Results 1 to 26 of 26

Thread: Ketch rigs advice and comments.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default Ketch rigs advice and comments.

    I've been increasingly interested in how a ketch rigged canoe would be to sail, specifically I have no experience of sailing with a mizzen and have no idea what techniques are used or even the mechanics of how the sail is controlled on different points of sail. I've searched online and found very little information on the subject (and what there is relates more to yachts and keelboats). What are the advantages and disadvantages of a ketch rigged canoe over one with a single large mainsail?
    At the moment this is just speculation for me but I have been wondering whether in future I may like to add a small (14sq ft) mizzen to my canoe and fit an alternative mast foot/thwart further forward to mount my existing 35sq ft rig when using it in a ketch configuration.
    My priority in setting up my canoe for sailing has always been to maintain as much versatility as possible and although the bias seems to be creeping ever closer to sailing over paddling I'd like to keep the ability to use my canoe in different configurations on the scale between pure paddling boat and outright sailing canoe. I feel that having the option to add a bit more sail area may become a priority at some point (probably next season) and I think a ketch rig would suit my canoe better than a single large bermudan (although I haven't ruled that out either) and would certainly be a bit cheaper (cost isn't the overriding factor though). Any thoughts or words of wisdom from the cognoscenti?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    930

    Default

    A ketch rig has several very useful features.
    The combined centre of effort is lower than a single sail so you can carry more sail area without as much overturning moment (More drive with less capsizing force).
    The main and mizzen can be set quite low as you can sit in the gap between the two sails and the booms will not hit you on the head.
    Although setting the main low does reduce your visibility forward. (I once ran smack into a large wooden pile on Hickling Broad when the mainsail stopped me seeing it. )
    If the wind picks up and you need to reef your 35ft expedition main sail, pulling the mizzen in will hold the canoe head to the wind and waves whilst you put in the reef.
    If you pull the mizzen in hard and let the main sheet go the canoe will sit happily facing into wind and waves whilst you light your pipe, have a cup of tea, or check your navigation etc.
    You could always use the mizzen on its own as a storm sail if the wind gets too strong.
    The two sails can be easily trimmed to give the canoe total balance when going upwind so that it will almost sail itself.
    The ketch rig places less stress on the canoe than the larger single bermudan, as the forces are less, split into two and set lower (shorter lever arms.)
    I used a ketch rig for several years as my favourite cruising rig, even though i used my bermudan for racing as it is a bit more efficient sailing upwind. However i now favour the bermudan all the time as it is so quick and easy to reef.

  3. #3

    Default

    My first sailing canoe was a 14' Solway Dory Curlew fitted with a lug mainsail and lug mizzen. Super boat, a terrific introduction to sailing canoes and I was very lucky to take my first steps in canoe sailing in such a good boat that was such a pleasure to sail. Sorry about the washing line in the background, but it shows the rig very well. Total area was 44 sq ft, so I think the main must have been about 30 sq ft and mizzen 14 sq ft. DaveS would know best. The rig works very well indeed. I found it slightly difficult to know just how far out or in the mizzen was sheeted, stiff neck trying to look around to see it. The mizzen sheet was lead forward to the helm position, so I tied a knot in the two positions of fully sheeted in on a beat, and fully out on a run, then just by looking at the sheet position in the cleat I could easily tell where it was sheeted. Highly recommended as a very nice rig. Brian


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    Thanks Dave and Brian, that's just the sort of information I was looking for, I've been wondering about this for a while. I would have considered going with the double Exped set up that you've experimented with but with having a main that'll reef to around 20sq ft anyway there would be a big overlap between the 20 ft reefed rig and the 25 ft smaller Exped rig. I also wonder if a total area of 60 sq ft might be a bit much in most circumstances compared to 49 sq ft that a 14 ft mizzen would give me. I'd also thought that the 14 ft sail would be a last ditch storm sail as you suggest. I'll maybe chat to yourself and Dave P a bit more about it at Tighnabruaich.
    I take it that you just cleat off the mizzen and leave it to it's own devices on a certain point of sail then (i.e. no input needed when going about other than managing the rudder and main as usual?)
    I can see the attraction of the easily reefed bermudan (I've seen it in action often enough now to realise just how easily reefed it is) and although my motivation for sailing a canoe is to access remote areas I think I'll continue to serve my apprenticeship for a while yet on lochs, sea lochs and sheltered coastal waters before I contemplate the kind of exposed open crossings that you guys partake in. I think in my current circumstances I'd hope to manage okay with a slightly less convenient reefing set up (such as I have at present or would have while sailing a ketch rig set up). If in future I feel comfortable undertaking the kind of trips that you do, I think I'd be looking at switching to a decked canoe and bermudan set up like a Shearwater (I think it's just a matter of time until I do just that). In the meantime I think my current set up (or an evolution of it) will serve my purposes quite well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Halifax, West Yorkshire
    Posts
    43

    Default

    Hi Jurassic,

    Iíve gone down the ketch path and am really pleased with the outcome:-

    More room in the boat
    More power in light winds
    The boat looks better
    Versatility ie 49 sq ft of sail 35 sq ft or 14 sq ft depending upon the wind.

    The Mizzen is easy to use but adds to the experience.

    So my rig is a SD 35 sq ft expedition rig with 14 sq ft balanced lug

    My boat is a 17ft Penobscott.

    I should also add that after going through 3 Leeboards 2 thwarts, one rudder and a load of stress I did the sensible thing and bought a professional job from SD. What a difference this makes!!!

    PS did the Loch Shiel circuit a couple of weeks agoÖ..brilliant.

    Regards


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    Cheers Skeathy, that's just the sort of first hand advice I was looking for. The more I think about this the more I think it'd be the way for me to go. Well done with the Shiel circuit, that's high on my list of trips to do (along with Loch Morar, Loch Nevis, Sourlies and back).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    930

    Default

    If you move the main up into the bow, which is the right place in a ketch rig, and sail solo, then you need to bring the controls back to the centre of the canoe. I do this by having a longer halyard and downhaul, and bring them back via 2 turning blocks on the mast, just above the mast thwart, and cleat them off on the leeboard thwart. These are then very easy to adjust whilst sailing and the sail is also easy to drop without having to try and clamber over thwarts and gear to get to the mast.. The mizzen mast will be much more accessible so i never bother with moving those control lines forward.
    The mizzen sheet needs to go down to a turning block on the end of the canoe and then lead forward to a cleat where you are sitting. Generally the mizzen will take care of itself when tacking upwind as it will self tack, and once you are happy with the sheeting position you can forget it. As you come off the wind the sheet will need easing so you need to be able to turn around and check that it is set correctly but if you are sitting up so that you can easily turn your head it won't be a problem. Some older gentlemen who prefer to sit in the bottom of their canoe whilst sailing can have trouble turning around to see the sail but the best option for them is to calibrate the sheet so they will know the angle that the mizzen is set at.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
    Some older gentlemen who prefer to sit in the bottom of their canoe whilst sailing can have trouble turning around to see the sail but the best option for them is to calibrate the sheet so they will know the angle that the mizzen is set at.
    Haha, priceless Dave. Choosing your words very carefully there. I tend to sit sideways on my seat at a sort of 45 degree angle (or up on the gunwale if the wind's strong enough) so I'd probably have some peripheral view of the mizzen anyway.
    The points about running the halyard and downhaul back to your sailing position make total sense and were something that I'd wondered about as well, I think it'd be relatively straightforward for me to modify my set up. The only thing that I think may be awkward is the forward reefing line/cleat which would be a bit inaccessible. I suppose I could move the cleat further back on the boom and fit a longer reefing line and small block (for the line to run back through) to overcome that though.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    930

    Default

    Provided your lines are long enough you should be able to give them enough slack to pull the lowered rig back towards the middle whilst you put in the reef. Just to throw a bit of confusion into your ideas, have you considered using a small bermudan for a mizzen, or how about a reefable Expedition 25 (we have just made one for Greg for use on his Flashfire).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    Good idea about pulling the rig back during reefing Dave, I hadn't thought of that.
    I had wondered about using the small Bermudan as a mizzen yes but I'd pretty much dismissed the idea of using an Expedition Rig though (although a reefable 25 may be a consideration). What would be the pros and cons of a Bermudan as opposed to a Lugsail? I'm guessing that the Bermudan would have a slightly longer mast than a Lugsail.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    930

    Default

    The bermudan would have a longer mast, but i am not sure if it is better or worse than the balanced lug, just different. Bermudans keep the sail cloth crease free and in good condition as they stow by rolling around the mast, but for you it would not stow in the canoe as easily.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    From the photographs I've seen the mast for the 14 ft Bermudan still looks fairly short but I think from an aesthetic point of view I prefer the Lugsail. Certainly if I had balanced Lug as a mainsail the matching mizzen would be my preference. Since the main and mizzen aren't going to match anyway though(unless I go for the small Expedition Rig) , looks are less of an issue. Would the performance of the Bermudan be noticeably better do you think?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    930

    Default

    I dont think you would notice much difference in the performance and i agree that the lugsail will look best. (i was just trying to keep the thread going)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    Okay so the Lugsail has the advantage of looks, smaller packed length and not very much disadvantage in performance. It sounds as if I may be close to a decision. Is the Lugsail available in red sail cloth to match my existing rig?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    930

    Default

    Yes we can do the mizzen in red to match your main.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    One other thing I was wondering about was positioning of the leeboard. Does the drive from the mizzen counterbalance the fact that the main is moved forwards and allow you to retain the same leeboard position or is it usually necessary to move the leeboard from its' existing location (at the centre of the canoe in my case)?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    930

    Default

    The Ketch rig will still have to balance around the leeboard. The distance between the centre of effort of each sail and the leeboard , multiplied by, the area of each sail should be the same for the main and the mizzen. With your set up you may be able to leave the leeboard in the same place, but it is worth doing the maths to see if the rigs will balance up. This is not as critical as with just one sail because you can trim out any excessive weather helm by easing the mizzen. As you will only be reefing the main it is OK to set up the full rig with a neutral helm or even with a bit of lee helm as when the main is reefed it will leave the rig with weather helm.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    Yes I can see the importance of getting things right before fixing mastfeet in position permanently. I re-read Jeff's write-up about Njuzu again this afternoon (I specifically wanted to look at Jeff's as I know he sails with a mizzen) and noticed his reference to having excessive weatherhelm that was difficult to eradicate once the canoe was completed.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    930

    Default

    Njuzu has an offset centreboard that is built into the side buoyancy tank so it is very difficult to change his rig balance. With your leeboard thwart, if you do get it wrong, it isn't the end of the world if you do have to move it. When i sailed a Pyranaha Prospector i had mast positions in it for a ketch. The main went at 30inch and 54 inch from the bow, with the leeboard at 75inch, and the mizzen was 30inch from the stern. We initially had a 30sq ft main and 14sq ft mizzen, and later sailed with a 44sq ft main and 14 sq ft mizzen. Both set ups worked fine but when the main was reefed it got a bit of weather helm. This was easy to get rid of by easing the mizzen a little. I know your main mast position and leeboard position is a bit further back than mine was so you may have bring the fore position back a little, but that then may interfere with the front seat if you want to use it still.(or is that rear seat as you sail your canoe backwards?) Complicated isn't it!!!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    Yes it's getting very complicated to explain in writing but it's fairly clear when you look at it in the flesh. I intend to remove the front seat (which is actually the back seat ). That'll give me a pretty much free reign to position the forward mast thwart and foot wherever I want. If I ever want to paddle two up I'll just remove the mast thwart and put the seat back in, it shouldn't be too much hassle and I don't think the mast foot will be in the way much. My leeboard thwart is bolted through the centre yoke which I thought was the default position for them anyway?
    Incidentally I sailed out to Inchmurrin island this evening accompanying a friend who's a keen open water swimmer. It was a charity swim organised by the people who run the restaurant and bar on Inchmurrin and there were around thirty swimmers plus families and friends who went over on the ferry. There was a BBQ and drinks on the island and everyone came back across on the ferry afterwards. Everyone except me and my mate that is who sailed back across in my canoe . I bought one of those folding seat back and base chairs from Go Outdoors (I think it's called an "Anywhere Chair") and put that in between the side airbags so he was sitting with his back to the centre yoke with his legs over the mast thwart. He's a big guy (6'3" ish) but he said it was really comfy! The canoe sailed fine although it was a bit nose down but I could sort that in future by putting any luggage behind me (or by taking a lighter passenger ). I was really pleased to be able to take a passenger, he had to watch out for the kicker but it wasn't too intrusive. I'll hopefully take Val out for a spin at some point.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    930

    Default

    Make sure that when yo take Val out it is a nice sunny force 2 to 3. I used to take Hilary out every year when we had our meet on Loch Lomond, usually force 5 winds and heavy rain, and then wondered why she wouldn't want to come out again.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
    Make sure that when yo take Val out it is a nice sunny force 2 to 3. I used to take Hilary out every year when we had our meet on Loch Lomond, usually force 5 winds and heavy rain, and then wondered why she wouldn't want to come out again.
    Hmm, that sounds quite familiar Dave. When we first got married I was obsessed with mountainbiking, I dragged Val along to all my races (where she stood in the rain watching people she didn't know getting muddy) and took her out riding on trails that I loved but that scared her out of her wits. Needless to say I put her off mountainbiking completely. That was almost twenty years ago and I've learned some lessons from that. These days I only take her on outdoorsy trips when she wants to go and when the weather forecast looks promising, the consequence of that is that Val doesn't come with me very often but when she does I try to ensure it's a pleasant experience. That's also why I haven't pushed her too hard to attend and OCSG meet, she'll come along when she wants too.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    south Cumbria
    Posts
    1,195

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurassic View Post
    Hmm, that sounds quite familiar Dave. When we first got married I was obsessed with mountainbiking, I dragged Val along to all my races (where she stood in the rain watching people she didn't know getting muddy) and took her out riding on trails that I loved but that scared her out of her wits. Needless to say I put her off mountainbiking completely. That was almost twenty years ago and I've learned some lessons from that. These days I only take her on outdoorsy trips when she wants to go and when the weather forecast looks promising, the consequence of that is that Val doesn't come with me very often but when she does I try to ensure it's a pleasant experience. That's also why I haven't pushed her too hard to attend and OCSG meet, she'll come along when she wants too.
    This all sounds awfully familiar! And, once any "crew member" gets wind of the idea that their main purpose is to act as a spray shield/bailer, they have a complete sense of humour failure - understandably. Ann and I have been out sailing on Ullswater with her reading a book and just taking in the view at times - much more conducive to harmony!!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Perthshire
    Posts
    52

    Default

    Would a bermudan mizzen be more efficient as a stormsail than a lugsail mizzen?

    I'm warming to the idea of a balanced lugsail ketch rig on my open canoe. Mainly from the position of safety, as with that lower CEO and with the gull wing outriggers there would be less chance of capsize than sailing with a bermudan rig mainsail. I really don't relish the thought of a capsize and trying to haul my substantial frame back in the boat.
    I already own a 14 sq foot bermudan mizzen and if I paired it with a 30 sq foot lugsail it wouldn't look that much of a mismatch, would it?

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stu View Post
    Would a bermudan mizzen be more efficient as a stormsail than a lugsail mizzen?

    I'm warming to the idea of a balanced lugsail ketch rig on my open canoe. Mainly from the position of safety, as with that lower CEO and with the gull wing outriggers there would be less chance of capsize than sailing with a bermudan rig mainsail. I really don't relish the thought of a capsize and trying to haul my substantial frame back in the boat.
    I already own a 14 sq foot bermudan mizzen and if I paired it with a 30 sq foot lugsail it wouldn't look that much of a mismatch, would it?
    I would imagine that with a sail as small as 14sq ft it would make very little difference. From my experience of sailing a reefed 35sq ft Expedition Rig (around 20sq ft) the sail is so small that progress upwind is very slow anyway and if there are big waves running against you as well as the wind you are almost stopped each time you have to punch through one. It does work but performance is going to be limited anyway. The lugsail mizzen would have a lower centre of effort (so less likely to tip you in) but would probably be slightly less efficient than the bermudan. As far as aesthetics go I think a lugsail main and bermudan look okay (although I prefer the look of a matched pair) but that's a personal thing. Dave S will be back in the office next week and I'm sure he'll be able to give you a far more informed response than I'm able to do (he's on holiday in Scotland at the moment).
    If you're worried about capsizing then outriggers are a great idea, I was quite biased against them but have warmed to the idea recently to the extent that I've just bought a pair. I picked them up from Dave S at the OCSG meet at Tighnabruaich on Monday and had chance to test them in anger on a trip we did across to Rothesay when the wind picked up unexpectedly. What had been a F2/F3 turned into a F4/F5 gusting F6 on the way back and tacking into that and the resultant swell was a real testament to their effectiveness. I was in a party of five boats three of which were decked sailing canoes and I was worried that I'd struggle in the conditions but in fact I coped fine. The outriggers gave me the confidence not to have to reef so I was able to hold my own to a great extent against the other canoes, I could probably have sailed back without my outriggers but I would have felt the need to reef and consequently the return journey would have been slow and probably very scary. As it was I really enjoyed it (albeit it was a bit scary at times) and also managed to sail back with my canoe 1/3 full of water without bothering to stop and bail (which I definitely couldn't have done without the outriggers). Highly recommended if you're worried about a capsize.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    930

    Default

    You could definitely use the 14sq ft bermudan as a mizzen with a 30sq ft lug set up in the bow, to make a ketch rig. It will look ok too. If you want to just use the mizzen on its own as a storm sail you would need a third mast position that would balance on it own with the leeboard which would be further back in the canoe about 2ft in front of the board. The problem with this is that the mizzen boom is usually set lower as it is behind you and you don't need to see under it or duck beneath it when it tacks. When it is set in the middle of the canoe it will be too low, especially for you Stu.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •