Cutter rig sailing tips? - SailNet Community
 1Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 11 Old 06-09-2019 Thread Starter
cdy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 436
Thanks: 0
Thanked 22 Times in 22 Posts
Rep Power: 6
 
Cutter rig sailing tips?

I have sailed all sorts of rigs in the past - even a junk rig - but have never owned a cutter before - I know each boat is going to handle differently but in general here are the questions:

Manageable breeze - main, headsail and staysail raised
Wind picks up -roll up staysail
more wind - reef main and keep headsail up - maybe rolling in a bit of it
more wind - roll up headsail and roll out staysail

Both headsails are on a furler - main has 3 reef points

Downwind - drop main and have staysail and headsail wing & wing?


Sound about right?
cdy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 11 Old 06-09-2019
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 1,670
Thanks: 19
Thanked 110 Times in 107 Posts
Rep Power: 10
 
Re: Cutter rig sailing tips?

OK, two of the 5 had staysails, one with detachable staysail rig, the other on roller.

IMHO the most useful feature is in heavy wind, getting a balanced rig with the center of effort in the middle of the boat by using the staysail and deeply reefed main only. On both boats, you could beat into 30+ true and get a "comfortable" ride. This is the nice thing about these rigs.

Both boats would point best on the headsail alone, but it could be a PIA to tack through the slot. The detachable headsail rig solved this problem, at the expense of a lot of foredeck work to set it up when the wind piped up and you didn't want to be on the foredeck. The roller was nice, you could just roll up the big widow shade and roll out the little one. Sometimes I'd even roll the headsail to tack. PIA.

Both boats liked to reach with both headsail up. It was also possible to run with the 2 headsail wing on wing.

Your boat maybe different, but both sails up was a reaching only config for me. That could be most of your sailing if you live in the right place.
capecodda is online now  
post #3 of 11 Old 06-09-2019
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
Posts: 19,535
Thanks: 82
Thanked 550 Times in 527 Posts
Rep Power: 11
   
Re: Cutter rig sailing tips?

For a normally balanced sail plan on a cutter, the OP seems reasonable to me. However, I’ve known some to change the sails to have more of a working jib on the staysail and an over sized Genoa as a foresail. Tacking the foresail on a cutter is a PITA, as you have to furl it back almost all the way first. In the modified sailplan case, the staysail is used most of the time, with the big Genoa used for deep downwind or upwind in modest wind speeds.

Personally, I think it’s better as designed. Used to sail a buddy’s cutter and he was constantly doing surgery to the sail plan. He eventually sold it. Self inflicted pain.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jeanneau 54DS

In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.
Minnewaska is offline  
 
post #4 of 11 Old 06-09-2019
Administrator
 
Jeff_H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Posts: 8,736
Thanks: 33
Thanked 425 Times in 355 Posts
Rep Power: 10
     
Re: Cutter rig sailing tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdy View Post
I have sailed all sorts of rigs in the past - even a junk rig - but have never owned a cutter before - I know each boat is going to handle differently but in general here are the questions:

Manageable breeze - main, headsail and staysail raised
Wind picks up -roll up staysail
more wind - reef main and keep headsail up - maybe rolling in a bit of it
more wind - roll up headsail and roll out staysail

Both headsails are on a furler - main has 3 reef points

Downwind - drop main and have staysail and headsail wing & wing?


Sound about right?
I have owned and sailed on a number of cutters. There are big variations in how they sail and the sequence used to reduce sail in a breeze. I don't think that you have it right on most of the cutters that I have sailed. Here are my thoughts:

Manageable breeze - main, headsail and staysail raised
Agreed
Wind picks up -roll up staysail
Not flying the staysail makes little to no difference. While it adds sail area it does not add much in the way of heeling. On the cutters I have sailed, they develop a lot of weather helm as the breeze picks up and so the first step was to reef the mainsail.

more wind - reef main and keep headsail up - maybe rolling in a bit of it
The next step would be to more deeply reef the mainsail and douse the headsail.

more wind - roll up headsail and roll out staysail
More deeply reef the mainsail.

I have never had any luck running downwind with the headsail and staysail wing and wing. The staysail being so small and heavy, it takes a lot of wind to keep it full. I typically ran downwind with the mainsail and headsail and hobbled the staysail on the centerline.

This was my cutter:
Indian out of water Big

Indian under sail Big

Jeff


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay

Last edited by Jeff_H; 06-09-2019 at 01:05 PM.
Jeff_H is online now  
post #5 of 11 Old 06-09-2019
Senior Member
 
Markwesti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Seal Beach Ca. ( Long Beach )
Posts: 1,338
Thanks: 120
Thanked 66 Times in 66 Posts
Rep Power: 7
 
Re: Cutter rig sailing tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdy View Post
I have sailed all sorts of rigs in the past - even a junk rig - but have never owned a cutter before - I know each boat is going to handle differently but in general here are the questions:

Manageable breeze - main, headsail and staysail raised
Wind picks up -roll up staysail
more wind - reef main and keep headsail up - maybe rolling in a bit of it
more wind - roll up headsail and roll out staysail

Both headsails are on a furler - main has 3 reef points

Downwind - drop main and have staysail and headsail wing & wing?


Sound about right?
What boat are you talking about ?
Our W28 has a long boom , so when wind picks up we reef the Main (only 2 reef points) and it doesn't have to pick up much like around 18kt . More wind (20-25) , second reef and furl Yankee a bit and reef Staysail .

Down wind for us is a hoot , it doesn't happen enough and it doesn't happen long enough .
Down wind ... Pole out the Yankee to windward , fly the Drifter to Leeward , drop the Staysail and wing the Main to Leeward . Smiles for miles .
It was mentioned that tacking a bigger headsail is a PITA , I would agree with that . Tacking the Drifter one must go forward and the Helmsmand pays attention .
The Drifter is the biggest headsail we have . Back in the day Kern Ferguson was contracted to make sails for Westsail he came up with what he called the Super Yankee , I'm not sure how that one would tack .
This is how our boat works best , when we first got it I sailed it like the Sloop we had prior , big mistake . On the Sloop we would furl the headsail completely , doing that on our Cutter produced a lot of weather helm .

Westsail 28 , Patricia A
Markwesti is offline  
post #6 of 11 Old 06-09-2019
Senior Member
 
hpeer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Onboard
Posts: 1,188
Thanks: 12
Thanked 40 Times in 40 Posts
Rep Power: 15
 
Re: Cutter rig sailing tips?

My 2˘. It depends... Skme cutters have the Yankee tack at the stem. Tight between that and the inner forestry. Some have a small sprit, gain a little room for the staysail. Some have BIG sprites, lots of room to stay sail. But all of that also changes the balance differently boat to boat. To answer the question you need to know a lot about the boat.

33' Brewer, Murray 33, steel cutter
44' Pape, Steelmaid, cc steel cutter
hpeer is online now  
post #7 of 11 Old 06-09-2019
Senior Member
 
roverhi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Kona, Hawaii
Posts: 889
Thanks: 5
Thanked 77 Times in 74 Posts
Rep Power: 6
 
Re: Cutter rig sailing tips?

Our Westsail was pre roller headsails, everything hank on. Had a slightly bigger than stock Staysail and Yankee, and a high cut reacher drifter. The main had three reef points, the first was a shallow reef with the 2nd and 3rd slightly higher than most Westsails. Thought for the main was to use the shallow reef to lessen weather helm and flatten the sail in winds over 10k. That flattening reef turned out to be a waste as after an initial trial period, always went to the 2nd reef and occasionally the 3rd in strong trade winds. In tradewind conditions almost always reefed the main down to the 2nd reef point. Probably did more than half our sailing with a reef in the main.

For relative winds less than 10k or so ran with the reacher drifter and full main. on a broad reach could sheet the reacher drifter to the boom and pick up a full knot because of opening the slot. Unfortunately it was useless going much past a close reach pointing up. Wished we had at least a 100% jib to work in conjunction with the staysail for light air beating. In the trades almost always sailed with jib and staysail. The slot between the two head sails made a huge difference in sailing performance. When winds got to be too much to have both headsails up ran under the staysail alone. Unfortunately that would take a 1 knot plus hit on boat speed without the slot between the two headsail.

I tried an overlapping Staysail in conjunction with the Yankee. It was good combo for lighter air but the sheet fouled the forward lower shroud as soon as it was eased off. Had the choice of designing a baby stay to replace the forward lowers or give up on the sail. Decided to go cruising instead of changing the rig. In any case, would have the largest staysail that will fit with reef points to double as a storm sail.

With roller reefing and Code Zero/Asyms, would go with a around a 100% jib/Yankee. That's a big 100% sail as 'J' on a Westsail is 18' plus. Build that sail with a foam or rope luff so it could be reefed way down to cover a wide range of wind conditions. Ditch the self tacking boom, the staysail sets way better sheeted to the cabin top on all points of sail. Made two deliveries of Westsails with boomed staysails and spent the whole passage swearing at the damn things. Would have a Code Zero or Asym for lighter air reaching conditions. If I knew I was going to be doing a lot trade wind sailing might have a reefable Yankee Jib as you'd certainly get a lot of use out of it. The problem with cruising boats is storage, you just don't have room for a sail for all occasions. The above wardrobe would cover most of your wind conditions and leave you with only two bags of sails to stow.
roverhi is online now  
post #8 of 11 Old 06-09-2019
Senior Member
 
Telesail's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Wherever the boat is
Posts: 105
Thanks: 2
Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
Re: Cutter rig sailing tips?

We have a cutter rig with a square top main and can bear out Jeff’s experience. Reefing the main to balance the boat is as important as which of the stay sail or head sail or both you are flying. In the end, the wind determines how much sail you want up front before you get overpowered and then you balance the boat.

Our experience has been that the benefit of running two headsails when reaching depends on how big the slot is between them. On the Cigale, there is no discernible improvement from running both jib and head sail. However, when running the Gennaker to the sprit, the jib can be used both for de-powering the gennaker as the wind gets up and also providing more power when reaching in the 70 to 90 degrees AWA range at optimum wind speeds (for our configuration 15 knots of true wind).

As for tacking and gybing the head sail, we have found that a little patience and timing allows the sail to be blown through the slot. On a rig with a smaller slot, this is probably not possible and rolling to tack would be a PITA unless you had a good electric furler.
Telesail is online now  
post #9 of 11 Old 06-10-2019
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
Posts: 19,535
Thanks: 82
Thanked 550 Times in 527 Posts
Rep Power: 11
   
Re: Cutter rig sailing tips?

I don’t know. I think we’re all assessing differently what a ‘manageable breeze’ and one that ‘picks up’ really means. I did not perceive picks up to mean enough to require reefing yet.

I think the OP had the general idea and will do just fine.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jeanneau 54DS

In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.
Minnewaska is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 06-10-2019
Administrator
 
Jeff_H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Posts: 8,736
Thanks: 33
Thanked 425 Times in 355 Posts
Rep Power: 10
     
Re: Cutter rig sailing tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I don’t know. I think we’re all assessing differently what a ‘manageable breeze’ and one that ‘picks up’ really means. I did not perceive picks up to mean enough to require reefing yet.

I think the OP had the general idea and will do just fine.
I think that this is an important point, meaning that the terms used in the OP are loosely defined but to a great extent, we, as posters, are responding to them as if we knew exactly what was meant. We don't and so we are each responding based on our own interpretations, whether these are accurate or different than was intended.

Beyond that, as others and I have alluded to, the definition of 'picks up' will vary with the particular boat. As I was interpreting this term, I conjectured that it referred to the point at which the standing sail plan was becoming overpowered and needed to have something changed beyond tightening halyards, outhauls, vangs, moving jib leads aft, and lowering the traveler.

If that is what was meant, then the first thing that typically needs to happen on a cutter is to reef the mainsail. That generally needs to happen a little earlier than it might on other rigs.

Jeff
Minnewaska likes this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay

Last edited by Jeff_H; 06-10-2019 at 09:33 AM.
Jeff_H is online now  
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:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



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
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

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