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Old 16-04-2011, 07:49   #1
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Sloop vs. Cutter

as far as cruising east to west on the milk run(pacific), would it be recommended to have more than than one forestay for safety and sail variations? it seems to me a cutter rig makes so much more sense for both of the above. but i would like further opinions.

keep in mind that the boat in question would be small. in the 30 to 35 foot range.

and the run across the pacific would be made in the appropriate seasons in relation to best weather.
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Old 16-04-2011, 07:56   #2
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

sail configuration options are always a plus. Cutter has more options than a sloop.
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Old 16-04-2011, 07:57   #3
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

Had both, own a cutter now.

Cutter Benefits: more sail options, place for storm jib inboard avoiding trip to the bow in bad weather, more mast support.

Sloop Benefits: less rigging, fewer sails to carry around, all other things equal has slightly better upwind performance.

With a smaller boat the cutter rig does become less feasible as you have less room on the fore deck and the size of the staysail gets too small to be useful. Where is that line for too small? My opinion around 30'.
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Old 16-04-2011, 15:26   #4
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

As much as I love the cutter rig, it doesn't do much for you when the wind's aft of the beam, as in downwind Tradewinds sailing. But for beam reaching to close hauled, it adds a lot of flexibility when the wind pipes up.
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Old 16-04-2011, 18:15   #5
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

is it safe to say that a small sloop with a furling genoa would be able to make a big downwind run like this with no problems. ive never had to change a foresail on a furler before but i hear its a fair bit harder than changing a hanked on sail.
it bothers me that the only way to decrease sail area is to roll up a bit on the furler. it just seems like you could wear out your jenny fast..


do you find many small sloops doing big crossings like this safely?

is the safety of having the extra forestay a reasonable reason to have a cutter?
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Old 16-04-2011, 18:28   #6
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

Buy a "slutter" and then you don't have to compromise.

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Old 16-04-2011, 18:32   #7
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Had both, own a cutter now.

With a smaller boat the cutter rig does become less feasible as you have less room on the fore deck and the size of the staysail gets too small to be useful. Where is that line for too small? My opinion around 30'.
On my 24-foot (including bowsprit and outboard rudder) Bluewater Blackwatch, the staysail was effective/useful. Often sailed without the flying jib as the winds here were frequently strong. When shortening sail, the flying jib came down first. Then one reef of the mainsail, and if that wasn't enough, a second reef.
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Old 16-04-2011, 19:29   #8
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
On my 24-foot (including bowsprit and outboard rudder) Bluewater Blackwatch, the staysail was effective/useful. Often sailed without the flying jib as the winds here were frequently strong. When shortening sail, the flying jib came down first. Then one reef of the mainsail, and if that wasn't enough, a second reef.
I stand corrected. How big was the staysail? Seems it would be a prett small sail unless the stay was pretty far foward.
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Old 16-04-2011, 20:18   #9
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

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Buy a "slutter" and then you don't have to compromise.

Greg
ya ive looked into a slutter. they are hard to find on the market. also looked into making a sloop into a slutter, but that usually involve a fair amount of structural work.
....
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Old 16-04-2011, 20:18   #10
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

Is this a rhetorical question? Cutter, of course. More sail and reefing options, bigger sail plan for lighter winds (the kind you will most often encounter), each sail commensurately smaller so easier to handle. And they look so cool...

Michael
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Old 16-04-2011, 20:58   #11
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

I can't recall the staysail's size, but this site has photos of a sistership.

Blackwatch 24 sailboat for sale
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Old 16-04-2011, 21:27   #12
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

ok i'll show my "experience", is there really such a thing as a slutter?? i'm guessing a cross between a sloop and cutter but i thought it was a joke when the first mention was posted.. i mean, you can guess where my mind went with the "buying a slutter"..
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Old 16-04-2011, 22:03   #13
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

Indeed. I have a 33 foot sloop and a 41 foot cutter. I would say I prefer the sloop for fun, and I am used to its complement of hank-on sails, including a "No. 4/storm jib" that keeps me under way in 40 plus knots.

The cutter has a staysail stay fairly far forward, but the mast is nearly smack in the middle of the boat, which is the mark of a true cutter. I have the foresail stay on a short, overbuilt bowspirit, and I current have a Yankee jib for that. The relatively short space betweent the two stays means that if I expect to reach for a few hours, I will set both sails to get a slot effect.

The reason for selecting a cutter rig is durability (I have 11 5/16" stays holding up a 50 foot mast), access (the staysail is hank-on and is worked in a shallow anchor well, meaning we are well-protected at the bow) and versatility...reefing the staysail and deeply reefing the main gives me hull speed at 50 knots or so, after which I would go to a storm staysail and a trysail, because it's likely to be too tough to actively sail fast past that point.

We are planning passagemaking. If you go short distances or race, a sloop is preferable. A cutter, like a ketch, will get you there a day or two later, but better rested!
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Old 16-04-2011, 22:40   #14
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

The terminology can get a bit complicated because "technically" a boat the has one head sail and no bowsprit is a knockabout. My boat was designed as a knock about having a fractional jib flown on the head stay, with the other stay being the topmast stay. Now if I choose to fly a sail on the topmast stay (usually a small Yankee cut jib called a "jib topsail") along with the jib on the head stay then it becomes a "stem headed sloop". Now the bottom end of the head stay is detachable and can be reattached just aft of the windlass (making it parallel to the topmast stay) which would mean renaming the stays and the rig...it would become a cutter, and if that stay were shipped entirely and a large sail flown off the masthead....I am not sure what the technical name would be, just a modern day sloop rig I guess.
I have found that by adding the jib topsail the increased luff gives alot more power to when sailing to windward, allows me to point much closer to the wind, balances out the boat better and in case of a nasty blow I have smaller sails to handle
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Old 16-04-2011, 22:44   #15
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Re: sloops vs. cutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by jyoung View Post
ok i'll show my "experience", is there really such a thing as a slutter?? i'm guessing a cross between a sloop and cutter but i thought it was a joke when the first mention was posted.. i mean, you can guess where my mind went with the "buying a slutter"..
Slutter is a sloop with a cutter option, ie removable forestay for the staysail and a fixed headstay. The first time I saw the term used was by Bob Perry, a contributer here, who used the term in a review or a Yves Tanton 65' Steel boat in one of the major boating rags, 'Sailing' I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdurham View Post
ya ive looked into a slutter. they are hard to find on the market. also looked into making a sloop into a slutter, but that usually involve a fair amount of structural work.
....
It's always struck me as a moderate amount of structural work. The Pardey's give a description of a J-hook tensioner in one of their books and on their web-site if I recall correctly. It's possible to use spectra for the forestay and running backs instead of wire. PracticallySailing presents Joe Cooper shows a way to set up a spectra forestay with tackle tensioner rather than J-hook.

Most boats have a bulkhead near the bow to form a chain locker. This bulkhead makes a perfect hard point in the deck for the chainplate to attach to.

Thebiggest benefit of a cutter I see is redundancy of mast support. On most sloops the double lowers are the only redundant standing rigging and some don't even have that. Rarely you will see a double backstay. With a cutter rig there are redudant stays in all directions going most of the way up the mast. In lights air you may not have them all set but you are a lot less likely to have a failure in those conditions.

I feel that a cutter rig allows you to carry fewer sails compared to a sloop and most of those are bagged or rolled in place rather than brought below. Instead of changing the head sail as the wind increases, you furl the staysail, then reset it and furl the headsail. Finally you change the staysail for a storm staysail. In really light air a drifter or code Zero is set. The only sails stored below are the storm staysail (small) and light air sail (packs small because of very light fabric).

Finally as wind increases the center of effort doesn't move forward as sail area decreases so the boat stays more balanced.
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