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Old 30-07-2013, 16:41   #1
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Cutter Efficiency Sailing as a Sloop

To those knowledgable to sailing performance of fin keeled cutters (e.g. PC 37), what, if any, sacrifices are there to sailing as a sloop w/ a 100-120 jib?
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Old 30-07-2013, 17:38   #2
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Re: cutter effeciancy sailing as a sloop

Not much difference. In fact in over 15 kts of wind probably none at all.

On our Island Packet 37 the staysail would help 1/4 to 1/2 knot on a beam reach and maybe a little help hard on the wind, and nothing downwind.

David
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Old 30-07-2013, 19:10   #3
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Re: cutter effeciancy sailing as a sloop

I've preferred cutters for many years. In heavy weather you can reduce sails efficiently. In every day weather to about 15 knots of wind the dbl hd sails are very exciting as I approach about 16 knots of wind I furl the hd sail and do not lose much forward speed. up to 10 knots of wind, when I unfurl the head sail she leaps forward another knot or two. Now I'm talking a 50' cutter yawl, and a 23 foot cutter yawl. The yawl part helps me to maneuver in tight places and keeping the bow into the wind when necessary. Off the wind it helps speed some.
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Old 30-07-2013, 21:53   #4
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Re: cutter effeciancy sailing as a sloop

Because of the additional slot, a double headsail rig works better than a single headsail from a close to broad reach. On our W32, ran the double headsail rig more than any other sail combination. When winds got to the point I couldn't carry the yankee, took a serious hit to boatspeed, a knot or so, when I had to strike the foresail. We did not have roller furling but think that would be a great addition as you could set a 120 or so genoa and gradually furl it, keeping boat speed up, till true storm conditions.

We tried an overlapping staysail that worked very well in lighter winds. Unfortunately, the sheet fouled the lower shroud so had to rereave the sheet either inside or outside the shroud depending on the point of sail. Decided to not to take it on our cruise and sold it because of the sheeting hassle. A boat without forward lowers would be able to run such a sail and I reccomend it.
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Old 31-07-2013, 00:22   #5
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Re: cutter effeciancy sailing as a sloop

I believe the theory says that a properly-sized single headsail is more efficient than a headsail / staysail combination. This is one of the reasons that racing boats, with big crew and large sail inventory, seldom are cutter-rigged.

In practice, I thing the headsail / staysail is a great combination. I have a 120% genoa and a ???% staysail, both on furlers. I often keep the staysail rolled up, but in heavy or light conditions the staysail gives me more options. Once the genoa is furled down to about 80% it looks pretty baggy and in the higher winds I run just the staysail:


In a light-air reach I use both the staysail and the genoa to keep the boatspeed up.

The only drawback is that the permanently-rigged staysail can make it a minor challenge to tack the genoa. Usually it comes right over, but sometimes, especially in light air, it gets hung up. We have several ways of dealing with this though.
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Old 31-07-2013, 01:15   #6
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Re: cutter effeciancy sailing as a sloop

See Paul Elliot's post above, no need to write the same post over again. We like the cutter rig and will usually put out both head sails in lighter wind to gain that extra knot of speed.
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Old 31-07-2013, 04:56   #7
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Re: cutter effeciancy sailing as a sloop

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
I believe the theory says that a properly-sized single headsail is more efficient than a headsail / staysail combination. This is one of the reasons that racing boats, with big crew and large sail inventory, seldom are cutter-rigged.

In practice, I thing the headsail / staysail is a great combination. I have a 120% genoa and a ???% staysail, both on furlers. I often keep the staysail rolled up, but in heavy or light conditions the staysail gives me more options. Once the genoa is furled down to about 80% it looks pretty baggy and in the higher winds I run just the staysail:


In a light-air reach I use both the staysail and the genoa to keep the boatspeed up.

The only drawback is that the permanently-rigged staysail can make it a minor challenge to tack the genoa. Usually it comes right over, but sometimes, especially in light air, it gets hung up. We have several ways of dealing with this though.
Paul you have a very beautiful boat. However, I prefer a self tending self furling club staysail cut low, with both booms visually close to the same angle. The foresail would be a furling yankee, A genoa kinda just smothers the staysail. A quick release staysail stay would give that genny some elbow room and solve the tacking problem. In my photos above, the larger Daedalus is rigged for charter with all moderate size working sails. I do not enjoy sailing her with that rig. But she's an absolute pleasure to sail with her larger full set, as is my Rob Roy 23. Thanks for reading my rant.
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Old 31-07-2013, 05:03   #8
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pirate Re: cutter effeciancy sailing as a sloop

Cutters Rock...
and a Ketch/Yawl set-up makes em even better...
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Old 31-07-2013, 05:27   #9
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Re: cutter effeciancy sailing as a sloop

Capt. Fred, that's a nice boat. My genoa isn't a real deck-sweeper, I have the foot cut a bit high because I like to be able to see where we're going. It's not a Yankee cut, but it's getting there. Of course the staysail is close to a Yankee cut, so you're probably right about it getting blanketed. Still, that means that the genoa is providing lots of power.

A club-footed staysail would be easier to tack, but the present setup is easy enough as the loads on the staysail sheets are pretty light. I tack the staysail last, and keeping it backwinded does help the genoa slide over the stay without getting caught.

I have both headsails permanently attached to the deck to make it convenient for me. If I had to go forward to rig the staysail I would probably not use it as much, and the genoa tacking issue isn't bad enough to make me regret this decision.

In any case, there are lots of ways to rig these headsails, and all have their benefits.

One staysail benefit we haven't mentioned is that they just plain look great. Sometimes I get the main, genoa, and staysail up just because I like the way they look, and to hell with the performance!
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Old 31-07-2013, 06:26   #10
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Re: Cutter Effeciancy Sailing as a Sloop

16, 1976 Fred removing the mold from tha Daedalus. Party time!.jpg (279.8 KB) 1983 A comfortable 25 knot Breeze.jpg (148.8 KB) 1984 Daedalus.jpg (405.9 KB) 1999 Cruising Guide to the Northern Gulf Coast.gif (6.4 KB) 1987, The Daedalus.jpg (88.5 KB) 1990 exit Pirates Cove.jpg (416.1 KB)
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Old 31-07-2013, 08:47   #11
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Re: Cutter Effeciancy Sailing as a Sloop

I don't know if cutters or sloops are more efficient, but out here in the PNW a Yankee and a staysail is a great combination. When the waves are up it just seems to place the center of effort much closer to the cabin, and my boat just becomes the little engine that could, settling down and cuggin away to it's next port of call.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:29   #12
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What Paul said.

A sloop is more efficient in ideal conditions, and a sloop's Genoa is more efficient than a cutter's Yankee, but a cutter gives a greater choice of sail plan and wider range of sailable wind.

A really great advantage is having the staysail ready at all times to serve as a storm jib, better yet for that purpose if it's self-tacking and on roller furling. Magic.

It's a good rig for a cruising boat.

But performance? Veteran cutter sailors like to say about their staysail - hoist it and lose half a knot. Strike it - and lose half a knot
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:53   #13
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Re: Cutter Efficiency Sailing as a Sloop

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Originally Posted by hump57 View Post
To those knowledgable to sailing performance of fin keeled cutters (e.g. PC 37), what, if any, sacrifices are there to sailing as a sloop w/ a 100-120 jib?
I've had that rig on a couple 44-47 foot boats. (115-120% hi cut) I find no difference without the staysail flying except on certain points of sail in certain wind conditions..... overall no detriment. What I do like about the cutter is sailing flat in 30-35 knots of wind with the stay sail and reefed main only at hull speed. What a joy!
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Old 31-07-2013, 11:32   #14
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Re: Cutter Efficiency Sailing as a Sloop

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What I do like about the cutter is sailing flat in 30-35 knots of wind with the stay sail and reefed main only at hull speed. What a joy!
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A cutter's staysail used as a storm jib is fabulous -- lowers the center of effort and brings it back towards the mast.

Staysail and deeply reefed main alone produces little heel, no weather helm, and is entirely self-tacking if your staysail is self-tacking. So all of a sudden, when conditions have gotten tough -- your boat becomes a cinch to sail -- the work load has been reduced by a factor of 5 -- best thing in the world when the conditions start to get a little hairy.
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Old 31-07-2013, 11:45   #15
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Re: Cutter Efficiency Sailing as a Sloop

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But performance? Veteran cutter sailors like to say about their staysail - hoist it and lose half a knot. Strike it - and lose half a knot
But I think they're doing it backwards. When I drop it I gain half a knot. Then I hoist it and gain another half! Lather, rinse, repeat...

One thing to point out is that a cutter traditionally has the mast a bit further aft than a regular sloop. This means that the main and foretriangle areas are different on a cutter, so it's hard to directly compare the two. Of course, many "cutters" these days have the mast in the regular sloop position.

But in general, I think that an optimally-tuned sloop will beat an optimally-tuned cutter, all else being equal, in a straight-line, flat-water race to windward. The cutter has the easy flexibility that helps in real-world sailing. And it looks pretty.
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