So I know a lot of you are probably groaning at the title, being that the age-old debate over whether a cutter
or a ketch
rig makes a better offshore boat
is a horse that's been well beaten to death, revived and then beaten again, but be that as it may I'm looking for input on two specific vessels on the market at the moment, which roughly fit in with my outline of what an offshore boat
should be. I'm a romanticist, so I love old lines and transom hung rudders, and have long envisioned myself sailing the great capes in a ketch
The reason I'm comparing these apples to oranges in the first place is because although my ideal both is a ketch, and the Ingrid is known as an incredibly stout boat, it's also a pretty vanilla vessel, with what most would agree is an inferior cabin
layout for a single-handed sailor, (being basically all bunks, with effectively much less "living space.") So the question of whether I should be happier sailing or living in the boat is ultimately what it comes down to.
Ingrid 38 Pros:
Ketch Rig: This is of course a preference. Some devoutly (and understandably) prefer cutters; however I am not one of them. Having sailed both rigs in serious conditions, I believe the ketch is a superior offshore rig, at least for my purposes. I hope I don't derail this whole discussion with a cutter
v ketch debate, but my personal experience with certain similar (ie full-keel) cutters makes me strongly prefer a ketch, primarily for the ability to create windward helm
when necessary, and for the safety
of being able to jury-rig a lateen in case of a dismasting
, not to mention greater options for balancing the boat, allowing for decreased steering
input and thus drag. Although a cutter might be someone else's preferred boat; (I'm looking at you Mr. Perry,) for me a ketch just offers more options, and would feel like less of a compromise (to me) in terms of sailing performance and sense of security
Light Air Performance: From what I've read, the Ingrid is going to be an easier boat to drive in light airs, perhaps partially due to her headrig and consequently spread out sail plan, or perhaps due to her hull
being less beamy and more sleek. It's probably a combination of these attributes, but by all accounts the Ingrid is known to perform better and log more miles in a day. The caveat to this is I wonder if anyone has any experience with wood
versus glass Ingrids, as I understand that this being a design built for wood
, many people agree these BY boats have an inferior profile abaft the beam, which diminishes their light air performance relative to the earlier wood boats. Of course speed isn't everything, but it's nice to have a boat that sails
well in the trade
latitudes, in addition to the north sea.
Reportedly Faster: Tied to the above point, and not a huge deal, but it's nice to have a boat that was meant to log miles.
Screening: Better values on this controversial figure; I understand this is only one metric and a rough gauge at best, though most acknowledge that it's vaguely helpful.
Pros of this specific Boat (to me):
: In fact the whole boat is newer, having been purchased as a kit boat in 1980 and not finished til 2008.
Cockpit/Glass Decks: Minimal maintenance
comparatively, and still the warm feel and sure grip of a teak cockpit
Cons of the Ingrid 38:
Ballast: I think the Bluewater
Yachts Ingrids were known to have Lead & Steel
instead of all Lead keels. Not sure about this one but it's a strong possibility. Not sure how that affects ultimate stability.
Increased Costs: Standing and running rigging
, spar maintenance
, dock fees
, port fees
options, haulout & refit
costs, etc etc...
And the reverse of all the pros for the Rafiki stated below:
Pros of the Rafiki 37:
: The interior
of this boat is in every way superior to the Ingrid for my purposes. I don't need a ton of bunk space, but I would like a functional nav station and a more comfortable salon
, both of which this boat has. Both boats are heavy on the teak, and warm on the eyes in general, but I absolutely prefer the cabin
layout (hands down) on the Rafiki; it just looks that much easier to live in.
: It's all well and good to dream about big boats, but if I'm planning on living the cruising lifestyle, that extra 10' of LOA
between these two boats will add up over time, whenever I need to clear port, haulout, refit
, tie up, or simply navigate a tight harbor. Not having a bowsprit
is perhaps a disadvantage to this boat in terms of sailing performance, but in terms of long-term expense, it's nice to have the same quarters, but be subject to the >40' dock
fees rather than the >50', etc.
Ballast/Disp: Much higher ballast to displacement
ratio, and I think these boats had a lead keel
to 6'. Can someone correct me if they used steel
Pros of the boat I'm looking at specifically:
Nav Station: More space and equipment
Freezer/Fridge: Instead of an icebox
which I would have to replace on the Ingrid
Rafiki 37 Cons:
Windward Performance: This is my big hangup. I understand the Ingrid isn't known for her windward performance, but the Rafiki is known to have comparatively poor performance to weather
, and considering I'm no gentleman, I would like that ability. I had a scary 2 week sail through the triangle in a storm, in a Tayana 37
years ago, and we literally lost
the ability to tack, having to jibe the whole passage
to windward of the VI, with downed ships power
and consequently no engine
. It was a hell of an ordeal, and it's possible the rake was poorly tuned, and or that the owner had overballasted the forepeak, but the notion of owning a similarly designed vessel makes me nervous in principle. I think even Bob would agree the Tayana was not his best work
, but I'm sure she should have been able to tack, even in the conditions. That said, has anyone with a Rafiki ever been left without options like that?
Both of these boats have tillers, which is one of the reasons I'm comparing them. I want the feel and reliability
that comes with tiller steering
; again a strong preference of mine, romantic that I am. In fact it's the primary reason that I'm looking at the Rafiki, instead of say a Baba or a Westsail, which are otherwise wonderful boats, with steering systems I'd rather not run the risk of having fail somewhere in the southern ocean.
But then again that's the nature of this thread, to pick your brains as to what compromises you ultimately found to be worth making, or compromises you wish you had made, when selecting the boat you own. Or maybe reasons you sold
a boat you did own, to replace it with the one you do. I understand my preferences are likely not your preferences, but I'm hoping to hear from the hardened salts, who've tried all the options, and/or from people who know these specific boats, and what your experiences with them has been. I'll also welcome anyone who thinks I'm overthinking this to chime in with your thoughts on what you think I should be thinking about. Let's just assume I'm not willing to buy a junk boat simply because it's a ketch, and that I also value my living space. And that my budget
for a fully-kitted blue water
cruiser is preferably somewhere in the $60k neighborhood, though both of the boats I'm looking at are less than that, and comparable to one another.
That said, I value versatility and reliability
above all, so anyone who can tell me their experiences with these designs, and any problems or joys you've had with either of them, I will be most grateful to you. I'm open to having my eyes opened one way or another, or possibly in some way I still haven't thought of. Thanks in advance for any feedback the CF community has that might help me get it right the first time!