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Old 20-09-2017, 10:37   #1
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Schooner vs Ketch

In another thread, someone suggested that schnooners rigs work better than ketches.

I was surprised to hear that -- I always though that schooners exacerbate the problems of split rigs when going upwind. Is that not the case? The larger mainsail gets turbulence from all the sails ahead, instead of operating in relatively clean air like a ketch's mainsail does.

As we all know, split rigs have a big disadvantage for sailing upwind -- more windage of the second mast, and aerodynamic interference between the masts.

But I have always thought that these theoretical disadvantages might not outweigh the many advantages for long distance ocean sailing. Also, I believe that if the boat is large enough and the masts are far enough apart, these disadvantages become smaller. I believe Dashew has built some ketches with really good sailing performance.

So what about schooners?
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Old 20-09-2017, 13:23   #2
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

DH, those Whitbread ketches seemed to sail pretty well! But I gotta agree that schooners are not well known for windward performance. IIRC, they were usually intended for coastal work where reaching (in alternating land/sea breeze?) was the most common point of sail.

Considering your interest in getting to windward, perhaps schooners are not best for you.

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Old 20-09-2017, 17:18   #3
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

I tried some casual racing on a 30' Maid of Kent schooner, a 6 ton boat, not all that different from our 30' ketch in dimensions, weight and sail area. The owner and skipper had owned the boat for decades and knew her in and out, we met working on our boats in a DIY yard and sharing sorrows and beers (mostly beers).

The skipper had to manage the mainsail carefully to minimize the weather helm. This seemed to me the biggest weakness of the schooner rig, at least on a small boat. The main boom also swept the cockpit on each tack and was a lot more threatening than our mizzen boom, which also sweeps the cockpit. The jib's luff was pretty small and didn't contribute much. The gaff foresail was pretty cool and reefed down could probably heave the boat to very well.

Also, the fisherman sail is a nice, controllable way to add sail area without flying a spinnaker in front of the boat. That's not really an advantage of schooner over ketch, because the ketch can always fly a mizzen mule, which is pretty similar.
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Old 20-09-2017, 17:36   #4
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

Once long ago we had "Star Pilot" a Gloucester schooner, now renamed and still sailing in Boston I believe, moored in Santa Barbara. I was lucky enough to be taken along for a ride one afternoon. We went out and back on a reach, but the skipper conceded she wasn't going to point as high as a modern sloop. (And probably ketches too) Still schooners are so beautiful, especially that one, under sail, a little weakness in pointing ability would be ok with me....
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Old 20-09-2017, 17:40   #5
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

Where's the advantage of a schooner over a square top main, or twin square top mains on a ketch? And coordinating using 2 halyards to properly hoist the gaff is quite often a pain. Let alone the host of other drawbacks.

A Dutch Gaff makes more sense than the standard variety, but then it's really close in plan form to a square top main, non? And with a huge main on the boat's rear end, it'll blanket most of the other sails when going downwind, along with exacerbating any oversteering tendencies in the helm. Where moving the rig's CE forward tends to reduce it.

Then there are the upwind issues...
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Old 20-09-2017, 17:43   #6
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

I have a 14 ton 40' ketch that has a full keel. I can speak for the ketch rig. In my experience the mizen sail is limited and in any point down wind it usually blocks the wind from the main. On a beam or broad reach it helps balance the boat and in some points of sail i can gain about one knot. I do wish i had a staysail so i could manage the weather helm caused by my jib being rigged on my bowsprit out infront of the boat.

My biggest complaint about my ketch is that the mizen boom is directly above my head at the helm, i have to duck and scramble on every tack and all the related gear dominates the cockpit. The mizen sail, boom and mast also obstructs my view looking forward.

I have sailed on some schooners and depending on the rig and its size, usually takes more crew to handle, although they look beautiful in full sail, i cannot imagine trying to singlehand a schooner rig.
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Old 20-09-2017, 20:50   #7
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

Quote:
I do wish i had a staysail so i could manage the weather helm caused by my jib being rigged on my bowsprit out infront of the boat.
Well, most folks believe that lots of sail area well forward generates lee helm, not weather helm. You might want to rethink your situation re weather helm...

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Old 20-09-2017, 20:53   #8
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

I've owned and sailed both... never considered a Schooner a better performer than anything... but do love the look!
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Old 20-09-2017, 21:40   #9
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Well, most folks believe that lots of sail area well forward generates lee helm, not weather helm. You might want to rethink your situation re weather helm...

Jim
Oh yeah sorry, yes lee helm
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Old 22-09-2017, 00:08   #10
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

So, everything above reflects the conventional wisdom. It sounds right to me. But someone on another thread was saying that schooners should be enjoying a comeback. Is no one going to stick up for them?
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Old 22-09-2017, 00:19   #11
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Well, most folks believe that lots of sail area well forward generates lee helm, not weather helm. You might want to rethink your situation re weather helm...

Jim
Hi Jim, i bought this up in a previous thread. Im going down from the 135℅ to 100% due to excess weatherhelm (more precisely a tendency to round up in vertain conditions) created by the genoa, i know this flys in the face of conventional wisdom but ive experienced this on two boats now. Dh and unciv did a good job of explaining the drag issue created by the big genoa.
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Old 22-09-2017, 00:28   #12
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
So, everything above reflects the conventional wisdom. It sounds right to me. But someone on another thread was saying that schooners should be enjoying a comeback. Is no one going to stick up for them?
If we go back in time and take a look at schooners olf old that were fast, they were large yachts, like Schooner Yacht Atlantic, which they actually made a really nice replica of, Schooner yacht America, the epic yacht Enchantress and some of Nathaniel Herrshoff designs to name a few. The most efficient and fast ones had their length going for them as they were around 70' or longer.

Trying to fit a schooner rig onto a 40-70 foot yacht to me has always been about trying to look like the large schooners of old but actually very inifficient and impractical for small yachts.

Southern Ocean made a 80' schooner rig that was in my opinion one of the best sailing yachts of the last 30 years but again its because of its 80' length that makes the rig more usable.
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Old 22-09-2017, 00:30   #13
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

I like my Sharpie Schooner. She is fairly flat bottomed, pointed at both ends, and a centerboard that is pretty deep when I let her swing all the way out. I used to race on monohull sloops. My boat can't point as high as modern rigged boats. But she is wicked fast off the wind. I pull the center board all the way up and she can outsail many boats bigger than her. I draw less than 2 foot and can get into many places most skippers would never even think of going.


I like that I can split the sails surface area into two smaller areas for handling. I have an unstaid rig so it makes life even more simple for an old guy to deal with. I have no winches at all. She is a Spartan machine and I love her even with her flaws.
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Old 22-09-2017, 05:18   #14
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

Quote:
Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Hi Jim, i bought this up in a previous thread. Im going down from the 135℅ to 100% due to excess weatherhelm (more precisely a tendency to round up in vertain conditions) created by the genoa, i know this flys in the face of conventional wisdom but ive experienced this on two boats now. Dh and unciv did a good job of explaining the drag issue created by the big genoa.
I'm kind of struggling with sorting this out myself on our big boat. I need a couple of days sailing not going somewhere on a schedule to sort this out. The Wife gets all anxious when I keep farting with the trim and starts making noises that, on something mechanical, would get a good dose of WD-40. Not to blame her, she fights with being comfortable on a boat and is gradually settling in. Sometimes the boat just doesn't react as I would expect.
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Old 22-09-2017, 05:25   #15
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Re: Schooner vs Ketch

Quote:
Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Hi Jim, i bought this up in a previous thread. Im going down from the 135℅ to 100% due to excess weatherhelm (more precisely a tendency to round up in vertain conditions) created by the genoa, i know this flys in the face of conventional wisdom but ive experienced this on two boats now. Dh and unciv did a good job of explaining the drag issue created by the big genoa.
I'm kind of struggling with sorting this out myself on our big boat. I need a couple of days sailing not going somewhere on a schedule to sort this out. The Wife gets all anxious when I keep farting with the trim and starts making noises that, on something mechanical, would get a good dose of WD-40. Not to blame her, she fights with being comfortable on a boat and is gradually settling in. Sometimes the boat just doesn't react as I would expect.
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