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Old 06-06-2003
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Sailing Cutters

Jeff already stated the main drawback - a little less pointing ability.

Tacking a cutter can be a problem in ''shooting'' the genoa between the fore and jib stay. I dont have that much of a problem by simply very slightly/momentarily backwinding the genoa before releasing the sheet(s) .... and it will ''shoot'' between the stays, a few small split parrel beads above the hanks on the staysl will affect smoother ''shooting the gap''.
For areas that require lots of tacking, consider a removable jib stay, and sail it like a sloop. Most sails you find on cutters are usually built with too much rounded luff entry ... a flat entry sail will do wonders for a cutter where you have to tack a lot - rivers, narrow bays, etc. ... if you can steer/set/trim ''precisely''. Passages/long distance - rounded luff entry is better for less steering, ''lazing''-around, etc.

Nothing beats a club footed staysl and flattened main in heavy going (up or down): just steer the boat ... hardly ever have to ''grouse'' with sheets. When its get ''really blowin'' most cutters can sail well on stays''l alone. A Bob Perry design (Tayana Baba, etc.) can almost lay over on her beam ends and show little adverse weather helm, ... if the sails are shaped/trimmed right.

IMHO - The aerodynamic interaction of cutter sail plans is very misunderstood and technically misrepresented by most non-cutter sailors. Takes some learning! (and calculating).
If you''re planning to sail mostly down or across (wind) a cutter makes a good choice ... if you KNOW how to set and shape sails, etc.

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