Westsail Owners Alliance - Post: "Who Here Actually Sails Their Boat As A Cutter?"
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Post: "Who Here Actually Sails Their Boat As A Cutter?"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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- Archived Message from Inactive Forum -

Dave King

Ahoy Adam,
The short answers are: I do, Yes, and No.
The Aspect Ratio of the rig is a big determining factor in whether a boat is better off as a cutter or sloop. The AR of the W-32 is quite low and the benefits of the staysail are pronounced and undeniable. The AR of the 43 is higher but still low enough to benefit from the staysail, BUT, not necessarily when used with a large genoa. Just as the staysail offers lift and an additional slot, A large genoa can ruin all of it's benefits. This is from Jeremy Howard-Williams 'Sails': "If there is a belly to the leech area of the genoa, besides choking the slot, there will be an appreciable aft component to thrust, all of which contributes to drag and heeling moment" Two smaller sails forward offer a greatly increased luff length and the additional slot.
A slot can be too large also. If you are sailing with just a regular jib alone up forward then your slot is certainly too loose, or open, at times. It is not working well with the main. On your boat, you could probably go to weather better if you rigged a stay from the stem to the masthead, bypassing the bowsprit. You would then have a high AR and also a high Lift to drag Ratio. (But you would lose reaching performance)
Another quote from Howard-Williams and echoed by myself and most others: "... two sails forward of the mast seem to make a boat steadier offshore than a single one".
Another quote from the owner of the world renowned sailing loft Kern's Sails: "Luff length is performance. Foot length is Crew Abuse".
A hope this has been of some help. Good luck. Make the change. All of us will benefit knowing that a Westsail is out there sailing a little faster.
And one last, obvious, comment. Everything changes when the wind moves abaft the beam.

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