Chapman says "A cutter is similar to a sloop in that she has only one mast, but she has it stepped further aft, and can carry two headsails at once: a forestaysail and jib. She often carries a bowsprit
to enlarge the foretriangle." pg 180 in 1983 edition of Piloting
Chapman also says: "A modern cutter is a variation of a sloop rig in which the mast is stepped further aft, resulting in larger area for headsails. A cutter normally has two headsails - a forestaysail with a jib ahead of it." pg 29-30 in 1983 edition of Piloting.
He says nothing about the number of spreaders or distance between forestays or where the outer and inner forestay attach to the mast.
Our Caliber 40 is 42' 6" LOA
(transom to forward edge of bowsprit).
jib/genoa forestay 8" AFT of foreward edge of bow sprit
inner forestay 8' AFT of the foreward edge of bow sprit
leading edge of mast 17' 6" AFT of the foreward edge of bow sprit
and we attach the spinnaker downhaul or drifter downhaul 6" FORWARD of the foreward edge of bow sprit
We normally sail as a masthead sloop with just the 120% genoa, drifter, or spinnaker and the inner forestay is not rigged to make it easier to tack and work on the foredeck.
When going to weather in more than 22 knots apparent we use the inner forestay and, I guess, we become a cutter.
The inner forestay attaches to the mast 8' above the single
When folks talk about a cutter mast being a certain percentage aft of the boat length it is a little confusing. Our boat is 42' 6" LOA
, 39' 5" on deck
, and 32' 6" LWL. So our inner forestay attaches at 42% aft, 44% aft, or 54% aft. I suspect the original old ratios were dependent on centers of resistance and lift
so the LWL % is relevant.
I will continue to call our three sails that hank onto the inner forestay - "stay sails" no matter how the rig on my boat is described or characterized.