Can Modern Sail & Rigging Tech Improve a Ketch Rig?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by CloudDiver, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    One aspect of modern tech does directly affect ketches - in mast furling. You need to get rid of big roach mains and battens to pull off in-mast furling, and there is basically zero penalty for doing that on the mainsail of a medium sized ketch if implemented at the design phase. This leaves you with a handy boat that can go down wind like a sloop under spinnaker - without the spinnaker, and has nearly the same windward performance assuming the same mast height. It uses shorter booms which simplify sheeting and deck hardware and reduces trimming and tacking effort considerably. The main trouble with ketches is that they do favor a longer, leaner hull, and that is counter to the modern hull development and costs you at the marina.

    If somebody decided they didn't want to fuss with spinnakers, and wanted in-mast furling, I suspect the ketch would equal the sloop's performance. Many sloops over 40' are already limited by the ICW bridge clearance of 65'. So if that is in play, The rig's aspect ratio doesn't suffer with a ketch, it actually can be made a tiny bit better. It remains a rig for boats over 45' in my mind, though. I feel that is about the size where I could get a ketch across the Atlantic faster than I could get a sloop across.
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