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Old 01-10-2010, 10:54   #31
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Alpawind: forgive me for my imperfect english; I'm Italian !! Answer to your question is impossible. I think that the cutter rig is better because it is easy and well balanced also in strong winds. In fact you can put a smaller staysail after the genoa has been furled. I think that ketch is an unnecesary complication in boats smaller than 45 feet. Sloop is not good to make ocean passages, but I also think that if you are not an expert sailor and you don't want sail around the world at the moment, you need a little boat sloop rigged: just two sails !!
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:14   #32
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Lots and lots of really good material in the archives. Use the search function!

Briefly:

Sloop: Best performance of any rig WHEN the wind is right. Least aerodynamic drag. Least flexibility. Whole sail plan distributed over only two sails so on bigger boats can be handling issues.

Cutter: Next best performance, not quite as good hard on the wind as a sloop, more aerodynamic drag, but more flexibility of sailplan. Much beloved of blue water cruisers. Staysail usually doubles as a built-in always ready storm sail. Existence of staysail sweeping the deck allows the main headsail (usually called a yankee in this application) to be higher cut, which makes it easier to handle and easier to set properly.
I'd agree with that assessment based on my experience of owning a sloop and a cutter. The easiest thing for harbor sailing and beer can racing is a sloop with a genoa on a roller, which really isn't the best thing for cruising.

You can make anything work though.

The only thing I don't like about a ketch is the amount of standing rigging in the cockpit. Wires everywhere.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:22   #33
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Part of the decision depends on the size of the boat.

I have a lightweight 30 foot sloop. The sails aren't too hard to handle, mainsail all bagged up probably weighs 60 pounds.

Assuming that all things increased linearly, a 45 foot boat would have a mainsail that weighs 90 pounds. It would be difficult for most of us to move that around, maybe a little easier if it was only 70 pounds, and another 30 pound sail was added to the boat to make up the loss of sail area?

If you got a crew of people capable of handling sails of any size, I haven't seen a race boat less than 20 years old that's anything but a sloop. That oughta tell you something about what's most efficient.

With furlers, lazy jacks and high tech sail cloth (lighter and lasting longer) people aren't moving the sails around in bags as much anymore, so sloops have become more popular.

And in some schools of thought, there is more difference between a sloop and cutter than just an extra sail, the mast is farther back on "true" cutter, and these other boats are still just sloops with a staysail added.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:29   #34
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every boat has a reason for being. there is none BETTER than another. just DIFFERENT.
learn and sail all--see what you like best and go for it.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:30   #35
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there is no rig that is BETTER than another--they are just DIFFERENT. each boat has a reason for being . sail ALL then decide on your particular favorite.
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Old 01-10-2010, 13:28   #36
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Rig is and always will be a personal choice. My choice us a ketch because of unlimited sail plans. I can if I get energetic enough. fly 6 sails. Jib, staysail, main, mizzen, mizzen staysail and mizzen topsail. And to top it all off, we would fly our holiday Ensign a 5' x 8' flag. Getting to lazy to fly all of them anymore, but next to a schooner, it's beautiful under sail and extremely well balanced..

These days I'm not into speed as much, and the boats sails well rnough that when the winds are oner 15 kts. the main comesw down and we just sail under mizzen and a 110 % jib. Makes goos speed, balanced and comfortable..

As for wires in the cockpit, somebody must have broken rigging or leftover rigging from another job.. The only thing in my cockpit is the main and jib sheet..
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