Why a Yawl or Ketch instead of a sloop

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by saltydog123, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I've found there are two types of cruisers - the first are the ones we see everywhere, if you live in a place where bare boat charters abound. A surprisingly large percentage of these folks have rented a boat and are out for a week or so and they'll never do it again. Or they'll do it again, but also on someone else's boat (bare boat or other wise). In these cases, it really doesn't matter how the boat is setup, they just have to live with what's there.

    The second group are the folks that actively cruise. They'll spend a significant amount of their lives aboard their boat. A boat they've carefully and thoughtfully arranged and setup. Each one of these boats will represent their owners desires, preferences and will display their savoy. These are the boats that are easiest to recognize. They'll have lee cloths draped with yesterday's laundry and a higher percentage of bronze instead of chromed pot metal fittings. There will be hurricane clips visible to hold shutters over the ports, an anchor windlass that looks like it might have had a former life on a freighter, grab rails in locations that a production manufacture wouldn't have dreamed to place them, etc., etc., etc. Most of these folks avoid the contrivances of technology and prefer to stick what they know works, when it absolutely has to. The time a headsail furler will jam or fail, is exactly when you can't afford it to do so. This is why I and many cruisers that I know like hanks. These don't fail, though if one fails, you still can get the headsail down. There are lots of differences with cruiser preferences, but most I've found like simplicity and reliability, plus a profound desire for levels of redundancy.
     
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  2. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    One problem with a ketch is that the standing rigging makes moving around on deck difficult and the extra boom and sail controls compromises people space.. On a big boat ..above 65ft... its not such an issue, but I find smaller ketchs tedious to operate and overly busy on deck.


    On big boat a ketch is preferred simply because it reduces air height .
     
  3. DennisRB
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    DennisRB Senior Member

    That would be me. But according to Beau my boat is a "bad boat" which is almost uncontrollable, that tacks without warning in gusts and the rudder will be out of the water when it leans over 35deg, requiring a triple reef and almost fully furled headsail just to maintain steerage in anything above a slight breeze.

    After living on board for a year and sailing from the USA to Australia I never had any of these issues even once. I watched movies and ate popcorn with the autopilot steering through a low with up to 50K of winds. I also consistently made faster passage times than the majority of other cruising boats. Yes its not the best boat for the job but it was for me with the money I had available and I would buy it again.

    I think I will agree with Eric and Par on the virtues of split rigs. I just read the PDF articles on Project amazon and love the innovation that is in that boat. I also love Dashews Beowulf which is a very fast boat by any standard. The rigs on it look tiny but they are far apart and get the job done. I am sure Steve would probably agree it is not the best for racing upwind, but as others have pointed out the upwind proportion of long distance cruising is very small. So why not optimize the rig for reaching? Fast boats don't sail downwind (apparent wind) unless the wind is strong in which case there will be no real interference with the mizzen as it will probably not be deployed in strong wind. Even with my 40 foot fully loaded sloop I could bring the apparent wind forward in light winds with my cruising code zero.
     
  4. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    You can tell more about a cruising sailors experience in seamanship from their ground tackle than from their strongly held opinions on how high a boat should point into the wind.:cool:
     
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  5. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I sailed a Swan 65 ketch for many years...several transatlantics.

    When broad reaching the mizzen was double reefed and sheeted centerline to keep the boats roll cycle down. Worked OK.

    When reaching as a ketch 40 to 110 awa we were always faster than the sloop rigged boats.

    In regattas like the Swan cup or Antigua we tried sailing , rated with the mizzen unmeasured, but were slower around a triangle .

    The mizzen boom also makes a great fishing rod and was our lifting method of choice for man overboard retrieval drills.

    http://[​IMG]
     
  6. beau.vrolyk
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    beau.vrolyk Crew

    Good grief, so may mis-attributions

    All,

    First, there are so many mis-attributions in the responses to my original post I won't bother with them except to say that 1) I never said anyone had a "bad" boat, 2) cruisers do indeed need to sail to windward when cruising (try getting from Acapulco to Seattle) unless they simply eliminate some of the finer cruising grounds in the world and 3) to propose that rigging a ketch is less expensive than rigging a sloop is simply silly (I'm happy to add up the costs anytime - two masts cost more than one.) 4) that the mizzen actually "helps" the mainsail perform on a ketch is absurd. Before attributing something (like a boat automatically tacking) to my post, please read it first. Where in my post did I ever describe the rudder of a boat coming out of the water? Seriously, let's try to stick to what's actually being discussed.

    Second, the sole rational reason that anyone has proposed for an "advantage" of a split rig over a sloop/cutter is that it has a lower air draft. While this wouldn't matter at all to someone cruising the pacific (provided the rig would fit through the Panama canal) it would matter a great deal to someone one east coast of the US where air-draft is a serious issue. I completely accept that the poor performance of a split rig is entirely justified by bridge clearance.

    Finally, I'd like you all to have a look at the lovely picture of the Swan ketch. I cruised and raced on a Swan 65' often in my youth and our mizzen looked exactly like the picture shown - the mizzen wasn't even bent onto the boom. The mizzen was quite useful as a cargo derrick, but was only used to hold up the mizzen staysail which added a tiny amount of speed and a tremendous amount of fun.

    I was not trying to insult anyone, and Eric if I did so I apologize, but the various "arguments" supporting a split rig are hardly compelling. Eventually, when a boat is above 65 or 70 feet LOA a split rig becomes a real options. But, exactly how many of us have ever been able to afford such a monster? For all the rest of us, the sloop is simpler, less expensive and sails better. I won't carry on arguing. But I'd be perfectly happy to see some real evidence (as opposed to statements, opinions and allegory) about why someone believes what they do.

    BV
     
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  7. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    I'm not trying to mess up an interesting thread by instigating a p***ing contest. But for you to claim no one has proposed any rational reason for a split rig aside from it having 'a lower air draft' is simply preposterous. If you really mean that, you must've skipped most of the posts in this thread.

    On a personal note, I once went berserk and rigged a 16-ft flat bottom canoe as a yawl - with a boomed jib, gaff main, and spritsail jigger. I also added a centerboard, and a yoked rudder with lines running forward that were ultimately knotted together and hauled on amidships like a horse's reins.

    In very light airs, I sailed the little monstrosity with all three sails. When the wind picked up hard I dropped the mainsail and ran jib and jigger, standing on one of the gunwales and leaning back against the tiller lines.

    Of course, I got wet a lot. :p I'd be screaming across Perris Lake or Lake Elsinore, standing on the gunwale and leaning to windward against the knotted tiller lines in my hands, and generally having a blast... and the wind would suddenly back off for a moment, leaving me to fall backwards into the water.

    I learned in a hurry to bring big fuzzy towels and a change of clothes.....:D
     
  8. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Beau have had bad experiencies with split rigs hence the attitude..
     
  9. DennisRB
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    DennisRB Senior Member

    My Hunter sail fine. It is not great to windward but will get there. This is only due to the overly shallow keel which is probably the only thing I would change on the boat.

    http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=4350
     
  10. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Opinions are free and every one has one. But rather than stating that I posted an absurd statement how about just saying you don't agree ? This isn't an argument it's a discussion that you can learn from.

    It's always a problem dealing with sailors who often don't fully understand hydrodynamics, where a mix or urban myth, effects of racing rating rules. marketing and subjective observation get confused with facts.

    But lets look more objectively and I really don't have the time to do this justice :

    Here's a wind tunnel test. Fy is driving force, Fx is the side force and the angle of attack is noted on the two curves.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I have been following this thread with interest since I know little about the operation of Yawls or ketchs. After looking at the graph above it compares drive force with heeling force, my question is this: is this a relevant measure of performance?

    Also, if this shows drive vs. heal of the same hull and sail plan, one without the missen and the other with, that seems a hardly fair comparison. Shouldn't the same sail area distributed over an optimized sloop, and an optimized yawl or ketch be compared? You have to keep all other variable the same to make a valid comparison, though there are so many things that change from sloop to yawl I would not know what is equivalent configurations (I am saying this as an engineer with lots of CFD experience).

    Comparing drive vs. heel might be valid for perhaps cruising, but it tells nothing about L/D which it seems to me would be the optimum measure of performance. Usually a single masted sloop/cutter always wins out in performance over a yawl/ketch. But as pointed out what would your measure of equivalence be, and of course there are many other considerations (like flexibility and easy of handling) that might trump pure performance.
     
  12. DennisRB
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    DennisRB Senior Member

    I agree that a graph which shows a comparison with a sloop would be better, however the graph clearly shows a large increase in driving force. It has been claimed by others that the mizzen creates far more side force than it does drive.
     
  13. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    A Ketch is a compromise...A sloop is a compromise. Its Up to the sailor to decide which compromise is best.

    A ketch makes a fine boat. A boom tent rigged on the mizzen made the cockpit paradise when sailing downwind. At anchor she was quite , not wildly tacking back and forth in the anchorage.

    If youre hell bent on racing round a triangle then a sloop is for you

    That Swan 65 in the picture had piston hank headsails and no powered winches. We sailed as three crew and it was the most enjoyable, user friendly boat that I have ever sailed .
     
  14. Timothy
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    Timothy Senior Member

    I wonder if the real advantage of a sloop is as simple as the ability to host the most sail on a single spar (mast)? If theory is correct and a single foiled rig is the most efficient, a sloop has two unless it is considered to be a single slotted foil, a ketch or a yawl unless cat rigged have three or four. Cat rigged ketches schooners or yawls have only two but suffer from the additional weight of the second mast .
     

  15. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    A sloop is simplicity and efficiency. Plus less weight aloft, less windage, less rigging on deck and gear on deck and less cost .

    You could say that the electro hydraulic systems required for a modern sloops sail handling add cost, but most ketch rigged boats also use elecro hydraulic sail handling
     
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