ketch vs cutter rig

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by kudu, Oct 1, 2002.

  1. kudu
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    kudu Senior Member

    hello, i would like feedback on the pros and cons of both the ketch and cutter rig. i am building a 50' sailboat, i'm favoring the cutter rig for it's flexibility in all weather conditions, but would like to hear from people with experience. in my search for boat plans it seemed to me that most sailboats in this size and beyond use the ketch rig. i would like to add that i assume to be doing a fair amount of motoring in northwest waters based on other sailors comments about the fluky winds here. thanks
     
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I've had both types of sailplan and have to say that the ketch rig offers more flexibility than the cutter rig, especially in heavy weather. Basically, there are more combination available to balance the sailplan with a ketch. It's also been my experience that the mizzen on the ketch is a very valuable sail at anchor (to stabilize rolling and orient the bow to the wind), and also to get out of tight squeezes under sail (you can back it easy, etc...). If you are motoring or motorsailing, you can also use the mizzen as a windvane to reduce the need for autopilot.

    Of course, the downside is that you get an extra mast, extra hardware, etc... However, the sails are smaller and easier to handle - hence hardware size goes down (and cost) - but it probably still is more expensive to have a ketch rig versus a cutter rig. It would be interesting to make a detail cost study.

    On our ketch, we do have an inner forestay, hence it's a cutter-ketch rig. We find that when going upwind in heavy weather +30knots, a small yankee + staysail + mizzen (1 reef) is a great combination that will allow one to lie close to the wind for hours (days) and not even needing to use the autopilot or the windvane. Of course, it all depends on the boat's bottom geometry as well.

    Downwind, we can set 2 spinnakers (main +mizzen) with small staysails and really get going.

    I think the most important aspect when designing the ketch rig is to make sure that there will be enough room between the mainsail and the mizzen to maximize the efficiency of the mizzen. Otherwise, you'll get too much turbulence from the main and the mizzen will not be very effective. Furthermore, a lot of time should be spent on the deck layout to optimally place hardware since there will be a lot of possible combination of sail configurations with the need for a flexible arrangement that will not clutter the deck. I think that will be your hardest task if you do decide to go with a ketch rig.

    Good luck,
    Manon
    SV Zubenubi, 44' Roberts steel ketch
     
  3. Polarity
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Polarity Senior Member

    I agree with all of the above ...plus you have lots of places to hang Radars, cockpit awnings etc., you have a quick step up if you need to spot ice or low lying land, shallow water etc., very handy for docking and maneuvering (the mizzen acts like a bow thruster - just push or pull and the bow follows!), you can hang a mizzen staysail, - the Dashews have lots to say on the spacing/sizes of mizzens (www.setsail.com)- and of course...
    You have a spare if one falls off!

    Paul
     
  4. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    How about a combination of the two, both ketch & cutter, and only one mast....'single-masted ketch'. Have a look at www.RunningTideYachts.com

    Or look at the interesting rig in the archive section "Another Man's Boat"
     
  5. Steve Gray
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    Steve Gray Junior Member

    That's a really interesting and attractive-looking design, Brian. There's a bit of dhow look about it. Have you gained converts enough to go into production yet? I have a 30' ketch-rigged Colvic Watson motor-sailer (mono-hull) that is going to need re-rigging (and powering up) in the next couple of years, and I do wonder...
    However, a couple of questions about your design:

    1) Would deployment on a monohull be appropriate?

    2) Roller furling is a famously simple, but notoriously poor method of reefing (as it results in a badly-shaped bit of sail too high up on the stay). Any comments about this view?

    3) Is the forward cant (anti-rake?) of the mast really necessary? Doesn't this result in exceedingly high tension on the backstay/s, and wouldn't a lower-angled forestay against an upright mast (still set well back on the boat) provide equivalent squarea/power?

    4) What are the windward characteristics likely to be compared to a traditional ketch, + or - ?

    Your comments appreciated...
     
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    44 Roberts ketch

    Manon on SV Zubenubi
    How do you like the 44 Roberts in general ? I am looking at buying
    one same sailplan as yours , cutter ketch and would greatly
    appreciate hearing whatever you or anyone for that matter has
    to say about these boats .
    Robert
     
  7. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Ketch Conversion, two-masted to single-masted

    Hello Steve,
    Thanks for your compliment on my rig. Sorry to have been so long getting back to you as I still have not finished the reply I was preparing on the subject in general of ketch vs cutter (sloop) rig.

    I must tell you I do not feel that a multi-masted rig is appropaite for your 30 foot vessel. In fact I don't think they are really applicable for vessels under 40 feet.

    Having said that I wanted to tell you of a project we are currently planning aboard a 38' ketch. I just posted to the gallery section a couple of drawings of this conversion from two-masted to the single-masted ketch of my concept.

    Initially I tried to discourage this more elaborate conversion to a lesser intrusive one; ie, replace the original mainsail with a staysail rigged between the two original mast as I reference in the discussion on the Morgan OutIslander in my website. However there were other considerations (booms too low, too many booms, too many sails, desire for all roller furling, etc) that drove the equation to make the more radical conversion. Plus the vessel was going to be sailed by the originally owner/builder (father-in-law) who is now approching 80.

    PS: reference drawings in gallery section
     
  8. kudu
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    kudu Senior Member

    All things consider...I have decided to go with the cutter rig, bow sprit and unstayed carbon fiber mast. The mizzen mast support was a hinderence in the aft state room. The other benefit was the cost savings with hardware ect. I can however appreciate the benefits of the mizzen as described, thanks for the input.
     
  9. brian eiland
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

  10. kudu
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    kudu Senior Member

    Hi Brian...I contacted to in the past regarding your design. Are you now in the implementation stage? If so, I'd like to talk with you.
     
  11. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Implimentation

    The 38' monohull conversion project is currently in the 'holding pattern' while the owner makes a final decision as to the time, money, and effort he wants to put into this retrofit verses his desire to move forward with a new much larger mono or cat design. I have suggested a twin-keel mono or a large cat. He likes my rig in any case.

    I also have two other parties that are talking of adapting this rig to their 42 & 47 designs as well. And two other parties for a variation of the 65 design.

    With all this activity I am currently gearing up for a formal structural anaysis by an engineer from India (with possibly collaboration of a few other interested parties) who has shown a great interest in the project. That analysis will start sometime this next month (Sept). I hope during this anaylsis to not only determine the basic mast & rigging dimensions one would seek in the ordinary design phase, but to also look with more detail the actual load paths of the forces transmitted to the rig as generated by the sails. Surprisingly there is little quality information on this subject.

    We will also be considering at least 3 variations of rigging this single-masted ketch utilizing a single masttube configuration, and at least two bi-pod alternative configurations as well. Both have possible utilizations.

    Concerning your particular interest Kudu, I would be interested in seeing your plans. I might ask how you intended to use an 'unstayed carbon mast with a cutter arrangement'??
     
  12. J & J
    Joined: Oct 2003
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    J & J Junior Member

    I have not heard much imput about rudder control in the posts here. I have only sailed a couple of ketch rigged boats a 42' and another that was maybe 35'. Both sailed well and trimmed very well for the long haul. I did note that both had to have the mizzn sail set or the boat was not very friendly to handle as the force or center of gravity as it may be made the helm heavy. This was more of a chore in the 35' because it had a tiller and you almost had to put your feet aginst the cockpit and push with your legs to steer. The same can be true if you look at some early Catalina 30ies people went to cutter rigs on them to take away the heavy helm. Just food for thought.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2003

  13. cindy

    cindy Guest

    inbetween boats

    i wanted to know of the pros or cons of the 35 foot catalina sailboat. we are thinking about this as our next boat since we sold out 27 foot ericson but cannot find any information about it. could someone reply if they own one?
     
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