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Old 12-09-2014, 16:31   #1
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Ketch pro & cons

Hi,
New here, just learning. Would like help learning about a ketch. Am looking at a 38ft ketch and would like to know the pros & cons of this as opposed to a single mast.
Thank You
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Old 12-09-2014, 16:54   #2
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

I've never been on a Ketch, but I understand that having two smaller sails makes sail-handling (especially short-handed I'd imagine) easier. I'm sure there's lots of other pros/cons others will chime in with -
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Old 12-09-2014, 18:10   #3
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

Sailed both ketch and sloop. Depends on the boat and sailor. My generic reply without knowing more about the particular boat at hand or your sailing ambitions: More possible sail configurations, easier to balance, doesn't typically point as well, possibly more of a handful if you're sailing solo as there are more lines to manage. Depends on your set up really.

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Old 12-09-2014, 18:20   #4
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

I had sloops from 1962 to 1985 and a ketch from 1985 to present. Here's my thought:
-Advantage of the sloop:
Better sailing performance
Simplicity of rigging
-Advantage of the Ketch:
Lower required vertical clearance
More sail configurations

...and then the meaningless thought,- the ketch sure is pretty!

.... oh, yes. 'more places to string a hammock on a ketch!
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Old 12-09-2014, 18:39   #5
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

Think about a heavy weather situation. Drop the main and you still have a balanced rig without reefing.

The cons? 2 masts mean just that. 2 spars need their own rigging. You should not have the 2 masts linked in any way - it makes both masts vulnerable in the event you lose one. More sails (which is also a pro - more sail options).

Your overall rig is shorter so your mainsail is a bit smaller and easier to handle. You won't be able to point as well as a sloop but that isn't much of an issue. The only folks who really need to point are racing and they wouldn't have a ketch rig anyway. You can hang your radar and wind gen from the mizzen with shorter runs on wiring.

Makes solar panel placement more challenging.

It just looks so darn pretty.
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Old 12-09-2014, 19:25   #6
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

+ mizzenmast can be good location for radar radome mounting
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Old 12-09-2014, 19:42   #7
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

Can't say much more. I've owned both. Ketch was prettier and rigging a mizzen staysail was a whole lot of fun. Lots more maintenance though. You have two of everything when it comes to standing and running rigging.
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Old 12-09-2014, 19:51   #8
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

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Originally Posted by crazyoldboatguy View Post
You won't be able to point as well as a sloop but that isn't much of an issue. The only folks who really need to point are racing
I really don't get this. Does this mean that if you have to go to windward, you just start the motor? Or you that don't care how long it takes? Personally, I find windward performance to be pretty important, racing or not.
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Old 12-09-2014, 20:02   #9
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

Doesn't point as high, meaning it'll take a few more tacks to get upwind. How many more and how much longer it'll take depends on the boat and the sailor. If you're in a hurry to get anywhere sailing usually isn't the way to go anyway.

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Old 12-09-2014, 20:34   #10
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

It is hard to be with a kvetch, but I love the looks of a ketch.
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Old 12-09-2014, 20:40   #11
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

For what it is worth, I have sailed a Bruce Roberts 36' steel ketch on my own, for the past 12 years in Queensland and south east Asia and found the configuration easy to handle in all conditions except winds above 50 knots, when it blows hard you just reduce sail by taking the main down and use a number 2 jib. It is, in my opinion the best configuration for single handing or small crews
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Old 12-09-2014, 21:34   #12
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

Sandy stone, going upwind is something cruisers will avoid when making long passages. Beating into the wind in a race is one thing. Doing it for a month is another. If you have to, you do it. Most long passages take advantage of trade winds and go "downhill". You lose a few points of wind in a ketch - still quite possible but not as efficient.
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Old 12-09-2014, 21:57   #13
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

We've owned our ketch for 18 years now and have sailed her almost 50,000 miles. In truth, we actually don't fly our mizzen very often but its benefits justify its existence.

Our boat balances extremely well. On a beam reach, I can let go of the helm and the boat will stay within 10 degrees of her course for up to 10 minutes. This makes for very little work on the autopilot's part.

Also, we heave to by hoisting the mizzen, sheeting it in tight and lashing the helm hard over. The boat will park itself about 15 degrees off the wind, which is almost ideal.

The increase in maintenance has not been a major issue for us. We did re-rig when we were in New Zealand and it was more expensive than it should have been but that's an issue with New Zealand and not the rig.

Our previous boat was a sloop and though we had not been looking specifically for a ketch, but when we found our current boat, my wife and I both agreed that it was the ideal boat for us.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 13-09-2014, 00:50   #14
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

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Originally Posted by sandy stone View Post
I really don't get this. Does this mean that if you have to go to windward, you just start the motor? Or you that don't care how long it takes? Personally, I find windward performance to be pretty important, racing or not.
Sloops, cutters, ketches... all sail to windward. Some characteristics like shroud placement alter sheeting angles and keel shape affects windward performance as well as sail aspect ratio and the length of the leading edge. Ketches typically will sail a few degrees less to windward. Some, like mine, with a less than maximun height, outter chain plates, and a looser leading edge on a "Schaeffer rig" furler secondary to the forestay give up even more windward performance, but I can still manage a little better than 45* off the wind in good conditions.

So, No,- you do not need to run your engine to make way to windward in a ketch, but you will not make as good time.
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Old 13-09-2014, 02:37   #15
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Re: Ketch pro & cons

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyoldboatguy View Post
Sandy stone, going upwind is something cruisers will avoid when making long passages. Beating into the wind in a race is one thing. Doing it for a month is another. If you have to, you do it. Most long passages take advantage of trade winds and go "downhill". You lose a few points of wind in a ketch - still quite possible but not as efficient.
Of course, off the wind sailing is more pleasant. But this is not to say cruisers do not sail to windwards. Whilst at Bora Bora, we met the Australian vessel, New Morning, with Mom & Pop and 2 kids aboard. They had sailed from Queensland to Papeete, which is a long upwind journey. Jim and I sailed from Bora Bora to San Francisco via Hawaii, also an on the wind journey. What happens is that if where you want to go is to windward, you go there, and if you can't tack in under 110 degrees, it's going to take you a loooooong time to get there! So, the first point is that sometimes, for whatever reasons, cruisers do in fact choose to sail to windward.

Second point, passage planning has entirely to do with where an individual wants to go May or may not be an easy passage or a "long downwind passage". If you choose to buy a boat without or with poor windward performance capability, you limit your options.

Ann
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