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Old 16-03-2011, 21:53   #1
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sloop to cutter refit

i know its possible to make a regular masthead sloop into a cutter by adding another forestay.
but i wouldnt know where to begin. can anyone offer any advice.
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Old 16-03-2011, 22:55   #2
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

Aloha,
It's a good question that I can help a little with. A sloop that adds a forestay or babystay is called a slutter and is not a true cutter. A true cutter has its mast stepped 2/5 or more aft of the bow which is a bit aft of where a sloop has its mast stepped. If you wish to add a bowsprit and set your headtay to the end of that then you still would need to have a forestay set parrallel to your headstay that meets your mast further down from the head. The sails are sometimes called outer and inner jib or yankee and foresail.
kind regards,
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Old 17-03-2011, 05:50   #3
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
Aloha,
It's a good question that I can help a little with. A sloop that adds a forestay or babystay is called a slutter and is not a true cutter. A true cutter has its mast stepped 2/5 or more aft of the bow which is a bit aft of where a sloop has its mast stepped. If you wish to add a bowsprit and set your headtay to the end of that then you still would need to have a forestay set parrallel to your headstay that meets your mast further down from the head. The sails are sometimes called outer and inner jib or yankee and foresail.
kind regards,
the reason im asking this is because i have found so many sloops that i really like but, there forsail is nearly always on a roller, which i dont mind at all, but it would be nice to have the other stay there to run a smaller jib or a storm sail off of if the conditions called for it without having to depend on the roller all the time.
so is it possible to make a "slutter" without adding a bowsprit? and how would you attach the new stay to the deck securely?
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Old 17-03-2011, 06:09   #4
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

Yes, it is possible, but I would suggest that you think about a 'Solent Rig' - in essence, a sloop with a detachable inner staysail/stay. The detachable stay will permit a smaller gap between it and the forestay and, as you will use it only in heavy air with the foresail furled, it will not interfere with tacking. It will, however, be quite expensive:
1. You will need to install a chainplate. If your boat has a solid bulkhead that is quite a bit aft of the bow (typically at the aft end of the chainlocker), this won't be as difficult or expensive. Otherwise you will have to have a bulkhead./athwartship deck support fabricated and installed and this will not only be expensive, it is apt to interfere with your interior accomodation.
2. You will need to install tangs on the mast (typically the same distance down from forestay as your new chainplate is back from it on deck, although it need not be exactly parallel).
3. You will need a forestay with hardware.
4. You will need a separate halyard with blocks on the mast (or internally, with exit boxes).
5. you will need an additional line stopper/cleat for the halyard.
6. You will need an additional set of sheets and two additional sheetlead tracks/cars/blocks
7 you will need additional cleats by your primary winches for the staysail sheets.
8. You may need running backstays (and hence more chainplates aft), led from the same height on the mast as the new staysail stay.

Of course, you will also need the sail/s.

Good luck!

Brad
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Old 17-03-2011, 06:16   #5
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

If you want to set something up to handle a storm sail, then you can do that without having to mod the boat extensively. On our Pretorien, the previous owner added a hard point a bit forward of the halfway point, between the mast and bow. It is a double Wichard deck ring, and is tied to a bulkhead below with a turnbuckle and chainplate. Good quality hardware here is key I assume.

For the sail, there is a upper halyard that might have been a spare spinnaker halyard, but now is used for the storm sail. It uses very low stretch line. The sail itself has low stretch line sewn into the luff, and a pendant on the bottom to raise the sail off of the deck. You simply attach the sail to the hardpoint, attach the halyard to the sail, attach sheets, and then hoist and tighten hard. If you wanted to get fancy, you could use one of those furlers used for staysails and the like that don't use extrusions.

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Old 17-03-2011, 06:30   #6
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

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Originally Posted by bdurham View Post
the reason im asking this is because i have found so many sloops that i really like but, there forsail is nearly always on a roller, which i dont mind at all, but it would be nice to have the other stay there to run a smaller jib or a storm sail off of if the conditions called for it without having to depend on the roller all the time.
so is it possible to make a "slutter" without adding a bowsprit? and how would you attach the new stay to the deck securely?
It helps if you have a boat with a long J/short boom. As has been pointed out, in a true cutter, the mast is farther back for reasons of balance. Many IOR designs from the '70s and early '80s have the capacity to be turned into quasi-cutters because they have 15 foot Js on 32-34 feet of deck (as a ratio example). Frequently there will be provision to rig a "genoa staysail", a wire luff sail that is tacked at the rail and is a way to increase reaching sail area.

Other tactics include a Highfield lever to rig a staysail stay, but temporarily, to a well-backed padeye, or, as has been described, a proper chainplate going to a bulkhead.

Be warned that a consultation with a rigger is a must here. There are purchases called running backstays that may or may not be required if you load up the foretriangle with more sail power than it's supposed to take.

In that case, if you don't want to rig running backs (still seen on race boats with big crews), your option is to rig a temporary stay with the lever device, and never to have both sails out at once.

There's a big advantage to having a well-built hank-on staysail that I am not surprised you want to use. I have driven our steel boat at alarming speeds with just the staysail alone in heavy weather, and, being a lot like a No. 3 on a sloop, it's a nice, steady ride.
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:02   #7
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

As some people have mentioned, the terms "sloop" and "cutter" aren't used with much precision any more. What we call a "cutter" today is generally just a double-headed sloop, since the mast is in the same place and the principles of the rig are the same.

Having two headsails is a great thing. Our present boat is the first one I've had with this arrangement and I love it. It gives you more and better variations of your sail plan. Particularly useful is the fact that in really heavy weather you can sail on the self-tacking staysail and deeply reefed mainsail alone, with great security and stability.

The big downside is the necessity of rigging running backstays, which get in the way, which have to be tacked, and are a general PITA.

What we have NOT found to be a problem is tacking the main headsail around the inner forestay. It is easier to tack our present cutter-rigged boat than our previous sloop-rigged boat -- the new boat is bigger and holds her speed better through the tack. Getting the sail around is not a problem.

I would think that most sloop rigged boats can have a staysail added by rigging an inner forestay and running backs. The fixing point on deck for the inner forestay should be thought out carefully.
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:04   #8
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
There are purchases called running backstays that may or may not be required if you load up the foretriangle with more sail power than it's supposed to take.

In that case, if you don't want to rig running backs (still seen on race boats with big crews), your option is to rig a temporary stay with the lever device, and never to have both sails out at once.
Running backs are needed anytime you have an inner forestay rigged with any load on it. Running backs are not required because of higher loads in general; they are required because a load is being applied to the mast below the backstay. The mast would bend from the load of the inner forestay if it were not supported by running backstays.
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:08   #9
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

Our 10 year boat project Searunner, was designed as a true cutter with a removable staysail stay and running backs to oppose the force of the staysail. In later conversations with co designer John Marples, he suggested some changes.

We went 4' taller on the mast, and rather than have the conventional Genoa, I went with a roller furling high clewed "Lapper". This sail is about as large, and of very heavy fabric. (We are going back 15 years and well over 20,000 sea miles ago)...

(This compromise does mean that if we want to sail in 6 or less knots of wind, we need to use the cruising spinnaker "in a sock", as the heavy lapper would just hang there.)

This left us with a cutter rigged boat, sailed as a sloop. The lapper had the advantages of being easier to see under, easier to tack through the "slot", and the sheet leads could remain, even as I rolled up some sail.

We can use the boat up to 25 knots of wind with full sail, then roll in 5', and were good to 30. We sail this way, as a sloop, 95% of the time.

When it is consistently at or above 30, we reef the main, (from the cockpit)... fall off, roll up the headsail completely, and raise the staysail. We are now going about a knot slower, but the boat straightens up, the pounding stops (if we were going to windward), and the boat remains perfectly balanced and happy.

With another reef in the main, we are good to over 40, at which point we can strike the main and sail under staysail alone, still perfectly balanced. We have a "storm staysail" for even higher winds, but have never used it.

We started out with the staysail stay and runners permanent. (John had moved the runners one station forward so the runners would not conflict with the main.) This worked fine for 10 years, but we later made the runners removable, so we could let the main out a bit more down wind, and recently our new cruising grounds became the protected inland waters of the Neuse River and Pamlico sound. For these frequent short tacks, on fairly flat water, we made the staysail stay removable as well. Tacking the lapper through the slot, had never been a problem while cruising at sea, because the tacks were infrequent, and aided by the "motion of the ocean".

For ease of handling, balance, the correct amount of sail for all sailing conditions, and safety... this is a wonderful rig!

This mod is not rocket science, and you can do it on your on, but I would still suggest that you get your designer, or one you trust, to draw the location, as well as size and shape of the staysail, sheet lead blocks, and runner attachments. For a few hundred bucks, it is money VERY well spent! (Be sure to put a compression tube in the mast, when attaching the runner tang bolts.)

For the staysail stay attachment on deck, the easiest thing... (IF the preferred location doesn't fall on a well bonded structural bulkhead), is to use a beefy pad eye with a large base, through bolted to another just like it, inside the boat. This one is facing down. If it is a cored deck, you need to remove one side of the sandwich, cut out about a square foot, and insert a denser material, like plywood. Then glass the sandwich back together in a strong and cosmetically acceptable way.

Now you go down to the hull, and glass in a chainplate or another identical pad eye, (facing up). You can put in a large glass/epoxy "solid place" in the hulls "V". To this you epoxy bond in the lower pad eye, in a strength compatible way.

Now you attach this lower pad eye to the upper, "down facing" ceiling pad eye, with a rigging wire and turnbuckle. Tighten it to just snug, + 1 turn.

IF this is out, because it would fall in the middle of the V berth, you can have someone (with the skills) lay up a really beefy crossbeam of carbon fiber, that goes across the ceiling, makes the turn down, and goes about 2" down the hull. If this is beefy enough, and well bonded to the hull, it will be fine. It might still flex a bit, but a small amount is OK.

It is a great option to have on a cruising sloop. Call your designer, do your homework, and go for it!

Mark
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:19   #10
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

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Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
Yes, it is possible, but I would suggest that you think about a 'Solent Rig' - in essence, a sloop with a detachable inner staysail/stay.

. . . .

8. You may need running backstays (and hence more chainplates aft), led from the same height on the mast as the new staysail stay.

Of course, you will also need the sail/s.

Good luck!

Brad
The whole point of the Solent Rig is to avoid the running backstays.

The upper end of the inner forestay (or "Solent stay") on a Solent rig is attached quite high on the mast, high enough so that the backstay can carry the load without help from running backs. The lower end of the Solent stay can be set as far back on deck as you like -- the inner forestay and forestay are often not parallel on Solent rigged boats.

See: Solent Stay on Whoosh - Jack Tyler
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Old 17-03-2011, 08:46   #11
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Running backs are needed anytime you have an inner forestay rigged with any load on it. Running backs are not required because of higher loads in general; they are required because a load is being applied to the mast below the backstay. The mast would bend from the load of the inner forestay if it were not supported by running backstays.
This isn't the case with my genoa staysail on my 33 foot sloop, actually, but is the case with my 41 foot cutter. This could be because the genoa staysail is meant for relatively light conditions, has a relatively loose luff, and tacks to the leeward rail. By contrast, the cutter's staysail is well forward, nearly at the stem, and the forestay is two feet beyond at the apex of two four-inch pipes comprising the bowsprit.

Again, as you point out, there's imprecision in the use of the terms.
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Old 17-03-2011, 11:34   #12
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

The main mast on our Morgan OI41 is well aft of where the main is on most ketches (close to where the mast would be on a true cutter). For heavier air, the reefed genoa is too high and too far for my comfort, so adding a Solent stay is definitely on our project list. We lucked out in that the main mast already has a very heavy-duty attachment point 6 or 8 inches below where the forestay attaches to the masthead, negating the need for running backstays. On the foredeck we'll be installing a heavy padeye backed up by a large backing plate and another padeye on the underside. The padeye on the under side of the deck will be connected to a hull-mounted padeye with a ss rod and turnbuckle. As a bonus, the rod will also make a nice hand hold between the forward berths. This won't be a difficult job, just need to make everything very strong.

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Old 17-03-2011, 12:22   #13
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Re: sloop to cutter refit

I think moving the mast aft, moving the chainplates and cutting down the main would be the biggest challenges. Adding the forestay(s) should be pretty easy then. Big project anyway. And then one does not know how the boat will behave after the conversion.

Just adding another set of (forestay/runners) to any sloop rig should not create any issues. Add the fittings, run the rigging and test sail the thing, and you are set.

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