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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 09-16-2006
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Learning to Sail a Ketch

Once a person's got the hang of sailing a sloop rigged boat, how hard is it to learn to sail a ketch? Can they be single handled?
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Old 09-16-2006
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Dave: I will have to let you know in March at the rate I am moving with my refitting! lol.
I have spent a fair amount of time sailing a Pearson 40 foot ketch. So I really love ketch rigs and the various sail combinations. I do not think it will be difficult to learn to sail a ketch rig as opposed to a sloop.
Like any boat it is just a matter of experimenting with different sail combinations in different conditions. But you should already know the basics like sail shape.
As for single-handing, many sailors have sailed 40 foot ketches around the world. A ketch rig gives the advantage of allowing you to fly a storm jib and mizzen during a storm for greater stability.
What size boat are you looking at?
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Old 09-16-2006
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It was more of an accademic question for now. We have a quite capable 36 foot sloop, an Omega 36 to be specific, that we're "learning" on. However, when my time comes to retire, in 5 or 6 years, we may want to purchase another boat with a full or modified full keel (for stability and 'sea keeping'). In looking around, I see a lot of ketch rigged boats but wondered how difficult it would be to make that sort of transition. Unless I win the lottery or something, we'll keep CIRRUS at least until I retire - then we'll look to our options. My retirement goal is to sail out of Resurection Bay, turn left and keep going....
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That sounds like a great plan.
I bought my particular boat because I really enjoy restoring old boats, houses and cars. Plus I have always wanted a very traditional looking ketch.
I definitely plan to single hand my boat.
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Old 09-16-2006
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Ketches be EASIER than sloop rigged sailboats of the same size!
The mizzen is basically self tending and small so if you rig things right you can balance out the boat and deal with deteriorating conditions by dousing sails rather than reefing them. Other advantages include a shorter main mast and main sail area which gets you under more bridges and with less effort. Main disadvantage is poorer upwind performance than a sloop.
I singlehand ours with no problem...need a lot more help coming into the dock than sailing!
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Old 09-16-2006
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PBzeer has a spectacular aura about PBzeer has a spectacular aura about PBzeer has a spectacular aura about
We may pass each other on the Inside Passage . Though, realistically, I'm looking at around 10 years before I switch coasts. I'm homeported in Copper Center, since my brother still lives there, and having spent 22 years there myself, consider myself as much a Sourdough as anything else.

We have numerous ketches here on Galveston Bay, and usually when they are out, they don't even raise the mizzen sail, just the main and head.

Regards, and good luck with your plans,
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Thanks all. Your comments were reassuring. When time comes, I'll try not to be intimidated. Lots more market if I'm not limited to a single sail plan.
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