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post #2 of Old 10-23-2012
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Re: Ketch racing - Any good books?

Since no one has tried to answer this, I can only tell you that I know of no books on racing a ketch and so I can only comment on what my experience has been. If you are trying to trim sails on a Ketch for performance, it is a bit of an iterative process and will vary with each boat.

My sense is that you start trimming at the bow, and then work your way aft trying to be conscious of overly closing the slot on the Jb, and of sail interaction. Typically once you get to the mizzen you look to see whether there is a lot of back draft on the mizzen or main. If there is, moving forward again, you ease sails until the bubble gets acceptably small.

Ketch rigs are generally used on boats with comparatively high drag for their stability and sail area. This means that you do not want to trim the sails too flat or try to point to high. That said, the mizzen usually appears to be over trimmed and the headsails usually seem under trimmed. Because of that, to some great extent, trimming in a breeze becomes a balancing act. As the wind speed increases, due to the comparatively over trimmed mizzen, ketches tend to develop relatively high amounts of weather helm that can be brutal unless you ease the mizzen. And while that can reduce weather helm it also reduces drive.

Due to the downdraft between the mizzen and main, and between the main and jib, it is hard to have clean air on all sails, once you start deep reaching or running. Ketches tend not to be very good dead down wind, instead offering better performance if you come up just enough to fill all of the sails. Ketches often have multiple deep reaching sails like mizzen staysails and old style ballooners, (the predecessor to the current assym. spinnaker) that make deep reaching their strong suit when there is enough distance to make raising the kites worthwhile.

There is no magic to sailing Ketches as long as you don't try to pinch them or sail them too deep. Good luck and good sailing....

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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay

Last edited by Jeff_H; 10-24-2012 at 06:25 PM.
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