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Old 12-01-2014, 04:54   #16
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Re: To Ketch or Not

We have sailed sloops,cutters ,and ketches, and found that all have their good points. It is my observation that most end up buying the boat that catches their eye the day they are actually ready to buy, not just look and compare. I personally had a long list of what I wanted and didn't want in my boat and finally bought one that had a mix of both sides of the list. Our ketch is happily taking us up and down the Eastern Caribbean, and we love her, but I have been on many of my friends boats that are sloops and cutters and would honestly be happy on them also. Do the research and then buy what feels right,you really don't need to overthink it. You will change your whole view of life on whatever you buy!
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Old 12-01-2014, 05:47   #17
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Re: To Ketch or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Yes there are downsides:

1. A sloop is faster upwind, period.
2. A ketch rig is more expensive.
3. A sail inventory for a ketch is more expensive.

Every ketch sailor has come from sloops and cutters, while sloop owners must still become cutter owners (which re-programs them into accepting sloops are not better for every situation) and after that need to become ketch owners to get the full picture

For cruisers, point 1 listed above is not of much importance as you try not to sail upwind. The higher costs are partly investments because even for the sail inventory, it will last much longer.
That's a pretty fair summary.

One should note, however, that Nick's boat is a very unusual ketch -- a very high performance, long waterline, light displacement, narrow beam craft (can you hear me drooling?). Most ketches are heavier displacement with a more conservative hull form, which goes with the generally lower performance of ketches, at least upwind. Ketches have lower performance upwind simply because they have more aerodynamic drag, the sails are almost always lower aspect (kind of the point of ketches), and the mizzen doesn't really produce anything but drag when going upwind. That is again not quite true of Nick's boat which has the masts spread so far apart that the mizzen will draw at higher angles than a typical ketch.

But none of these disadvantages is really a big deal for long distance trade winds type sailing where you rarely have to go upwind. A ketch would be my first choice for that, probably.

I don't sail in the tradewinds and do go upwind often, so my cutter suits me fine.

The ability to go upwind efficiently makes a very big difference in how much sailing versus motoring you get to do. Every degree of upwind ability makes a noticeable difference. But I agree with Nick that relatively few cruisers make the effort to sail upwind much. I am in the minority, I think, in usually trying to sail even when the destination is dead upwind.

Another big plus of ketches, not mentioned so far, is that they simply look very cool.

Another big plus of ketches -- a bigger plus than you might think -- is that the mizzen mast is a fantastic place for mounting all kinds of antennas and equipment which can be hard to find a place for on a single mast vessel.

Another unmentioned minus of ketches is that the mizzen really clutters up the afterdeck, or worse, the cockpit, if we're talking about an aft cockpit boat.
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Old 12-01-2014, 05:57   #18
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Re: To Ketch or Not

For me (a sloop owner) there are three factors worth considering for the decision:
  1. Cost. (Can somebody afford the ketch of desired size as the initial cost is higher, and the running costs shall be probably also somewhat higher)
  2. Upwind capability.
  3. Chartering potential.
If the highest possible capability to beat to winward is not crucial for the prospective owner, the costs are bearable and You do not intend to charter the boat out - I do believe that ketch rig is in general much better choice for cruising.
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Old 12-01-2014, 05:58   #19
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Re: To Ketch or Not

Oh, I forgot

disadvantage of ketches:

4. Can't have a fixed bimini in the cockpit.

We have to rig a sun awning first thing after anchoring, every time. Also, it is not as comfortable in the cockpit while sailing.

On upwind performance: I have sailed up with a Morgan ketch which is a whale of a boat, but under mizzen and jib in a lot of wind, it did better than a similar sized & weight sloop. It wasn't faster, but the crew was happier and how much slower were they… let's say 10-20% less speed as the similar sloop. And this is really as slow a ketch as you can find.

As the length of the boat gets down to 40', the advantages are being overwhelmed by disadvantages so keep that in mind when comparing; a 50' - 55' ketch is ideal.
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:23   #20
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Re: To Ketch or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Oh, I forgot

disadvantage of ketches:

4. Can't have a fixed bimini in the cockpit.

We have to rig a sun awning first thing after anchoring, every time. Also, it is not as comfortable in the cockpit while sailing.

On upwind performance: I have sailed up with a Morgan ketch which is a whale of a boat, but under mizzen and jib in a lot of wind, it did better than a similar sized & weight sloop. It wasn't faster, but the crew was happier and how much slower were they… let's say 10-20% less speed as the similar sloop. And this is really as slow a ketch as you can find.

As the length of the boat gets down to 40', the advantages are being overwhelmed by disadvantages so keep that in mind when comparing; a 50' - 55' ketch is ideal.
Amel 65 has a kind of the remedy for the bimini thing.
And I believe a something more than 55' will not hurt
Regarding the upwind performance I meant an inshore work mainly, with lot of tacking, narrow channels etc.
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:33   #21
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Re: To Ketch or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleWhisky View Post
Amel 65 has a kind of the remedy for the bimini thing.
And I believe a something more than 55' will not hurt
Regarding the upwind performance I meant an inshore work mainly, with lot of tacking, narrow channels etc.
The new Amel 55 has the same solution, as do we. The negative of the Amel solution is that it brings the boom up so much that it seriously hurts performance; an infection that spreads among many boats as sails must make way for luxurious living quarters, bridge decks and what have you. I am not very happy with that new approach.
http://www.amel.fr/la-gamme/amel-55
Still, for a yacht that is in current mass production, the Amel 55 and 64 are as good as can be had for liveaboard cruisers. They are designed for exactly that. The only other design I know of that is like that is our Sundeer, for which you need to go on a waiting list as they are not produced anymore. The ketches are the sought-after ones, but the cutters are pretty cool too.
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:58   #22
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Re: To Ketch or Not

[QUOTE=s/v Jedi;1438142]Oh, I forgot

disadvantage of ketches:

4. Can't have a fixed bimini in the cockpit.

We have to rig a sun awning first thing after anchoring, every time. Also, it is not as comfortable in the cockpit while sailing.



heh heh, can if its a centre cockpit...which is also verrry comfy...
i ended up with this ketch not out of choice but because it was the best boat i could afford - but the rig has certainly grown on me - ive rigged it with a furling genoa and a separate quick release forestay about a foot behind for hanked on jibs - so not quite a cutter but it lets me run twin headsails downwind. And like most of the others, i love reefing down by just dropping the main - do quite a bit of sailing just jib and mizzen. One of the other advantages i've discovered is the rig seems easy to find second hand sails for. not important if your wallet is stuffed but helps for the budget conscious.
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:08   #23
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Re: To Ketch or Not

i love my low bucks ketch.easier to sola, easier than a sloop to sail..yes i have sailed them sloops, cutters and ketch....i love the weatherhelm-free action of my ketch and the fact i can handle high winds easier than in a sloop..yes..btdt in each..love my ketch!!!! would not trade nor cruise with a sloop..yes btdt. i even still have a sloop in sd.....lol i chose my ketch to cruise a sit is easier to sola. much heavier and comfortable in mixed up seas.
besides it has the best autopilot..

dang i almost forgot to mention....east coasters do not think ketch is dead..all of em are here on this coast cruising.
we have amels, we have islander freeports we have formosas cts force, hudson seawolf., cute lil 32 dreadnaught ketch next to me, mariner....we have others -- fuji, some cool one offs, and other kinds of ketches and schooners here cruising--some even go to south pacific... what an unheard of adventure.....

rodlmao

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Old 12-01-2014, 07:11   #24
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Re: To Ketch or Not

As an owner who is tending to rigging issues this year, I can verify the additional costs of a ketch. Having had a sloop for many years I agree on up wind performance loss. I think mizzen drag is particular to individual boats. My boat always does better with the mizzen up. Not having to reef the ketch under most conditions really is nice. It has however convinced me not to be lazy about shortening sail when single handed. Going forward a bit too late to get that big thrashing main down will get your attention when there is nobody to help.
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:17   #25
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Re: To Ketch or Not

idora..is why i sail under jib n jigger mostly especially when sola...makes a huge difference and no knockdown in chubasco situations.....under mizzen and jib alone, i do not have to leave my cockpit except to fotograph dolphins and whales, etc.....
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:24   #26
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pirate Re: To Ketch or Not

Did nearly 17,000miles on a delivery with a Ketch... 80% with just jib and mizzen.. the rest was + reefed main.. down the W coast of Oz and Florida to SMX at the start..
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:27   #27
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Re: To Ketch or Not

Not sailed many ketches , how do you stop the mast going out of column on a upwind jib only course. It's not something recommended on a sloop

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Old 12-01-2014, 07:35   #28
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pirate Re: To Ketch or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Not sailed many ketches , how do you stop the mast going out of column on a upwind jib only course. It's not something recommended on a sloop

Dave
That's when I used the main.. can't go upwind with just a jib... more sideways..
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:40   #29
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Re: To Ketch or Not

i have sailed sloops under jib alone up wind and down wind and beam wind. no problem.mast didnt do anything weird.mebbe because it was stepped properly.
we had storms and bad weather, and main was too much to handle. lots of weather helm with that boat.
ketch i sail with mizzen and jib, as that balances the boat nicely and she tracks easily. no problem even when i had untuned rig.

gentlemen never sail to weather., nor do ladies.
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:46   #30
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Re: To Ketch or Not

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That's when I used the main.. can't go upwind with just a jib... more sideways..
No but with a ketch , you in effect have the main on another mast. The accepted wisdom is that a jib alone put a lot of pressure on the mast potentially pushing the centre aft wards . The main in a sloop counteracts that ( as does a baby stay or inner )

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