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Thread: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

  1. #71
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    An oar to leeward does an amazing amount of good when ghosting.
    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."

  2. #72
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Some people feel the mizzen is in the way on a smaller ketch but isnít it really a matter of perspective?
    One manís obstacle is another manís emotional support post, providing physical and psychological comfort when sliding to leeward.


  3. #73
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Or while waiting for friends to arrive at the put-in.

    A931DBB9-FE91-43F3-A79A-121D07970B91.jpg

  4. #74
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Then again, the mizzen mast step in the Alaska makes a perfect water bottle holder when the mast isn't there...

    mizzen step.jpg

    Which is in perfect reach when sitting on the keelson:

    DSCN5756 (2).jpg

    Rod, where do you actually sit when sailing with the mizzen stepped? In the sternsheets?

    I find that sitting on the aft thwart (just ahead of the mizzen step) works best for proper trim. But obviously, that wouldn't work too well with the mizzen there.

    I'd consider a yawl mizzen in a boat this size, as long as it could be stepped off center so I could keep a conventional tiller--I've never liked the push-pull style. But removing the mizzen does seem to open the cockpit up. That's probably more feel than practical reality, but I'm not sure how I'd like sailing along with the mizzen right there in/near my head space.

    It obviously works for you, though!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  5. #75
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    My usual position for sailing my Coquina is two to three feet forward of the mizzen mast. Nat Herreshoff referred to Coquina's rig as a "dandy", which to my way of thinking means a ketch that is sailed as a yawl. While Slipper's mizzen is nearly half the size of her main, it's behind me when I sail, so to check it I have to turn around. In most ketches the helmsman can just look up to check the mizzen. My usual method is, when the helm starts to feel heavy, I ease the mizzen a bit.
    Like most Coquina copies, Slipper is steered with a rope that runs all the way forward to a block ahead of the mainmast. It took me a couple hours to get used to that system, but it has an advantage in that you can steer from anywhere in the boat, even standing in the bow watching the bottom slide by. You can also let someone else take the helm without trading positions.
    Pulling aft on the weather side of the rope is analogous to pulling a tiller to windward. It's symmetrical side to side, unlike a push-pull tiller.

  6. #76
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Rob,

    thanks for the Coquina info. The rope steering is an interesting option. I suspect I'd like it better than I like push-pull tillers, but I've always wondered. I assume it's set as a continuous loop, so that pulling forward on the weather line has the same effect as pulling aft on the leeward line? Do you only work the weather side to avoid leaning over to leeward and putting your weight in the wrong spot?

    How much play is there in the system? One thing I really like about conventional tillers is the direct feedback and immediate response.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  7. #77
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    For another interesting narrative of small ketch sailing in all sorts weather, I recommend this account of racing Grace B, a Crotch Island Pinky, from Port Townsend, WA to Ketchikan, Alaska during R2AK 2017:

    https://www.irunningtips.com/r2ak-race-to-alaska-2017/

    As a sample...

    The first leg of the race was billed as a proving ground, Port Townsend to Victoria in 36 hours. It truly was a proving ground for team Grace B and the boat. Adrenaline filled sleepless nights subsided into “this is real and happening now”. A windless, drizzly ebb tide had us rowing with slack sails up for hours wending our way west. We knew bad weather was forecast with strong Westerly gusts up to 29 knots. We felt comfortable and expected to reach Victoria in those conditions by positioning ourselves for close reaching from mid Straits on the flood tide into Victoria’s harbor. We dropped the topsail as winds started to reach 10 knots then within 10 minutes full fury of the non-forecast central Straits storm hit us. A rushed single reef in the main was put in amongst confused and building seas. Ernie took the helm like a stoic sea captain of yesteryear. He threw his hat into the cockpit, removed salt sprayed glasses and opened his foulies! He was ready for battle.

    Grace B had a tough time slogging through severely confused seas in 40 to 50 knots gusty winds, grossly over-powered, but unable to downsize her sail area in the rollicking motions. She was being picked up by the waves and slammed into each trough taking large amounts of green water over her leeward rail and often taking airborne water over her windward rail. We got swept into Haro Strait and after 4 brave and tiring hours on the tiller Ernie handed off to Sockeye. Two hours later, with tide change, we headed West again into Oak Bay and found calm, sheltered water close to a public beach and anchored overnight. Early the next morning we rowed the remaining 7 miles in calm, sunny conditions to Victoria’s Inner Harbor to ring the bell for first stage successfully completed.




    There is also some great video of her sailing if you search for "Grace B R2AK". Including this one of the crew rowing her through Dodd Narrows.



    Looks like a slog but then Grace B is rather larger than an Alaska (and maybe too large to be relevant to this thread but it's a good read nonetheless).

    Oh, and they sailed her back too...
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  8. #78
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Tom,
    Yes, the steering rope is a continuous loop, in 3 pieces. The main part is a heavier line that comes aft along either side from the turning block tucked in ahead of the mainmast. At the after thwart the ends are tied to a pair of lighter lines that come forward from the rudder through the bulkhead.

    You can steer from the lee side, but then you sort of "push forward on the rope" to keep her on course. Once the system clicks in your mind it's totally intuitive. There is a bit of slack in the system which increases the farther over the rudder is swung. And there is friction where the rope passes through blocks and fairleads, both at the bow and on either side of the rudder.

    I won't deny that an offset mizzen with a tiller would be simpler and more direct, but I doubt that Nathanael G Herreshoff would countenance an off-center mast on his lovely little dandy!
    Last edited by Rob Hazard; 11-14-2021 at 02:43 PM.

  9. #79
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Bolger does a weird thing in that book, but if you have read much of his writing, it is perhaps not surprising: In the Preface, which a lot of readers probably skip, he makes a paragraph of all the caveats one might expect from other writers: "I believe, It's my opinion, I surmise, etc etc" and he invites the reader to sprinkle these modifiers throughout his writing as they wish. He then goes on through the rest of the book without these phrases making the "Straight Talk" assertions familiar from the rest of his writing. As a result we will never know which assertions he felt more firm about and which were wild-ass-guesses. From the standpoint of this thread it is clear that he didn't love a ketch rig but admits a lot of people did. He likes the slot effect of a good jib around a main, and also the slot of a schooner foresail around a main, but dismisses that such a thing could benefit a ketch, and doesn't consider an overlapping main over a mizzen in a ketch, which appears conspicuous in absence given how frequent it was in history.
    Ken

  10. #80
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I'd consider a yawl mizzen in a boat this size, as long as it could be stepped off center so I could keep a conventional tiller.
    Tom
    I’m not advocating you change your setup at all in light of your posts here. As with Alex’s modified Alaska, I’m not convinced yours would stand up to the mizzen even if you wanted one – I think both your boats are just built too light. I have no opinion of the proposed yawl mizzen – it’s probably not worth the complication for you.

    I will make one last suggestion. You might benefit from having the designed mizzen sail built, without building the mizzen mast, and hoisted on the mainmast when the double reefed main won’t cut it – like going to windward in 25 knots. It would only take seconds to swap one out for the other. The designed mizzen’s luff is much longer than the luff of the double-reefed main and I can testify to its ability to windward above 25 knots.

    We have no firm numbers on the weights of your boats but from what I can glean they’re a few hundred pounds lighter than mine. I had an opportunity to weigh mine a few years ago while repainting and I’ve just found my notes. The numbers are slightly different from what I stated previously – the boat is even heavier than I remembered. Here’s how it breaks down: Stripped bare it weighs 330 pounds. The masts are 17 and 13. The oars, sprits, tiller and other bits are 20 pounds. The daggerboard is 12 and the rudder is 6. The floorboards and thwarts are 30 and the long benches are 40. The sails with their yards are 15 total and the hardware and bronze bits are 17. That’s 500 pounds “all up”.

    Add to that, 50 pounds of ground tackle (2 anchors, one grapnel, chain and line) 15 pounds of clothing and safety gear, my 185 pounds and 90 pounds of water ballast for daysailing and we’re up to about 840 pounds. At the same time I weighed my gear, food and water for a five-day trip I took just after re-painting and it came up to about 150 pounds. So 40 pounds of water and about 110 pounds of gear and food. That bumps it up another 60 pounds to 900. So pretty much a half-ton boat when cruising solo.

    I can still make 2 – 3 knots rowing without strain for a few hours at a time and her light-air rig allows you to set sail in the slightest breeze. There is no downside to building to the plans.

    I think of my Alaska as a sailboat that can be rowed, rather than a pulling boat that can be sailed. When you optimize your build for rowing you sacrifice some of her fine sailing qualities. For some this is fine, but for a keen sailor this would likely be intolerable.

    STRIPPED AND PAINTED.jpg

    Stripped bare and repainted.

    FLOORBOARDS IN.jpg

    Floorboards and positive buoyancy installed.

    ALL UP 1.jpg

    All up.

    SAILPLN.JPG
    Last edited by darroch; 11-22-2021 at 03:26 PM. Reason: additional information

  11. #81
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    Default Re: 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 CK-17 gets a bad rap but I had a great time building & sailing it. Two aluminum unstayed masts and loose footed sails using boom sprits. It was a fast sailing easy/quick to rig sharpie with tons of capacity. We sailed the crap out of it before moving up to an Oday26. There are certainly more salty looking boats than the CK, but it did give me an appreciation for ketch rigs.
    __________________________________________________ ________________________

  12. #82
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by darroch View Post
    I’m not advocating you change your setup at all in light of your posts here. As with Alex’s modified Alaska, I’m not convinced yours would stand up to the mizzen even if you wanted one – I think both your boats are just built too light. I have no opinion of the proposed yawl mizzen – it’s probably not worth the complication for you.
    ...
    We have no firm numbers on the weights of your boats but from what I can glean they’re a few hundred pounds lighter than mine. I had an opportunity to weigh mine a few years ago while repainting and I’ve just found my notes. The numbers are slightly different from what I stated previously – the boat is even heavier than I remembered. Here’s how it breaks down: Stripped bare it weighs 330 pounds. The masts are 17 and 13. The oars, sprits, tiller and other bits are 20 pounds. The daggerboard is 12 and the rudder is 6. The floorboards and thwarts are 30 and the long benches are 40. The sails with their yards are 15 total and the hardware and bronze bits are 17. That’s 500 pounds “all up”.

    Add to that, 50 pounds of ground tackle (2 anchors, one grapnel, chain and line) 15 pounds of clothing and safety gear, my 185 pounds and 90 pounds of water ballast for daysailing and we’re up to about 840 pounds. At the same time I weighed my gear, food and water for a five-day trip I took just after re-painting and it came up to about 150 pounds. So 40 pounds of water and about 110 pounds of gear and food. That bumps it up another 60 pounds to 900. So pretty much a half-ton boat when cruising solo.
    Interesting to have actual data on weights. From what you say, I doubt there's much difference in hull weight between my boat and yours. For one thing, I planked with radiata pine, which is maybe 30% heavier than WRC, which (I think?) you used. So that probably makes up for my lack of floorboards. I know my boat is so heavy that it's right at the edge of my comfort zone to flip it for painting (on the trailer) with the help of my wife.

    I might be a bit lighter all-up, since I have empty flotation chambers where you have foam, and probably less (and lighter) hardware. I've gone from 100# of ballast to 50# when loaded for cruising, and that seems to work fine for me. And my anchors are a 3# Northill and a 6# Northill, so a bit lighter there too.

    As you say, I can comfortably row at 2.5-3 knots for a long time with only moderate effort--quite pleasant, actually. And even with three people aboard, it rows just as well and as easily. The only difference seems to be that it takes a little longer to get up to speed. But the level of effort needed to keep moving at a moderate pace remains about the same.

    I agree the mizzen would do better to windward than the double or triple-reefed mainsail. But I'm lazy enough, and cheap enough, that I'm probably unlikely to get a mizzen built just for that.

    I'd say my boat is optimized for laziness, with a slight bias for rowing over sailing. But it sails plenty well for all that. And handles 15+ mile rowing days pretty easily, too.

    Sorry for the thread drift, you non-Alaska sailors!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  13. #83
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    That's gonna need to be a request from the library. Fetching more than $100 where it can be found!
    I have been making my way thru a library copy of Bolger's book. It seems he generally doesn't like the ketch rig, or at least thinks you get less drive per square foot of sail than in other rigs. I like his distinction between a yawl and a ketch, which is that in a yawl the mizzen is only there for sail balance and control, possibly also to set a staysail from, while in a ketch, you are asking the mizzen to actually help drive the boat. He discounts the definitions about whether the mizzen is fore or aft of the rudder post or aft waterline. While he often discusses the "slot" effect of one sail directing airflow around the back of another, he claims this doesn't work in a ketch: the mizzen just impedes the airflow off the main in his view. He doesn't treat the case of an overlapping loose-footed main directing wind around the back of the mizzen, but says that in a good schooner, the foresail acts like a jib in a sloop, performing the slot effect. I am not qualified or experienced enough to evaluate these ideas, but am trying to summarize for those who are having trouble finding the book to read.

    Ken

  14. #84
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    Thanks for joining in, darroch. Iíd love to know more about your experience with the Alaska. Is yours rigged as drawn?
    Tom - I was invited by the OP to talk about my boat. Hardly thread drift.

  15. #85
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by kbowen View Post
    While he often discusses the "slot" effect of one sail directing airflow around the back of another, he claims this doesn't work in a ketch: the mizzen just impedes the airflow off the main in his view. He doesn't treat the case of an overlapping loose-footed main directing wind around the back of the mizzen, but says that in a good schooner, the foresail acts like a jib in a sloop, performing the slot effect. I am not qualified or experienced enough to evaluate these ideas, but am trying to summarize for those who are having trouble finding the book to read.
    I have figured this to to mean that in a sloop or schooner the main sail (by name and by importance) is aft and the smaller sail ahead of it helps get the max out of this big sail. Using the main sail to get the max out of the mizzen of a ketch, let alone the hankie of a yawl, isn't such a good use of sail area.

  16. #86
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Ketches - Practical Modern Recreational Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by darroch View Post
    Tom - I was invited by the OP to talk about my boat. Hardly thread drift.
    I meant ME being thread drift, not you!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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