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Old 16-08-2013, 13:59   #1
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Ketch Rig

OK, full disclosure here, I am a few years from pulling the trigger on a boat (kids are still a few years too young, or at least the wife thinks so) and this is totally me just kicking tires and learning about the different types of boat available.

So it's a Friday afternoon and slow at the office so naturally I'm looking at boats for sail. For some reason today the ketch rigged boats have been really appealing to me. Perhaps it's just that they stand out against all of the Benneteau's and Bavaria's I was looking at, but they really seemed to have really pretty lines and lots of room below.

I've been doing some reading about the advantages and disadvantages, but I'm curious what you folks think? What are the real advantages of a ketch? I'm sure sails and gear are a little more expensive, but do the advantages outweigh the negatives? Talk me into or out of a ketch.

Tom

Oh and I'm looking in the 50' range and like comfort over speed without having a motor sailor. Got to keep the wife happy you know. I'd like to cruise the world not just the Caribbean.
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Old 16-08-2013, 14:07   #2
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Re: Ketch Rig

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Originally Posted by Tscott8201 View Post
OK, full disclosure here, I am a few years from pulling the trigger on a boat (kids are still a few years too young, or at least the wife thinks so) and this is totally me just kicking tires and learning about the different types of boat available.

So it's a Friday afternoon and slow at the office so naturally I'm looking at boats for sail. For some reason today the ketch rigged boats have been really appealing to me. Perhaps it's just that they stand out against all of the Benneteau's and Bavaria's I was looking at, but they really seemed to have really pretty lines and lots of room below.

I've been doing some reading about the advantages and disadvantages, but I'm curious what you folks think? What are the real advantages of a ketch? I'm sure sails and gear are a little more expensive, but do the advantages outweigh the negatives? Talk me into or out of a ketch.

Tom

Oh and I'm looking in the 50' range and like comfort over speed without having a motor sailor. Got to keep the wife happy you know. I'd like to cruise the world not just the Caribbean.
I don't own a ketch, have not sailed a ketch but can say while doing the Pacific milk-run I saw a goodly number of them. Here say leads me to believe they are good downwind, less so to windward. Folks I witnessed sailing ketches rarely used the mizzen sail. Sailed them like a sloop. But then many big boats seem to prefer sailing under the fore sail alone, most likely a genoa or roller furling.

Otherwise I believe your understanding of extra cost may apply. On the other hand, smaller, easier handled sails are the order of the day for ketches.
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Old 16-08-2013, 14:31   #3
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Re: Ketch Rig

I too have been looking for a ketch rigged boat, but I'm not sure I'll end up with one in the end. I have such a laundry list of ideas, and while one cuts the field down to slim pickings, the next cuts it to slimmer pickings ...

Oh well.

Under certain conditions, they are claimed to be easier to sail. Of course there is the so-called "jib and jigger" configuration you may have heard about. Helps to keep one from being caught with too much canvas up ... is manageable in heavy conditions. Some people run that way as (almost) a permanent condition. Can't be in a very big hurry for that though ...

Here's a pretty good link to describe some of the attributes they're loved for ...

The Joy of Ketch
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Old 16-08-2013, 14:38   #4
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Re: Ketch Rig

to all sailors, more masts , sails and twine look appealing. But you have to let you head into this equation not just your heart.

Mosts Ketches will be more expensive to maintain, more twine to pull and things to manage. You will derive little extra "going power' from the rig, but you will get better bragging rights, There are great ketches , great sloops and equally dogs of ketches and dogs of sloops.

Sail configurations are greatly enhanced thats true, however with modern sail handling the trend has been to reduce sail configurations, often to just two. So you takes your picks.

Read Evans Starzinger and Beth Lenards transition from ketch to sloop, make interesting reading.

you pays your money…..

dave
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Old 16-08-2013, 14:49   #5
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Re: Ketch Rig

If I were starting fresh today, I think I'd go for a cutter, but then I'd lose one important advantage I have with my ketch and that's lower fixed bridge clearances. I do like some sail options like the working jib balanced with the mizzen in stronger winds. It was said above that many of those with ketches don't use the mizzen. I don't see that. My ketch doesn't balance well without the mizzen. One feature I used to take advantage of when sailing in confined channels was to sail with a Genoa and mizzen staysail only. With these you can put things away without turning up into the wind,- 'very good feature for a gunkholer! ...... still, I'd likely choose a cutter if I were starting fresh.
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Old 16-08-2013, 15:18   #6
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Re: Ketch Rig

On a boat as small as mine (34 feet), I believe that having more than one mast is just a novelty. It is not just a talking point for me - I went to great lengths converting mine to a sloop (from schooner). On a 50 footer maybe it makes a little more sense.

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Old 16-08-2013, 15:58   #7
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pirate Re: Ketch Rig

I like ketches... and they can travel at hull speed under jib and jigger in a touch of breeze... but... ketches under 40ft don't really work that well.. IMO... everything's to close together I feel to get the full benefit of the rig.. another great advantage is at anchor.. while the sloops are sailing about on the hook.. the ketch with a reefed mizzen will sit facing into the wind nicely.
As for the cutter rig... it work on sloops and ketches if designed that way... just slapping a second jib on is not enough.. throws the balance the designer intended.
Owners of Choey Lee Clipper 36's will likely disagree with the size comment.. but they sure look purty...
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Old 16-08-2013, 16:07   #8
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Re: Ketch Rig

+1,boatman61... had a Transpac 49, big, heavy, ketch rigged and sweet either up or down wind. You are dead on, at anchor with a tuck in the mizzen, she just lay like a baby in her crib while other rigs were swimming back and forth on their rode.
In a seaway, easy to balance and comfortable ride.
Only reason we sold was because of health. Phil
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Old 16-08-2013, 18:29   #9
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Re: Ketch Rig

I love some ketches. And I would not look for a boat whose 'advantages outweigh her disadvantages'. Rather find a good boat that you really fall in love with. And if she is up to the job you have at hand, get this one.

Look up e.g. Cherubinis. Why would one care about her advantages or disadvantages if they could sail a piece of beauty.

C'mon, let the sea be a romance, not a factory.

Good luck in your search, fair winds, bon voyage!

b.
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Old 16-08-2013, 18:42   #10
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Re: Ketch Rig

I've owned a ketch for 8 years and sail in the Chesapeake area. We are getting the boat ready for long distance sailing next year, when I can retire.

Here's the best thing about a ketch - it makes me happy. Every boat is a compromise and you will find that everyone who has ever owned a boat will tell you why the ones they liked were good and the ones they didn't were bad. But the bottom line will always be whether or not the boat makes you happy when you see her.

If you find a ketch that makes you happy, that makes your heart skip a beat when you see her - then you will find all the things about her that make her good for you.
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Old 16-08-2013, 18:55   #11
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Re: Ketch Rig

people sailing ketches without using mizzen are sloop sailors who dont know what they are missing buy not using the mizzen and jib combo---my ketch was designed to sail trade winds. what is not to love...besides the lines of my boat are very sweet and sexy.


also--ketches can be rigged to fly all kinds of cooool sails unable to be flown using a single mast boat..
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Old 18-08-2013, 06:19   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscott8201
OK, full disclosure here, I am a few years from pulling the trigger on a boat (kids are still a few years too young, or at least the wife thinks so) and this is totally me just kicking tires and learning about the different types of boat available.

So it's a Friday afternoon and slow at the office so naturally I'm looking at boats for sail. For some reason today the ketch rigged boats have been really appealing to me. Perhaps it's just that they stand out against all of the Benneteau's and Bavaria's I was looking at, but they really seemed to have really pretty lines and lots of room below.

I've been doing some reading about the advantages and disadvantages, but I'm curious what you folks think? What are the real advantages of a ketch? I'm sure sails and gear are a little more expensive, but do the advantages outweigh the negatives? Talk me into or out of a ketch.

Tom

Oh and I'm looking in the 50' range and like comfort over speed without having a motor sailor. Got to keep the wife happy you know. I'd like to cruise the world not just the Caribbean.
I sail a free standing masts cat ketch. It is very simple to sail, self tacking sails, no compression forces on masts and very well balanced sail plan.

My value for the cat ketch was to have a boat that is easy to manage, simple in design, and very safe. Gybes are easy to execute; loose footed sails make it less of a concern.
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Old 18-08-2013, 08:10   #13
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Re: Ketch Rig

Tom,
I couldn't agree more with the comments made by The Joy of a Ketch above. Says it all.

We sailed sloops for 30 years and our ketch for 6 years now. Mizzen is the first sail up and the last sail down. Frequently sail with just genoa and mizzen. Helm is light as a feather. We're not racers (except in this one and only race in Elizabeth Harbor where she won First in Class!) but Calypso is plenty fast for us and we think she looks real fine.


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Old 18-08-2013, 08:47   #14
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Re: Ketch Rig

We too sail a ketch rigged Oyster 435 - in our case cutter-rigged for the best of both worlds. Hard on the wind, the mizzen contributes nothing, but once a few degrees off it usually adds half a knot or so to our boat speed.

It's downwind, however, that it really comes into its own. We've broad reached in gale force winds off the coast of Crete and off the Gargano Peninsula in Italy with just yankee and full mizzen (could have used staysail instead if the wind had got up any more). Our boat was stable as a rock, while other yachts sailing under just reefed genoa were rolling all over the place.

We also use the mizzen halyard for craning the outboard onto our dinghy while on the davits and for supporting our passarelle (that essential adjunct to Mediterranean sailing). Finally, if the need ever arises, I would use a tackle from the end of the mizzen boom to recover a crew member in the water (the mizzen sheet has a quick-release shackle for that reason).

Yes indeed, there are more bits of string to pull and more rigging to maintain, but that makes sailing more interesting, doesn't it?

GORDON
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Old 18-08-2013, 08:55   #15
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Re: Ketch Rig

We got our new boat this year. We've had it in the water for a few months now and it's neat. I can see the downside if the sails need to be replaced but I prefer ketch to sloop now (more to do!)
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