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Old 19-04-2011, 14:09   #1
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Ketch vs. Cutter

I'm shopping for a 37-45' sailboat, and am seeking input on the advantages/disadvantages of these two rigs. I've sailed cutter and sloop rigged boats but haven't been on a ketch rigged boat yet. I'm also thinking of living aboard the boat I choose. I have a 20' daysailer,that is a gaff cutter and has provided years of happy sailing. Now I'm approaching retirement and want a bigger boat with the idea of spending more time on the water. Any and all thoughts appreciated.
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Old 19-04-2011, 14:27   #2
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Re: ketch vs. cutter

Some reading for you until the responses start coming in. I used the custom, CF-specific Google search tool with the title of your thread to get this...

ketch vs. cutter - Google Search

And welcome to the Forum!
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Old 19-04-2011, 14:41   #3
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Re: ketch vs. cutter

It isn't an either/or choice; there is the option of the "cutter rigged ketch" (add in inner forestay to a ketch rig). I use to own one. In the end, it is all about rig balance. Don Street hated ketches and loved the yawl rig. Most modern designs in that size range are 'single stick'. My experience with ketch rigs are that they don't like to go to weather; but then, neither do I. A cutter gives up some horsepower for the advantage of not having to go forward to shorten sail.

Don't forget the maintenance costs. Sloop: one mast, two or three sails. Cutter, one mast, three or four sails. Ketch: two masts, four or five sails, or more? Multiple masts means more rigging, both standing and running. That stuff has to be replaced someday. Sail options are good, but you pay for them.
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Old 19-04-2011, 14:41   #4
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Re: ketch vs. cutter

Sailing qualities aside, I have been scratching my head trying to find a good, out of the way (and out of shade) place for solar panels on a ketch rigged boat.
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Old 19-04-2011, 16:57   #5
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Re: ketch vs. cutter

Welcome aboard.
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Old 20-04-2011, 14:39   #6
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Re: Ketch vs. Cutter

Hi, and welcome aboard:

Although we don’t always agree on things, in this instance I agree with Doug86.
Sloops are by far the most popular design which means that there are far more boats to choose from when buying, and generally, much easier to sell when you trade up (Or down as the case may be).
I’m not knocking Ketches or Cutters, I have come within a gnats whisker of buying both kinds and I would still like to get one of them; The Freedom 44 carbon fibre masted Ketch which has more deck space than Texas is a beauty if you can find one in good condition and the Amazon 45 Cutter is one heck of a boat if you can find a good one at the right price BUT: In the world we live in, the “Market Quantity” is what keeps prices reasonable. And like it or not, the largest quantity of sailboats on the market today are Sloops.
Having said that, I still dream about the Freedom 44 Ketch we almost bought…
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Old 20-04-2011, 15:09   #7
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Re: Ketch vs. Cutter

As one who has lived aboard and cruised a sloop for 14 years and a ketch for 26 years, I have some strong opinions. For the sloop,.....simplicity and windward performance. For the ketch,.....sail options for conditions and vertical clearance advantage. Nothing else has really struck me as significant!
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Old 28-04-2011, 13:37   #8
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Re: Ketch vs. Cutter

I owned a ketch and sailed it interisland a great deal and back to the mainland. I've since sailed many sloops and now prefer sloops due to simplicity, windward performance and less maintenance cost and hours.
If it were me I'd get the smallest sloop you can live with to cut down on the verticle clearance if it is an issue where you sail.
kind regards,
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Old 28-04-2011, 13:42   #9
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Re: Ketch vs. Cutter

i have sailed both and cruised ketch and sloop and cutter--optimal being the forestaysail ketch (proper name for the ketch with a forestaysail, or second, inner, jib..LOL)--- sloop has way too much weather helm in heavy weather, and the ketch is able to overcome that. solar panels on a ketch---on a bimini or dodger... or even on th e coach house roof ..... gooodluck. sail everything then figger out which YOU like best. is a matter of personal taste, not popularity.
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Old 28-04-2011, 13:47   #10
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Re: Ketch vs. Cutter

I own couple of ketch rig yachts in the past decade and love it. You talking about retirement and cruising-in my opinion ketch rig will be the way to go-performance is good and is easy to handle in adverse conditions or cruising solo... for best performance tho-DEFINITELY cutter rig (kind a drag racer/turbo on the water)
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Old 28-04-2011, 14:34   #11
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Re: Ketch vs. Cutter

Have sailed alot of both types..... currently own a cutter rigged sloop and that is my preference (a "slutter" as we call her..)
Honestly, many other factors are more important than the configuration of the rig...
-shape of the hull
-D/L ratio
-sail handling equipment and running rigging layout
All of these contribute to the performance and ease of sailing as much as one or two masts.
When I was boat shopping, I was open to any rig type and more focused on general quality and performance of particular design. Look at ALOT of boats....
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Old 28-04-2011, 17:25   #12
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Re: Ketch vs. Cutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
i have sailed both and cruised ketch and sloop and cutter--optimal being the forestaysail ketch (proper name for the ketch with a forestaysail, or second, inner, jib..LOL)--- sloop has way too much weather helm in heavy weather, and the ketch is able to overcome that. solar panels on a ketch---on a bimini or dodger... or even on th e coach house roof ..... gooodluck. sail everything then figger out which YOU like best. is a matter of personal taste, not popularity.
Zee, ya gotta get off that "sloop has too much weather helm" pitch. There are sloops with that characteristic for sure, there are ketches, schooners, cutters and for all I know brigantines with weather helm.

BUT, to condemn all sloops as being thus cursed is simply wrong, and I think that you are giving this chap bad advice by saying so.

And I'll back my experience against yours if it comes to that... a cumulative 150K miles in three different sloops: A Yankee 30, A Palmer Johnson Standfast 36, and our current Jon Sayer 46. None of these boats suffer(ed) from excess weather helm in heavy conditions when correctly trimmed.

There are certainly factors in the ketch design that may be attractive to a cruiser, but there is no guarantee of a balanced helm in that second mast.

Cheers,
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Old 28-04-2011, 17:35   #13
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pirate Re: Ketch vs. Cutter

ROLF... whats with this Sloop beats Cutter stuff....
My Cherubini 37 cutter left a Bendi 40 in her wake from Poole to the Isle of Wight....
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Old 28-04-2011, 18:19   #14
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Re: Ketch vs. Cutter

Quote:
Honestly, many other factors are more important than the configuration of the rig.
Yup, if at the end of the day the only issues between two boats is the rig then you probably have not looked very hard at the rest of the boat. many other issues matter a WHOLE lot more.

If all things were equal we would all be sailing the same boat. Last I checked no one else but me sails the boat. I prefer it that way. Multiple masts and sails is just part of sailing and you need to learn the benefits first hand. I spent a long time learning the value of a small staysail and it takes a bit to really know when it matters and when it's just a lot of air that makes no difference.
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Old 28-04-2011, 18:56   #15
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Re: Ketch vs. Cutter

With ketches, I think there's a line where small size becomes an issue. I'm not sure exactly where that line is - maybe somewhere around the P 365. Easier to balance and reef perhaps since no inner jybe necessary.

Cutter - perhaps balancing has more to do with cutaway forefoot, or bringing COB/E back using inner.

But, you can always make yourself a temporary jigger on a cutter using a sailboard mast on the tail - turning it into a Yawl if you want to add some balance or heaving ability...in regards to a smaller boat that won't heave very well e.g. hard to balance.
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