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Old 16-02-2020, 14:02   #1
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Cat Ketch : extending my sail inventory

Hi all, I'm new on this forum. Very first post. I wish I had contributed before asking for help. I'll make sure to pay it forward in the future!

I bought a cat ketch last year. It is a Offshore 33 built in 1982. Old but in good shape. There was the two working sails on the boat, main and mizzen. Both are in very good shape.

I sailed with the boat from February to July. It is on the hard now (Indiantown, FL). I'm going back to the boat this summer. Overall, I am pretty happy with the boat as long as the wind is at least 12 kt. It does not point very well, but I'm not racing, so I tend to wait for the wind to shift if I have to go some place. I don't like to motor so I want to add to my sail inventory for sailing in light wind. I have already made an asymetrical spinnaker last month from a Sailrite kit (not tested yet). I will add a removable bowsprit, making the tack point about 8' from the base of the main mast. The bowsprit will have a bobstay. See figure below. Note that the main is not shown on this image as it won't be up when the spinnaker is in use.

Now I am fishing for ideas for the different points of sail : mizzen staysail, fractional jib, mule, code 0???? Anyone have experience with these sails on a cat ketch?
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Old 16-02-2020, 14:45   #2
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Re: Cat Ketch : extending my sail inventory

We had a mule on an H-28 ketch we sailed for many years. Never used it. Sometimes the effort it takes to set and keep a sail trimmed simply isn’t worth it. It doesn’t add enough speed, or conditions prevent it from being used enough to warrant having it aboard. Perhaps borrowing some sails that might fit to see how they might perform for you would work. An 8’ sprit sounds quite long. Many cruising sprits are barely longer than the anchor roller. Is it carbon fiber? How are you securing the inboard end?
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Old 16-02-2020, 15:08   #3
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Re: Cat Ketch : extending my sail inventory

Honestly, sail the boat, go cruising, and I bet you may decide she is fine the way it is. I would not make any extensive structural modifications.
Too many get stuck on trying to make the perfect boat and if they leave, it’s really delayed.
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Old 16-02-2020, 15:34   #4
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Re: Cat Ketch : extending my sail inventory

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Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
An 8’ sprit sounds quite long. Many cruising sprits are barely longer than the anchor roller. Is it carbon fiber? How are you securing the inboard end?
It is not a 8' sprit. It is only about 3' from the end of the anchor platform. It gives an 8 foot "J" , if you will, from the main mast. The sprit will slide in a tube secured with u-bolts through deck with the end butting against the windlass. I'm also using the anchor bail to secure the tube (I have two anchor rollers on the platform).
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Old 17-02-2020, 10:30   #5
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Re: Cat Ketch : extending my sail inventory

I own and race a Gulfstar 41 ketch.
It is a similar design with a much larger foretriangle. My "J" is 17'.
We generally race in the non Spinnaker class, which allows us to fly our mizzen staysail. Our 150% Genoa is on a roller furler. With the main and the mizzen hoisted and drawing,the only sail that needs to be deployed is the mizzen staysail. It clearly adds at least 1 knot of speed, from 5 knots to 6 knots in 10 knots of breeze.
This can be accomplished with a crew of 4 with out spilling any of our rum cocktails.

Your layout of a sprit flown gennaker and a mizzen staysail should offer similar performance.
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Old 17-02-2020, 11:11   #6
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Re: Cat Ketch : extending my sail inventory

You are going to love that spinnaker and won't need any other light sails. I didn't build an asym for our cat schooner until after we stopped cruising and could have kicked myself for not having it sooner. Seems like we were always motor sailing, when we could have been sailing with a kite up.


You will use it in conjunction with the main when wing and wing, filling in the gap between the two sails.
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Old 17-02-2020, 14:21   #7
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Re: Cat Ketch : extending my sail inventory

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You are going to love that spinnaker and won't need any other light sails. I didn't build an asym for our cat schooner until after we stopped cruising and could have kicked myself for not having it sooner. Seems like we were always motor sailing, when we could have been sailing with a kite up.
Hi Door Sail, do you still have the cat schooner? How is/was your spinnaker rigged? I'm curious as I don't find a lot of information on alternative sails on cat ketch or schooner. I have seen a few pictures of cat ketches with a staysail but I have never seen one with a spinnaker.
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Old 17-02-2020, 20:04   #8
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Re: Cat Ketch : extending my sail inventory

Have you also thought about screecher versus asymmetrical? If you are single handed ... I think a dueling screecher is easier to fly than an asymmetrical. Easier to douse if wind kicks up. Ain’t no fun on a dancing foredeck trying to get the sock pulled down and gather her all in. I have both and I just like my screecher better.
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Old 18-02-2020, 07:30   #9
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Re: Cat Ketch : extending my sail inventory

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Hi Door Sail, do you still have the cat schooner? How is/was your spinnaker rigged? I'm curious as I don't find a lot of information on alternative sails on cat ketch or schooner. I have seen a few pictures of cat ketches with a staysail but I have never seen one with a spinnaker.
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Yes, still have the schooner, but after 13,000 miles she is in the barn for her 30 year refit.


Rigged similar to as you show. An asym from the fore mast head.
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Old 18-02-2020, 12:24   #10
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Re: Cat Ketch : extending my sail inventory

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Have you also thought about screecher versus asymmetrical? If you are single handed ... I think a dueling screecher is easier to fly than an asymmetrical. Easier to douse if wind kicks up. Ainít no fun on a dancing foredeck trying to get the sock pulled down and gather her all in. I have both and I just like my screecher better.
Yes I'm thinking about adding sails for light air that would be flatter than the spinnaker for close reaching (a cruising code 0? I think screecher is a term specific to multihull). I recon that two sails (one on each mast) would be more efficient and easier to control. I was thinking something like the image below. One problem is that in order to tack you have to lower the mizzen staysail. I guess I'd use the mizzen staysail only for long tack.

Another problem is that with an unstayed rig, I can't have a lot of tension on the luff of the sails, so these sails will probably never be able to point high.

Question here about the mizzen staysail: when sailing to windward, should the tack point be on the windward toerail or on the centerline? Having the tack to windward would bring the leech of the sail close to the mizzen mast, almost in line with the mizzen sail. Is it benificial?
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