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wallm 07-17-2003 12:15 PM

Cutter to sloop
Many of the used boats I am considering buying are cutter rigged. I sail shorthanded and most of the time do not need the features of a cutter rig or the hassles that can be associated with tacking a cutter. On the other hand for offshore sailing or heavy weather cutter rigging can be a plus. If I bought a cutter I would probably want to rig it so that the inner forestay is removeable and place a roller furling genoa on the outer forestay. However, I know that a cutter is not just a sloop with 2 forestays. As discussed recently in this forum the mast on a cutter is often not in the exact same location it would be if the same boat was a sloop. My question is whether "sloop rigging" a cutter is likely to have any major adverse consequences on handling such as weather helm, ability to heave to, etc.

RichH 07-17-2003 01:26 PM

Cutter to sloop
Detaching the jibstay will be of benefit, especially for tacking in light weather. Otherwise a ''tricing-line'' (same as a tack line for an asymetrical spinn.) attached to the genoa clew and pulled forward during a tack will be of benefit - less windage than backwinding the genoa to get it through the slot between the forestay and the jibstay.

Since Most cutters usually balance well on Genoa (or staysail) alone ... another plus when you''re ''lazy''.
In heavy goin'', nothing beats a deep reefed main and a staysl.

Most ''experts'' will argue that a staysail flown under a genoa when on-the-wind is of NO benefit and should be dropped/detached.

Jeff_H 07-17-2003 06:10 PM

Cutter to sloop
It greatly depends on the specifics of the design in question. Many cutters are designed where the jibstay is critical to the strength of the rig and so the jibstay cannot be removed. On the other hand many cutters do very will with the jibstay stowed.

You are absolutely correct that it is a royal pain to try to tack a genoa around the jibstay. It is one of the reasons that I no longer consider a cutter suitable for single-handing or even short handing.

The current thinking for offshore work has swung toward fractionally rigged sloops with minimally overlapping or non-overlapping headsails so that you do not need to mess with a genoa and you already have your stay sail up and rigged and do not have to go forward and rig a forestay and hank on a jib when things get dicey.

Good luck in your boat search,

mcain 07-22-2003 05:25 AM

Cutter to sloop
I have a sloop on which an inner forestay and running backstays have been added. I beefed it up and made the inner forestay removable with an ABI lever quick release. I like it removable to ease tacking the genoa. I like the flexibility to put a storm jib on the inner forestay--since adding storm jibs to roller furling is hard. I also like the additional mast support of the inner forestay and runners in heavy air. To me this is a decent compromise. (All boat decisions are compromises).

twilk 07-24-2003 07:13 AM

Cutter to sloop
This is something I have to say.
I hear sooo many opinions of the sloop vs cutter question but always wonder if the person with the opinion ever owned a cutter.
Many times I doubt they''ve ever been on one.
But they sure seem to be experts.
If you have a genuine interest please do yourself a favor and beg some crew time on a cutter. Sail the darn thing and don''t listen to opinions other than those of people that have actually owned one.
They''re great rigs with easy to handle sails.
Self tending rigs are a joy to single hand if that''s the rig you like etc.
And please avoid the wind bags other than the spinnaker variety. Make an informed decision.

Jeff_H 07-24-2003 09:34 AM

Cutter to sloop
I must say that I also agree with twilk that all too often I see comments from people who have never really owned a cutter, or had sufficient time on cutters and other alternative rigs to intelligently make an informed decision voicing an opinion in these discussions. I frequently see the ''common wisdom'' about cutters quoted by people who have not sailed on enough boats with different rigs to understand a cutter rig''s very real liabilities.

Having owned a cutter for 11 years, sailed on and off on my father''s cutter for close to another 10 years, and after spending countless hours out on the water coaching people on how to get better performance and easier tacking out of their cutters, I still think that cutters are an obsolete, pain the butt rig, especially when used in concert with a Genoa jib. I am not alone here, even such notable designer of cutters rigs, Bob Perry and Ron Holland have descibed cutters as an obsolete rig and a pain in the butt.

At its best, the cutter rig only makes sense on fairly large boats (something approaching 40 or more feet in length), where the slot can be large enough to permit a decent air flow and cutters only make sense only in a sailing venue where there is adequate winds to provide adequate drive without resorting to a Genoa.

There is this whole mythology about de-mountable forestays and the utility of a staysail as a storm sail in a blow, but having tried to rig these on a decent sized boats in a reasonable breeze, I don''t see how anyone can think that a removable forestay is even remotely a good idea. Few cutters really do balance under just the forestaysail and single reefed mainsail and in conditions where a double reef is warranted most forestaysails are too light a fabric to be of much use.

I also agree with twilk that you should avoid the windbags and make your own informed decision. I agree also that if you want to make an informed decision, go out and sail on cutters but also on more modern, easier to handle rigs in a wide range of conditions. It will probably sour your taste for a cutter but if it doesn''t, at least you will have a sense of why it doesn''t.


dameware 07-24-2003 12:27 PM

Cutter to sloop
Here’s a site with photos and discussion on how a ketch was turned into cutter/ketch. Looks like they raise a storm sail on the removable inner forestay without too much difficulty.

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