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Thread: Schooner discussions

  1. #1
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    Default Schooner discussions

    I've been looking around a lot lately at schooners. I've come to the conclusion that each is different but there are certain styles. I happen to prefer the rugged solid look of the coaster style. The clipper bow, the counter stern. That isn't to say that a double ender or other kind of stern is not equally beatiful or functional but to me the classic stern as drawn by Peterson on his coasters seems just perfect on the back of a schooner.
    I like a canoe stern. I like the stern that screams fishing schooner like Bluenose and Columbia. A schooner like Suzanne is beautiful. Herrshoff designed and built some beatiful schooner yachts, as did many others. But they just don't compare with the rugged good looks of a well drawn coasting schooner.
    In my recent roamings of google image I have decided that of the east coast windjammer schooner fleet, Heritage (and I suppose Stephen Taber) look best. I see why Heritage went with a centerboard and it suits her designed purposes admirably but I prefer a full keel, no CB on a traditional boat like that. Aside from her shallow draft and CB, she's beautiful. Just a bit large for a private yacht. That puts me back to Peterson's Coaster designs.
    Just wanted to put some thoughts down, see what this august company thinks and hope some of you have some knockout images of some schooners to lengthen this thread with.
    Cheers all,
    Daniel
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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Of potentially obtainable schooners Alden's Malabar II leads the list of cruising designs for me.

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    A lovely 39 footer (on deck) schooner designed by forum member Roger Long.

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    A favourite small schooner designed by Crowninshield for his own personal use as a single handed daysailor, Fame. She's forty feet but quite shallow with an open interior basically just two benches. Dennis Conner restored her recently and has rerigged her as a racing staysail schooner.

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    I cannot tolerate a clipper bow on any vessel .
    The Ganjamen, (Gannon and Benjamin) vessels are about the best looking to my eye.
    Charlotte, Juno...
    Alden boats that I have been aboard , just too small below for their size.
    Some Tancook Schooners almost perfect.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    I cannot tolerate a clipper bow on any vesse.
    Even on tea clippers?
    Last edited by Paul Pless; 02-15-2016 at 08:08 AM.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    I am fond of pinky schooners. Here is my friends TIGER.



    Chappelle crews some nice ones.
    Without friends none of this is possible.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Wiz,
    What is it about clipper bows that you can't tolerate? They surely don't fit on just any vessel but they do fit on a lot of them. Spoon bow more to your taste? I find most style of bows look good ON THE RIGHT VESSEL. A plumb bow on a pilot schooner can look pretty sharp for example. (Thinking Coronet) Hervey Garett Smith has a chapter at the end of his Marlinspike Sailor book (best knot book going to learn "the ropes") which covers aesthetics in boats. I agree with much, not all of what he says there. Fame is beautiful as well. Clearly she was designed for a different purpose than Heritage, Bluenose, Atlantic or Coaster. Each reaching what must be considered the top of their type.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    I find most style of bows look good ON THE RIGHT VESSEL.
    AMEN! A clipper bow looks nice in the right place --though they aren't my favorite-- and Heritage is an excellent example, as is Ernestina, as are many (but not all) of the Friendship sloops. And a clipper ship would look peculiar without one. Yet Coronet's plumb stem is simply gorgeous, and the Alden spoon bows make me drool. That said, though this might be heresy, I don't like Herreshoff's "clipper" bows at all.

    Of potentially obtainable schooners Alden's Malabar II leads the list of cruising designs for me.
    I've sailed her, spent time down below also, and she's amazing. I don't think you could do better, for a schooner of her size.

    The Ganjamen, (Gannon and Benjamin) vessels are about the best looking to my eye.
    Nat draws an awesome boat. I would like to see what he would come up with in the 42' schooner line, to compare to Malabar II. Given that M2 lives in the G&B yard, and how many Aldens have spent time on their ways, I expect there would be some influence...

    Dennis Conner restored her recently and has rerigged her as a racing staysail schooner.
    That's criminal. She should have her original rig.

    But go with a bow that suits your purpose:

    My sloop, who was registered as a Friendship Sloop (#251), has a spoon bow: just as the Gloucester fishing schooners evolved from a plumb stem to a clipper bow to a spoon bow, so did the Friendship sloops evolve, though the evolution to spoon bows came very late, and was a very short period due to the advent of effective small internal combustion engines that changed inshore fishing entirely. Racing at the annual Friendship Sloop Society "Homecoming" regattas, I noticed a couple things that, given how the hull forms are otherwise so similar, I *think* I can attribute to the different bows. In typical summer winds, with a light chop, my sloop would get left in the dust by clipper-bowed sloops of similar size (William M. Rand, Gypsy, Kim). Those clipper bows sliced right through the chop, while my sloop just butted into it. However, one race, in '93, we finally got some serious wind, and had a big, lumpy swell rolling in off the Atlantic. In that weather, the clipper-bowed sloops dug their bows into the lumpy seas and stopped dead. It was like trying to split a log with a felling axe; they just jammed in and stopped. My sloop, spoon-bowed, with more reserve buoyancy forward, just rode up and over the swells and had a delightful time of it. Out of a fleet of almost thirty various sized sloops, we, the smallest sloop (19' LOD), were third around the windward mark, behind Toddy (35' LOD), Tannis (38' LOD), and Gladiator (32' LOD). The clipper-bowed Friendship sloops evolved to meet the conditions of coastal Maine, where there's more typically a light chop in amongst the islands. The generally larger spoon-bowed evolutions came about as the fisheries were pushing a little further off shore, where there can be lumpier sea conditions.

    This isn't to say a clipper-bowed boat isn't fit for off-shore work --Flying Cloud, Thermopolae, Rainbow will all attest otherwise-- or that a spoon bow isn't any good in light seas --any Alden will prove that wrong-- but there's a lot more to the hull form at the bow than the profile.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    What do people think of Paul's 36 ft'er?


    http://store.gartsideboats.com/colle...ner-design-162

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Carts to Horses as Jack Aubrey would say. Funny how LFH's clipper bows (IMHO) look exquisit on the boats he designed. Peterson's looked perfect on the ones he drew. Hinton's looked perfect on Cutty Sark. Non of them would look quite right if we swapped them around though.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    I truly love a schooner boat! I have often wondered why S. CA winds always force us to work to weather!
    Gollywobblers rule!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    I like schooners. Some folks tell us that schooner rigs are not suitable for smaller vessels. I disagree. Some of the small schooners pretend to be bigger boats with massive spars and clunky rigging. A small schooner can be just as right as, say a ketch or yawl, with spars and rigging correct for the size of the vessel. Bolger's tiny open schooners demonstrate that. I like several of Bill Gardens small schooners very much. Atkin's have several very nice ones. I like very much Paul Gartside's schooner already presented
    I think small schooners probably should be limited to 3 sails mainly, main, fore, and jib/staysail. In light airs perhaps a topsail or two, just for fun, but not as part of the working sail plan.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    I agree with gilberj about appropriately sized and rigged smaller schooners. It's really quite a challenge to make a boat under 12 tons that's a good sailing schooner but some have done it. Roger's nice little boat, for example, and it even has headroom.

    I always felt that re-rigging Goblin from gaff fore to staysail was a mistake as it was just a bit too little sail for conditions where getting the fisherman up was just a little more than one person might want. Also, instead of Goblin's jib and fore staysail, a nice full jib on a long club is hard to beat. I used to love watching Malabar II sail off her mooring in that tight Vineyard Haven mooring field behind the breakwater, watch her more impressively slalom the mooring and return all singlehanded all under sail. Not many rigs are as handy as a well designed wee schooner.

    I've also seen the other sort - 35' with clunky deadeyes, very hard to rig topsails, overweight spars, and a shack sprouting from the deck to give headroom below. And a bulbous bowed faux character hull that drags half the ocean at three knots.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Some might disagree with me but Peterson's Susan is not a character boat. She truly is a small schooner. Well designed and well proportioned. A small lumpy boat with oversized spars, giant deadeyes and blocks for a vessel twice her size is a character boat and they stick out like a sore thumb.
    There's something about a well designed schooner. I too love Malabar II. Alden did a splendid job with that one. Ending up on the jacket cover of a book called "How to build a wooden boat" speaks volumes. I love the lines and at one time thought i'd like to build her but I can't get off the coaster kick I've been on for almost 15 years now. I'm stuck on Peterson's coaster line of boats. I love Herreshoff's line of ketches (schooner was Mistral) and any of them would beautifully take a schooner rig but they are clearly a yacht. Coaster's are "all ship" as they say. Big heavy solid look and feel to them. I'd love to have any given the chance to own Malabar II, a Peterson Coaster style or an equivalent size of Herreshoff Ticonderoga type. A Ticonderoga type of a given length would be significantly smaller (displacement wise) than the Coaster style of the same length. More boat for the length appeals to me as well.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    One of the most handsome small schooners I have ever seen was a Herreshoff Neria as a schooner, rather than a ketch. I'll look for a photo.
    The big schooners had numerous sails to keep them a manageable size. Smaller boats with a divided sailplan should not have the sails cut too small.
    I sail a Herreshoff Meadowlark. She is of course a ketch because the forward mast is noticeably taller than the after mast. That said the main and mizzen are equal size. The main is nearly always reefed or dropped first, so we are sailing more as a schooner. It is a very handy rig. I sail on and off the mooring, and have never used more than 8 gallons of gas (outboard) in a year!!
    Last edited by gilberj; 02-15-2016 at 04:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    One thing I noticed with a gaffer, is the boat keeps pulling as you bear away off the wind compared to a bermudan that goes off the boil. How would a Schooner rig compare to a 'standard' gaff cutter, especially for a downwind tradewind milk run Atlantic-Panama-Pacific in a 30 odd/ 6-8 ton size boat for drive and balance?

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Schooners have potentially more sail variations with a working plan of 3 or 4 sails. You should have few issues with balance and drive. Sloops and cutters have fewer options for reducing sail and adjusting balance with different sail combinations. It is my opinion that a divided sail plan is very much better for a cruising boat, because of all the different sail combinations, reefing and taking in.....sails tend to be a little smaller, therefore easier to hand....
    Self steering may be an issue, unfortunately, with the main boom extending outboard aft. You will probably have to perfect a sheet-to-tiller system as many have done before.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    You can go in two rather different directions with schooners. When I was growing up the prejudice, created by large well crewed racing schooners, was that they had sail bags to fill the entire interior volume of the boat, starting with at least a half dozen gollywobblers. Schooner rigs, both "traditional" like fishing schooners tricked out to race and the great yachts, could certainly sport complex gear. And that habit could be carried to the little schooners under fifteen or so tons. But the other tendency happened as well, in both working schooners and smaller yachts. Boats of easily handled sail plan. No one sail very large. Easy ways to shorten sail fast and maintain balance. A nice low spread of canvass allowing plenty of horsepower with relatively low in height and low in loading strains.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Ian, that is exactly what one looks for (or what I look for anyway) in a good cruising boat. Easy on her gear as LFH said, more smaller sails that are easily handled by fewer people which means parts are smaller and cheaper to replace.
    Great discussion guys.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Thanks all.



    Interesting this one. The whole rig, is self tacking. Nothing to do but push the tiller down. That would be great close in short handed with a 'big simple' boat.

    So if they are good at driving, balancing, tacking, and reefing how are they at stopping: can I assume a Schooner will sit head to wind, with just the mainsail sheeted tight and the rest left flapping? How do they sit head to wind compared with a yawl or a ketch?
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 02-16-2016 at 04:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    A popular rig for reaching and running, not so much upwind.
    whatever rocks your boat

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    How might a Schooner rig be expected to compare to typical gaff cutter for pointing angle and speed upwind?

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Is there a "typical"of either?
    racer,cruiser, under rigged, over canvassed, monied, un monied,light wind on a bay, sea gale crossing the gulf stream.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Yes, cruising schooners like most efficient cruising boats is not all that weatherly compared to a round-the-buoys racing sloop.

    In real life, most cruising plans are laid out to avoid extended beats. When a few days of beating happens, tough it out. If the weather is moderate, it's a fact that the schooner will take longer than the round-the-buoys racer. Being far faster for much less work off the wind, it's a fair trade. But the traditional rig really comes into her own in a hard chance. A schooner can carry on under short sail about five points off the wind, about 60 degrees over the ground counting leeway, with the power it takes to go over the waves. That's real weatherly ability.

    The modern round-the-world racers are faster in a specialized way but they are highly stressed and take a lot out of their crews.

    Back when I raced Goblin in things like the Figawee and Hurricane Cup, we'd really suffer in the main race as 60+ year old schooners with 20+ year old baggy sails don't go to weather all that well. But in the less formal race back from Nantucket to Hyannis we rocked. I used to love singlehanding that start, taking a mile or so to get all sail up on the way down, and then blasting through the fog passing one hot boat after another, their large crews working hard at their kites while I lounged at the helm with a coffee (first ten miles) or a scotch in hand.

    With schooners as with all traditional boats, plan to maximize ability and when going to weather, start the sheets a little and go for speed rather than angle. If you're mathematically inclined you can make polar diagrams of speed and angle and work them into the angle for best course made good. If you cheat and use the GPS for that, you must compare courses against a target the same distance and relative heading off for each test but you can then get your answers by dial in. You can also use the CMG program to optimize best course in the first minute or two after a tack. That little change in distance and angle to target won't matter and, given waves and currents and such, the optimal angle on one tack is likely to be a bit different from the optimal on the other.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    stopping: can I assume a Schooner will sit head to wind, with just the mainsail sheeted tight and the rest left flapping? How do they sit head to wind compared with a yawl or a ketch?
    The last thing you want to do is sheet the main tight, with just the main up and loose sheeted, a decent schooner, will sail backwards well.
    My thought is that was one of the reasons they were so popular as coasters, where they could handily be backed onto a wharf. Also the biggest sail could be left up at anchor, reducing the amount of work for the crew.
    Last edited by Hwyl; 02-16-2016 at 07:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Also the biggest sail could be left up at anchor, reducing the amount of work for the crew.
    scandalous
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    scandalous
    No, with the gaff peaked. <smile>

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    It was traditional in the days of cotton and flax to leave the sails up at anchor for drying. I used to have a great picture of a couple dozen cargo schooners anchored in Hyannis Port off the old rail road warf with at least the main up.

    Traditional rigs are very docile with sails up at anchor if you understand them. Lying at anchor for some hours with sparred sails up was normal.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    another 'type' that needs to be added to the discussion
    what a lovely liveaboard Pete Culler's scow schooner would make. . .









    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Assuming windless conditions out towards Galapagos, is that the time to get the gollywobblers?

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    ...more smaller sails that are easily handled by fewer people which means parts are smaller and cheaper to replace.
    That can be taken too far. Rodman Swift, the father of my "honorary grandmother" (she who taught me to sail, and lived with my family during the summers), had Alden design for him the 26' schooner Tyche. According to family lore, Alden never liked the design because he felt the sail plan was too broken up and inefficient; he wanted her rigged as a cutter. The flip side of that is that Rodman adored the boat, and felt she was near perfect --and I'll side with Rodman on the question. But whether Tyche was so flawed or not, the principle stands that you can break a sail plan up too far, to where it hinders performance more than it is worth for the crew to have an easy time of it. That needs to be factored in.

    Interesting this one. The whole rig, is self tacking. Nothing to do but push the tiller down. That would be great close in short handed with a 'big simple' boat.
    Actually, if you look closely you can see that Fame has a loose-footed fore (slightly overlapping) with a "skull-cracker" club. A powerful rig, and one Crowninshield apparently favored on his small schooners, but definitely not self-tending. She could almost certainly be set up with a more traditional foresail, though, in which case your assertion would be correct, that she'd be entirely self-tending. Malabar II is set up thus.

    In real life, most cruising plans are laid out to avoid extended beats.
    "Only madmen and Christians sail to windward." --Arab proverb. Words to live and cruise by.

    But the traditional rig really comes into her own in a hard chance.
    Amen. And well described, Mr. McColgin.

    Traditional rigs are very docile with sails up at anchor if you understand them.
    Again, amen.

    Assuming windless conditions out towards Galapagos, is that the time to get the gollywobblers?
    A golly pulls like a horse, but you want to be careful flying it if the weather's at all chancy. We flew one a big part of the way from the Canaries to Bequia, aboard the 50' Alden Voyager (the 390), and since we'd dipped well south and hit light air, it proved its worth for many days. But I'd have hated to have to wrangle it at night, in an unexpected squall. We tacked it to the anchor bits and sheeted it out to the mainsheet bale on the main boom, and its foot was right down almost to the rail, so that, a 100% jib, and the main and main topsail made for a walloping sail plan. It's an awesome sail, but not one to be treated casually.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    the principle stands that you can break a sail plan up too far, to where it hinders performance more than it is worth for the crew to have an easy time of it.
    Bolger described (racing) staysail schooners as cutters with an inconvenient additional spar. . .
    Last edited by Paul Pless; 02-16-2016 at 12:11 PM.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    This subject of dividing up a rig on a small cruising boat...ala.. ketch or schooner. Fat roomy small cruisers ( I guess I am mainly talking about boats less than ~35 ft.) need to have power to push through whatever sea is running. a rig with fewer bigger sails will develop more power than a similar total area with more and smaller sails. An example of this problem would be of course the much maligned Tahiti Ketch with the original rig. Increasing the total area by perhaps 50% and possibly substituting a sloop/cutter rig changes that picture substantially. With a boat of more slender, easily driven proportions, the power factor becomes less of an issue. The divided rig offers more power and balance possibilities, and the smaller sails are easier to hand or reef.
    One of the delights of sailing Whimbrel is how little sail I need to get good sailing performance when the wind is blowing. This is because she is easily driven. In experiments in winds blowing 25-30 + knots I have worked to windward with either the double reefed main alone or the double reefed mizzen alone. to windward in this case is probably more like 60 degrees off the wind, and I was making between 3 and 4 knots into a ~2 metre sea. Reaching off with the same sail configuration we had 4 to 5+ knots. No stress on either boat or crew, once set I was able to cook a hot meal and drinks for the crew.

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    Default Re: Schooner discussions

    While I agree that a cruiser would plan a cruise or longer passage without being stuck hard on the wind for extended periods, that old mantra of 'gentlemen don't sail to windward' is an anachronism to me. The only reason gentlemen don't sail to windward is they had paid servants to do it for them.
    A modern parallel might be the super yachts with paid crew who do all the sailing , all the passage making ,so their owners can sit in a port and drink martinis. ( not that all super yacht owners do that, but I suspect many do.)
    Sometimes to get the gain you just have to take the pain, and if that means a day on the wind to be where you need to be or avoid some weather system or not fall off the edge of the world , then you do it. Thats when its more than nice to have a boat than can, as opposed to one that can't sail to save itself.

    Locally they say that the reason we don't have schooners here is because of the prevailing winds ( while the inverse is said of the US east coast) , you inevitably need to be able to sail fairly well into the wind to get anywhere here. That might have been true and certainly bipoler boats have extra drag , but modern cloth and winches etc mean that practically speaking , a good ketch or schooner is going to go as well as the average sloop cruiser depending who's driving and whether they subscribe to all that frustrating claptrap like the 'gentlemen' thing. And ' running free' with sails set for a close reach because thats what they read on the internet . While staysail schooners are probably the best performers of the breed, Arcturus the 390 goes perfectly well on the wind in classic racing and of course is a rocketship off because of the extras in between the masts. Just like our ketch really.
    Incidentally , gaff rig performance on the wind has very little to do with a 4 cornered mainsail, its about the jib and forestay sag. We never had instruments on our gaff rig boat but raced against boats that did. I had an Americas cup guy come up to me after a race where I wouldn't let him luff me, he said we were sailing at 30 degrees apparent.Not bad for a 1907 gaff boat . That was relatively light weather with the jib luff standing straight.
    Last edited by John B; 02-16-2016 at 04:28 PM.

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