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Old 17-02-2011, 13:45   #1
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Cat Cutter Rig Revived? Moxie 61

I note with interest that Moxie Yachts has a new 61 foot cat on the boards which revives the cutter (aka 'Prout' ) rig in catamarans:

Moxie Yachts


Frankly, apart from the carbon fibre spar and large roach mainsail, it is virtually identical to the rig on my Solaris Sunstream 40: cockpit relatively far forward with mast stepped on the companionway bulkhead; fixed staysail stay for furling staysail/storm jib; continuous line furlers on both the staysail and headsail. In both cases the main is a bit larger than on the original Prouts, but otherwise the designs are very similar.

I have always felt that this rig is ideal for for a cat intended for offshore cruising, as:

1. the mainsail is kept to a more manageable size and, at least in the case of my boat (at 40 feet), this eliminates the need for an electric winch for the main halyard that is typically required on the huge, flat-top mains that are currently in vogue;

2. splitting the rig into three sails keeps all sails smaller, in relative terms, again rendering them more manageable;

3. by spreading the rig more fore/aft, one can reduce the height of the mast and lower the CE of the sailplan, thereby improving transverse stability.

4. the companionway bulkhead is probably the strongest part in the middle of the boat and hence a perfect location for the mast step;

5. stepping the mast at the companionway bulkhead allows all lines to be led into the cockpit (or the coach roof by the helm) without the need for (and additional friction caused by) turning bocks, etc.

6. offshore boats should have provision for a proper storm jib. Yes, you can install a 'Galerider' type storm jib over the furled headsail, but this requires going on the foredeck in questionable conditions in order to raise it and attach the sheets and lead them back to the cockpit. Furthermore, most cats do not have separate tracks for a staysail/storm jib, and hence the sheeting angles are apt to be too far aft to flatten the sail.

7. a dedicated staysail will be made out of much heavier material than a genoa and be better able to withstand (and less likely to be stretched/damaged by) heavy winds.

8. continuous line furlers enable the sails to be let out gradually.

I suspect that the performance in light air is superior with a large flat-top main and single headsail, but this is obviously a little less significant for a boat intended for extended cruising. Anyone have any thoughts?

Brad
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Old 24-02-2011, 06:22   #2
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Re: Cat Cutter Rig Revived? Moxie 61

PS For those who think that performance is compromised with a cutter rig, it is worth noting that the Atlantic 57 has one (albeit, not as extreme as on the Prouts and without stepping the mast on the companionway bulkhead).

Brad
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Old 24-02-2011, 07:50   #3
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Re: Cat Cutter Rig Revived? Moxie 61

Nice boat and wonder about performance vs the Atlantic. I think the round cockpit doors are a designers wet dream and soooo impractical.
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Old 24-02-2011, 08:40   #4
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Re: Cat Cutter Rig Revived? Moxie 61

Our Searunner also has the mast in the middle of the boat, but has an over height mast compared to the original, and is a cutter, but always sailed as a sloop. (a designer suggested mod)

By going taller, we can have a rollerfurling headsail with a genoa's area, but a high clew, and made of heavy fabric. The high clew means we can see under the sail, and as we roller reef, the sheet lead cars seldom need adjustment.

When the wind is steady at over 30 knots, we strike the headsail entirely, and raise the staysail, still sailing as a sloop. Now we have reduced sail and moved the COE down, leveling out the boat.

With the mast in the cockpit, mainsail reefs can be done from the cockpit!

When it gets over 40, we strike the fully battened main entirely, and sail perfectly balanced with staysail alone, just fall off a bit if we can.

These sound like similar concepts, and they have worked remarkably well for us for 15 years now. Due to ease of handling, it is particularly suitable to an over 50 couple like us.

Mark
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Old 24-02-2011, 11:39   #5
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Re: Cat Cutter Rig Revived? Moxie 61

Mark, I agree with you about the benefits of this rig. Since so many monohulls intended for offshore work are now using the 'solent rig' (which also has a dedicated staysail/storm jib stay), I have often wondered why they are less popular with current cruising mulithulls purportedly intended for (or at least, suitable for) offshore passages. Cost is certainly one consideration and I note that both the Moxie 61 and the Atlantic 57 are pretty expensive, in relative terms.

And Sandcrab I agree with you about the doors (and frankly some other aspects of the design of the Moxie) favouring style over function. The rig, on the other hand, is not one of those areas. As to performance, I am pretty confident that the Atlantic will prove to be faster than the Moxie - it has less accomodation, less windage, a smaller bridgedeck and, I can virtually guarantee it will have less displacement than the completed Moxie).

Nevertheless, my point in starting this thread was in relation to the cutter-style rig on catamarans and what others think about their suitability for (and yet relative rarity on) modern production multihulls. Is this just another of the fact that most production cats are designed and built primarily for use in the charter trade, or is there something else?

Brad
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