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Old 15-07-2020, 01:27   #1
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43ft Ketch for New Sailors

Hi,

My wife and I caught the cruising bug a couple of years ago with the standard plan of taking our young kids off for a couple of years. Having little experience a Cat seemed to suit our needs and just seemed, at the time, safer so bought a 35ft Prout as a project. That project grew and grew so to get some actual sailing experience we bought a cheap 26ft Westerly and realised hey, maybe monohulls aren’t so terrifying after all! We also really like the more “connected” feel of the mono layout.

Now, this is definitely not another cat vs mono bashing thread, and if we could afford a 45 ft modern cat it’d be no contest, but in our price and size range we have come to realise that the big belly of a 40 odd ft mono seems to feel much more open than the many but smaller areas on a 35/37 ft cat.

So, to my point. We are now approaching crunch time as we are leaving next spring and have come across a Wauquiez 43 ketch at a good price and well equipped. We love the space, feel and storage but have never sailed a ketch before,and she is just so BIG and frankly, intimidating. The cat feels more versatile and much easier to handle but we have fallen a little in love with the feel of the mono.

So opinions please, is this just too much boat for a couple of relative newbies to handle? Thanks
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Old 15-07-2020, 01:37   #2
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

Go for it. You know how to handle smaller boats. It will be your own boat so you will not take risks. Go slow and experiment. Take your time and learn. I myself bought our current 38 ft boat after having only sailed in dinghys many years ago. Manouvring in harbors is the most complicated and is a steap learning curve. Do it slowly. Good luck with your new boat
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Old 15-07-2020, 01:51   #3
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

We went from 20 foot Tornado cat to 58 Camper & Nicholson ketch. It was scary at first. Docking and handling in tight space was challenging but we learned. By the time we sailed the Great Lakes for a couple seasons we were ready for the St Lawrence Sea Way, Prince Edward Island and raw north East Coast. We now live aboard 7 month/year in the Caribbean. There are a lot of ketches. Most Caribbean cruisers anchor. Last season we did not go to a marina once. It will depend a lot on where you intend to cruise. I understand that in the U.K. there are not so many options and you will use marinas frequently. In the Med many locations are deep or poorly protected so marinas again.
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Old 15-07-2020, 03:12   #4
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

I second what Nic58 has said and were you want to sail to. That 43 has a deep keel so the French canals are out, but if your going to the Canaries then perhaps not a problem.

Have you viewed the boat?

You could look up sailboat data and compare some of the numbers with other similar yachts to give you an idea of the comfort level, though I suspect she falls into the slower more comfortable range.

What else to compare her to? well, slightly smaller:

https://www.theyachtmarket.com/en/bo...-sale/1762911/

https://www.theyachtmarket.com/en/bo...y/cavalier-36/

https://www.theyachtmarket.com/en/bo...-sale/1913097/

The market seems very buoyant at the moment in the UK. If you are not going to take the cat, I would sell it now, even if its a project.

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Old 15-07-2020, 03:55   #5
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

So... here's my 2p.


The 35ft Prout is a great boat but is a small cat, so is going to be a bit more pokey than a big ketch. The Wauquiez is also a great boat with oodles of space, but has the challenge of a deeper keel, bigger loadings on the rig, and is more boat to handle.


Personally I've had a 34ft sloop, a 42ft steel ketch, a 42ft GRP catamaran, and am now in the process of getting a 30ft ply/epoxy cat. Why go smaller? For me, I didn't need all the extra space the big ketch provided, or the complexities. The big cat was also colossal and too much frankly. The next stint on a boat will be tooling around the Med with the gf and the dog, so a smaller cat with simple systems ticks all our boxes.



It's all down to where you're sailing and what your plans are. Marinas will cost more with the bigger ketch and cats are nicer to anchor out in, but if you're bringing along the family or doing lots of outer-island cruising, the extra space will be invaluable.


Lots of food for thought.


n


PS - was it the Prout 35 at HIYC that you bought?
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Old 15-07-2020, 07:42   #6
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

Multiple masts exist because the equipment to handle big sails didn't exist. Sail handling on a ketch is easier than on an equivalent single masted vessel. The sails are smaller there are just more of them. My first big boat all twenty four feet of it was a ketch. With mizzen, main, genoa and staysail it was like having 4 gears. After a little practice with the various options balancing the boat was easy almost to the point of making the rudder superfluous. Ketches don't go to windward very well but reaching and downwind the ability to balance the sails is a big plus. I would still vote for the cat for any serious cruising but a ketch over a sloop is a comfortable compromise.
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Old 15-07-2020, 08:58   #7
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

I had a ketch and the mizzen sail was seldom used as it contributed little to the sailing performance for the effort of putting the sail up.
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Old 15-07-2020, 09:04   #8
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

A ketch is fun to sail. The mizzen is self tacking, so no worries there. The main is smaller than you will find on a sloop, so, wont be as affected when an unexpected gust arrives. I, like you, was a bit intimidated at first, but now, wouldn’t have it any other way. We like having all the different sail plan options, and its fun to tell your sailing friends, “we sailed with jib and jigger”.
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Old 15-07-2020, 09:24   #9
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

Ketch's give you much better ability to adjust sails to the weather situation for a more comfortable ride. (Watch out for weather helm which the mizzen can create). Take it slow and you'll love it. You can have fun with the storm jib by flying it upside down from the mizzen to create a home made "mule" sale. Watch out for the mizzen boom which will have a greater chance of hitting someone in the head then you might be used to.

Docking will be the greater challenge. Review better procedures when it's not windy so you are experienced in a blow. You won't be able to solve docking problems with more muscle anymore; it'll take finesse. Make sure fender placement/heights are established, spring lines are set up you know how to make use of the spring in a docking maneuver.

I grew up on a Ketch and our family loved it.
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Old 15-07-2020, 09:50   #10
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

Go for it! That is a great boat that you can grow into and the catch rig is very versatile. It will also have plenty of space for you and the family as well as the ability to cross oceans that might be intimidating in the proud. Anchors up!
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Old 15-07-2020, 09:55   #11
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

Having learned on and sailed a 23 footer when I was shopping for a 30-35 foot boat I felt they were very big and I may not be able to handle it, a friend understood my concern and and told me to sail once or twice on a 50 footer and then a 34 footer won’t appear so big - he was right.
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Old 15-07-2020, 09:59   #12
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

Quote: “...maybe monohulls aren’t so terrifying after all! [But]...she is just so BIG and frankly, intimidating.”

And that's the rub, isn't it:-)?

Whyever would a monohull ever be terrifying??? Some people find it an odd and unaccustomed sensation that sometimes you need to “walk on the furniture” when the boat heels, but the knowledge that monohulls sail best when they are heeled twelve or fifteen degrees should help you overcome that. Good seamanship, as you know from the little Westerly, militates against letting the boat heel any more than that. So since you are the cap'n, you determine how much you want 'er to heel. If you speak to 'er nicely in 'er own language, she'll obey you! There are all kinds of sophisticated arguments that can be adduced to convince you that monos can NEVER stay wrong side up if Neptune gets cranky enuff to roll them right over. Multihulls can!

As for big... uhmm, well yes, but the only difference between big and small is that in bigger boats, the time the boat takes to obey you is longer than it is in a small boat. The basic seamanship is the same regardless of the size of boat. Bigger gear obviously requires more physical strength to handle, but that is why winches were invented. Look up “Jervis brace winch” to see how old that notion is :-)

So in a big boat you have to be a little further ahead of the game than you need to be in a small boat, but a little conscious practice at so being will soon get you over the hump. If you muff it in a big boat it takes longer to put matters right than it does in a small boat. But the procedures needed to put things right are basically the same. If you break things in a big boat (including any of your crew) it is more costly to put matters right. So stay ahead of the game and don't break things! As someone told me a long, long time ago: Foresight is the sailorman's salvation!

If a man has common sense and forehandedness, a “big” boat (which, after all, is only a VERY small ship, as ships go) need not be “intimidated” by such a simple mechanical device as a sailboat.

These days entering and leaving marinas is always done by using the engine. Again, a big boat is a bigger hammer than is a little Westerly, and hitting things with a big boat can be VERY costly. So just don't do it. Practice, practice, practice under benign conditions away from hard stuff is what gives you the confidence and the skill to go safely near hard stuff when you must, such as when you are docking. When I was teaching sailing in a 65Ft ketch, I made a point of having the smallest woman in the boat, who by then had all of 2 days of sea time behind 'er and was with us really only because 'er guvnor had insisted, slick the boat up again the hammerhead dock in one of our marinas. Under sail. Nothing to it, really, just foresight and practice, practice and more practice :-)

So get the boat you like and learn to handle 'er. The boat handling is really the least of what you need to know to be a skipper, and in many ways the easiest part of it too :-). And all the stuff that isn't boat handling specific to a particular boat is the same in big boats as it is in little boats.

All the best

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Old 15-07-2020, 10:08   #13
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pirate Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

Don't let the ketch intimidate you..
The main is smaller maybe the size on a 32ft sloop and the rest is a doddle with a furling foresail..
I found on ketches the only time I used the main was going upwind, the rest was jib and jigger..
A reefed mizzen on the hook will keep you steady and hove to with jib and mizzen will keep you pointed just right once you find the balance.
Enjoy..
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Old 15-07-2020, 10:14   #14
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pugcat View Post
Hi,

My wife and I caught the cruising bug a couple of years ago with the standard plan of taking our young kids off for a couple of years. Having little experience a Cat seemed to suit our needs and just seemed, at the time, safer so bought a 35ft Prout as a project. That project grew and grew so to get some actual sailing experience we bought a cheap 26ft Westerly and realised hey, maybe monohulls aren’t so terrifying after all! We also really like the more “connected” feel of the mono layout.

Now, this is definitely not another cat vs mono bashing thread, and if we could afford a 45 ft modern cat it’d be no contest, but in our price and size range we have come to realise that the big belly of a 40 odd ft mono seems to feel much more open than the many but smaller areas on a 35/37 ft cat.

So, to my point. We are now approaching crunch time as we are leaving next spring and have come across a Wauquiez 43 ketch at a good price and well equipped. We love the space, feel and storage but have never sailed a ketch before,and she is just so BIG and frankly, intimidating. The cat feels more versatile and much easier to handle but we have fallen a little in love with the feel of the mono.

So opinions please, is this just too much boat for a couple of relative newbies to handle? Thanks

The Amphitrite 43 is a nice boat and hard to go wrong w/that choice (as long it has been maintained well).

Yes, initially the size can be intimidating, but you can quickly grow into it and soon you'll want a bigger boat!

We love the versatility of the sail configurations of the our ketch rig.
If you are ready to go and the boat isn't too much of a project, go for it. You can speculate until the cows come home of which boat maybe "better" (all boats are compromises), but in the end it all comes down to personal taste.
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Old 15-07-2020, 10:24   #15
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Re: 43ft Ketch for New Sailors

if this is an Amphitrite 43, then yes, it will seem like a big boat after the Prout and the Westerly. It is heavy. Sailing it will be more work. But it is a good sailboat and will be comfortable. Soon you will feel at home there. As your kids grow you will have able crewmates. Go for it.
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