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Old 09-04-2003
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JeffH - Question on cutters

Jeff,

I have read several posts over the last few months in which you discuss the disadvantages of cutters. I understand your comments, but have two additional question.

1) If you change a cutter to a sloop, exactly how will that effect the sailing characteristics of the sailboat?

2) Are there any disadvantages to making this change?

Thanks for your help!!
el
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JeffH - Question on cutters

I''m not Jeff, but I''ve read about and seen the characteristics that distinguish a ''true'' cutter from a ''sloop''.

A true cutter will have the mast set farther (nearly mid-way) back than a sloop, which usually has the mast set about 1/3 way back from the bow. So, if one only removes a cutter''s mid-forestay - that in-of-itself will nott make the boat a ''true'' sloop.

Also, the boom on a cutter will likely be a bit shorter than on a similar sized sloop. Thesw sail size and location differences will have a large effect on where the center of force is located, and thus on the boat''s performance and sailing efficiency.

I''m sure Jeff-H can add much more detailed information.

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~
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Old 09-04-2003
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JeffH - Question on cutters

The impact of removing the jib stay on a multiple jib sloop or a cutter will greatly depend on the specific design of the boat in question. In most cases the impact is negligible as the staysail adds little in the way of performance and when used with a genoa adds little toward balance. There may be staying issues with the removal of the stay but in most cases the masts on cutters are sturdy enough to be sailed without the jibstay in place.

The only disadvantage that I can think of would be on boats with the headstay tacked to the end of the bowsprit; I would have serious concerns about supporting the entire rig loads at the end of a bowsprit. Also if the boat was designed to have its storm jib floan from the jibstay, I would be concerned about balance in heavy going.

Jeff
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Old 09-05-2003
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JeffH - Question on cutters

The sailboat that I am asking about is a Tayana 37 which does have the headstay tacked on the bowsprit. From what I have read, Perry did not move the mast forward on the T37.

thanks for your comments
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Old 09-05-2003
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JeffH - Question on cutters

You might ask this question on the Cruising World BB where Bob Perry is a frequent contributer. While the Tayana 37''s are better than many of the overweight type cuisers, they are still pretty useless as coastal cruisers in most US east coast cruising grounds.

Cruising Worlds General Messages BB can be found at:
http://old.cruisingworld.com/forums/genlmesg/index.pl

Jeff
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JeffH - Question on cutters

Jeff, I wonder if you could expand on the idea of Tayana 37s being worthless so that those making decisions to possibly buy one would not weigh your opinion without the underlying criteria and basis for said opinion.

Paul
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JeffH - Question on cutters

To start with I consider the Tayana 37 to be one of the better old style heavy displacement cruisers. While I am not a proponent of old style heavy displacement offshore cruisers, even for offshore work. The basic design brief for boats like these has been around for over a hundred years and I think that a lot has been learned about the behavior of boats at sea and designing boats for offshore work that this type of boat ignores. That said, on a reach and given enough wind the T37''s sail reasonably well. While there are a lot of aspects of the construction of these boats that I personally don''t like, they were well built and have held up reasonably well for what they are. I think that Bob Perry did a beautiful job of modeling the hulls of these boats. From having designed heavy displacement cruisers myself, I can tell you that it is very difficult to model a heavy displacement hull anywhere near as nicely as the T-37''s.

But in my humble opinion they are lousy coastal cruisers. Obviously much, if not most of this discussion is subjective but, to me a coastal cruiser needs to sail well in a wider range of conditions than an offshore boat. By that I mean that it should have better light air, heavy air (albeit for a shorter duration), upwind and downwind performance than the average offshore boat. An offshore boat has the luxuray of sea room or weighting a day or two. The confined conditions that a coastal cruiser operates under means that it has to be able to sail itself out of a tough spot without a margin for error. The coastal cruiser should be more maneuverable and easier to get underway than an old style offshore cruiser. By necessity an offshore cruiser needs a tiny cockpit and in the case of the Tayana one that is too small to be comfortable for hanging out. An offshore cruiser needs an interior that has tight passages, small head and galley recesses, and narrow restrictive bunks where you won''t get thrown about so that it is safe offshore, while a coastal cruisers should have more room to simply lounge. It is true that some of the Tayana 37''s (and Westsail 32''s for that matter) have coastal cruising style interiors which somehow seems nuts because you are taking a boat that is a poor coastal cruiser for other reasons and making it a poor offshore cruiser because of the interior.

Old style offshore cruisers relied on a lot of redundancy and larger safety margins which can really hurt performance. A good coastal cruiser can be gunkholed under sail. A good coastal cruiser should have a sail plan that can quickly shift gears with the often highly changeable conditions found along shore. Almost by design, old style cruising rigs are hard to power up and down. Part of that has to do keeping the equipment simple, part with the fact that the hull/keel combo is so performance restrictive that shifting gear doesn''t do much good, part had to do with the small sail plans that these boats have relative to their displacement which results from having comparatively small stability relative to their displacement and part of this results from the weights of sail cloth needed to reliably drive that much displacement in a heavy wind and sea.

Coastal cruisers should be light and airy. Offshore boats by necessity should have small and minimal deck openings.

To summarize this in a nutshell, the priorities of going offshore in a tradition offshore design shape all aspects of the boat as a system. Boats like the Tayana 37 are highly specialized and task specific and so they do their task extremely well, but this high degree of specialization comes at the price of not being very good generalists, which is what a coastal cruiser must be.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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