Re: Ignorant question about cutter rig versus sloop?
In my experience with our current boat, which is a cutter rigged sloop, tacking isn't much of a problem. If you leave the staysail sheeted as you are coming about and release the genoa sheet it slides across the staysail and slips right though the slot, then you tack the staysail. As far as tensioning the two forestays go I haven't had any serious trouble with it, the running backstays tend to add tension to the staysail when the wind is 20 k+, and the backstay seems to keep a fairly constant tension on the headstay. Gybing can be a bit of bother though, usually requiring someone to go forward and help the gennie around the staysail stay. In the sailing we do here in the Salish Sea it's a toss up as to whether it's worthwhile to have the staysail on a furler or to be able to remove the staysail stay and just run the genoa. I've opted to go with the furler so when the wind kicks up I can just furl in the genoa and use the staysail with a reefed main. If I were racing I definitely wouldn't have the staysail stay permanently fixed, but I'm not a racer. Our winds here tend to be flukey in the summer, and can change rapidly. It's not unusual for a light breeze to turn into 25 knots just by turning the corner of an island. I like the flexibility of being able to comfortably adjust sail for the varying winds quickly and easily and the boat is wonderfully balanced with a reefed main and staysail in 25+ knots, that's usually the configuration we run when crossing the major straits here when the wind is up.
SV Laurie Anne
1988 Brewer 40 Pilothouse
Last edited by jrd22; 03-11-2012 at 12:32 AM.