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Old 19-03-2009, 18:50   #1
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Ketch vs Yawl

There are discussions about Ketches vs cutters or sloops, but what about the relative advantages and disadvantages of a ketch vs a yawl?
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Old 19-03-2009, 19:24   #2
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I had a 1966 Douglass & McCloud (Tartan), Blackwatch 37 Yawl. Back then it was a CCA rule beater. That small size Mizzen had little effect on the boat while sailing. Only in an anchorage did it help keep the boat faced into a breeze. For the price of rigging and it's sail, it was of little value to me. After that I had the Ingrid 38 Ketch who's Mizzen was much more useful. Now I am of the mind set to keeping it simple and have a Pilothouse sloop. Viva Le Difference.
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Old 19-03-2009, 19:24   #3
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gee, i dont know any advantages of ketches or yawls. more rigging to maintain, another sail to buy/repair/reef/get in the way of awnings and moving around the boat, another boom on which your head can go "boom" and i could go on. double headsail sloop for offshore work, single headsail sloop inshore. IMHO. (this should get some comments from the ketch/yawl crowd)
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Old 19-03-2009, 19:34   #4
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Yawl ketch the meaning of this pun?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.
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Old 19-03-2009, 19:44   #5
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Not that I have any direct experience, but I had always read that, while both provide some easier sail management, the ketch on the mizzen for power, where the yawl tends to use the mizzen for balance.
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Old 19-03-2009, 21:27   #6
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Originally Posted by westsail42 View Post
Not that I have any direct experience, but I had always read that, while both provide some easier sail management, the ketch on the mizzen for power, where the yawl tends to use the mizzen for balance.
That statement is true. Good drive off a Mizzen on a Ketch and if the wind is up...drop the main and run the Jib and Mizzen Main. A yawl is not so efficient that way, My Yawl never needed the Mizzen for balance but who knows...maybe other Yawls needed it.
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Old 19-03-2009, 21:29   #7
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gee, i dont know any advantages of ketches or yawls. more rigging to maintain, another sail to buy/repair/reef/get in the way of awnings and moving around the boat, another boom on which your head can go "boom" and i could go on. double headsail sloop for offshore work, single headsail sloop inshore. IMHO. (this should get some comments from the ketch/yawl crowd)
Other disadvantages are that the boom protrudes past the transom making a windvane difficult to mount and I use to smash my toes on those damn chainplates constantly!
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Old 19-03-2009, 22:45   #8
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Honestly, I think the only real advantage of a yawl is that it's pretty.

But... that's kind of enough. If I ever find myself purchasing a Bermuda 40, it'll be yawl rigged.
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Old 20-03-2009, 02:34   #9
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When we went for a cutter rigged ketch, we were excepting to get some benefits out of that rig. What we wanted was pretty much what we got:

-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 (to resist excessive heeling)
-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
-generally a well balanced sail plan
-sails of the size that can be managed by two persons only
-rig that would help the boat to heave-to easily and steadily
-improved speed when reaching without hoisting a chute (about a half a knot)
-a rig that looked like a real boat and not like big dinghy

Sure enough a part of the above mentioned “benefits found in practice” are subjective. That is very true especially with the last one on the list, however, that was one of the most important factors for us.

I do not know why most of that list would not be valid with yawls with a fair size of mizzen as well. If the mizzen is very small, then it is mainly for looks and balance only regardless if the vessel is ketch or yawl. Right?

Negative issues - when compared to a sloop - include mainly a weaker performance with same area of canvas. Added cost is marginal, owning a sailboat is expensive anyway. If there is a need to save, then the savings are more easily found from other sources, mizzen is not a substantial source of added costs.

Some people regard ketches or yawls as more complicated rigs. We do not see that as factor at all. For us, there is no added complexity, just a bit more work, and much more options. Compared to genoa or main, mizzen is a smaller sail, so handling of it is light and the extra labor associated with is really minimal. Should you need to take the masts off for some reasons, then you sure have double work both ways.
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Old 20-03-2009, 09:17   #10
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If you have enough crew, a sloop is better for racing. That said, for yachts 50' and up, ketch rigged makes sense for racing too (see open 60's) when much of the race is reaching or further downhill. A ketch will always loose upwind tacking from the same hull rigged as a sloop.

Now we come to cruising. If you daysail out of a marina, buy a racer. If you live aboard and do big passages, even if the hull is under 50', it makes much sense to opt for a ketch, yawl or schooner rig. First of all, you're at anchor a lot and these double-stickers are much nicer at anchor (more windage aft, no sheering). While sailing, the rig is much easier to handle with 2 persons aboard etc. Also, you don't care much about the little loss of upwind performance. Many cruisers select a catamaran and their upwind performance is much worse than that of a ketch.

Ketch vs yawl... no question: ketch. Ketch vs schooner... hmmm don't know ;-)

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 20-03-2009, 09:37   #11
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Never had a yawl, but have thought it would be a very useful rig. Advantages: Help heaving to... keeping the nose up, Mizzen mast behind you instead of in your way like a ketch, Mizzen makes a great dingy lift/motor lift, keeps the boat from wandering at anchor. Basically a cutter or sloop rig with a utilitarian mizzen would be pretty cool... worth it?... hard to say...
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Old 20-03-2009, 11:14   #12
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I've owned a ketch and sailed her many miles. I've sailed a 44' Luders yawl not so many miles. If I had to choose I'd go for the yawl. One reason only, it is more weatherly.
As Don Street pointed out, the mizzen can be used as an air rudder to swing the stern over in a tight anchorage. You can sail with jib and jigger just as you can with a ketch but you need to reduce your headsail size to balance the rig if you do. You can also hang a mizzen staysail just as you can with a ketch. Just isn't as high.
Nowadays with my reduced physical capabilities I am going with simpler and would choose either cutter or sloop. They are both weatherly and if the boat is small enough then the main and jenny are not too big to handle.

For those of you with ketches. Have you ever tried sailing with your mizzen alone? I was so surprised at the the boat's performance with just the mizzen when I was out one day playing with the sail plan.

regards,

JohnL
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Old 20-03-2009, 21:40   #13
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Ketch versus Yawl

Email Donald Street.(guide to the lesser antilles, atlantic crossing quide, etc.) He has very strong positions and despite his standing , will respond to polite inquiries.
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Old 20-03-2009, 22:55   #14
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JohnL: Our ketch will only sail in one direction with just the mizzen: backwards. It'll round up into the wind, loose it's forward motion and sail backwards after that while the mizzen keeps the bow in the wind. I tested that with winds between 15 and 25 kts.

It is possible to sail straight downwind, but the slightest deviation will have her round up. When on a beam-reach, I can't steer her back to downwind anymore, not even with the sheet loose.

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Old 21-03-2009, 03:55   #15
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... keeping the nose up, Mizzen mast behind you instead of in your way like a ketch
We have our mizzen right in the front of the steering pedestal with boom so high it is not even close to our heads. Standing there, it is not in a way at all. Should it be more forwards, yep, sure would be in a way. Now it is actually really handy. Serves also as really strong spar to hold on in heavy weather, it is the stand for the cockpit table, chart plotter is mounted on it, etc. It somehow makes the cockpit feel more secure. Plus you can hoist a sail on it, too...

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Basically a cutter or sloop rig with a utilitarian mizzen would be pretty cool.
We have it that way. We call it cutter rigged ketch the mizzen of which is not very large. We sure love it, however, there is still a lot to learn how to get the most out of that rig. But I will not get into that here, there is another still active thread focusing to that issue.
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