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Old 30-08-2011, 13:05   #1
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Sloop vs Cutter

i am closing in on rigging (and sails) on my 39' center cockpit refit.

she is cutter rigged but the PO was sailing her as a sloop.

i have never sailed a cutter so i am looking for some advice on a sail plan.

as i anticipate doing a lot of single handing, i dont see myself flying a spinnaker.

the main and genoa are in good shape and the jib has been on the furler for at least 10 years so i am considering it trashed.

option 1: replace the jib and and sail her as a sloop

option 2: replace the 2 cutter sails (do i need to add a 2nd furler too)

question: can i use the genoa (130% - i think) as one of the cutter sails and, if yes, what sail should i get for the 2nd?

i like the idea of a cutter sail plan (a lot) but without experience on the water i am hoping some of you smarties can chime in.

thx.

-steve
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Old 30-08-2011, 13:14   #2
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Re: sloop vs cutter

Some smartasses say about cutters' staysails -- put it up and lose half a knot; take it down and lose another half a knot . . .

I get some drive from my staysail on a reach. But its main benefit is as a built-in, ready-rigged storm sail.

There are practically no disadvantages. So cutter rig is ok.
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Old 30-08-2011, 13:38   #3
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Re: sloop vs cutter

We like our cutter but debate whether to put a quick release to get it out of the way when we need to tack a lot, or need the extra deck space. The sail does give us more speed, my captain loves it
Erika
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Old 30-08-2011, 13:40   #4
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Re: sloop vs cutter

The cutter is like the yawl rig, the usefulness is arguable, at least I have a radar, tv antenna, bell , horn stand and leaning post! The sloop would be the simplest rig. If you want more stuff to do on deck, get the cutter.
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Old 30-08-2011, 13:47   #5
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Re: sloop vs cutter

yawl rig- It also is a flag pole. We did sail jib and jigger last week and that was nice not messing w/the mainsail. Likewise the cuter has sail plan options.
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Old 30-08-2011, 13:50   #6
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Re: sloop vs cutter

Ours is cutter rigged. The staysail is on it's own furler. It is a bit of a pain in the tail, HOWEVER, the staysail is great when it's really blowing, or we just don't care about speed and want a self-tacking boat - like tacking up a channel against the wind.

I've actually considered changing it to a hank on, and a movable stay, just to make it easier to tack the boat. If I were choosing from the start, that might be my choice. But, having a cutter rig is, overall, a better sailplan than just a sloop.
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Old 30-08-2011, 13:51   #7
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Re: sloop vs cutter

My 24-foot cutter has a flying jib. Since it is cut high, it isn't difficult to tack. The staysail has a boom so is self tacking. In reducing sail for increasing winds, first dropped flying jib, later put in first mainsail reef, then second mainsail reef, then ... (always reached safe harbor by then.) A cutter easier to adopt to changing conditions than a sloop where headsail changes take more work, and the cutter's headsails can be individually smaller so there is easier handling.

Because of the often-strong winds in my area, frequently there was no need to raise the flying jib.
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Old 30-08-2011, 13:58   #8
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Re: sloop vs cutter

As I own both a sloop and a cutter (although they are very different boats), I would say the following.

1) Pointing=advantage to the sloop, particularly with a long J.
2) Flexibility=advantage to the cutter. You can keep sailing with that staysail and a double-reefed main in higher air and a (generally) more comfortable ride.
3) Redundancy=advantage to the cutter, because if you have a staysail and a course beam or aft, when it pipes up, you can douse or furl the jib for reasons of preserving it from damaging conditions.
4) Complexity=advantage to the sloop. A cutter-rigged sloop, to use the precise term, requires on a light air reach four sheets and additional sheet stoppers and cleats. It's a lot to handle singlehanded, but not actually that difficult...just more tweaking. Also, you need to know and understand the role of the running backstay.
5) Speed=tie. Off the wind, the cutter shows more sail and knot for knot will outpace its sloop-rigged sister. Close reach to close hauled, the big, deck sweeping genoa will usually outdraw a yankee jib (typical) plus staysail.

On the other hand, in weather that sends the sloop to storm jib and trysail (if available), the cutter-rigged sloop will as noted above, perhaps be able to keep up her reduced working sails without threat to rigging or canvas. Also, a staysail is a great sail for heaving to. Some sloops simply don't reliably heave to.

We are taking the cutter, not the sloop, offshore. For daysailing, we take the sloop. Cutters are downwind champs, sloops work to weather better, if you want a broad generality.
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Old 30-08-2011, 14:01   #9
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Re: sloop vs cutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
Ours is cutter rigged. The staysail is on it's own furler. It is a bit of a pain in the tail, HOWEVER, the staysail is great when it's really blowing, or we just don't care about speed and want a self-tacking boat - like tacking up a channel against the wind.

I've actually considered changing it to a hank on, and a movable stay, just to make it easier to tack the boat. If I were choosing from the start, that might be my choice. But, having a cutter rig is, overall, a better sailplan than just a sloop.
I have a furling jib and a hank-on staysail. I wouldn't have a furling staysail, because a) my foredeck is more secure than most and I'm standing in an anchor well while working on the staysail, and b) if it's blowing badly, the furler is going to jam when I want it to the least, if my sailing life is any indication.
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Old 30-08-2011, 14:06   #10
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Re: sloop vs cutter

what i am hearing is being able to get it out of the way easily is valuable.

what about the sails... can i use the genoa as the yankee? what sails would you recommend for the stay?

thx.

-steve
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Old 30-08-2011, 14:19   #11
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Re: sloop vs cutter

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
the furler is going to jam when I want it to the least, if my sailing life is any indication.
And therefore my reasoning behind the hank-on staysail.

And yes, disconnecting the staysail stay would be a good option.
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Old 30-08-2011, 14:33   #12
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Re: sloop vs cutter

Something of a neophyte to this argument but..............my 2

There are cutters and cutters.

A cutter with no sprit is of marginal value; sloop with storm sail.

A cutter with a sprit has more value.

A cutter with a BIG sprit, now that's something. The genoa is generous for light air and the staysail is big enough to do some serious work.

So I would argue the merits based on the size of the sprit. No sprit, then there is not a big difference.
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Old 30-08-2011, 14:42   #13
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Re: sloop vs cutter

I have a cutter but replaced the Yankee with a 135% genoa. I like the rig as it allows the boat to remain balanced in all wind strengths. The staysail is of no use close to the wind but off the wind, helps alot. My staysail is one its own furler and is self-tending.
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Old 30-08-2011, 15:06   #14
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Re: sloop vs cutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
As I own both a sloop and a cutter (although they are very different boats), I would say the following.

1) Pointing=advantage to the sloop, particularly with a long J.
2) Flexibility=advantage to the cutter. You can keep sailing with that staysail and a double-reefed main in higher air and a (generally) more comfortable ride.
3) Redundancy=advantage to the cutter, because if you have a staysail and a course beam or aft, when it pipes up, you can douse or furl the jib for reasons of preserving it from damaging conditions.
4) Complexity=advantage to the sloop. A cutter-rigged sloop, to use the precise term, requires on a light air reach four sheets and additional sheet stoppers and cleats. It's a lot to handle singlehanded, but not actually that difficult...just more tweaking. Also, you need to know and understand the role of the running backstay.
5) Speed=tie. Off the wind, the cutter shows more sail and knot for knot will outpace its sloop-rigged sister. Close reach to close hauled, the big, deck sweeping genoa will usually outdraw a yankee jib (typical) plus staysail.

On the other hand, in weather that sends the sloop to storm jib and trysail (if available), the cutter-rigged sloop will as noted above, perhaps be able to keep up her reduced working sails without threat to rigging or canvas. Also, a staysail is a great sail for heaving to. Some sloops simply don't reliably heave to.

We are taking the cutter, not the sloop, offshore. For daysailing, we take the sloop. Cutters are downwind champs, sloops work to weather better, if you want a broad generality.
Pretty much agree with all the above except for a few minor details. My boat is a cutter with a club footed staysail. There is a difference between a true cutter and a staysail rigged sloop as Alchemy states, primarily in the location of the mast. Being club footed I don't have a lot of lines, just one to the staysail boom so when tacking I don't have to touch a thing, just turn the wheel. Very convenient for short tacking.

I also do not have any running backstays to deal with. The mast shrouds are designed to handle the loads. All in all I really like the rig despite the fact that a sloop can probably outpoint me by about 5 degrees.

When it came time to replace the sails, I changed the 135 genoa to a 110 Yankee. The 135 was a pain to tack , always hanging up on the staysail. Also, in higher winds I found too much headsail area further deteriorated the pointing ability.

Well, ssanszone will have a lot to consider.

Rich
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Old 30-08-2011, 15:11   #15
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Re: sloop vs cutter

It appears that this thread is getting a bit tired, but I think a cutter rig is best for cruising. If you're a weekender, it's personnel preference.

A staysail is great for heavy air, whether sailing to weather or downwind. A staysail is also great for light air. One of the great kept secrets of crusing is that you will motorsail a lot. For stability and comfort at sea in light air, regarless of your point of sail, flying your staysail and main with the motor running keeps everything smooth. A staysail and main is also great for night work, so you won't have to reef too much when that surprise gale happens on your first mate's watch.

I also think a furling staysail rigged to handle from the cockpit is the way to go. It's easy to deal with in all conditions (well maybe not all conditions). During five years of full-time cruising, we never had a staysail furler problem.
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