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Old 07-12-2008, 06:17   #1
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Ketchs vs Sloops

Never sailed on a ketch, but a lot of the boats that appeal to me for other reasons are ketchs. So looking for input from those who have sailed the rig. Something beyond just that there is 1 more sail on a ketch to handle, but the sails are smaller and easier to handle. I am intersted in this type of info, but more interested in how this really inpacted the overall sailing of the boat. I read somewhere else from a well respected designed that basically said that the ketch design had no advantage and was just to "look tradtional". But then I've read other stories of the flexabilty of the rig.
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Old 07-12-2008, 07:04   #2
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I love mine. It is more work to set up for a sail but it is flexible while undersail.
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Old 07-12-2008, 07:08   #3
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Splitting the sails into smaller sizes, including twin headsails, (Cutter), should not be maligned, and a great advantage in handling and sail balance on different points of sailing. Another advantage is the mizzen staysail, which is often about the same size as a Genoa and can give a boat a major lift on a reach. A reefed mizzen can also act as a steadying sail in a windy anchorage, stopping her roaming about quite so much. One time, when my rudder fell clean off, I steered the boat with the mizzen sail and was glad of it. That most cruising boats are ketches says it all.
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Old 07-12-2008, 07:13   #4
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I liked the ability to sail downwind with just the jib and mizzen with the boat perfectly balanced, and not have to deal with the main. The mizzen made a great riding sail when anchored in rolly conditions, and sailing onto and off the anchor was always easier with a mizzen to stall the boat into the wind. Mizzen and sliver of jib also make an easy way to heave to.

As much as I liked having the mizzen sail, I also like not having the mizzen mast and associated rigging cluttering up the aft portion of my current boat.
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Old 07-12-2008, 07:42   #5
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Just another 2 cents worth.
I'd rather sail a well designed sloop than a poorly designed ketch and vice versa; however I would prefer a well designed ketch over a well designed sloop purely due to the versatility of the the ketch rig. I own a well designed sloop and love it.
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Old 07-12-2008, 07:42   #6
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The other feature of a ketch is that many of the sloop versions of the same boat are not able to go under intra-coastal waterway bridges.
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:49   #7
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Presently sailing my Rhodes Reliant as a sloop while I rebuild the mizzen. We are actually a yawl (not a you'all). If for no other reason, a split rig lets you fly what I consider IMHO, the prettiest of all sails--a nice big mizzen staysail.
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Old 07-12-2008, 09:18   #8
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All of the above are excellent reasons, including the aesthetics of the boat. In addition, with the more modern designs, you get a great center cockpit; which is what *I* prefer.
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Old 07-12-2008, 09:29   #9
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My wish list would be a cutter/ketch. Ketch allows for easily shortened sail in a blow (furl the main). Also a great place to hang wind generators, radar,etc.. Also would echo comment above from Wotname... A good designed anything is better than a bad design.
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Old 07-12-2008, 11:55   #10
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A ketch makes a lot of sense if you are "Over 50" (the skipper is over 50 years old or the boat is over 50 feet long - or both!) It is astonishing how much smaller and lighter the sails, rigging, and sheet loads become with the shorter mainmast of a ketch.

I think one useful measure of "not too much boat" is if a skipper can lift his largest sail without help.

Carl
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Old 07-12-2008, 15:08   #11
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I don't think it says it all at all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
That most cruising boats are ketches says it all.
Jolly Roger -- I don't know where you are cruising (if you really are), but here in the South Pacific, where most boats have done a lot of miles to just get here, the commonest rig by far is sloop/.cutter. It is also interesting to note how many cruising ketches have removed sail and boom from the mizzen, and use it exclusively as an expensive radar mount!

I don't think that there is anything inherently wrong with a divided rig, but the added complexity, cost and windage doesn't seem worthwhile in boats of reasonable size (say less than 50 feet or so). Modern sail handling hardware has reduced the necessity for reducing individual sail sizes, even for us geriatric (I'm 70) folks, and so far I can manage everything on our 46' sloop/cutter. Everything, that is, except carrying the mains'l, but one doesn't have tpo do that very often!

Finally, storm management may indeed be easier using mizzen and storm jib, but there are certainly ways to accomplish the same results with other rigs. I reckon that in the end it will be an emotional decision for each of us when deciding what boat to fall in lust with. What fun it all is...

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone, Qld Oz
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Old 07-12-2008, 15:56   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
A ketch makes a lot of sense if you are "Over 50" (the skipper is over 50 years old or the boat is over 50 feet long - or both!) It is astonishing how much smaller and lighter the sails, rigging, and sheet loads become with the shorter mainmast of a ketch.

I think one useful measure of "not too much boat" is if a skipper can lift his largest sail without help.
I assume that you are speaking from experience and so for your own decrepit aged self .

I am WELL over 50 and I have no problems handling overlapping genoa and main on a 40 foot sloop including lifting them .

If one wants to go for light sail handling then power boats are by far much better choices for that than ketches/yawls .
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Old 07-12-2008, 16:08   #13
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I was under the impression that a (true) cutter would perform better into weather than any other sail configuration. Also sail management is easier on a cutter because of the small main. Let's face it, most of the time, the wind is coming from the wrong direction if you're a sailor like me, and it's certainly an advantage to have a boat which goes where you want it to go, instead of motoring.
I once had a Hunter 54 which was cutter rigged, and it would fly upwind at 8 to 9 kts like no body's business (after just a few sailing lessons). It was by no means a luxurious liveaboard, but it was comfortable for myself and the occasional "visitor".
I know I'm going to have a hard time finding another boat with comparable performance characteristics...
J.P.
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Old 07-12-2008, 16:13   #14
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another issue: I have a sloop. The boat next to us on the dock is a lovely Shannon ketch. I like having a bimini for sun protection during our hot summers. The Shannon has the mizzen mast in the cockpit, and it makes it difficult to design a bimini around the mizzen and boom.
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Old 07-12-2008, 17:35   #15
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In my opionion the only advantages of a ketch are the smaller, easier to handle sails and, for equal boats, a lower center of effort and lower healing angle.

But also, all other things being equal, a sloop will sail upwind better than a ketch and when sailing down wind you don't have the mizzen blanketing the main.

Since I have done most of my sailing from FL to the Bahamas and Caribbean, dead upwind leaving FL and downwind coming home, upwind and downwind performance is a big issue. Sure is nice once every ten years when I get to sail on a reach.
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