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Sail & Rigging - Cutter Rig or not?
02 March 2014 - 20:21
Join Date: 16 February 2007
Posts: 199

Cutter Rig or not?
Dear all,

I have seen some pics of John Bailey's 411 with a permanent (?) cutter rig and I am contemplating the thought of doing the same on Farouche. The configuration will then be as follow: the genoa will be on an electric Reckmann furler whilst the staysail will be on a manual.

Id like to consult with the good people of this forum for points of views both pros and cons as well as advises and general comments.

Thanks a lot//Philippe
(Farouche 47050)

03 March 2014 - 22:50
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Dear Phillipe

A subject close to my heart.

I think new rigging products and techniques are making this question easier.Without doubt, we want to be able to use these fantastic staysails which help us steer to windward in strong weather, help create a steady slot for the wind and bring the centre of effort in to the centre of the boat. When flying in combination with a high clew genoa which can be rolled away easily makes for a fantastic rig and gives the confidence to stay at sea and cross oceans. Staysails help autohelms!

Having a fixed roller furling staysail or using the removable inner forestay depends on what sailing you intend. A 100% yankee on the bow will tack around the inner forestay pretty well, but a big overlapping sail may need rolling up to tack. If you only tack every 24 hrs out in the ocean then maybe that is not too bad? but short tacking in narrow coastal channels is much easier when the the genoa doesnt require rolling up - needs more crew etc.

I am still enjoying racing with 150% genoas so I would not fit a traditional fixed roller furling staysail, but when I go cruising offshore and short handed, I reckon I will start using recent technology - eg. Staysails with integral bolt ropes on Karcher furlers, which can be left up and furled or taken down easily. You will need good 2:1 halyards and good runners to support the mast.

I recommend you explore these issues more before committing.

Rob. Sarabande 47/029

04 March 2014 - 12:42
Join Date: 16 February 2007
Posts: 199

Hello Rob,

Thanks a lot for your comments. I agree, I will pay some more thoughts and consult before I commit. I do also agree with your arguments concerning the advantages of the stay sail. When evoking the new technology, you mean putting the stay sail on "mobile" roller like those used for a code zero? In this manner, it can be removed, put a side or hoisted down. In this case, the present wire need to replaced by high torsion rope.
Another question: the present arrangement does not allow for the stay sail wire to be permanently fitted on its spot on the foredeck. You have a 47 yourself and you know what I mean. The wire is "mobile" and can be fitted when needed and the it can be removed and stored at the foot of the mast.
I guess that this arrangement is not good enough for a roller of a standard type or of Code zero type, is it? Perhaps it is necessary to add a permanent fitting at deck level.

Well, as you see, many questions indeed, so I keep investigating.

(Farouche 47/050)

04 March 2014 - 15:09
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 162

Dear Phillipe and Rob,

we have a similar layout to the one Phillipe thinks about. When we bought our 48, she came equipped with two furlers, one for the genoa and one for the staysail. The inner stay is attached to the removable staysail lever, I believe this is identical to the 47. We have not changed the system and currently have no plans to change anything ... perhaps, at a later point, the cut of the sail; the way they are now means they can only be used alternately or else one is stealing the wind from the other.
I am often single-handing or cruising with a very small crew. We usually don't participate in races. The advantages of the current system, in my opinion:
- when the wind picks up, it is very easy to change to the staysail without leaving the cockpit.
- the genoa is never reefed to a partial area so keeps a reasonable shape.
On the other hand, the system does have disadvantages:
- gybing requires that the genoa is partly furled because it will not pass easily between the two stays
- tacking always means some chafe on the furled staysail.
- it is a hassle to dismantle the inner forestay with the furler because someone needs to be hauled up, and then it is virtually impossible to store the stay on deck.
- a permanently rigged second sail also means that a second set of sheets is permanently cluttering the cockpit.
Nevertheless, as the sail change is so much easier with the double furler system, I am very fond of it. However, if we were into racing, we would change the inner forestay back to a removable stay to make maneuvres easier. I'd seriously consider one of the modern free furlers Rob suggested if the loads permit it.

Martin (Age of Swan, 48/039)

04 March 2014 - 19:40
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Dear Phillipe and Martin,

How good to share these thoughts!

I think the advantage of the modern furlers where the sails simply roll up on themselves ( very tight luff rope integrated into luff of sail) means that when the are furled they could be eased from the halyard and brought into the mast leaving the furling unit attached - with a simple loop of line at deck level the whole furled sail could be stowed close to the mast allowing full space on the foredeck. No reason why not to set off in this configuration as you tack out to sea and then finish the final staysail hoist quickly and easily when you are ready to set your course.

I can sense you both love these staysails - I do too - a fantastic part of the whole rig. It would be possible to use the same furler for other sails - eg a Spinnaker staysail for powerful offshore reaching!

Sarabande. 47/029

05 March 2014 - 15:30
Join Date: 16 February 2007
Posts: 199

Hello Martin and Rob,
First many thanks for your illuminating comments. I am starting to think very seriously about te system that Rob suggests: a modern furler where the sail simply roll up on themselves on a very tight luff rope integrated into the luff of sail. Then I have two questions:
1/ When rolled this sail can be lowered and stowed in a bag or so. This presupposes that the fitting on a mast for the present wire is replaced by a strong block. The sati sail can the be hoisted and lowered at will. When hoisted, It must be tightened enough in order to work well in an upwind track. Can it be done?
2/ The present fitting on the deck is this lever (or whatever it is called). Should it be replaced by a strong pad eye or similar, or can it be used as it is now?


05 March 2014 - 21:23
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Yes Phillipe!
I am sure this is right - you will be able coil up the furled sail like a snake into a bag. Unclip the furler on the deck leaving it available for other staysails.
Our deck fitting on the 47' should be adequate I think. We call it a "Highfield Lever" - it uses a CAM to click into lock position - the tension you can create for the existing wire stay proves it is strong enough in my view.
But, I think you need a 2:1 Halyard - 2 reasons - 1. to get the required tension in the luff of the sail, and 2. to reduce the twisting at the head of the sail when you come to roll it up. The dead end of the halyard should be positioned correctly below the mast halyard sheave giving a good "spread"( an experienced rigger should be able to do this)
At deck level - the Highfield lever should be good, you need a good connection from the bottom of the Drum to your deck fitting.
I think "Karver" are the market leaders in this, and if it was me I would go for one with a swivelling tack, which would allow "top down" furling of a Spinnaker Staysail too!
Your Running Backstays will be important and should be easily rigged.

On Sarabande we have done a similar thing only for a Code 0 , only at the front of the boat - which tacks to a small bowsprit ahead of the forestay. We have a 2:1 halyard which when fully wound up replaces the forestay (which sags) - we then put back stay back on! It is very powerful. These Dyneema bolt ropes which are being used are very strong, they resist twist and if tight enough will transfer the furling action direct to the top of the sail - amazing!!

Sarabande. 47/029

10 March 2014 - 16:21
Join Date: 16 February 2007
Posts: 199

Dear Rob and Martin and other friends

Thank you indeed for your illuminating feedback and advices. let me update you to what I have been up to in my investigation and how I will proceed.

First let me say that you are absolutely right Rob in the fact that we should take advantage of the new technology. So, I got in touch with Karver and I think that I have found what could be the right alternative, or so I hope.

It is most probable that I will go for a Furler KF5 with a swivel together with a extra block allowing for a 2:1 Halyard and adequate lashing thimbles. These are important since they fit on the Anti Torsion cable on both ends and are well suited to be quickly snapped on the drum and the swivel.

A strong argument for me is that the same system can be used for different sails. In my case it will be the staysail and the code zero (G3 actually). One just move the drum. Each one of these two sails will have its ow Anti Torsion cable and 2 identical Lashing Thimble allowing a fast fitting on the drum and the swivel.

It is true as you say Rob that attention must be given to the dead end of the halyard so that it is correctly positioned on the mast. I am looking into that.

At deck level and for the staysail, the Highfield lever (thanks for the name Rob) will be used while the code zero (or G3) will sit on a short bow sprit in front of the Genoa furler.

I think that this arrangement might work fine, or at least it has the potential of doing so.

What do yo think?

(Farouche 47/050)

10 March 2014 - 21:45
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Dear Phillipe - excellent! - we have both reached the same conclusions, and it seems that we will have very similar upgrades to our 47's. Whilst I have not yet added the furling staysail -( I still have hanked on sail on the wire stay) it is on my list - because I want to add the furling staysail spinnaker ( maybe top down) for "twin head" reaching and aslo sailing a bit deeper in 25Kts + when it is too much for sails out in the front
But we do have the furler and 2:1 on the front for the Code 0 on a sprit which is a great success - to be able release such a large sail with minimum fuss is a true delight.
I would love to come and have a sail with you?

11 March 2014 - 11:14
Join Date: 23 October 2011
Posts: 150

Dear Philippe and all friends,
Do you think that a 2:1 tackle is really necessary for a furling staysail with AT luff?
The cam lever on deck can guarantee enough tension, in my opinion.
The doubt comes for the strength of the block of the forestaysail halyard, which might be not sufficient.
No doubt regarding a 2:1 block in case of a code 0.

The KF5 Karver unit looks very well engineered, but helas, expensive, too!

How did you calculate this dimension?

Did you consider other manufacturers with a good quality/price ratio?

Thank you all,

Matteo Grampus 47/016

13 March 2014 - 13:19
Join Date: 16 February 2007
Posts: 199

Dear Rob and friends
Indeed, I do believe that this is the right combination. Once again Rob, thank you for your very illuminating comments. Matteo, It is true that Karver gears are a little more expensive than the competition but they seem to be well engineered. I'll investigate further and I will let you know. Rob, you are very welcome indeed any time. As it were, We just had the visit of another Swan 47 aficionado up here in the north, all the way from Venice, and we thoroughly enjoyed fine moments.
(Farouche 47/050)

07 April 2014 - 17:30
Join Date: 24 April 2009
Posts: 36

I can't claim to have experience with cutter rigs but I probably wouldn't bother with it unless I was doing ocean crossings or my home base was a VERY windy area.

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