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Old 11-01-2014, 18:39   #1
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To Ketch or Not

Hello, Cruiser's! Great forums. I am a lurker coming out trying to learn from the community.

I find references to Ketchs in the forums but no thread specific on merits and concerns for Ketch rigs for passage making and costal cruising. As we narrow things down in a used boat search, I think having a Ketch rig has become a requirement.

We are a 50's sailing couple looking to take up the distance cruiser lifestyle full time for a few years. I want ease of safely sailing long distances and she wants room to live. We know there will be considerable time on the hook even though we plan to draw long lines on small maps. My engineering background says we should get a Ketch. This gets us into a bigger boat while keeping gear and sail size manageable. Maybe a 50 - 52' Ketch instead of a 42’ - 45’ Sloop. We would like some help contrasting the two.

Good idea or plain crazy?
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Old 11-01-2014, 18:46   #2
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Re: To Ketch or Not

A cutter all the way!! but i admit, love the ketches....
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Old 11-01-2014, 18:52   #3
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Re: To Ketch or Not

Let me know when you figure it out as I've been wondering the same thing. Has to be a reason you don't see more of them doesn't there?
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Old 11-01-2014, 18:56   #4
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I love ketch rigs but a cutter rig is a more practical option. Plus our dream boat, Liberty 458, is cutter rigged.

I decided I prefer looking at pictures of Ketches but prefer to own a cutter rigged sloop.

What stirs the emotions visually is very different from what is practical to own, maintain and sail.

Over 50 feet you are talking about an awful lot of boat.

Enjoy the search.
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Old 11-01-2014, 19:05   #5
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pirate Re: To Ketch or Not

A cutter rig is NOT exclusive to sloops.. go Ketch..
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Old 11-01-2014, 19:07   #6
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Re: To Ketch or Not

OP is on the right track, i.e. a good ketch is 50'+

Yes there are many smaller ketches, and many of those make sense for cruiser couples or single handers... but they will not sail better than a sloop or cutter and the cutter also offers a range of sail combinations. I would choose a cutter when under 50'

From 50' on, a ketch is the way to go. Is has lower air drought and smaller sails so easier to handle. It can be a broad reaching sledge that beats any single sticker when flying two spinnakers. You can balance the sail plan by using just the main, or using the mizzen and jib. When darkness falls, we often lower the main and it feels like we moored in a marina slip; perfect for cooking dinner, getting ready for the night watches etc.
Down wind up to 45kts winds, we tend to use just the (unreefed) main. If it hits 50kts we take it down and switch to jib only.

We have a cutter stay but never needed it for the storm sail. But for upwind in 50kts it is good so consider the cutter rigged ketch!
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Old 11-01-2014, 19:08   #7
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Re: To Ketch or Not

The cutter comments hit home. We think a cutter rigged Ketch is the answer to having a larger boat with a flexible sail plan that can be sailed anywhere by a couple (solo at times!)

There are a couple reasons people point to for fewer ketch rigs - build cost and slower sailing. We are going in with eyes open on cost and think a longer Ketch will out perform a shorter Sloop. Adding 8-12' improves hull speed. Just our thoughts as we freeze our butts off in the great midwest!
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Old 11-01-2014, 19:18   #8
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Re: To Ketch or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJ2581 View Post
The cutter comments hit home. We think a cutter rigged Ketch is the answer to having a larger boat with a flexible sail plan that can be sailed anywhere by a couple (solo at times!)

There are a couple reasons people point to for fewer ketch rigs - build cost and slower sailing. We are going in with eyes open on cost and think a longer Ketch will out perform a shorter Sloop. Adding 8-12' improves hull speed. Just our thoughts as we freeze our butts off in the great midwest!
We embarras the single stickers with our 12kt hull speed and a 20+kt full planing speed on beam reach to broad reach wind angles. Not that this happens often, as we always need to go where the wind is coming from...

Check on light wind performance, where so much depends on displacement. We can sail 6-7 kts in a 10-12kt wind. This requires rigging preventers etc. to stop the slapping and some time to build up the speed, but once there, it is sustained. This is 25 metric tons on a 64' water line which is very light.
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Old 11-01-2014, 19:59   #9
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Re: To Ketch or Not

We have a Hudson Force 50, Cutter/Ketch rig and love the ability to drop the main and just run under mizzen and Genoa or Cutter when the winds pick up above 20Kts. The two smaller sails are much easier to deal with and the boat ballances out beautifully. We had a Pearson 365 Ketch and loved the same arrangement.
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Old 11-01-2014, 20:06   #10
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Re: To Ketch or Not

I agree with Rich of s/v Third Day. I also have a Hudson Force 50 ketch and it is wonderful. I can single hand the boat easily. It was large enough for three men to be comfortable on a voyage from California to Hawaii. It is an excellent way to go. If you can find a Force 50, buy it.

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Old 11-01-2014, 20:51   #11
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Re: To Ketch or Not

We love ketches! but prefer staysail rigged ketchs! So nice to sail at hull speed or better with just a mizzen and staysail! all ya need is wind ! Nice comfortable ride and smaller more easyly handled sails! even 42 ft ketchs are good for couples ! and a 50 51 ft ketch can be sailed just fine with a couple if they are sailors ! Might be a little hard for a newby couple to sail a big one alone, but with a few yrs experince most any semi-fit couple can sail one ! we do at 75 and 62 yrs old !! Nothing like a lot of room !!!
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Old 11-01-2014, 21:27   #12
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Re: To Ketch or Not

Sooo ... folks with Sloops think they are just fine and those with Ketchs say they are better yet. I get the feeling the Ketchers have sailed Sloops but likely not so much the other way.

Puts a bit more weight on the positive points for selecting a Ketch for passage and liveaboard. Anyone have reasons we shouldn't? Is there a downside?
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Old 11-01-2014, 21:27   #13
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Re: To Ketch or Not

Try checking out the thread. Is the Ketch dead? on this site.

We have a 1984 Camper & Nicholson cutter ketch; center cockpit. It sails remarkably well in all points. I raced seriously for years and was prepared for it to be a cruiser's dog. The mast is the same as was used on the sloop model of the same size.

You can see that there are a lot of options in this sail plan. All furlers operate from the cockpit. The mizzen staysail is really easy to hoist, douse and operate and its effect is dramatic on performance.

bridge clear 80 ft
36 tons
58 LOA
15'-7" beam
modified full keel & skeg rudder
135 genoa -roller furl
Main - in mast furl
2/3 hoist #2 genoa (wing & wing with #1)
cutter staysail 2/3 hoist 100% - roller furl
AS spinnaker
code zero
mizzen (48 ft) in mast furl
mizzen staysail
storm trisail

Camper also made several other well known cruisers both sloop and ketch in the 32 to 35 size. These continue to be popular world cruisers. Well cared for models are often available. Follow Yahoo Groups campernicholson@yahoogroups.com
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Old 11-01-2014, 22:22   #14
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Re: To Ketch or Not

For cruising, a staysail ketch or schooner is good. The sails come in smaller/handier sizes and provide flexibility in sail plans. A single-masted boat is better for day sailing as there are fewer sails to hoist.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:54   #15
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Re: To Ketch or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJ2581 View Post
Sooo ... folks with Sloops think they are just fine and those with Ketchs say they are better yet. I get the feeling the Ketchers have sailed Sloops but likely not so much the other way.

Puts a bit more weight on the positive points for selecting a Ketch for passage and liveaboard. Anyone have reasons we shouldn't? Is there a downside?
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.
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