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Thread: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

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    Default Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Hey, fellas. Following on the heels of a really fun and interesting thread about traditional rigs, I thought I’d start a topic to gather any and all practical experience forum members might have specifically with traditional ketch rigs. The trend in modern two-masted boats seems to be for lug-rigged yawls, and I do appreciate their advantages. I’m just interested in learning about experiences with ketches for family daysailing or camp cruising. The historic ketches hold a lot of appeal for me. Noman’s Land, Hampton, Kingston Lobster Boats, etc. What can you share about the practical modern use of the rig in small open boats?

    If you’re interested in great commentary on practical use and historic commentary on sprit and lug rigs, grab a cup of coffee and head here: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...eational-Craft

    Thanks in advance.

    Ryan
    Last edited by RyanGillnet; 09-15-2021 at 03:30 PM. Reason: Clarify “in small open boats”.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Versatility in all weathers, multiple sail plan including mizzen staysail, jib and foremast staysail, main + mizzen both deep reefable... down to a teeny stormsail when it gets rough. Sail areas that are split into smaller parts are by definition easier to handle also. I think nicely workable in modern recreational craft as long as the crew can pull a halyard or two. This model of a Zulu shows a typical ratio of about 1:2 mizzen to main. The Cornish boats had about 1:3, but they would both be the first to be struck when the wind pipes up.

    The mizzen can also act as steadying sail when at anchor.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by lupussonic; 09-15-2021 at 03:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Having dipped into the other thread, I see that 'recreational' means under 18 foot or therabouts. It means any size for me, small boats, ocean crossing boats, anything for recreation.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Zulu! I do so admire the bigger working lug ketches and yawls. The variety of canvas they could put up made them very versatile.

    Haha. Yeah. I edited above to clarify small open boats. The rigs when scaled down to coastal open boats are a bit different to live with.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    Zulu! I do so admire the bigger working lug ketches and yawls. The variety of canvas they could put up made them very versatile.

    Haha. Yeah. I edited above to clarify small open boats. The rigs when scaled down to coastal open boats are a bit different to live with.
    The mizzen on a ketch is in the way in a small boat. Better with a yawl with the mizzen stepped against the transom and sheeted to a bumpkin.
    Last edited by Peerie Maa; 09-16-2021 at 06:50 AM.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    I agree the ketch mizzen tends to complicate seating in small boats. It kind of traps the helmsman at/near the tiller, behind the mizzen. It often necessitates a double-sheeted mainsheet, which can get tangly (at least in my hands).

    Remember, too, Alex's comment on the sprit/lug thread that the Alaska's ketch mizzen is too far forward to reliably hold the bow into the wind for reefing.

    From the diagrams in the Alaska plans for the suggested reefing sequence, it seems a small boat ketch rig is a bit fussy for sail reduction, too.

    Alaska reefing.jpg

    The need to move masts around, and switch out the mainsail for the mizzen at some point--as someone on the WBF described it, using big boat tactics in a small boat--doesn't seem like the way I'd like to do it. And of course by the time you're needing to make these changes, it's windy, and likely wavy.

    A single sail is simpler--especially if the ketch mizzen doesn't hold the bow into the wind for reefing anyway.

    For 2 sails, the large main/tiny mizzon (100 sq ft + 20 sq ft) in the popular lug yawl seems like a much better choice, for numerous reasons.

    That said, one of the main reasons I chose the Alaska is that the ketch rig looks a lot cooler. Another big reason was that the planked decks Don specifies are just so d@mn beautiful.

    My Alaska ended up with no mizzen, and no planked decks. It suits me just fine.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-15-2021 at 08:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?


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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I agree the ketch mizzen tends to complicate seating in small boats. It kind of traps the helmsman at/near the tiller, behind the mizzen. It often necessitates a double-sheeted mainsheet, which can get tangly (at least in my hands).

    Remember, too, Alex's comment on the sprit/lug thread that the Alaska's ketch mizzen is too far forward to reliably hold the bow into the wind for reefing.

    From the diagrams in the Alaska plans for the suggested reefing sequence, it seems a small boat ketch rig is a bit fussy for sail reduction, too.

    Alaska reefing.jpg

    The need to move masts around, and switch out the mainsail for the mizzen at some point--as someone on the WBF described it, using big boat tactics in a small boat--doesn't seem like the way I'd like to do it. And of course by the time you're needing to make these changes, it's windy, and likely wavy.

    Tom
    The Cornish luggers reefed by shifting the mizzen forward and setting a smaller mizzen. Very much quicker than lowering the sail, tying in reef points and resetting it.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    One of the features that most traditional shifting mast boats had was an easy stepping system. Some sort of mast gate and on whaleboats, anyway, a gutter system to guide the foot into the step. Few working boats were single handed and that makes it easier.
    On my boats I've added mast stepping boxes so that I don't have to try to spear the mast step and so I can find it when the boat moves.
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    One of the features that most traditional shifting mast boats had was an easy stepping system. Some sort of mast gate and on whaleboats, anyway, a gutter system to guide the foot into the step. Few working boats were single handed and that makes it easier.
    On my boats I've added mast stepping boxes so that I don't have to try to spear the mast step and so I can find it when the boat moves.
    Ben, you make an excellent point about working boats seldom being sailed single-handed. The number of people aboard has a significant impact on the effectiveness handiness of a rig.

    In my Alaska I sailed it single-handed most of the time. The few times I was out in any kind of wind with another body on board, the ability to have that "movable ballast" and an extra pair of hands, made the shifting of the masts a lot easier and less stressful.
    Alex

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    If your looking for a ketch...

    1. Herreshoff Coquina
    2. Lillistone Periwinkle
    3. B&B Coresound Series
    4. Vivier Ebihen 18 (flambart)
    5. Laurent Giles Jolly Boat

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by LarixMaximus View Post
    By far one of my favorite small boat rigs. Lovely. Somewhere I have a photo of a boat - maybe a Vivier design - scooting along under jib and mizzen in a pretty good blow. There’s a lot to be said for the Yawl. I totally understand the advantages.

    Cheers,
    Ryan

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I agree the ketch mizzen tends to complicate seating in small boats. It kind of traps the helmsman at/near the tiller, behind the mizzen. It often necessitates a double-sheeted mainsheet, which can get tangly (at least in my hands).

    Remember, too, Alex's comment on the sprit/lug thread that the Alaska's ketch mizzen is too far forward to reliably hold the bow into the wind for reefing.

    From the diagrams in the Alaska plans for the suggested reefing sequence, it seems a small boat ketch rig is a bit fussy for sail reduction, too.

    Alaska reefing.jpg

    The need to move masts around, and switch out the mainsail for the mizzen at some point--as someone on the WBF described it, using big boat tactics in a small boat--doesn't seem like the way I'd like to do it. And of course by the time you're needing to make these changes, it's windy, and likely wavy.

    A single sail is simpler--especially if the ketch mizzen doesn't hold the bow into the wind for reefing anyway.

    For 2 sails, the large main/tiny mizzon (100 sq ft + 20 sq ft) in the popular lug yawl seems like a much better choice, for numerous reasons.

    That said, one of the main reasons I chose the Alaska is that the ketch rig looks a lot cooler. Another big reason was that the planked decks Don specifies are just so d@mn beautiful.

    My Alaska ended up with no mizzen, and no planked decks. It suits me just fine.

    Tom
    Hi again, Tom. Yeah, Alex and you made great points in the other thread. Especially about the mizzen on Alaska being too far forward to cock the boat head to wind and the cramped helm. But man… but the reefing plan wasn’t as clear until you posted that page from the plans. Holy cow! That particular ketch rig wouldn’t be suitable for single-handed sailing. Or having young’uns or inexperienced crew under foot. Thanks for sharing that.

    Going through historical photos and drawings of traditional North American small working types, there’s quite a variation on the ketch theme. Some look pretty handy, with boomed main (mizzen) and overlapping foresail worked like a jib - a ketch sailed like a jib-headed sloop. Reefing plan is straight forward and it seems as if there’s reasonable interior space to sail and enjoy the boat. Even with the mizzen. Others… others look like complete disasters for either their original working purpose or modern recreational use. I’ll go through my materials tonight and see if I can post examples.

    Fun discussion.

    R

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    One of the features that most traditional shifting mast boats had was an easy stepping system. Some sort of mast gate and on whaleboats, anyway, a gutter system to guide the foot into the step. Few working boats were single handed and that makes it easier.
    On my boats I've added mast stepping boxes so that I don't have to try to spear the mast step and so I can find it when the boat moves.
    Thanks, Ben. I’d say when looking at a sail plan it’s important to consider its implementation, rather than just sail type, mast position, etc. How is it sheeted, how are the masts stepped, when is it time to strike masts or move them around and how is that to be accomplished.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    Ben, you make an excellent point about working boats seldom being sailed single-handed. The number of people aboard has a significant impact on the effectiveness handiness of a rig.

    In my Alaska I sailed it single-handed most of the time. The few times I was out in any kind of wind with another body on board, the ability to have that "movable ballast" and an extra pair of hands, made the shifting of the masts a lot easier and less stressful.
    Thanks for continuing to share your experience, Alex. Important to consider the experience of those along too. Another sailor and you’re in good shape. Inexperienced crew or kids might make things more complicated or risky.

    Looking at the reefing plan for Alaska… did the boat balance under full main in the forward step with the mizzen struck? I still can’t believe how much moving of spars in heavy weather that reef plan requires! Surprising since Alaska and Myst are such well thought out boats.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Yawl Luggers are kickass.
    9233EF7C-7973-455B-B6D0-60353CFD809C.jpg
    B9DCCB28-9CA2-46D7-BC21-5292C533B932.jpeg
    66322D26-6F5D-47F5-872A-E89FE2D3CB49.jpg

    Look at that rig and all the open interior. I get it. Eminently practical. But the historic North American small ketches are interesting.

    9ABBFF67-5D5C-479D-978E-5CA9663B8A2B.jpeg
    E5CB6CEC-B74B-45F2-A9F6-9DC99FE175CD.jpg

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Some historic examples from Mystic Seaport Watercraft - Bray, Fuller and Vermilya which is digitized and online at the museum’s website:

    Ok.
    484EEE12-DC62-4A6A-B233-A5784E22BD42.jpeg

    Sure.
    F8BB8C6B-6AAA-417C-9A36-E44C221ABAED.jpeg

    How in the…?
    133BCD4E-D005-458A-8419-FDE6A747C962.jpeg

    Uh… (13’6” Woods Hole Boat)
    D6A17BE0-E1C1-4990-A855-D60F977C646D.jpeg

    No.
    C2490BCF-8C72-41B2-90D9-56FAC049809E.jpeg
    Last edited by RyanGillnet; 09-16-2021 at 09:19 PM. Reason: Attributing photos.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    Some historic examples:
    Looks like you have raided the Mystic Water Craft collection.

    Ok. This is the summer rig of a Hampton boat set up for rusticating. The main mast is a real telephone pole. Bowsprit is a plank type that fit over the stem head with a pin.

    484EEE12-DC62-4A6A-B233-A5784E22BD42.jpeg

    Sure. That's Bob Baker in a Noman's Land boat. Pretty short conservative rig. Boats were launched off the beach on Noman's land. Tom Jackson built one of these, rigged it with a big lug forward and has had good success.
    F8BB8C6B-6AAA-417C-9A36-E44C221ABAED.jpeg

    How in the…?n That's Annie Fuller a strip built Hampton boat with a summer rig.
    133BCD4E-D005-458A-8419-FDE6A747C962.jpeg

    Uh… (13’6” Woods Hole Boat) As I recall without looking it up, that's a Seaport built Woods Hole spritsail boat. The ketch rig was an experiment which was not successful.
    D6A17BE0-E1C1-4990-A855-D60F977C646D.jpeg

    No.
    Bay of Fundy boat. I think it's got summer sails on it looking at the crew.
    C2490BCF-8C72-41B2-90D9-56FAC049809E.jpeg
    I tried to drop some remarks next to the boat pics. Thanks for digging them up, meant I didn't need to. One of the points of them is that these boats carried different rigs depending on the season. Small short rigs when the winds blew hard, fall and winter, and in Maine anyway, the summer brings predictable lighter sw.
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Thanks for the commentary, Ben. Hope I’m not out of line by posting the images. I meant to attribute and will go back and do so. Mystic Seaport Watercraft -Bray, Fuller and Vermilya is digitized and online at the museum’s website.

    The first image of the Hampton boat is a great image of how the ketch was rigged and gives a good idea of interior space available. Thanks for noting the plank bowsprit. The mainmast does look massive, and I couldn’t imagine moving masts around. Would the winter rig have had lighter spars to aid in reducing sail? (And since the sail area of the winter rig would have been less…)

    Second photo… how neat that that’s Bob Baker. I don’t remember if the caption in Watercraft mentioned that… The Noman’s Land boats are one of my favorite types, and that certainly looks like a manageable rig. Somewhere I have the WB with Tom’s article on rigging Far and Away. I’ll need to dig that up. He kept it as a ketch, yeah?

    Third… the low boom on the mizzensail of a lot of these summer-rigged ketches really look like an awkward rig to sail. The large summer main overlaps by a tremendous amount, and I can imagine that it took another set of hands to bring it around the mizzen when tacking.

    Fourth photo - I adore the Woods Hole boats, but couldn’t for the life of me figure out how this ketch rig was going to work. Good to know it was a failed experiment. Was there historical precedent for the small mizzen? I think the cat-rigged spritsail boats would make for a great family day boat.

    Fifth. The Bay of Fundy boat has nice lines, but I can’t see how the rig works with the boom clearing the rail by inches. Or how the sheeting works. It appears that the young lady in the the sternsheets is going to end up flat on the sole to tack…

    Out of this limited sample, the Noman’s Land Boat seems to have a manageable ketch rig for modern recreational use. As you said above, few working boats were worked alone. I can see how a second man was needed on some of these ketch-rigged examples.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    Thanks for continuing to share your experience, Alex. Important to consider the experience of those along too. Another sailor and you’re in good shape. Inexperienced crew or kids might make things more complicated or risky.

    Looking at the reefing plan for Alaska… did the boat balance under full main in the forward step with the mizzen struck? I still can’t believe how much moving of spars in heavy weather that reef plan requires! Surprising since Alaska and Myst are such well thought out boats.
    About the only times I sailed the boat with just the foresail in the forward step, sans mizzen, was going downwind, where balance wasn't so much of an issue. I suspect it would have been very unbalanced on a reach or trying to go to windward.

    I can tell you that one time, in one of my more dozy moments, at the beginning of a trip, I unintentionally stepped the foresail in the middle position, along with the mizzen in its regular spot, and wondered why I had so damn much weather helm compared to the year before, and why the sail shape was so poor. It took me 3 hours to clue into what I had done and fix it.
    Alex

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    The first image of the Hampton boat is a great image of how the ketch was rigged and gives a good idea of interior space available.
    Sure they have loads of space between the masts. They are big boats.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Ryan, are you familiar with the No Man’s Land boat? Here is a link to photos of Tom Jackson’s FAR & AWAY:


    https://www.flickr.com/photos/106418745@N07/

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Sure they have loads of space between the masts. They are big boats.
    Nick, in comparison to the modern recreational row sail boats, they are big boats indeed. Designed to live in the water, not on beaches. And they were set up for work winter and summer, with rigs being swapped out. Tom's No Man's land boat is comfortable with 4 people. He put a bigger lug sail on his mainmast, which can be set dipping or standing, depending on available crew. A heavy boat under oars.
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    Hey, fellas.
    Ryan, you need this book. It used to be available from our hosts.

    512jU1QviDL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Nick, in comparison to the modern recreational row sail boats, they are big boats indeed. Designed to live in the water, not on beaches. And they were set up for work winter and summer, with rigs being swapped out. Tom's No Man's land boat is comfortable with 4 people. He put a bigger lug sail on his mainmast, which can be set dipping or standing, depending on available crew. A heavy boat under oars.
    So not so much a one family recreational boat, more a youth organization training/expedition boat?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by John hartmann View Post
    Ryan, are you familiar with the No Man’s Land boat? Here is a link to photos of Tom Jackson’s FAR & AWAY:


    https://www.flickr.com/photos/106418745@N07/
    Oh yes. The No Man’s Land boat might be my favorite of the historic types rigged as a ketch. I’ve flirted with other ketches, like the Kingston Lobster boat… and had an occasional long glance at the Woods Hole boats… but I always thought that if I were to build a historic type for myself, a clinker Noman’s Land boat would be the boat I’d build, even considering how impractical it may be for my needs. I’ve been enamored with Tom’s boat for years. Really well thought out. And… lovely.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    There's a No Man's land boat that daysails here. It's a tight harbor and Goat makes it seem effortless.
    Pretty good testament to the type.

    https://www.cricketsailing.com/

    c'mon up. I'll buy you a beer.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    One comment I hear about ketches in the smaller sizes is that the mizzen mast is right in the middle of the cockpit and it and mast partner or thwart take up some prime real estate.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Nick, in comparison to the modern recreational row sail boats, they are big boats indeed. Designed to live in the water, not on beaches. And they were set up for work winter and summer, with rigs being swapped out. Tom's No Man's land boat is comfortable with 4 people. He put a bigger lug sail on his mainmast, which can be set dipping or standing, depending on available crew. A heavy boat under oars.
    I hadn’t realized that Far and Away could be set up dipping. That’s pretty neat. And it does look to be heavy under oars. But the interior space seems to make the ketch rig workable, even with 4 aboard.

    What would be the closest equivalent in modern sail-and-oar design?

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    Ryan, you need this book. It used to be available from our hosts.

    512jU1QviDL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
    Yes. Yes I do. Thanks, Paul!

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    There's a No Man's land boat that daysails here. It's a tight harbor and Goat makes it seem effortless.
    Pretty good testament to the type.

    https://www.cricketsailing.com/

    c'mon up. I'll buy you a beer.
    Oh having a sail on Cricket has been on my list for quite some time. I think I can be there in 10 hours… I need to make an effort to get around some of these boats in person. Photos and plans only take you so far…

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Palmer View Post
    One comment I hear about ketches in the smaller sizes is that the mizzen mast is right in the middle of the cockpit and it and mast partner or thwart take up some prime real estate.
    Exactly. It seems like most modern recreational small boats if they carry a mizzen they’re rigged as yawls. This was just sort of a conversation to see if it could be practical to consider a traditional cat-ketch for daysailing or camp cruising.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    I hadn’t realized that Far and Away could be set up dipping. That’s pretty neat. And it does look to be heavy under oars. But the interior space seems to make the ketch rig workable, even with 4 aboard.

    What would be the closest equivalent in modern sail-and-oar design?
    Probably something like the Caledonia Yawl, justifiably popular. At the larger end of the scale. Not a pleasant puller; neither is Far and Away.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    Ryan, you need this book. It used to be available from our hosts.

    512jU1QviDL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
    That's gonna need to be a request from the library. Fetching more than $100 where it can be found!

  35. #35
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    Mar 2007
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    Bristol Bay, Alaska; Central Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Probably something like the Caledonia Yawl, justifiably popular. At the larger end of the scale. Not a pleasant puller; neither is Far and Away.
    Interesting. When I start down the road of choosing a design, it will be a fun exercise to pick a historic type, and see what the 'modern' equivalent might be.

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