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  #1  
Old 03-24-2003
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Sail trim primer for ketch

I''m looking for a source of sail trim information for ketch rigs or perhaps some advice from the board. I have been told to just "sheet it in a little more than the main..." I''m guessing there''s more to optimizing my performance than that though.

Thx in advance
Ike
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Old 03-24-2003
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Sail trim primer for ketch

I learned to sail on a ketch about 45 years ago and have sailed on a few since. Here''s a couple of observations that may or may not apply to your boat.

1. The mizzen is not always useful. Upwind its not much help because the main makes it uneasy. Downwind the mizzen makes the main uneasy and leads to more chafe against the shrouds.

2. The mizzen of a ketch rigged boat starts to come into its own on a close reach and can still be useful on a broad reach. REaching with a mizzen staysail set (in addition to the mizzen itself) on a ketch can be a thrill.

So, use the mizzen when it seems to help but dont feel bad if the boat does better if you put it to bed on some points of sail.

There used to be an addage about ketches being particularly good in heavy weather when carrying "jib and jigger" . This means a jib and the mizzen. I think this is total BS. Modern jiffy reefing on the main makes the mizzen irrelevent in heavy weather.

John
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Old 03-25-2003
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Sail trim primer for ketch

I know of no source that describes how to sail a ketch. I think cumulatively you have gotten good information here. The basics are start trimming from the bow and work your aft. In other words trim the jib by its luff teletales (18 or so inches back from the luff), then the mainsail and then the mizzen both by their leech teletales. The mizzen is often a little over- or under- trimmed to help balance the helm.

Unlike most yawls with their smaller mizzens, on most ketches the mizzen is needed for balance and also represents a larger percentage of the sail area so it is rarely dropped going upwind or on a run. Ketches do best on a reach and are pretty poor on a beat or run. In heavy air the mainsail is often dropped (jig and jigger mentioned above)which results in balanced rig with minimal sail area. Dropping the mizzen first in heavy air is often not an option as most ketches will develop lee helm (not a good thing in a heavy breeze). With all due respect, I disagree with John that jib and jigger is B.S. While modern mainsail reefing allows most sloops (or yawls for that matter) to quickly shorten sail and be in balance, on most ketches, the mainsail is so far forward that dropping the mizzen in heavy air can create real steering problems.

Jeff
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Old 03-25-2003
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Sail trim primer for ketch

Thanks all, I really appreciate your taking the time to share your knowledge.

Very best regards,
Ike
S/V Indigo
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Old 03-28-2003
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Sail trim primer for ketch

Ike, I''d second Jeff''s disagreement with John re: jib & jigger. We found this especially suitable across and downwind in the Caribbean where the breezes are heavier and, being a short-handed crew, ease of sail handling is a worthy goal. Our Pearson 424 ketch balances especially well without the main and due to its shallow keel, appreciates the lack of add''l heel, as do we.

My experience is different than Jeff''s re: going upwind - I find dropping the mizzen is worth the effort, as it contributes heavy weather helm when beating or (very) close reaching, contributes nothing to our boat''s performance, and makes steering more work as a result.

Also, don''t overlook John''s comment about a mizzen staysail - a joy to use, easy to hoist (from a permanent place on the side deck once we''re offshore, with the sheet permanently rigged), quiet in use, and cheap to purchase. In lighter winds (other than a beat or run), it gives us up to another knot of speed - twice the improvement from our Max Prop and only 1/10th the cost!<g>

Jack
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Old 03-28-2003
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Sail trim primer for ketch

Thanks Jack, I''ve noticed that our weather helm increases when we''re on the wind so would concur with your opinion. I have nothing but respect for Jeff''s opinion but also recognize that is he is, of necessity, speaking in generalities in this case. I am interested in a mizzen staysail since I am SoCal and the winds are often light. Can you provide some detail on the rigging of such a sail? Tack position, sheeting etc?

Cheers!
Ike
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Old 03-30-2003
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Sail trim primer for ketch

Gee, Ike - you are indeed in perfect Mizzen Staysail territory. <g>

Generally, the sail is tacked to the side deck and hoisted from a block on the forward side of the mizzen masthead. The sheet is run from the clew via the end of the mizzen boom (which is trimmed outboard to help in sail shape even if the mizzen isn''t being used) and then brought to a winch somewhere in the cockpit. The sail requies a split backstay; if you have a full double backstay, it will foul the leech.

There are lots of variations on this, however. One well-known/respected sailor from your area (Earl Hinz, who later cruised the SoPac area for many years aboard his Morgan OI41 HORIZON) ended up concluding that, for beamy/shallow hull forms like his, it was better to use several different sizes/shapes of a mizzen staysail rather than a main. For work closer to the wind, he tacked one to his main''s gooseneck. Less heel, less leeway, more speed was his conclusion and, being an aerospace engineer, he had the data to back it up.

In our case, we elected to have the staysail made of 2.2 oz dacron vs. the more typical 1.5 oz. ripstop - a little heartier, so it can carry a bit more wind (or more likely, accommodate my less than speedy deck work). I leave the sheet permanently rove to reduce the workload, meaning the sheet runs from a winch and cleat on the mizzen mast, out to the block on the mizzen boom''s end cap, and then back to the same cleat. When it''s time to hoist the sail (which lives in its back with the tack line led thru a grommet on the bottom of the bag and secured to a bail on a lifeline stanchion, then to a midship''s cleat), I run the sheet outboard of the mizzen shrouds, open the bag (where the head and clew are last to be stuffed inside) and attach the sheet. I then release the halyard''s shackle, insure it runs on the right side of the backstay, and attach it to the head. Returning to the cockpit, I hoist the sail and then adjust it with the staysail sheet plus the mizzen sheet (to position the boom). When beam reaching or a bit more to windward, I''ll choose a more forward stanchion''s bail; when more off the wind, I might reattach the tack line further aft.

Hope that helps. The sail was about $300 and well worth it. The other bits and pieces were either on-hand or little cost.

Jack
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Old 12-13-2008
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1. Hoist the mizzen first. This will keep your boat's head to wind. You can easily hoist other sails in this condition. Use your mizzen when on anchor. You boat will always keep the head to wind.
2. Mizzen is very good for keeping your route. Arrange your sail trim well, lock yor tiller and adjust your mizzen and this will keep the boat going in the same direction.
3. Do not use your mizzen when going to the wind. The genova disturbs the wind that reaches the main therefore you have to keep the main more straight. The mizzen is affected from the main's wind and you have to keep the mizzen very straight which will not deliver any drive.
4. Do use your mizzen instead of your main when going to the wind if the wind is good. The genova will work good, because you do not have a main that will affect the wind to the mizzen, it will give very good drive.
5. When sailing with the wind, keep the mizzen opposite to the main, and the genova on the same side to te main. Ketch rigs are very efficient in this way. My ketch sails much faster than most of the sloops even a little bigger than my boat.
5. You can stay "nearly hove to" with the mizzen only.
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Old 12-13-2008
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Celenoglu-

The posts you're responding to are well over five years old. Please check dates on posts before replying to them. You might also want to invest in a spell-checker, since you're using a lot of "words" that don't exist AFAICT. I'd also highly recommend your read the POST in my signature to help you get the most out of sailnet. Welcome to the Asylum.
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Old 12-13-2008
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celenoglu,

Welcome to Sailnet!

The vast majority of Sailnet members sail sloops, so it's nice to get feedback from sailors experienced with a mizzen. Yes, this is an old thread, but I think your post will be helpful to anybody looking for this kind of information.

If you'd like to, you can say hello and introduce yourself to members in the "Introduce Yourself" thread. We don't have too many active members from Turkey, either, but we often get questions about sailing/chartering in that area.

Welcome aboard!
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