Join Date: Jul 2000
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I think there is a lot of hubris and totally wrong comparisons being made about 'cutters' that is introduced by 'sloop only' jockeys, especially with reference to 'pointing ability'.
1. Most cutter rigs have 'power bows' or more 'blunt bows' that increase the reserve buoyancy and to increase load carrying capacity. Sloops typically have 'fine' entry bows. The net result is that the cutter will typically have an increased bow 'entry' angle (~10+degrees greater angle than a 'fine entry' bowed sloop) and the 'bow entry angle' will help determine how a boat will point ... or not.
2. More importantly .... A cutter has TWO stays in front of the mast, a sloop only one. Therefore with only one 'backstay' reacting to the sail/wind loading acting on the two forward stays these forward stays will be operating AT LESS than the tension that keeps the luff leading edge shape close to the boats centerline (pointing ability as a result of sail geometry/shape at the 'entry' to the luff, etc. ... artificially induced 'luff hollow' which causes 'draft aft, decreased angle of attack and hooked up leech, etc.). Sloop jockeys dont know this based on their single forestay experience.
So, when beating with a cutter rig all one has to do is operate the FORESTAY - the stay directly in front of the mast - with the least amount of tension so that the 'reaction load of the backstay transfers primarily to the HEADSTAY (headstay now operating at proper tension to affect proper topsail luff shape and closer to the boats center line) and the cutter rig will now "point like a banshee" ...... but at a slightly less beating angle because it normally has a greater bow entry angle. When beating, the staysail 'under' will not be SEEN 'drawing' anyway, but IS redirecting the aerodynamic flow TO the topsail as well as reducing mast turbulence and thus increasing the aerodynamic efficiency of the MAINsail and topsail .... NOT 'drawing' but making the other two sails more aerodynamically efficient and therefore does not NEED the forestay tension simply because it isnt becoming as 'windloaded' as the headsail !!!!!!!! ... so just 'relax' the forestay strain, which automatically transfers to tension to the headstay .... and watch the disbelief that you see in the faces of sloop jockeys sailing nearby as you 'point like a banshee' (but at about 10deg. less pointing angle of a sloop because of the 'bow shape').
If you dont consider this 'differential play' on forestay/headstay tension youll only get as low as 90-100 deg. tacking angle on a CUTTER RIG, something that 'sloop jockies' have absolutely NO idea about. A well set up cutter rig (rigging tensions) with 'dead-on' differential headstay/forestay tension 'can' easily sail as high as 30 deg. 'apparent' and NOT be 'pinching'.
Last edited by RichH; 10-05-2011 at 12:30 PM.