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Old 11-15-2004
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new ketch owner

close to purchasing new (new to us anyway!!) vessel. have sailed sloops all my life, this boat is a ketch. can anyone school us in any major differences, i''m sure there are many...also looking for any recommendations for reading on the subject


thanks...styk
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Old 11-15-2004
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new ketch owner

If you look in the archives there has been a lot of prior discussions about ketches vs sloops. The reality is that there are big differences between sailing ketches and sloops. Obviously windward and downwind performance will be substantially less than you are used to if you owned a sloop of equal design quality as the ketch you are considering. Because of shorter spars and backdraft issues, usually light air performance suffers as well.

There are some variations between one ketch and another but the general rule of thumb is that upwind and close reaching start adjusting from the jib and then move aft adjusting the mainsail and then the mizzen. Upwind and close reaching there will be some tendancy for there to be backdraft from the mainsail onto the mizzen and so there is a tendancy to overtrim the mizzen. That generally is counterproductive increasing weather helm and causing the mizzen to act as an airbrake.

Downwind start trimming from the mizzen and then adjust the sails progressively going forward. Ketches will often do better VMG wise broad reaching rather than going dead downwind. This is especially true when coupled with the use of a mizzen staysail.

In heavy going the mainsail can be dropped and most ketches will nicely balance with ''Jib and Jigger''. I have found that windward performance will drop a little in that mode but it is a very comfortabble way to sail.

Jeff
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