Lets see if we can invoke some interest on what we consider to be a rather hot topic around our marina here fact it often times turns out to be a full blown argument on which is truly the cat's meow to have for all purposes ! I personally own a Sloop and I find it to be more than satisfactory for the way I like to sail ..and I imagine it would be more than suitable for just about anywhere in the world...however ...we've been told that in certain areas of the world ..a Ketch rig would prevail hands down! What style of vessel do you own ....where do you sail her? Which do YOU think is better ...Sloop ...or Ketch?? Enquiring minds want to know ......

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Over the last 50-years, I've owned two cutters and two sloops and sailed on numerous other boats. For typical sailing, I like the sloops, but the best of all rigs for heavy weather is the cutter. When the weather really gets nasty, you can drop the headsail, triple reef the main and leave the staysail up - pulling all your sail power into the boats natural center of gravity.
We do exactly that on our cutter and can drop all sails, reef and hoist all from the cockpit without ever leaving it. I find this safer in building seas than balancing on the aft deck wrestling with a staysail, often left up when the main is dropped in building conditions (something Irecall doing in the North Sea of a friends Nijad). This, of course, is not the incorect thing to do because it does not move the forces closer to the centre of the boat but many ketch owners do this to reduce sail a a first step.

Island Packet 44 Pincoya
Out of Southampton UK, presently in Puerto Vallarta Mexico
Schooners rank above both
Either a Ketch, Sloop or Cutter? Ketch great for up in New England, Jig and Gigger down the shifty bays. Cutter for more even trade winds. Ketch great as already someone wrote for stablizing at anchor with the mizzen up or even motoring a channel. Cutter for it's allowing for more speed, room/hight in cockpit though I'm only 5'3"and grace. Ahhh, I'd go with what my plans are over the next 5 years. Long term crusing in different prevailing winds, not needing to dance around a canvas to fix/adjust a mizzen... I like Cutters but could appreciate either. Sloop coastal.

I find the Hull/keel to be the more important part though...
Interesting observations by all lately, indeed we have never considered the hull or keel so much - as noted by Mary, but the keel theres definately a noteworthy subject !! ..Perhaps all its' own in fact. It seems that the choice of Schooner has become a much touted favorite overall, with the Ketch bringing in a close second .....for now ...we still consider ourself lucky to still own a sloop after Hurricane Ike's nasty passing ....*lol*. Thanks for keeping the discussion alive out here folks !!
I'll start a thread on best hull/keel configurations.
so do you single hand the ketch
Hey CaptnRon ...would that by chance be an Allied Seawind you are at the helm of in your picture? There's only a handful of boats that I know of with that all too defining feature of what my neighbor refers to as "the perfect lazy man's helm" *lol*. I almost went out to Florida and purchased a 36' Allied Seawind before settling for the Columbia I have now.
I had a Fuji 32 Ketch. Very good Blue water boat and it has been from Ca. to Hawaii back to Ca back to Hawaii to Guam, to Japan and direct back to Hawaii. I love a ketch the mizzen works for all those things listed earlier.
Last year I sailed a Amel 52 form Mexico to Hawaii it is a Cutter rigged ketch which is my real choice for Blue water. And we also had a mizzen stay sail so had a choice of what ever.. Can sail it as a sloop cutter ketch or what ever you want depending on the wind and sea condition and the sails were easy to handle and easy to balance. For a week we just had the Geny poled out to port and the Staysail Poled out to starboard going dead downwind that all the sail we needed in those condition the main would just block wind from one of the other sails.. Have to keep an eye on the sheets as the chafe bad doing that.
I'd like a cutter rigged ketch or a cutter for world cruising. At night you you can roll in the genny run on stay sail and put a reef in the main for an easy night when only one person is on watch. That worked good with 20kts of wind and 15-20ft following seas.
FRull keels or modified full keels work great and are more stable for blue water nicer motion in an uneasy ocean.
The whole rig also depends on your crew size and how much work they can do or want to do.
I think a 32-38 foot ketch or cutter is best for a 2 person cruising boat. You don't want a real tall rig for short handed cruising.
If you are racing for a day then a tall sloop is fine.
It all depends on the crew and where you are going and for how long as to the rig and hull design that works best for you.
Get what works for you and go to sea thats what it is all about.
cutter is the best rig in my opinion. The reason to add and extra mast is to reduce the height of the sticks to get under bridges, break up the sail plan to make them easier to handle. I think anything under about 60 feet loa multiple masts adds unnecessary weight aloft and complexity.
Complexity?? A Ketch is not very complex. And as for the added weight. The Mizzen Mast is not only Shorter but smaller. The weight will not be much more if any than a tall rig sloop and with the Shorter main mast the center of gravity and windage from masts would be better on a ketch than on a sloop/cutter.
Having had a 32 ft Ketch I think it is a very fine set up for a small Bluewater boat.


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