SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Cutter easier to heave to? Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
06-12-2009 05:41 PM
Jeff_H I must say that the most difficult boat that I have ever owned to hove-to on was a 1939 full keeled cutter. The headstaysail was too far forward and jibstay gets in the way of backing the headstaysail and jibstaysail is too far aft and was on a boom making it ineffective even with a lot of jury rigging.

I have had the same experience on other cutters. The best boat for heaving to that I owned was my folkboat, (fractional rig with full keel) followed by the Northstar 500QT (masthead rig and fin keel/skeg hung rudder).
06-12-2009 11:36 AM
Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
I own a long J-measurement fin-keel sloop and a full keel cutter, and the cutter is definitely easier in this regard, because the staysail put the center of effort closer to the mast. This means that if you get the forces of waves and wind acting on the hull out of sync, it's along a shorter length, if you follow.
Yea, understand the situation with the staysail. My ketch is actually a cutter/ketch so know what you mean.

The issue I was thinking about is the relative location of the mast on a cutter compared to a sloop. Most cutters would have the mast located aft of station four (based on separating the waterline length into 10 parts or "stations" starting from "0" at the bow) where most sloops have the mast located between stations 3 and 4. With the mast further aft I was wondering whether this would help the cutter be an easier boat to heave to given the centre of effort is further aft.

06-12-2009 10:25 AM
Valiente I own a long J-measurement fin-keel sloop and a full keel cutter, and the cutter is definitely easier in this regard, because the staysail put the center of effort closer to the mast. This means that if you get the forces of waves and wind acting on the hull out of sync, it's along a shorter length, if you follow.

There's so much else to consider beyond heaving ability, however. The pointing is inferior on the cutter, but I find I can effectively sail longer thanks to the staysail, and having more sail up in a reaching situation keeps the boat going nicely. Another consideration is sailing alone...more sails are more work, but also more flexibility...if you are going from ketch to cutter this isn't likely an issue. Also, you are probably used to the "lazy skipper" tactic of just using the mizzen and the jib for tooling around in light's enough to make three or four knots and saves a lot of flaking down later!

I agree with Lshick that partially furled genoas are poor performers after a certain point and I would rather roll it all in and sail with staysail and full main a little longer and just not expect to point well, but still have a lot of speed.
06-12-2009 10:10 AM
Heaving to, cutter vs sloop

Another element to the discussion is the different circumstances under which one might heave to:

One can heave to as a heavy-weather tactic: here the cutter has an advantage as it has the foresail more centrally located, out of the end of the boat. In this configuration one is using a small, flat, relatively heavy sail rather than a partially-furled big, light sail, which will usually be baggy in when partially-furled. Also the head of the reefed main comes to the same point as the staysail stay, which some feel is more structurally sound.

Or one can heave to as a normal-weather tactic, such as to kill time to achieve a dawn arrival at an unfamiliar port, or just to "pull over" and have lunch: here there's no major advantage between the sail plans.

I have had both keel types, and while there are differences in how they behave for heaving to, I don't know that there's a better or worse in this context--just different.

This leaves aside the relative merits of the two rigs on other grounds, such as heavy-weather sailing generally. We have watched those with sloops try to sail in high winds with a partially roller-furled jib. This leads to poor foresail shape and therefore poor performance, both pointing ability and speed.
06-12-2009 09:17 AM
sck5 every boat i was ever on was different when it came to heaving to. and it seemed to me to have at least as much to do with the type of keel and rudder as it did with the sail plan
06-12-2009 08:53 AM
Cutter easier to heave to?

Hi guys & girls,

have been dreaming about that favourate topic called the "next boat" and two of the favourates are a cutter rig and a sloop rig. One issue I was wondering was whether the cutter rig would be easier to heave to, mainly as the mast would be further back. On my present ketch rig the boat is really easy to heave to with using the mizzen only. Following the same logic I was thinking a cutter might also be easier with the mast further back, perhaps with just a deeply reefed main only.

Any thought / comments appreciated


PS what happened to the design forum? Tried to post this question there but could'nt find it.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome