How do you tack a cutter? - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
 Not a Member? 

Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 02-17-2003
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 172
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 13
JeffC_ is on a distinguished road
How do you tack a cutter?

The cutter rig is often praised for its versatility and ease of management by short-handed crew because of its divided sailplan. But how does one bring a cutter across the wind?

A photo I saw showed the headsail sheets run around the front of the inner stay. Is it just like tacking a sloop, with two sheet adjustments (I assume the inner sail is trimmed first on the new tack)? If so, wouldn''t the headsail be subject to a lot of wear dragging across the inner forestay? Or is the headsail partially furled prior to tacking (this seems cumbersome, and cutters tacked before the advent of roller furling, so this can''t be the most seaman-like maneuver)? What percentage of the foretriangle is a typical cutter headsail? I''m assuming genoas are out of the picture.

This brings up some related questions:

1. Do two smaller sails really do the same job as a genny in light air?

2. What is the proper name of the inner sail?

3. Can you fly both sails when the wind is abaft the beam, or must the inner sail be doused to let the larger headsail have all the wind it needs?

4. If it''s doused, won''t this compromise downwind performance?

5. Is a down-wind run performed wing-on-wing with the main up, or down?

Won''t someone please forgive my ignorance and indulge me? This question has turned into much more than I intended, but since my knowledge is zero, any discussion here will be appreciated.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 02-17-2003
RichH's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,960
Thanks: 10
Thanked 88 Times in 80 Posts
Rep Power: 15
RichH will become famous soon enough
How do you tack a cutter?

Many cutters are arranged with a staysail boom which make tacking the staysail quite easy. Tacking the jib (yankee) is fairly easy as it simply ''blows through'' between the forestay and the staysail stay. With a large genoa one typically backwinds it to help with the friction of getting it through between the forestay and the stays''l-stay (a PTIA).

1. using a small jib (yankee) is not good for light wind sailing. A large genoa is usually employed for light winds - sometimes with the staysail furled and the stay removed/disconnected and stored.
2. Staysail - not much use on a beat as it is a ''bear'' to set correctly. On a beat, the advantage of a staysail is to remove the turbulence caused by the mast - its a ''bitch'' to set correctly on a beat, otherwise its better to furl the staysail on a beat.
A cutter sails best on a beam reach with the staysail ''filling-in'' the foretriangle.
3. A cutter sails well down to a broad reach ( just a little better than a sloop). If the staysail is on a boom it can be poled out to weather - similar to sailing''wing and wing'' with a sloop although the genoa and main are on the same side, the staysail on the opposite side (but then one would better take advantage of an asymetrical spinnaker).
4&5. Dead down wind .... better to tack downwind on a broad reach - any boat.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 02-19-2003
Jeff_H's Avatar
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Posts: 6,664
Thanks: 5
Thanked 103 Times in 79 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about
How do you tack a cutter?

You are asking a lot of questions here. Cutter rigs have become very popular with the traditional cruising boat croud because they offer quite a bit of versitilty with less of a performance handicap than a ketch or a yawl. The traditional definition of a cutter (a single masted, fore and aft, sailing rig with its mast located approximately 50% aft in the sail plan and with multiple headsails and in the most traditional definitions a reefing bowsprit) placed the mast very far aft compared to a sloop. This resulted in boats with reasonably large headsails.

While traditional definitions of a sloop permitted multiple headsails, today, any single masted boat with multiple headsails seems to get called a cutter. These modern definition cutters, which are often really multiple headsail sloops, end up with comparatively small headsails.

Traditionally, the inner most of the two headsails is hung on the ''forestay'' and is called the ''Forestaysail'' or simply the ''staysail''. The outer most heasail is hung on the ''Headstay'' or ''Jibstay'' and was called the ''Headsail'' or was more frequently simply refered to as the ''Jib''. If the Jib overlapped the shrouds it was called a genoa or a jumbo. If it had a high cut foot it was sometimes called a ''Yankee'' named for the J-Boat ''Yankee''.

When you hear about the versatility of a cutter, this touted adaptability of the rig is often really most useful offshore, rather than for coatal cruising. Cutter fans like the ability to use the staysail as a storm sail by simply dropping (or furling) the Jib.

In tacking a cutter, the Jib typically has two sheets and is tacked like a headsail on a sloop. Today, the staysail is typically mounted on a boom and is self-tending like a mainsail. In an effort to reduce the hazzard of a swinging boom on the foredeck, traditional offshore cutter rigs often had the staysail rigged with two sheets and they were tacked like a jib as well.

The combination of the two small headsails on a cutter does not produce the same drive to one large sail of equal sail area. Beating the small staysail offers a lot of drag and turbulence for its drive. Most modern cutters sail best upwind with a genoa and the staysail dropped to the deck. Compared to tacking a similar sized sloop, tacking the genoa through the gap between the headstay and forestay is a real pain in the butt as you are forced to haul the sail forward around the stay and then back again. There are a lot of cutters that are very hard to safely tack without partially furling the genoas. Before roller furling Cutters rarely had jibs that overlapped the forestay more than a very small pecent of their overall area. For coastal cruising it is often nicer to have a removable forestay. This permits an open foretriangle making it substantially easier to tack the genoa and reducing wear and tear on the sail.

The sails are generally adjusted fore to aft starting with the Jib, then moving aft, adjusting the staysail and then the mainsail. The staysail is hard to adjust as it often has a narrow groove between backwinding the mainsail and luffing.

Cutters work best when reaching between just cracked off of a beat until a fairly shallow broad reach. They are pretty poor when deep reaching or running because of the blanketing affects of the three sails. Many cutters deep reach or run best with the Staysail dropped or furled essentially behaving like a sloop. Dead downwind the Jib and Mainsail are generally flown wing and wing with the staysail dropped or allowed to sag into the lee of the mainsail.

While many of the older texts still advocate cutter rigs for offshore cruising, with the advent of more effective slab reefing gear, more modern thinking has moved towards fractional rigs being more advantagous for offshore work. The comparatively small jibs found on a fractional rig generally behave like the staysail on a cutter allowing a quick reduction in sail plan without having the problems found in cutter rigs.

Good luck
Jeff




Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 02-19-2003
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 105
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 12
fourknots is on a distinguished road
How do you tack a cutter?

Lots of good information. I alwo have a question for the cutter knowledgable. I just bought my first cutter which is equipped with a removeable staysail stay. However, I can''t find a place to put the thing when I release it from deck. I can''t wrap it around the mast, it''s too long to attach to the base of the mast... what is usually done with these?

I think fractional rigs still have one disadvantage compared to cutters. Using a staysail brings the center of effort back, and when combined with a reefed main allows all of the sail area to be close to the mast. During a real blow, this seems to balance a boat and keep her from being knocked around as much.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 02-19-2003
Jeff_H's Avatar
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Posts: 6,664
Thanks: 5
Thanked 103 Times in 79 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about
How do you tack a cutter?

Most boats develop weather helm as wind speeds increase. You may not want to move the center of effort aft further increasing weather helm which is what happens in most cutters when you drop the Jib. The cutter that I owned developed wicked weather helm when sailed with only the staysail in heavy winds.

A properly designed fractional rig remains pretty much in balance when reefed or even when sailing under only a reefed mainsail. One of the nice things about a fractional rig is that you can use the backstay adjuster to precisely move the apparent center of effort in a breeze resulting in a near neutral helm.

Jeff
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 02-21-2003
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 3
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
gcrowell is on a distinguished road
How do you tack a cutter?

You got a lot of information for what I would guess is a question about how to got thr Yankee or Genoa to tack through the slot between the forestay and the staysail. I have a cutter without a staysail boom when I get ready to Tack I Roughly preset the staysail by tighting the lazy sheet and relacing the working staysail sheet so the staysail basically selftends like the main. I then proceed to tack as usual with one exception once the yankee starts to back completely release the working sheet and do not take up the new working sheet until the wind starts to blow the yankee through.
In very light air you will probably have to walk it through.
I almost always use the yankee and staysail with a cruising spinniker for light conditions.

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 02-22-2003
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 172
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 13
JeffC_ is on a distinguished road
How do you tack a cutter?

I realized when I first posted this that it was a big question, but I do appreciate the thoughful replies. I see now that the cutter rig has a narrower performance window than I had imagined. Seems as if it''s in the way more often than not, unless you''re on long off-shore tacks where it can perform. It definitely would create work for the coastal cruiser. If the staysail is club-footed, I can see problems with using space and even safety on the foredeck.

Hats off to those of you who sail them and like them. Sitting here in the comfort of my livingroom, I think I''d rather live with baggy partially-furled genoas and the slim possibility that the whole roller furling set-up might misbehave on a sloop than mess with all that extra deck hardware and rigging just so I could be a bit faster on a long reach. Of couse, if I ever get a chance to sail on one, I''ll be able to see for myself.

Jeff, as usual, your comments were especially helpful: a veritable primer. At the very least, now I have the nomenclature straight!

Thanks to all.
JeffC

P.S.— As to what to do after detaching the forestay: of course the stay is longer than the distance between the mast base and the head of the stay. I have read that the solution is to place a hook on the front face of a spreader, such that the forestay may be disconnectted from the deck, the stay looped around the hook (much like the reverse of un-hooking a fouled halyard!), and then the end of the stay safely secured at the mast base. This would be analogous to grabbing a guitar string in the middle and pulling it to the side. Another option I read would be to run the forestay to an Aladdin (or some other) hook on the shroud, then staight down to the deck and attach it at the shroud attachment point. Adjusting the height of the hook would insure the proper amount of slack would be taken up. I''m sure there are several possible variations, but the goal would be securing the attachment point of the forestay to a convenient, out-of-the-way place on the deck, and finding a simple way of securing the suddenly too-long run of forestay...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 02-22-2003
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 172
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 13
JeffC_ is on a distinguished road
How do you tack a cutter?

Hmm…
As I''m letting all this soak in, I guess the whole staysail/detachable forestay <em>could</em> be secured out of way under light/medium conditions, then employed as the wind picked up, to <em>replace</em> the genny and avoid the drawbacks (no pun intended) of a poorly-shaped, partially-rolled genoa. If you left the staysail hanked-on and bagged in its "secured" position (let''s say at the foot of the mast), it could be set up rather quickly. You could even use the same jib sheets.

1. Roll up genoa. Secure with 2 (or more) sail ties.
2. Detach jibsheets and throw them behind forestay attachment on deck.
3. Attach forestay to its deck attachment (staysail is bagged and already hanked-on, halyard is already run to staysail head).
4. Pop open bag: attach sheets to clew of staysail.
5. Re-run sheets through fairleads on forestay car track.
5. Rip open bag, haul her up, secure halyard and bag.
6. Trim sail.

Reefing the main before this sail change would make what foredeck work you need to do more manageable.

Just random thoughts of a coastal cruiser… if this is practical, it may make a two-headsail sloop rig practical. We''re always tring to get the best of both worlds.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

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:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

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.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cutter rig vs. sloop rig Akacake Boat Review and Purchase Forum 8 12-17-2009 02:13 AM
Sloop, Cutter or Ketch jsgsail Boat Review and Purchase Forum 17 12-26-2008 03:47 PM
Rigging a tack for a drifter jonlgauthier Gear & Maintenance 2 09-14-2004 08:11 AM
Sloop vs. Fractional Sloop vs. Cutter Epiphany Boat Review and Purchase Forum 25 02-05-2004 10:27 PM
diffrent rigs? (schooner, ketch, cutter, sloop) jbarros Boat Review and Purchase Forum 2 07-09-2003 05:10 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:25 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.