I'm no expert on the theory, and have only sailed about 400nm in her to date. Mostly off the wind
(broad reaching) and we had main and headies up: generally about 2/3 of the windward one and all of the lee one. You don't goosewing them as there's nowhere to sheet them to and the whole idea of cats is not having to pole sails
out. Correction - one of the good things about cats is no poling out sails
and lotsa sheeting angles to choose from
Straight down wind
we can simply have these sails fill the foretriangle - when we loosen off the sheets
a bit the windward one nicely fills the space between the forestays so it's like having an easily furled MPS
though our MPS is just so pretty we put it up whenever we can.
Into the wind... well she's a cat with low aspect rig and several hundred kgs too much gear
and no dagger boards
... That said we find the staysail sheeted in close and the leeward headie (also sheeted in tight) seem to power up the main quite well so we only have about a third of the windward headie out and at times only a scrap of the leeward one too - depends on the angle/wind strength/seastate etc... At least we never get bored trying to figure out what works best! Lots of options there... Maybe in a few thousand miles we'll have worked it out, who knows? We're planning to keep the wind aft of beam as much as possible...
As for % - depends on how you reckon it! Because the forestays are widely spaced, each headsail only comes back to a few feet past the inner forestay. If I pull one out at anchor
then the clew just comes back to a line drawn athwartships from the mast
so I suppose that makes it 100%, however if it was on a centre forestay it would probably reach a bit further back - maybe 110-115%. Hard to say! They're fairly high cut so they clear the triangulated inner forestay easily when we're tacking (they ride up and over the lower stays from the tack of the staysail out to the bows).
I spent some time cruising on a 36' Herreshoff ketch
and appreciate the ease of handling of a divided rig. In the case of the 40' Hitchhiker cat, neither the twin headies nor staysail nor main are difficult to handle or heavy to pull up/down/furl etc. One friend had one for years and added a few feet to the mast
but still found the sail plan easy for a couple to handle. My partner in fun is new to sailing so often it's just me (mid 50s female) hauling 'em up/down/in/out, with the autopilot
keeping our heading: not an issue.
For further info on the rig design I suggest you contact the designer
, John Hitch. His contact details are available if you search for his current
boat X-IT, which is for sale
. This is where I found it (on Boatpoint.com.au) today: photo gallery popup with enquiry
X-IT has no main at all but the headsails are HUMUNGOUS!! I can vouch for this as he was moored near us and we helped him put one of them on its furler
. It was all I could do to winch
up the halyard
, but then she is
a much larger yacht!