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Old 18-02-2012, 07:11   #1
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Sailing Characteristics of Live-Aboard Ketches

Hi Everyone,

My wife and I are shopping for a live-aboard boat. Three boats under serious consideration are a Morgan Out Island 41, a Gulfstar 41, and an Allied Mistress 39. All 3 are ketch rigged.

These all look like they would fit our comfort and space needs, but I've heard they don't go to windward at all well, particularly when any kind of a sea is running.

We would really appreciate input from folks who own or who have chartered one of these. We're not looking for a speedster, but we don't want to put a whole lot of money into a boat and find it's a complete dog under sail either.

Which one of these do you have experience with? What do you think of how it sailed? Any other thoughts you could share to help us decide?


Thanks much!!!

Scott and Georgia
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Old 18-02-2012, 08:02   #2
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Re: Sailing Characteristics of Live-Aboard Ketches

Have sailed on a Mistress with new sails, she was doing 9 knots and better out and back reaching. Had trouble tacking the following season, but her bottom was foul. I know two owners who picked this model out for whatever reasons. High freeboard forward. Real sea boat.
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Old 18-02-2012, 08:12   #3
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Re: Sailing Characteristics of Live-Aboard Ketches

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Originally Posted by Champlainsailor View Post
............... I've heard they don't go to windward at all well..............a complete dog under sail.........
Scott & Georgia, First, be aware that you can get totally opposing, yet still correct, answers to this question!
There's a sign over the cash register in Vernon's Grocery at Hope Town in the Abacos that says, "Nothing goes to windward like a 747."
My wife and I have cruisied and lived aboard our Morgan OI 413 Ketch since 1985. This was the original design and not the "Morgan Classic" by Catalina with the cut-away foot and some improvements in performance, but with some loss of the shoal draft. Certainly, all choices in boating are compromises. A sloop or cutter would give you better performance, but you would not clear as many fixed bridges for a boat that size. We first bought a Sparkman & Stephens sloop as a liveaboard boat back in 1971 and it would out perform any boat I've been on since, but I would not have been able to raise our two children aboard that "feather duster"! Yes, I don't point as well in light winds, but at 15 to 20 knots of wind it will do all I ask. If the winds are 5-7 in a rolling sea, the monotonous rise and fall with the flap of sails is maddening, but everyone has that at some point. I like our comfort, space, guest cabin, engine room space, access to waters less than 4.5 feet deep, passage under the fixed bridges at Cape May & I-95 in Fort Lauderdale. We are coastal cruisers that have little concern with passages over 100 miles per day and much gunkholing. We just finished a trip back in December to the Galapagos,- nothing goes to windward like a 747!
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Old 18-02-2012, 08:43   #4
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Re: Sailing Characteristics of Live-Aboard Ketches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Champlainsailor View Post
Hi Everyone,

My wife and I are shopping for a live-aboard boat. Three boats under serious consideration are a Morgan Out Island 41, a Gulfstar 41, and an Allied Mistress 39. All 3 are ketch rigged.

These all look like they would fit our comfort and space needs, but I've heard they don't go to windward at all well, particularly when any kind of a sea is running.

We would really appreciate input from folks who own or who have chartered one of these. We're not looking for a speedster, but we don't want to put a whole lot of money into a boat and find it's a complete dog under sail either.

Which one of these do you have experience with? What do you think of how it sailed? Any other thoughts you could share to help us decide?


Thanks much!!!

Scott and Georgia
PHRF ratings (360+rating = seconds/mile speed for racing purposes, so smaller rating is faster.)
Morgan 41 O/I - 201
Gulfstar 41 - 162
Allied Mistress 39 - 177

My take is that differences under 10-15sec are only going to be very noticeable to racers, how much effort you put into keeping the boat moving, sail trim, sail age and sail choice will have a bigger effect for cruisers.

Rating differences approaching 60sec will be very noticeable.

Having cruised repeatedly on a friend's sloop rigged M41O/I I can tell you they don't point well. I recall that he had problems tacking in winds around 40kt on Puget Sound.

Ratings are not much use in evaluating performance in very light winds when races tend to be called off. If you can find out the SailArea/WettedSurfaceArea ratio for each boat that would be helpful in comparing light wind performance.

If you subtract ballast from displacement what is left is 'structural' weight. The Allied appears to be built slightly stronger than the Gulfstar assuming a similar quality of workmanship by the original builders. Both appear to be plenty well built and have plenty of 'structural' weight for their lengths.
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Old 18-02-2012, 15:20   #5
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Re: Sailing Characteristics of Live-Aboard Ketches

I've run charters on the OI 41 and the Gulfstar 41 & 50 (center cockpit, ketch rigged). The OI is popular with cruisers and is quite comfy below decks, but does not point well and needs lots of breeze to make sailing even worthwhile.

The Gulfstar 41 and 50 perform much better under sail.

If I had to choose between these boats I would go with the Gulfstar -- preferably the 50 -- great boat, well built, very comfortable above and below decks and sails well.

Also, I strongly prefer full draft monohulls (shoal draft monohulls and norrow beam cats are both contrary to the laws of physics). If faced with the choice I would pick the full draft version of any of the above over the shoal draft version. They will always outsail the shoal draft version especially when going to windward or in heavy weather.

A ketch rigged boat, or better yet a cutter-rigged ketch, gives you more sail plan options to suit the conditions. And, a mizzen sail can be quite handy for maneuvering in close quarters under sail.

These are just my opinions and preferences of course and you must ultimately pick which boat you think best fits your intended use.
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Old 18-02-2012, 15:37   #6
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Re: Sailing Characteristics of Live-Aboard Ketches

Even if the Morgan is the slowest of the bunch, it is a really nice boat to live on. I have never seen anything better in that boat length.

ciao!
Nick.
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