Switching a sloop into a cutter, is it worth it? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 07-08-2007 Thread Starter
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Switching a sloop into a cutter, is it worth it?

I was wondering if putting on a 2 foot bow sprit to convert my 29' sloop into cutter, I imagine the boat would look nicer with a bow sprit but would be worth the trouble. I hear that cutters handle better in rough weather, is that true?

What are other advantages to cutters over sloops if any? I was talking to someone about this and he mentioned that my boat would only go so fast, my question is would it go faster in conditions that are less likely to make your boat reach its maximum hull speed if it were a cutter rather than a sloop?
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post #2 of 14 Old 07-08-2007
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Don't think it's can be done, the masts are stepped in different locations ( I think a sloop is 25% and cutter is 40% of the deck length from bow to stern) so your balance would be all out of wack.

But then again, I don't really know, so it will be interesting to see what people say

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post #3 of 14 Old 07-08-2007
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another thing would be the sprit it self, there's a tremendous load, so unless you beef up the bow, have substantial stays for side to side and a substantial stay for up upward force, that baby would rip off in a heart beat

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post #4 of 14 Old 07-08-2007
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Simply rigging the boat with a bowsprit doesn't make the boat a cutter. Sloop rigged boats can have a bowsprit as a well—mine does. The main reason cutters can handle better in heavy weather is that they inner forestay allows them to fly a storm jib closer to the center of the boat, helping keep the boat balanced better.

You can do this on most sloops by adding an inner forestay, but often have to add running backstays to balance the loads against the mast.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 07-08-2007 at 06:59 PM.
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post #5 of 14 Old 07-08-2007
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What is your boat and what are you planning to do with it? Are you trying to find a way to handle rough weather, or are you trying to go faster as you question in your question.

Your boat was designed to be a sloop. Extending the bow with a sprit does not make it a cutter, just someplace else to fly a headsail from. It would have be be engineered very well to handle the load, and even then would probably not address your needs, whatever they are. If you want to go faster downwind....fly a spinnaker. If you want to handle rough weather fly a storm jib. Save your money on the conversion. You could probably buy both the above sails for the cost of your attempt at re-engineering.
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post #6 of 14 Old 07-08-2007 Thread Starter
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The boat is an Islander, speed was and the visual effect of having a cutter coming off a nice bow sprit was what I had in mind.

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Originally Posted by sailingdog
Simply rigging the boat with a bowsprit doesn't make the boat a cutter. Sloop rigged boats can have a bowsprit as a well—mine does. The main reason cutters can handle better in heavy weather is that they inner forestay allows them to fly a storm jib closer to the center of the boat, helping keep the boat balanced better.

You can do this on most sloops by adding an inner forestay, but often have to add running backstays to balance the loads against the mast.
So its running the storm jib towards the inner stay that makes it easier to handle, I see...

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Don't think it's can be done, the masts are stepped in different locations ( I think a sloop is 25% and cutter is 40% of the deck length from bow to stern) so your balance would be all out of wack.

another thing would be the sprit it self, there's a tremendous load, so unless you beef up the bow, have substantial stays for side to side and a substantial stay for up upward force, that baby would rip off in a heart beat

I figured that the inner stay would take some of the stress off of the bow sprit. I had no idea that the mast's where positioned differently to the point of throwing off the balance of the boat. That pretty much would shut that Idea down I guess.
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post #7 of 14 Old 07-08-2007
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You would need to rebalancethe rig. If you simply added more head sails, further out you would be giving your self a potentially dangerous amount of lee helm.

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post #8 of 14 Old 07-08-2007
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There is a Vindo 40 moored near us that added an inner forestay. I haven't looked real close, but it appears they just added a reinforced tack point midway between the front of the cabin and the bow. They seem to normally keep the new forestay wire attached loosely to the rail, and then they bring it down to the deck when needed and hank on a sail.

Fyi, Vindo 40's are actually only 32' LOA, (go figure?). but they are really sweet bluewater boats. The one near us has teak decks, a mahogany cabin top and a really great, curved, teak cockpit coaming. I may have to get me one of them....

Vindo 40
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post #9 of 14 Old 07-08-2007
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If they didn't tie the inner stay's chainplate into the boat's structure—usually by bracing it with a tie rod to the keel or into a structural bulkhead, then it is a lot more likely to fail under the loads it would be exposed to in a storm. I am willing to bet that the chainplate or deck fitting is tied into a major bulkhead inside the cabin.

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There is a Vindo 40 moored near us that added an inner forestay. I haven't looked real close, but it appears they just added a reinforced tack point midway between the front of the cabin and the bow. They seem to normally keep the new forestay wire attached loosely to the rail, and then they bring it down to the deck when needed and hank on a sail.

Fyi, Vindo 40's are actually only 32' LOA, (go figure?). but they are really sweet bluewater boats. The one near us has teak decks, a mahogany cabin top and a really great, curved, teak cockpit coaming. I may have to get me one of them....

Vindo 40

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post #10 of 14 Old 07-09-2007
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Leave well enough alone. The sloop is the superior rig for most sailing conditions, especially inland such as the Chesapeake Bay and most coastal sailing.
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