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  #1  
Old 07-28-2008
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Sloop vs. Ketch...

Okay... so I don't want to start any cross words over rigging preference from die-hards, sloop or ketch, but my experience has only been with sloops. A friend keeps suggesting that I look at a ketch given that my aim is to single-hand in open water because, according to him, having a mizzen can really serve to balance out the boat and gives more options to tune the rig to conditions. Seems to me a sloop is a bit simpler, not to mention that another mast and the rigging/sails that goes with it equals additional expense. I don't know that I am convinced that the value gained is worth the expense. I am a fairly stout and relatively young guy so it seems that handling the larger main of a sloop--provided I pay attention and react to changing weather conditions--shouldn't be such an issue. Any thoughts?
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Old 07-28-2008
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Old 07-28-2008
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While searching for our current boat, we limited our search to sloops and cutters. We ended up with a sloop, although I think I would have preferred a cutter rig. We ruled out boats with two sticks for the same reasons you have already mentioned.

Having said that, we know we ruled out several good boats because of our personal bias. You might want to go for a sail on a ketch or yawl before you decide for yourself.
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Old 07-28-2008
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I have a ketch and previously owned all sloops. If you are singlehanding in a boat under 40 feet you will be better off with a sloop or a cutter. Get a good mainsail handling system that makes reefing easy (boom furling or stack pack with juffy reefing) and put your genny and staysail on furlers and you will have a boat that is easily handled in most conditions.

On my size boat, the height of the main mast becomes a concern and the sail area of the main makes it MUCH more difficult to handle even for a big guy. We love our ketch..but in your situation I think it would be a needless complication. The only thing I can think of that might argue in its favor is if your main mast comes down...you can still sail home.
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Old 07-28-2008
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I would echo Ray's comments above (and Still's ). While I love the look of ketch's, yawls and schooners the added complexity for marginal gains didn't add up for me. My experience is mainly with sloops, but I now have a removable inner forestay for a staysail and I like it. I haven't had enough time with it to decide if I want to make it permanent with it's own roller furling or leave it removable with a hank on sail. It does add extra rigging and two sets of sheets so there is more work, especially if you set the running backs, so the jury is still out. I do like the options for reducing sail that a cutter gives you though.

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Old 07-29-2008
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I've owned two cutters and two sloops over the years all bluewater boats and sailed them all extensively offshore. Sloops are the easiest to handle, but in a real blow, a cutter is nice because you can reef the main, drop the headsail and move all your sailpower inward toward the center of gravity of your boat. But don't try to turn a sloop into a cutter as they are two very different boats. On sloops the mast is pretty far forward, usually into the aft part of the head, on most cutters, the mast is set further back to accomodate two head sails (usually has a bow sprit as well) and the comes down though the middle of the main saloon.
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Old 07-29-2008
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I will echo Cam, and add a thought.

I strongly prefer cutters for offshore, but once you get your sloop down you can handle most conditions.

However, a huge benefit of the ketch is the mast height (as Cam mantioned). You may find your Ketch can go places an equally sized (or smaller) sloop/cutter cannot because of mast height. The bridges, for example, IN SW FL are 55 feet. Many Ketches would make it while others would not.

I would throw out the question back to Cam and others that have a lot of experience on Ketch rigged boats: How do they sail without the Mizzen?

- CD
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Old 07-29-2008
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CD...generally don't rig the mizzen except downwind or beam reaches in light to moderate air. In really heavy air I simply reef down the main , roll up the genny and roll out the staysail most often. I have not tired the mizzen and staysail alone in really really heavy weather since I have not encountered any and my inclination has been to simply use the control that the boom furling on the main gives me to de-power the boat when needed. Sails just great without the mizzen but in 15-20kts I CAN get an extra knot out of her with the mizzen up.
I'm sure the sloop rig version of my boat would go to windward better and maybe go a bit faster on other points of sail...but I can come in at Beaufort and enjoy Oriental and Manteo etc. whereas te sloop must go around Hatteras and enter the Chesapeake missing the entire state of NC! As I said, I like my ketch for a lot of reasons...but they are not for everyone!
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Old 07-29-2008
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Old 07-29-2008
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One mast or two that is the question.

I can tell you that there is very little written about two masted sailing.

What sail goes up first?? Alot of asking and could not get a consistant answer. Reading could not find it. After about four months I found it in Chapmans, a two line paragraph I think.

Tacking with a jib boom is a snap---jibing is more difficult.

If flying a 150 genoa you can over power the rudder if you dont have it balanced with the mizzen.

I dont think I would want to single hand one though.

Rick
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