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Old 02-03-2009, 19:23   #16
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Hi,

I cruised a Roberts 36 ketch for 3 years, mostly in the tropics and found the large light asymetrical was great. I was always going to get a mizzen staysail, but actually never got around to it because I could reach hull speed with the asymetrical in pretty light conditions. Counting reefed sails, I had 105 sail combinations! Some of them wouldnt make sense, but one of the fun things about a ketch that it is so easy to balance the boat. Sailing up the East Australian coast with strong trade winds on the quarter to beam I found the boat was great with # 3 headsail and mizzen. Boat so balanced the auto pilot did hardley any work, the long keel helped directional stability as well.

I did get lazy though and after a while very rarely put the 1st reef in the main. Usually went stratight to 2nd reef, then head sail change, then drop the main.

As for storm sails, I had a storm jib and a trysail on a separate track on the main mast. Never really used them in anger, apart from the storm jib once. Lucku I guess, but I did find with plenty of time, it was reasonably easy to pick teh weather windows and not get caught out.
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Old 02-03-2009, 21:26   #17
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Ketches are great, but I didn't have that feeling the first year sailing Jedi.... I always sailed sloops before and one must get familiar with it, making mistakes in the process.

Our main and mizzen alone provide 64 combinations (3 reefs each) and that gets multiplied by every imaginable headsail (main & mizzen) combination!

Yes, we get lazy too and most of the time the main is up or it's down; only when we really feel like it (other sailboats around) we reef it ;-) But we tested and found that best performance and comfort from broad reach up to beating is main + mizzen + jib, each reefed when needed. But when the sun goes down, so does the main on Jedi most of the time. It's time for drinks, dinner and preparing for the night watches under mizzen + jib which is still good for 7+ knots. Any more reefs can be done without going on deck from that point and taking the main down feels like mooring in a marina slip.

About mizzen spinnaker: yes, the main spinnaker could be enough for hull speed in light conditions but how about medium conditions or rough seas? A mizzen spinnaker needs no pole or bowsprit and is much easier controlled (can even drop it into the mainsail when it needs to come down quick) and it will give you the speed without the need for the main spinnaker. It'll give you spinnaker sails in conditions one would hesitate to deploy the main spinnaker.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 03-03-2009, 00:39   #18
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Thanks a lot to all of you! Thanks especially to Nick - that was a lot of information to digest. Unfortunately I cannot yet perform the tests suggested - everything here is frozen solid with at least two feet of ice. Even though the mizzen in Jedi is relatively much larger, I have no reason to assume that the issues Nick brought up would not hold true also with our Columba Livia.

What I have noticed this far, is the amazing stability also Glen brought up. Last summer at Baltic Sea we experienced a period of two hours of sailing with nobody on helm, no autopilot, but still a steady course despite of some sea. Then I started to trim the sails for more performance and did not get that balance anymore. I really need to the tests suggested by Nick.

Yep, we too do have a very large genny. The new one about to be ready quite soon, is almost 140% representing pretty much 50% of our total sail area. I work with the very best sailmaker here - the guy I deal with at NorthSails has a came to 2nd five times on the world championships on his class. Number of golden trophies for smaller races is so large, he does not even keep track anymore. However, he is a sloop man, born and raised. Anyway, as I have no need to a trophy cabinet and with very limited ketch experience, I will currently trust on his judgment. He has all the details on my rig and he sure knows what he is up to. Should the genny turn out to be too large, that is I guess something that can be fixed.

Our rig is very heavily built. Shrouds of the main a 10mm thick (something between 3/8 and 13/32 of inch) and it has both running and fixed double backstays, so I assume it can hold the all the load. The triatic stay is there, however, it is of relatively thin wire. I assume its main function is to provide support to the mizzen on extreme conditions.

The idea of mizzen spinnaker is very interesting. I have to study that more. Sailing just with my wife or with small children, we have some hesitations regarding a “real” spinnaker or asymmetric for its size. There is also a reason for that. On the same trip last summer I referred in the above, I was not careful enough with an approaching thunderstorm. I claimed it to be far away and to pass us. It did not. The wind had been from 16 to 22 knots for all morning and we sailed happily with all genny, main, and mizzen all unreefed. However, with the thunder, it went from 20 to 50 knots in less than two minutes! Thank God we were beating and not running with a spinnaker! Only thing we could do was to roll the genoa in and continue with main and mizzen alone. But that was not all bad. About 15 minutes earlier we had been passed by Danish X-40 with six guys on the edge, all dressed up to nicely with standard white shirts and red shorts. When the storm hit, they went virtually parallel and made no progress any more, we passed them with almost 10knots of speed and could just witness them taking down all sails and continue with diesel. They did not catch us that day anymore. I kind of liked that…
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:46   #19
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Thank you Heikki

Hi Heikki,
Thank you for an interesting post. We are currently looking for our first ketch after having three sloop rigged sailboats.

We plan to retire and live aboard full time and decided a ketch might be what we are looking for. I have always been aware of many of the advantages of the ketch rig and this forum is adding to my knowledge.

We look foward to reading more of your replies.

Regards, Rick.
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:48   #20
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Hello Rick,
For us, buying a ketch was a very clear and conscious choice. We wanted a vessel to sustain any weather. For us, that meant a few things: steel or alloy hull, full keel or very long fin keel, and ketch rig. As this thread is about ketches, I will focus on that only. We studied quite a lot of material we could find regarding different characteristics of different types of rigs. That included all we could find from the Internet and a few books. After our study, a cutter rigged ketch was the only choice for us. We wanted:
-a very versatile sail plan
-a sail plan that was spread over a greater length near water and would not reach so very high from the sea level
-sail plan that would be balanced also after sudden and substantial reduction in the area of canvas, e.g. after dropping the main or furling in the genny
-sails of the size that could be managed by two persons only
-rig that would help the boat to heave-to easily and steadily

On a ketch, we sure also liked a rig that looked like a real boat and not a toy.

Before sailing our boat for the first time, we had never sailed a ketch before. We made a 10 mile test sail with the previous owners before closing the deal. After that, we just took off and made a 1000 mile offshore tour on the Baltic Sea. I am writing this simply to point out that it does not take any specific skills to sail with ketch. With a few sloops - or just a one - you are just fine.

However, I am strongly under the impression that there is a lot more you can do with a ketch rig than with a sloop, and some knowledge and experience is required to really unleash the full potential of a ketch rig. That is why I started this thread. I am not the one to teach others on this matter, but I am eager to read what the more experienced captains have to tell us. I really enjoy it. All the experience and wisdom they are willing to share. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:00   #21
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Originally Posted by Heikki View Post
Even though the mizzen in Jedi is relatively much larger, I have no reason to assume that the issues Nick brought up would not hold true also with our Columba Livia.
What I have noticed this far, is the amazing stability also Glen brought up. Last summer at Baltic Sea we experienced a period of two hours of sailing with nobody on helm, no autopilot, but still a steady course despite of some sea. Then I started to trim the sails for more performance and did not get that balance anymore. I really need to the tests suggested by Nick.
Well, I'm not so sure. When I look at your avatar photo, my first guess would be that you are a yawl, not a ketch. Your main mast might be too far back for good balance on mainsail alone (not a problem for other combinations). If you can't tack upwind on the main alone, you will not be able to use a storm-reef in the main without a storm jib for storm tackticks. It would be okay for downwind but not with a lee shore close by. This only means you need a storm jib in addition, just like on a sloop or cutter.

Your experience with trimming is normal: full balance does not equal to best performance. But it does equal to best comfort!

Quote:
I work with the very best sailmaker here - the guy I deal with at NorthSails has a came to 2nd five times on the world championships on his class. Should the genny turn out to be too large, that is I guess something that can be fixed.
I don't doubt he is a good sailmaker, but he would need to sail with you on your boat to determine the optimum sailplan, or he must have previous experience with the exact same type & builder.

Also, it depends on the area you sail in. If you want to spend time in the tradewinds, you need a jib that's good for 25 knots of true wind without furling it. Anything else will either loose it's shape or get damaged too quickly. You will never need the 150% in the trade belt.

Quote:
Our rig is very heavily built. Shrouds of the main a 10mm thick and it has both running and fixed double backstays, so I assume it can hold the all the load. The triatic stay is there, however, it is of relatively thin wire. I assume its main function is to provide support to the mizzen on extreme conditions.
10 mm sounds plenty: we have 12mm dyform while the original was 1/2" 1x19 wire. But it never hurts to do the math. Are your lower stays on the main also 10mm?

Triatic: not something I fancy. Try to get rid of it before you take off. The amount of bird droppings on deck alone is 10-fold or more with it. Tell me about your mizzen forestays, size and where they (how high) attach to the mast. There are easy ways to give the mizzen-top more support so that the triatic can be removed:



There is a forward-pointing spreader where the regular upper spreaders are. The stay runs from the masthead, over this spreader, to the point where the lowers are attached to the mast. The two forestays run from the base of the forward pointing spreader to the sides of the pilothouse. Look for the chainplate on the side of the pilothouse to find the starboard forestay.
This setup is easy to implement and gets rid of the triatic.

You can also see how much the normal spreaders on main and mizzen are swept aft. This makes it possible to eliminate the backstays. The stays you see on the main are the runners and the one on the mizzen is actually a HAM antenna that I hoist at anchor.

Another photo below; here the main runners are retracted and only the starboard mizzen runner is set. It offers a better view of the forward pointing spreader and stay on the mizzen. Nasty squall, we anchored 5 minutes before it hit us here ;-)



Edit: that photo doesn't seem to load in the post... it's here: Kielzog foto's: 2007-08 3 St Nicolaas Baai Aruba

Quote:
The idea of mizzen spinnaker is very interesting. I have to study that more. Sailing just with my wife or with small children, we have some hesitations regarding a “real” spinnaker or asymmetric for its size.
A real asymmetric main spinnaker requires a substantial bowsprit. Our's extends forward for 3 meters (10') when deployed. Without that, most sailmakers will call it a "cruising chute" or "code zero" or whatever is a fancy name today. You might want to consider a free-hoisting reacher with furler for the main and a nice asymmetric spi for the mizzen.

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:07   #22
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Could you beef up the mizzen mast and run the main mast backstay to the top of the mizzen mast…making room for a big roach, fully battened mainsail…???

Another sail addition / option I like is the code zero sail, on a non-stretch Spectra type halyard up front; http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/Downwindsail.pdfhalyard

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Old 03-03-2009, 11:31   #23
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Could you beef up the mizzen mast and run the main mast backstay to the top of the mizzen mast…making room for a big roach, fully battened mainsail…???
We have a very big roach; Steve Dashew was actually one of the first to do that, but the trick is to have no backstays at all:

Kielzog foto's: 2007-08 3 St Nicolaas Baai Aruba

Our mainsail would overlap with the stay 6' !! Dashew first developed systems to help the sail pass the backstay but the improvement was so big that he decided to take it further and eliminate the backstay for even way bigger roached sails. Now, so many years later, we hardly ever see another boat with more roach than we have. One of the reasons for that is the major penalty you get with handicap-ratings while racing, if allowed at all. But for cruising it makes perfect sense, just like using two poles with a symmetric spinnaker.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 03-03-2009, 15:08   #24
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A well timed (and interesting) thread as I have some quotes due on some sails. and related "stuff"



Note to self: Must work harder to pay for "stuff"
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Old 03-03-2009, 15:20   #25
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C'mon Jedi...a Yawl is just a southern Ketch! As for Jedi's advice, take it with a grain of salt, as his boat would sail circles around 99% of the boats on this forum. He could hoist his undies and walk away from my ketch...
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Old 03-03-2009, 15:26   #26
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A well timed (and interesting) thread as I have some quotes due on some sails. and related "stuff"

I would have guessed that as a Westerly, especially with the kim keels and the deck color !!

cheers,
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Old 03-03-2009, 16:05   #27
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C'mon Jedi...a Yawl is just a southern Ketch! As for Jedi's advice, take it with a grain of salt, as his boat would sail circles around 99% of the boats on this forum. He could hoist his undies and walk away from my ketch...
Jedi smiles, she's charmed with your compliments ;-) But she wants you to know she is a SHE so SHE could walk away from you hoisting HER KNICKERS! ha! ;-)
Also, she wants you to know that she would never sail circles around other ketches, she is above that. Catamarans however is another story, these need some behavior modification in her opinion and she is known to sail from under their lee forward, crossing their bows to windward in the process ;-)

Yawls... my latest definition is that if the mizzen boom sticks out behind the stern it's a yawl.

I admit it's easy for me to talk about performance because the Sundeer 64's are fast and can even do better than 300 nm per day and sustain planing... but that doesn't mean that optimal sailplans and trimming doesn't help for all boats! If we get that wrong, we could never go into sustained plane and would be limited to hull speed... Dashew has done 340, 380 per day (but he breaks booms etc. ;-)

If the average ketch (or sloop) would change over to a big roached main and mizzen, tri-radial cut, loose footed and all, and match jib size for balance (also tri-radial cut, high aspect maybe), the result would be:

- much more speed, it would become a different boat.
- much less heeling, comfort levels would increase enormously. Good for WAF!!!!! (Wife Approval Factor for those uninitiated). Less heeling leads back to more speed!
- much less surface area needed for equal performance; maybe even mast can be shortened! Nothing gets better than that for short-handed sailing.
- much less need for reefing as the sails can be flattened and thus de-powered. We never had the need to change sails during squalls! (but sail defensive to start with)

There's more that I can't think of now. The only requirement for this is the wish, drive and love to sail, putting stuff like the color of the linnens used belowdecks lower on the list and some $ to implement. When you need new sails anyway, it's not much more $ to make improvements. The sailmakers all switch to CAD/CAM for designing and making the sails so the optimal shape doesn't cost much extra. We paid the price of an airline ticket to fly our sailmaker over to Grenada for evaluation of our old sails and test-sailing to determine improvements and got more than the cost back for ordering in the off-season! Think of the smile on my face during the first testsail with the new sails up!! Think of the money saved on diesel because we can sail when others motor! We once sailed broad-reach doing 7 knots in 5-7 knots wind, all night long, passing others motoring.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 03-03-2009, 16:28   #28
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Jedi, remember that adding roach to the main can also add gobs of weatherhelm if the boats not designed for it. We cant all own mega-dollar high tech racers ya know! Also, your definition of a yawl is lame. Everyone knows its based on the placement vs. the rudderpost...and whether the sail is usefull or useless!
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Old 04-03-2009, 00:54   #29
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Well, I'm not so sure. When I look at your avatar photo, my first guess would be that you are a yawl, not a ketch. Your main mast might be too far back for good balance on mainsail alone (not a problem for other combinations).


That is very true. We were actually looking for a ketch with a relatively small mizzen. Pretty much yawl size. On that time, we did not understand much about balance of the rig - not saying that we are much wiser today - so we were influenced by other factors. Safety and seaworthiness in general were our primary concerns. This is not to say that balance would not be a factor on safety or seaworthiness, we just were not knowledgeable enough to consider it. Anyway, that led to heavily built full shaped steel hull with longish keel. With that hull, you really are not talking about performance, however, we tried to consider that as well. In the following, I will quote text you can find from http://www.yachting-life.net/new%20index/frames2/yacht_rigs.htm

"In the 1960s, the Royal Ocean Racing Club of Great Britain developed a handicap rule that estimated the efficiency of the various rigs:
Rig/Handicap%
Bermudan sloop or cutter: 100%
Bermudan yawl: 96%
Bermudan schooner and gaff sloop: 92%
Bermudan ketch and gaff yawl: 88%
Gaff schooner: 85%
Gaff ketch: 81%

In effect, the rule said that a gaff ketch rig has only 81 percent of the efficiency of a Bermudan sloop or cutter of the same sail area, but that was with other things being equal. That's not always the case, and it is obvious that a gaff ketch with a well-designed hull and a slick bottom can sail circles around a poorly designed Bermudan sloop with ratty sails and a rough bottom. Also, the cruising sailor must consider that efficiency is not necessarily handiness or safety."

As more experienced sailors, you know better if any of the figures on that table hold true in practice. True or not, that text surely influenced us. On the end, there were very few boats to choose from where we live. We were just happy to find something we were looking for - similar boats with differently positioned or sized masts were just not available within a reasonable range. This is not to say we would now choose otherwise. No, we are actually very happy what we have. We have a safe boat. A ketch! And with the advices on this thread, it will also move a bit faster. Fast enough for us.
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:03   #30
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I have been talking so much about our boat that I think it is only fair that you have a chance to see it as well:



I apologize for the low quality of the photo. Unfortunately most pictures we have are taken from the deck by ourselves. This is the best photo I have to show the rig.
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