Cat Ketch sailing with main alone (F33)

Boat handling, ideas, questions...

Cat Ketch sailing with main alone (F33)

Postby whimsy » Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:27 pm

I've been sailing Flutterby a lot more recently, and singlehanded. One day I was lazy and raised just the main and started sailing without the mizzen. It was blowing 15~20, and I never had to sail very close to the wind (60 degrees apparent was the closest, 90 to dead downwind was more common)

Anyhow, except for a couple times where I lost my wind, I never found myself wanting more sail area....or unhappy with the sail balance. I was surprised at how well she sailed like that. I thought that I could have reefed some main and raised most of the mizzen, but never bothered.

Has anybody else done much sailing with just the main? How does it work for you?

Flutterby's been re-rigged as a junk, so she may balance a bit differently. She's a centerboard boat, and has the short rig, but more sail area than most tall rig boats, if it matters.
s/v Flutterby, Freedom 33 cat ketch, now junk rigged
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Re: Cat Ketch sailing with main alone (F33)

Postby peaceandfreedom » Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:21 pm

Last year I made the mistake of sailing with just the main with a double reef in 25kts plus winds. I was sailing to windward and experienced terrible lee helm. When I raised the mizzen (3rd reef) the boat balanced out and became a lot more manageable. I have also learned not to drop the main before the mizzen is down. Tacking to windward with just the mizzen is virtually impossible. I believe junk rigs are inherently more balanced then traditional sails.

Happy sailing
Jim D.
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Re: Cat Ketch sailing with main alone (F33)

Postby Castaway » Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:25 am

We have sailed in F6-7, occasionally above, with a double reefed main. Won't point up much, but goes at 7-8 kts with apparent wind on 50º - 90º. The windvane can hold her on course like that, although she is a little heavy to hand steer.
We could try using just the blade staysail in heavy weather, but I've never felt it necessary, yet. Don't know how the mizzen would stand up, even with a running backstay, but it might be the way to get closer to windward in dangerous conditions. Hope never to find out!
Gerald Freshwater,
s/y 'Castaway', (UK F35 cat ketch)
Lerwick Boating Club
Shetland Isles, Scotland
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Re: Cat Ketch sailing with main alone (F33)

Postby CaptLen » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:13 pm

I have frequently sailed my 36 with main alone and it did fine. I also sailed with xmain and mizzen reefed which theoretically should have been better but was equal as far as I could tell- not the same boat as you 33, of course. Back in the day my friends had bought Freedom 40 #40 and we onserved that the "Freedom owners' reef" was dropping the mizzen. However, I made them practice with both main and mizzen reefed, too.
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Re: Cat Ketch sailing with main alone (F33)

Postby whimsy » Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:31 pm

I took a salty old sailor who was curious about this junk rigged boat I've got out for a brief sail, and I learned a lot!

My revised opinion at least for reaching is that I was able to control the boat with the main up but mizzen down.....but that using both sails gives me MUCH better balance. My lesson went like this: Think of the rudder as a trim tab for your keel. If you turn it, it just slows the boat down. Use your mizzen as a rudder in the air to steer the boat.

I was able to steer from (relatively) hard to windward all the way down to a quite deep reach by just adjusting the sails, letting the wheel go. Even tacked by backing the mizzen hard to windward. I might still need the rudder going dead downwind; not sure, and I'm not as good as he is yet!
s/v Flutterby, Freedom 33 cat ketch, now junk rigged
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Re: Cat Ketch sailing with main alone (F33)

Postby Castaway » Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:49 am

Running down Karmoy Sound in Norway last week, wind 20-25 knots true from 145º apparent, under full main alone. We were doing 6 - 7 knots for a couple of hours, some weather helm but easily handled (one hand steering). We were just too idle to bother raising the mizzen for a short trip, and the bother of handing it afterward. Interestingly, with the boom well forward and the sail drawing well, the boat heeled a little to windward in the gusts, due, I suppose, to the lateral component of the aerodynamic lift.
A couple of days later, with lighter winds, and dead astern, having both sails up gave perfect balance that even our weak old Autohelm could easily manage. With wrap-around sails and the wishbones well forward, we were getting 5-6 knots in 12 knots of true wind.
Gerald Freshwater,
s/y 'Castaway', (UK F35 cat ketch)
Lerwick Boating Club
Shetland Isles, Scotland
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