
Regards,
Richard
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Old 02-01-2007, 16:39   #10
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Thanks for the info guys
I really apreciate the informative responses I get when I ask these questions, looks like cat ketches stay on the possible list too

Audrey
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:09   #11
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cat schooner

I owned a Freedom 39 cat schooner for 7 years and it has several advantages of a cat ketch. The most important is that the center of effort is much futther aft and you rarely have to reef in heavy air because of that issue. I could also fly a 130 spinnaker, resulting in a 3 sail configuration, between about 170-090 apparent wind. When it really blows (over 30 knots) you will definitely be reefing your mainsail, but you will have conventional control of the boat as you would a sloop if you either bring down the headsail or throw a reef in it, but in whatever case the schooner blows the ketch out of the water and my pointing ability was not bad at all because once again the main drive is the mainsail which is further aft. Another consideration is that you always work on the largest sail first in a blow and with the schooner you are in a less exposed area by working amidship instead of the bow.

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Old 14-02-2010, 11:40   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
I have a friend in the yacht club with a Herrshoff 45 ft cat rigged ketch. The masts are carbon fiber so it is a modern version. It does well on reaches but does not point that well. On a reach however it is very fast.
Think you could have him join this thread for some Q & A? I'd be interested in asking a current owner about how they sail their boats, etc. Thanks
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Old 14-02-2010, 12:55   #13
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Ask away.....
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Old 14-02-2010, 13:12   #14
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Geeze, I didn't know someone would be right here! I left and came back after reading up on GordMay's list, THANKS Gord, yer' a regular fountain of youth, uh, I meant knowledge!
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Old 14-02-2010, 13:14   #15
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Ok, sailing on a cat ketch rig what windspeed seems to be the top end on a 28 fter before reefing begins? You'd reef the aft sail which I presume is called the main, first? You'd treat the foward sail as the 'jib' then correct?
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