Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Hunter Arch, Any Comments or Opinions?
It is hard to say that there is one right opinion about the Hunter arches. They do have a reasonable basis for existing. From an engineering and performance standpoint, end boom or nearly end boom sheeting makes the most sense. End boom sheeting, almost by necessity, places the traveler in the cockpit. There seems to be a reluctance on the part of many non-performance oriented sailors to have the traveler in the cockpit where someone has to step over it and the mainsheet is more likely to injure someone in an accidental jibe.
The common solution of placing the traveler on the cabin top results in a lot of major compromises. To begin with there is a lot larger loads to be handled as the mechanical advantage of the boom that is normally associated with a mainsheet located at the end of the boom is reversed in the case of mid-boom sheeting. As a result there is higher sheet loads, more purchase required, higher frictional loads to overcome, and much greater bending loads on the boom and sheer loads on the gooseneck.
In fairness to Hunter, arches had begin to appear as places to mount electronic components such as a radar and radio antenas. They even had a new name; ''Radarch''. When Hunter began using the arch they had come up with a way of using end boom sheeting and moving the traveller out of the cockpit. Inherently a better compromise than mounting the traveler on the coachroof.
It is not that there isn''t inherent compromises with the arch. Early Hunter arches reported delamination and attachment failures. A twisted or jambed block meant tottering above the arch to clear it. Leech control was difficult as sails stretched and mainsheets two-blocked or else sails were cut with short leeches reducing sail area and raising the center of effort. Then there was the significant windage of the early glass arches. Lastly there was the whole aesthetic battle.
In the end I have very mixed feelings about the arch. I understand why they exist and consider them a far superior solution than a cabin top mounted traveller, but I also consider them to be more of a compromise than I would ever want on a boat of mine.