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Old 19-06-2012, 21:21   #31
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

I like a yawl best of any rig. You get a cutter rig with a spare mast for hanging extra sails, radars, wind gennys, laundry, awnings, shower bags, hanging pirates, etc.
Not to mention the fact that you can balance the boat to self steer, back out of a slip/mooring and they just plain old look good!
I've sailed sloops, cutters, ketches, Chinese Junks, schooners, lugs and yawls.
I own a ketch now and it being a double ender, I become a schooner when I back out of my slip! Now I think I'll go pour myself one!
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Old 19-06-2012, 21:26   #32
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

"But the easiest boat to singlehand is a sloop with a self-tacking jib."

A self tacking jib has limited sail area. On most boats, those not designed with a small jib as a primary sail, won't sail well below 15k wind. My current boat could use a 150% genoa in winds below 10K and the 135% up to 20K. I wouldn't be happy with a self tending jib, boom or not, until the winds got above 25k.

A 135% genoa with a foam luff will provide enough force for the boat to sail even in light air, though not as well as a150% or drifter, all the way up to and including storm jib conditions with a furled sail. For the winds you are most likely to experience offshore, the 135% genoa, unfurled, will be the sail. If you've got the typical sloop, a 135% genoa on roller furling is the simplest sail to have. With my reefing lines for the main led back to the cockpit. I don't have to leave the cockpit to sail the boat in almost any condition.

The triple slot that you get with a cutter rig provides more drive than the single slot of a boat with a 100% jib. On our Westsail, the standard working sails gave adequate drive from 10k wind up to about 25k wind off the wind. Don't think you would be at all happy with a working jib in that wind range.

One thing that no one has mentioned is a genoa staysail. We had one on our boat and it was a great sail. It gave the drive of a genoa in concert with the Yankee Jib and could be an almost storm jib if it was reefable. Unfortunately, there were sheeting problems with the forward lower shrouds. Had to move the sheet around the shroud as relative wind changed so sold the sail before leaving. If you don't have forward lowers, it would be a great sail. Investiigated adding a baby stay to get rid of the forward lowers 'cause we liked the sail so much. Decided against it, we wanted to leave and didn't need one more thing added to our to do list.
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Old 19-06-2012, 22:01   #33
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

I will tell you why I dont want a self tending staysail, even though it will bring on more debate. My first experiance with a cutter was a 40 foot trihull. I was crewing and on our first tack the skipper yelled Helms alee and changed course. I was on the staysail winch and hesitated until the jib started to back and then I cut the staysail sheet. WRONG! By loosing the staysail sheet the genoa wrapped around the staysail stay and was stuck. The captains girl friend ran forward and dragged the genoa around the stay and chewed me a new one. Being yelled at by a beautiful topless Asian women is not to hard to take , but I never forgot the lesson. You have to wait until the clew is past the inner forestay. With any kind of self tending staysail you might have this problem and have to go forward which is what we are all trying to avoid. In other words , back wind the staysail for a few seconds before you let go the jib sheets.______Grant.
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Old 19-06-2012, 22:03   #34
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

i think a cutter rig is easier, even though ive come to love my ketch rig. second choice would be a twin forestay sloop rig which gives you the option to prepare a smaller sail before weather hits as well as twin headsail running. The ketch is good because dropping the main is a quick reef but i think the cutter is better in the rough stuff
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Old 19-06-2012, 22:16   #35
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
An unrelated aside, but for completeness on the "sheet lead angle" issue for staysails: Adjusting this is problematic for the sort of self-tacking staysail I personally prefer.
This has a track (curved in two dimensions to keep foot and leech tight so it doesn't flog as it tacks) but no boom (to minimise "foredeck combat" situations).

As others have pointed out, even if the sailmaker gets the clew height dead right (which is not a given), the sail will stretch (hopefully minimally, with a staysail), and different conditions favour different lead angles.

Most cruisers don't pay such niceties much heed, but for those who like the look and feel of a well-set sail, there's an alternative which some may not have come across: the multi-hole clewboard, per sketch attached. Construction can be just like a mainsail headboard.
I have this exact system on my boat. I don't think that the sail is stretched at all (it's made of super-heavy sailcloth), but I can't trim it for shinola. Maybe I'll try the solution in your sketch.
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Old 19-06-2012, 22:27   #36
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

Charlie, again ,I am going to give an opinion based on one experiance even though it stuck in my mind. In 1976 before I ever left San Francisco bay to cruise, I got a sail on a small(20 foot) double ender that a fellow was preparing for around the world. We went out on an ordinary day on SF Bay and tried the side by side dual head stays that he had rigged. It didnt take more than a few tacks to tangle up the hanks from one stay to the other. As you tacked they would snag on the other forestay. It was a disaster as far as cruising was concerned. I know that some of the old books recomend dual headstays, but I would be leary of them for ease of sailing._____Grant.
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Old 19-06-2012, 22:36   #37
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

I got a cutter because I couldn't find a decent ketch. I'm not grieving over it...the cutter's a good rig shorthanded.
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Old 19-06-2012, 22:45   #38
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

As i have just recently bought my third cutter rigged ketch i think it's fairly obvious what i prefer. I just love the ease of handling and sail combinations available to me.....although i dont have one yet, a mizzen staysail is on the short list.....
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Old 20-06-2012, 02:22   #39
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

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Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
Charlie, again ,I am going to give an opinion based on one experiance even though it stuck in my mind. In 1976 before I ever left San Francisco bay to cruise, I got a sail on a small(20 foot) double ender that a fellow was preparing for around the world. We went out on an ordinary day on SF Bay and tried the side by side dual head stays that he had rigged. It didnt take more than a few tacks to tangle up the hanks from one stay to the other. As you tacked they would snag on the other forestay. It was a disaster as far as cruising was concerned. I know that some of the old books recomend dual headstays, but I would be leary of them for ease of sailing._____Grant.
You're talking about a Solent stay, I guess, where the inner forestay is very close to the regular one. Naturally, the narrower the slot between the two forestays, the trickier it is going to be to get the forward-most headsail through it when tacking. But a professionally rigged Solent stay should not cause any tangles -- if the hanks are getting into the inner forestay, then it is simply improperly rigged.

A cutter rig, as opposed to a Solent stay, has quite a bit of space between the forestays. On my cutter, I have to tack a very large (over 1000 square feet) yankee through such a space. I was really intimidated by this when I first bought the boat, but in practice my boat has turned out to be by far the easiest tacking sailboat I have ever sailed. Getting the sail through the fairly wide slot is not a problem, provided only that you don't let the sail get even slightly backwinded. Ease of tacking is determined much more by how well the boat carries her speed through the tack -- and here the hull design of my present boat makes a night and day difference compared to my old sloop.
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Old 20-06-2012, 03:45   #40
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

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To some single-handing is the occasional short trip on nice afternoons in sheltered waters, in which case "easy" means effortless.

To others it's crossing oceans and/or sailing in difficult locations alone, in which case "easy" means trouble free.
I think you are right. There are two subjects here: One is how easy the boat is to tack, the other is how easy the transition from say medium to heavy airs is made.

Ease of tacking for my money belongs to the modern cruiser/racer sloop with their non-overlapping headsails.

But for managing the transition from medium to heavy conditions, the cutter is hard to beat on a mid-range sized boat. As the boat gets bigger, say 55'+, the solent rig plus staysail arrangement starts to look good: Big light airs sail up front, working jib tucked in behind and a staysail for the rough stuff. All on rollers. Great for those long distances, but not so good if you need short tack out of a bay on a regular basis.
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Old 20-06-2012, 04:54   #41
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

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I have this exact system on my boat..... I can't trim it for shinola. Maybe I'll try the solution in your sketch.
Dockhead
Before you go to that much trouble, I should mention there is an easier option, provided firstly that your staysail is not quite full hoist (IOW the luff is shorter than the stay) AND secondly that the problem you have is that the foot comes tight while the leech is still too open

If "yes" to both: To rectify, just rig a lashing so the tack is adjustable in height, and raise the tack progressively further off the deck until you find the sweet spot.
(where both leech and foot have just the optimum amount of curvature)

Even if you end up fitting a clewboard, this may help you work out how much 'drift' you need in the available angles, and hence clew locations.

If you're lucky, the whole problem can be resolved, and the adjustment facility made permanent, by leaving the sail unmodified and fitting a compact tackle as a clew downhaul. *
The other benefit of this is that you may no longer need a halyard winch for the staysail; simply overhoist it and cleat it off at a mark, then stretch the luff by hauling the clew back down with the tackle. It's got to be a very big staysail before this cannot be made to work.

A second consideration which may be preventing the sail setting well is whether the traveller car is sitting at the right distance outboard from the fore and aft vertical centerplane of the boat.
If it's at the end of the track, it'll be too far out for close-hauled work, assuming the designer knew what they were doing. However I won't labour this point because for all I know you may very easily know more about sail trim than I ever will.

* If there's not room, you could instead fit a single-part flexible wire or webbing pendant downhaul, taken aft under a substantial deck-mounted sheave, to a tackle lying on the deck. Remember the tail of the tackle can run back to the cockpit for cleating, in either instance.
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Old 20-06-2012, 05:51   #42
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

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Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
Why not have the best of both worlds, cutter with a self-tacking staysail and a roller-furling headsail.
You still have to crank a winch when you tack or jibe. My rig of choice for singlehanding would be the one you find on the new Tartans, Southerlys, Sagas and other boats: sloop rig with a self tacking jib on a furler and a light air sail, also on a furler, in front of the jib. I would have no problem going offshore with that rig, and many people do.
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Old 20-06-2012, 07:31   #43
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

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As i have just recently bought my third cutter rigged ketch i think it's fairly obvious what i prefer. I just love the ease of handling and sail combinations available to me.....although i dont have one yet, a mizzen staysail is on the short list.....
That's a great sail on the few points of sail for which it's appropriate, as is the mizzen spinnaker. Throw in a leg of mutton/fisherman's and you've got a very pretty picture!
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Old 20-06-2012, 07:50   #44
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

when i say dual forestays i mean side by side - i had a trimaran with that rig in new zealand and i guess the stays were far enough apart so the hanks never caused me any problem, she was a dodgy old girl going up to the wind so i liked being able to rack up the storm sail early. i also like the security of an extra forestay. On my ketch ive recently fitted a second forestay with a quick release about a foot aft of the genoa furler which i use for ocean sailing with the jib or stormy but i wouldnt try and tack the genoa around it
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Old 20-06-2012, 08:18   #45
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

DOCKHEAD, when I refer to twin headstays, I mean side by side headstays which used to be considered the way to get twin genoas up for down wind sailing. It is not even mentioned in modern books, but before windvane steering it was not uncommon. Somwhere in this thread twin forestays were mentioned, and I was hoping to spare someone the trouble and expense of setting a boat up that way, and then have them find out it has some major problems. I thought it was a very poor solution in light of all of the good downwind sails that are available now. Maybe someone with more artistic talent than me can do some diagrams to show the different types of stays and the sails that go with them. Until I joined this forum, I had never heard the term Solent stay. I suspect it started out as a Brit thing and now must be in common usage. Even though I cruised and did deliveries for 12 years , I keep running across terminology on this forum that baffles me. Part of it is from rarely crewing on race boats, but a lot of new technology has brought new terminology to sailing. This old dog is learning new tricks.______Grant.
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