Originally Posted by hpeer
Something of a neophyte to this argument but..............my 2˘
There are cutters and cutters.
with no sprit is of marginal value; sloop
with storm sail.
with a sprit has more value.
A cutter with a BIG sprit, now that's something. The genoa
is generous for light air and the staysail is big enough to do some serious work
So I would argue the merits based on the size of the sprit. No sprit, then there is not a big difference.
It's true that our modern crusing boats with two headsails are not really "cutters" in the classical sense. Real cutters had the mast
further aft than sloops, and they usually had bowsprits to make it possible to spread out the sail plan.
But our "faux cutters" -- I guess you could call them double-headed sloops, if you really want to be precise -- are more than "sloops with storm sails". Some plusses:
1. You really do get some drive out of the staysail on a reach, at least on our boat
2. You can use a high-cut yankee jib
instead of a genoa
on a "faux cutter", because you can pick up the wind
level -- the wind
which is lost
to the yankee because of the high-cut clew -- with the staysail. A yankee jib
is easier to tack and trims better, than a genoa.
3. Flexibility in the sailplan. You have more options, so have a better chance of being well-trimmed for given wind conditions.
4. The built-in, ready-rigged storm jib
is a huge plus. It's not just a storm jib
-- it's for anything over 30 knots, and it's brilliant for that purpose, bringing the center of effort back towards the mast
So it's a pretty good setup for cruising in my opinion, my own favorite among sloop
, cutter, ketch
My biggest gripe is that the self-tacking staysail is impossible to trim well. There's only one rope
to play with. There must be a better system than this.
As to whether or not to hank-on the staysail -- on the one hand, you don't really ever need to reef a staysail, so you don't really need roller furling
for that purpose. On the other hand, roller furling
means you can deploy the staysail in seconds from the cockpit
-- which is a big safety
factor when using the staysail as a storm jib. You will tend to put up and take down the staysail more often than other sails
, because you can't use it downwind, and generally don't use it while beating. So roller furling
is good for that. But a hanked-on staysail is also perfectly usable; so you pays your money
and takes your choice.