Ignorant question about cutter rig versus sloop? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-10-2012 Thread Starter
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Ignorant question about cutter rig versus sloop?

I am relatively new to sailing and only have experience with sloop rigged boats. Can someone explain the disadvantage of having a cutter rigged boat.
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-10-2012
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Re: Ignorant question about cutter rig versus sloop?

1. PITA to tack, especially with the clew and sheets of the staysail usually entangling on the fore(staysail)stay.
2. There is always a variable tension 'fight' between the headstay and the forestay depending on the sq. ft. area of each sail and windstrength.... and the 'usual is that the headstay will be too sack and thus reduced pointing ability. This is probably the chief reason that most cutter rigs cant 'point' into the wind very well.
3. rigging costs when replacing. The staysailstay (forestay) needs to be 'opposed' either by running backstays or 'intermediate' stays
4. VERY hard to get correct sail interaction between the headsail and the staysail.

Advantages ....
1. helm balance when deep reefed main and staysail only.
2. Beam reaching, etc. when the staysail 'fills in' the foretriangle for extra sail area.
3. on a 'true' cutter with the mast at about 50% of deck length a large genoa only (no other sails) will allow good up-wind performance ... the "CE" of the combined cutter sailing rig is in front of the mast, a sloop has its CE 'behind' the mast.
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Re: Ignorant question about cutter rig versus sloop?

I'm curious, is there a way to balance the two forstays so they are both fairly tight? With a hanked on sail could you tighten the halyards or install a downhaul on the tack(Cunningham?) to effectively mimic, if not actually achieve, the balanced tightening of the forstays? Or is that just an exercise in futility?

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post #4 of 6 Old 03-10-2012
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Re: Ignorant question about cutter rig versus sloop?

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Originally Posted by KIVALO View Post
I'm curious, is there a way to balance the two forstays so they are both fairly tight? With a hanked on sail could you tighten the halyards or install a downhaul on the tack(Cunningham?) to effectively mimic, if not actually achieve, the balanced tightening of the forstays? Or is that just an exercise in futility?

Brad
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If the staysl has a cunningham then yes its possible to tension the luff boltrope sleeve to affect good (draft far forward) shape to the staysl and with minimal load on the forestay.
Overtightening the halyard on one of the foresails will cause a loosening in the stay tension of the 'other' headsail.
Its just plain simpler to slacken the forestay when beating so that most of the backstay tension reacts with the headstay.
If you want both headstay forestay combo to be tight, then you really need to apply tension to the running backstays.

For 'almost best' pointing ability with the least hassle with a cutter, remove/stow the forestay, hoist a large LP genoa onto the headstay .... and sail it like a sloop.

http://www.ftp.tognews.com/GoogleFil...f%20Hollow.pdf
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-10-2012
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Re: Ignorant question about cutter rig versus sloop?

In my experience with our current boat, which is a cutter rigged sloop, tacking isn't much of a problem. If you leave the staysail sheeted as you are coming about and release the genoa sheet it slides across the staysail and slips right though the slot, then you tack the staysail. As far as tensioning the two forestays go I haven't had any serious trouble with it, the running backstays tend to add tension to the staysail when the wind is 20 k+, and the backstay seems to keep a fairly constant tension on the headstay. Gybing can be a bit of bother though, usually requiring someone to go forward and help the gennie around the staysail stay. In the sailing we do here in the Salish Sea it's a toss up as to whether it's worthwhile to have the staysail on a furler or to be able to remove the staysail stay and just run the genoa. I've opted to go with the furler so when the wind kicks up I can just furl in the genoa and use the staysail with a reefed main. If I were racing I definitely wouldn't have the staysail stay permanently fixed, but I'm not a racer. Our winds here tend to be flukey in the summer, and can change rapidly. It's not unusual for a light breeze to turn into 25 knots just by turning the corner of an island. I like the flexibility of being able to comfortably adjust sail for the varying winds quickly and easily and the boat is wonderfully balanced with a reefed main and staysail in 25+ knots, that's usually the configuration we run when crossing the major straits here when the wind is up.
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Last edited by jrd22; 03-10-2012 at 11:32 PM.
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Re: Ignorant question about cutter rig versus sloop?

That makes sense. Thanks for the response and pdf. I figured there must have been some way to achieve the desired effect.

Brad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
If the staysl has a cunningham then yes its possible to tension the luff boltrope sleeve to affect good (draft far forward) shape to the staysl and with minimal load on the forestay.
Overtightening the halyard on one of the foresails will cause a loosening in the stay tension of the 'other' headsail.
Its just plain simpler to slacken the forestay when beating so that most of the backstay tension reacts with the headstay.
If you want both headstay forestay combo to be tight, then you really need to apply tension to the running backstays.

For 'almost best' pointing ability with the least hassle with a cutter, remove/stow the forestay, hoist a large LP genoa onto the headstay .... and sail it like a sloop.

http://www.ftp.tognews.com/GoogleFil...f%20Hollow.pdf

s/v KIVALO
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