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j.seguin 08-02-2001 08:01 AM

Cat Ketch
I am interested in learning more about these boats - cat ketch rigs in general and wishbone rigs. It seems that many of the older cat ketches were wishbone rigged, while many of them, and the newer models, have converted to conventional booms. I would like to know the pros and cons of this.

Please send any available information or references, as well as comments on personal experiences with these boats/rigs, suitability for short/long range cruising, etc.


JeffH 08-02-2001 01:16 PM

Cat Ketch
I have had a little experience with the early Freedom Cat ketches with the wrap around sails. Its hard to separate the performance of the rig from the performance of the boat. That said, I found the cat ketch rig with wishbone booms to really give up a lot of performance over similar size and hull shape boats. I found the rig especially poor upwind and dead down wind. The impact of the rig was less obvious on a reach. Having the weight of the mast at the very bow of the boat seemed to really hurt the motion of the boat in a chop. The wrap around sails creep around the mast and slat terribly in any breeze at all. I found it very hard to alter sail shape for the conditions so even if the sails could have been made to sail better in a wider range of breezes it was too complex a set up with controls actually hidden in the folds of the sail to get a proper sail shape for the breeze. I felt that the rig was at its worst in really light air and when things had piped up. I think that many of these problems went away as Freedom went to fractional rigged sloops with the sails in tracks and mounted on a conventional boom.

Personally, given the present state of spar and rig design, I have yet to see any real advantage to freestanding rigs and in boats under about 45 feet, to split rigs.


j.seguin 08-14-2001 02:11 PM

Cat Ketch
Jeff H,

I want to thank you for your insightful comments on your experience. I should explain that my perspective is more academic (I don''t have any experience with this type boat). I would expect that the wrap around sails would be a problem along the lines of your comment. As for the performance and the balance issues, I am puzzled by the continuing popularity of the Nonsuch. If anything, I would expect that the split rig would be better from a balance standpoint than having all of the spar weight and sail area in one place.

Thanks much for your reply.


JeffH 08-14-2001 07:23 PM

Cat Ketch
The Nonsch is actually pretty amazing because they actually sail quite well for what they are. I think that Ellis, the designer, really pulled off a coup`. Obviously they do not perform as well as a modern sloop but they are close enough that I have generally been a bit impressed.


Sea-artist 08-22-2001 01:52 PM

Cat Ketch
I have other problems with the wrap-around sails -1, can''t afford to have new ones made,
2, they are usually too heavy to be effective
in light air, 3, don''t allow mounting of lights, radar etc on the mast.
I have an opportunity to buy newer carbon fibre spars
with sail tracks which would solve some problems but am considering redoing the boat
with a single mast rig ( conventional ). Has
anyone seen this done ? My old boat was a cutter rig and performed very well most of
the time, (rigged it to plans myself)
anyone with experience with the Freedoms pls
reply... Jim

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