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Old 16-12-2006, 16:25   #1
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Spray and Suhaili

Why do circumnavigators chose to sail Ketch or Yawl rigged boats? I know, for example, that Slocum's Spray was a sloop before he refitted her as a yawl before circumnavigating. Is there something inherently more seaworthy about a two masted boat? Are they easier to sail solo? I know Knox-Johnson wanted a ketch in case his mainmast failed. Does anyone have information about this?
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Old 16-12-2006, 19:09   #2
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For a given total sail area a ketch will have smaller individual sails, which will be easier to handle. They also give you plenty of options in heavy weather, such as furling the main and sailing on mizzen and headsail only.

But there are plenty of circumnavigators using all kinds of sailplans these days.
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Old 17-12-2006, 01:37   #3
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In the days of cotton sails, large sails were terribly heavy and ungainly when wet. You either needed a big crew or small sails. The ketch/schooner rigs split up the boomed sails and head sails were typically non overlapping or a double headsail rig.

Also, before the days of self steering and autopilots, a split was rig easier to balance out and steer itself. Spray was not a great boat but it was a great boat for single handing at the end of the 19th century because it could be set up to steer itself via sail trim on all points of sail. Suhaili was probably built as a ketch more out of tradition as dacron had taken over sails by it's time. However, the self steering on Suhaili never worked well and was abandoned early in the round the world race. With its split rig, the boat steered itself via sail trim for most of the race enabling it to win the race. Of course it only won because Moitessier dropped out when he had the race in the bag on the final run back to the finish line.

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Old 17-12-2006, 02:23   #4
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pirate

Moitessier's race position will always be a bone of contention among us arm chair sailors but thank you for your response that was the exact answer I was looking for. You are very informed about all things not Moitessier.
-kidding, you are probably right.
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Old 17-12-2006, 02:39   #5
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also check this out http://www.kastenmarine.com/gaff_rig.htm
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Old 17-12-2006, 03:37   #6
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Cos' they look prettier and they also look "right"

I do appreciate that in days of yore the attraction of a Ketch / Yawl rig was being easier to handle for a small crew by dividing the sail plan up into more manageable chunks, but that since the advent of furling headsails and mainsails that this benefit has to a large extent been negated and since 2 bigger sails will be more efficient than 3 smaller ones that a Sloop rig has become more popular / the norm (?) for very good reasons.

However the reason I bought a Ketch (with only at the moment a distant and vague intention of sailing off into the sunset) was that I don't like furling mainsails, and am also wary of my headsail ever getting jammed.........I figure that if I am in a position where my headsail is jammed open that a smaller sail would be easier to deal with, plus if push comes to shove that taking a knife to the offending sail will be both cheaper and will also leave me enough working sail in the meantime..........But then again I am something of a pessimist

But if I am honest the main reason is probably that I like having a Mizzen mast to brace myself against, and as said already I think they look prettier and "right" .........but I wouldn't say their is anything fundamentaly wrong with a Sloop rig.
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Old 17-12-2006, 18:44   #7
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Aloha Unbusted,
44'cruisingcat and Roverhi are not "probably right" they are dead right. Shorter masts were the order of the day in Spray's time. They didn't have extruded aluminum nor fancy wire or rod rigging and Slocum would not have chosen large unweildy wet cotton sails when he could deal with smaller ones in a split rig.
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Old 19-01-2007, 08:03   #8
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RE: Why a ketch?

You don't get as much pitch and yaw, downwind there are a variety of goosewing options, she is easier to configure to sail independantly (without autopilot, due to the range of sail plans/options and positions), easier to right if capsized (with sheets released), not so far to climb for maintainence or to haul sails, more options for radar array placements, gps recievers etc... and they look extemely beautiful! ... enough said I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unbusted67
Why do circumnavigators chose to sail Ketch or Yawl rigged boats? I know, for example, that Slocum's Spray was a sloop before he refitted her as a yawl before circumnavigating. Is there something inherently more seaworthy about a two masted boat? Are they easier to sail solo? I know Knox-Johnson wanted a ketch in case his mainmast failed. Does anyone have information about this?
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Old 26-01-2007, 18:22   #9
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Interestingly, I just finished reading Moitessier's Tamata and the Alliance. The book was written just a few years before the master died. In the appendix, he discusses boat choice for cruising and says that he would now choose a cutter rig (and in fact his last boat, Tamata, was a cutter-rigged sloop). Dividing the foresail plan up does make things a bit easier and gives one more options, I think (only sailed one once). One great advantage, I would also think would be the ability to have a roller-furled genoa for convenience but also still have the inner forestay for installing a "real" (not roller furled) working jib or storm jib.
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Old 26-01-2007, 18:43   #10
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Why would Moitessier want to have more canvas to attend to on the foredeck? Moitessier never had a roller furler, it just doesn't make sense to want to spend more time out front when sailing alone. What the F*ck do I know though he has sailed around the world. I have not.
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Old 26-01-2007, 21:42   #11
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I am a fan of the Ketch rig, but after a couple of years sailing a cutter, I am a convert. For a smaller boat, I would definitely choose a cutter for short hand sailing. For a larger boat definitely a ketch.
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Old 26-01-2007, 22:13   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unbusted67
Why would Moitessier want to have more canvas to attend to on the foredeck? Moitessier never had a roller furler, it just doesn't make sense to want to spend more time out front when sailing alone. What the F*ck do I know though he has sailed around the world. I have not.
Well, the roller furling part was my own observation. Even without it still divides the sail plan in a way that seems more efficient than a ketch - at least in smaller boats (say under 40'). I just lent the book out to a friend else I'd post here Moitessier's exact comment. "Joshua" was 39' while his last boat "Tamata" (the cutter-rigged sloop I mentioned) was 32' LOA, if I recall. That would have been too small really for a ketch rig, so perhaps that had something to do with his reasoning.
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Old 26-01-2007, 22:37   #13
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I guess that makes more sense. I still can't imagine trying to take down a genoa and a staysail in a southern ocean blow but who am I to question the man? I've actually never read moitessier. How does he compare to the other single-hander-greats?
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Old 27-01-2007, 04:05   #14
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Moitessier is a very good writer, actually. I find he occasionally goes a bit off the deep end for my taste, but generally I appreciate his outlook and his emphasis on simplicity.

I think the cutter would have the distinct advantage of allowing one to hank a storm sail or at least smaller foresail on the inner stay and just leave it there ready to go. So, in a way, it might actually minimize the time forward in foul weather.
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Old 27-01-2007, 04:43   #15
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Ships weren't classified by rig until sometime in the mid 19th century, before which, a ship (regardless of rig) was classified by the work she did.

It should be noted that the most efficient setup, for a given sail area, is a sloop with a large mainsail and a non-overlapping jib.

The most obvious advantage of the stays'l, whether it is on a schooner, ketch or cutter, is to make each individual headsail smaller and easier to handle.

The fore-and-aft rig ~ by Ted Brewer

”While economics favor the sloop, other rigs have much to offer ...
... Safety in cruising is having sufficient windward ability to claw off a lee shore in a gale, but only if the rig can be handled by a short-handed crew. If a sloop's sails are too large for the crew to change or reef under storm conditions, then you have no safety and would be better off with a divided rig with its smaller sails and greater ease of handling ...”


Goto: Good Old Boat: The fore-and-aft rig by Ted Brewer
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