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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Question for those who sail cutters
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Thread: Question for those who sail cutters Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-15-2012 08:18 PM
fallard
Re: Question for those who sail cutters

We have a sloop with a baby stay and running backstays which we only used on our 1700 mile delivery trip from Florida to New England. The baby stay was rigged for the offshore segments and turned the boat into a cutter.

We didn't have much of a problem tacking, but we didn't tack all that often, either, so the cutter rig is probably easy enough to handle on a long passage.

On the other hand, I've got several months' experience sailing cutter-rigged Island Packets in New England and the Virgin Islands. The Island Packets were not impressive for short-tacking. About a quarter of the time, the genoa would hang up in the slot. There were a couple of times when I turned the motor on to pass through the wind, which had as much to do with the modified full keel configuration. There is probably a learning curve for tacking a cutter rig, but it shouldn't be that big a deal.

That said, the cutter rig can be more comfortable (and stiffer) when the wind picks up, so it is all a matter of boat design compromise. I would disagree with an earlier blogger that the aerodynamics of a cutter rig are much different that that for a sloop. You need to manage the slot between sails in either case. In a tradewinds area, I would find the cutter to be worth consideration. In lighter air, I'll stick with a sloop rig.
10-15-2012 07:45 PM
wingNwing
Re: Question for those who sail cutters

Quote:
Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
wingNwing,
On your inner forestay, what counter-balances on the aft end? Do you have running back stays?
Casey, We don't have a running backstay, we just have baby stays (a.k.a. intermediates) back & forward to handle the staysail loads in all directions. We have a split backstay, so turning that into a running backstay would be finicky. Our mast is so stout that we wouldn't be able to put in any mast bend in any case, it would just crumple. And in the final analysis, a 20,000+ lb boat that's only 33 feet long, that's built for the charter trade in the trade winds, isn't a racer anyway.

We're never the fastest boat, but who cares? Wherever we are, we're already home.
10-15-2012 07:36 PM
ctl411
Re: Question for those who sail cutters

Casey on my 37c I have running backs but not really necessary unless it's 25 plus knots of wind. Only then do they limit stay sag. Heavy mast section limits the need on my boat.
10-15-2012 05:34 PM
CarbonSink62
Re: Question for those who sail cutters

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMor View Post
I started sailing by hanking on whatever foresail we were flying. And stowing them, etc. And yes, they were good old dacron. But that was 30+ years ago.
Who would send a 4 year old child onto the foredeck?
10-15-2012 02:59 PM
casey1999
Re: Question for those who sail cutters

Quote:
Originally Posted by wingNwing View Post
Ours is a true cutter and we do what jrd does, fly the staysail to keep the jib from hanging up on the stay in a tack. We modified the inner forestay to be able to remove it and stow it against the lifelines when we're puttering about in the Chesapeake and doing lots of tacking; then we're just a sloop. What we love about the cutter is its flexibility - when the winds are heavier we roll up the jib and balance so sweetly with double-reefed main and staysail only.
wingNwing,
On your inner forestay, what counter-balances on the aft end? Do you have running back stays?
10-15-2012 02:11 PM
JulieMor
Re: Question for those who sail cutters

I've cruised and raced on sloops. That's all I know first hand. While I'm learning a lot about other rigs, I'm finding myself thinking the sloop just seems a lot less complicated and can get where you want to go just as safely as any other rig.

I realize having several sails hanging, ready to be furled or unfurled when needed, can make things easier but there seems to be a lot more in maintaining and even handling them.

I started sailing by hanking on whatever foresail we were flying. And stowing them, etc. And yes, they were good old dacron. But that was 30+ years ago. Today I'm thinking ease of handling and simplicity.

But right now I have to mow the lawn, rake the leaves, clean out the gutters, trim the bushes, put the flowers to bed for winter, paint a bedroom, clean the kitchen, do the laundry...
10-14-2012 09:49 PM
JonEisberg
Re: Question for those who sail cutters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
On the Tartan I saw at our local brokerage (and a similarly rigged Bene 40 in our marina) the forwardmost sail was/appeared to be a roller furled Asail - in which case there may not be a 'stay' there at all. Upwind work would be handled by the inner sail, when you peel off the wind you roll out the 'screacher' and carry on.
Tartan markets that arrangement as their "Cruise Control Rig"... A good arrangement in theory, but IMHO it primarily is a marketing deal, and their target market is those who never want to have to set foot out of the cockpit, and for whom "ease of sailing" tops the list...

A far better arrangement, seems to me, is simply to have the provision to fly a Code 0 from a free-flying furler whenever you want to do so. But of course, that entails a bit of actual "work - hoisting it, running the sheets, and so on... Many folks today would prefer to live with the considerable tradeoffs/downsides Rich H mentions, problems with headstay tension, the airflow over the self-tacker disturbed by the furled reacher, and so on...

One thing I really don't like about the permanent stowage of that type of sail on a furler, is the absence of a UV cover... You're not gonna put a UV cover on a light air reaching sail, and those sails are built to a rather limited wind range to begin with, the last thing you want to do is further weaken their construction and material by constant exposure to UV...

Seems like to prolong the life of the sail, you'd have to be routinely removing it from the furler, anyway... Stowing a reacher on a free-flying furler winds up being less "work", in the end...

But, the folks in the Marketing Department don't see it that way, so... (grin)
10-13-2012 04:42 PM
wingNwing
Re: Question for those who sail cutters

Ours is a true cutter and we do what jrd does, fly the staysail to keep the jib from hanging up on the stay in a tack. We modified the inner forestay to be able to remove it and stow it against the lifelines when we're puttering about in the Chesapeake and doing lots of tacking; then we're just a sloop. What we love about the cutter is its flexibility - when the winds are heavier we roll up the jib and balance so sweetly with double-reefed main and staysail only.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd22 View Post
Some have more room between the stays than others so it can vary as to the PITA factor. True cutters generally have a wider slot than a cutter rigged sloop like I have so I've found them easier in most cases. What I do is if I am sailing upwind, or even a beam reach, I'll fly the staysail as well as the genny. When I tack I'll leave the staysail sheeted tight and release the genny sheet at the normal time. This allows the genoa to slide along the "wall" created by the staysail and slide through the slot without any hangups. As soon as it's clear I tack the staysail. Dead down wind can be interesting, but in light wind I can usually get the genny to go through OK, in stronger winds I furl it in most of the way and then let it out on the other side. You get used to to it, but that's why you don't see many cutters racing:-))
10-13-2012 04:35 PM
Faster
Re: Question for those who sail cutters

On the Tartan I saw at our local brokerage (and a similarly rigged Bene 40 in our marina) the forwardmost sail was/appeared to be a roller furled Asail - in which case there may not be a 'stay' there at all. Upwind work would be handled by the inner sail, when you peel off the wind you roll out the 'screacher' and carry on.
10-13-2012 03:51 PM
RichH
Re: Question for those who sail cutters

That's a solent rig - two forward stay very close together.
They have problems in pointing!!! ... because the TWO forward stays 'share' the load of the backstay, and the stay that carries the 'sail load' unloads into the non-sailing stay because the mast and backstay system being 'elastic'.

They're great for downwind where forestay tension can/should be 'sloppy'. To me, the solent rig is an 'ok' idea; but, really needs independent-on-the-fly means of 'forestay' tensioning. To support BOTH 'forestays' with proper tension (for sail shape considerations) you really have to put 'bodaceous' loads on that backstay ... and that isnt 'good' with respect to fatigue failure considerations. The alternative, is to have the headsails specially cut along the luff so that the sail can properly 'match' the inherent forestay sag when you have TWO forward stays. Without such 'compensation' such a boat is going to 'point' like a pig.
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