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post #3 of Old 06-12-2009
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Heaving to, cutter vs sloop

Another element to the discussion is the different circumstances under which one might heave to:

One can heave to as a heavy-weather tactic: here the cutter has an advantage as it has the foresail more centrally located, out of the end of the boat. In this configuration one is using a small, flat, relatively heavy sail rather than a partially-furled big, light sail, which will usually be baggy in when partially-furled. Also the head of the reefed main comes to the same point as the staysail stay, which some feel is more structurally sound.

Or one can heave to as a normal-weather tactic, such as to kill time to achieve a dawn arrival at an unfamiliar port, or just to "pull over" and have lunch: here there's no major advantage between the sail plans.

I have had both keel types, and while there are differences in how they behave for heaving to, I don't know that there's a better or worse in this context--just different.

This leaves aside the relative merits of the two rigs on other grounds, such as heavy-weather sailing generally. We have watched those with sloops try to sail in high winds with a partially roller-furled jib. This leads to poor foresail shape and therefore poor performance, both pointing ability and speed.

Larry Shick
V42-148 "Moira"
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