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Core Sound Sailing Performance Question


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All boats can get some design improvements, to optimize various elements of their performance envelop. The cat ketch isn't the best thing up wind, but another rig choices, which might improve this, will delete the other considerations about the rig. Simply everything is a trade off in some way or another.


The CS series could be narrower, maybe sans the skeg to improve windward ability, but (again) you'd be hiking more, attempting to hold her decreased wetted surface down. You could increase area, for better light air ability, but their SA/D is quite good as it is, so you'll be making more trade offs to have this element. In heavy air, some more freeboard would be nice, but you'll pay the piper with the extra windage in more moderate wind strengths. Yacht design is a convoluted series of discontinuous compromise and concessions or as Ted Brewer puts it "difficult design decisions".


I've found the CS series to be very stable and their willingness to plane off, comfortable and predictable. The skipper skill will have a lot to do with what you can get out of one and though you might get a touch more pointing ability with a conversion to a fractional, square headed sloop, her ultimate speed will remain basically the same. If your sailing a Swift Solo, you'll be disappointed with a CS series, but if interested in a fast raid boat or camp cruiser with performance potential, you'll be very pleased with the rig's handiness, storage, maneuverability and boat speed.

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I hate that you are not enjoying your boat. Up to 5 knots of wind and round the bouys racing is not what the boat was designed for. She was designed for beach cruising and raid type racing.


It is hard to compare different boats performance accurately for many reasons. GPS has helped and I think PeterHK has done a good job with his performance numbers. Probably the best way to compare performance is over a lot of races against different boats over a wide range of conditions. Our boats have raced for 10 years in the Everglades Challenge. This is a race over about 300 miles down the west coast of Florida and east to Key Largo. The race is held in early March when the winter storms that travel east across the continent often collide with the north east trade winds that reach lower Florida. This means that you can have any kind of weather and most races seem to have a bit of everything. A decade ago the fleet size was around 50 and has grown to over a hundred boats. The fleet consists of everything that can be pushed off the beach by a crew of two from Tornado cats and custom trimarans, a Laser to kayaks, not to mention a Wayfarer and boats from Welsford etc.. The participants experience range from world champions and Olympic medalists to good ole boys looking for adventure. The attrition rate is often more than 50%. There are three check points to sail in and out of.


Our boats have won it overall three times, been runner up twice and third once. Set 2 overall course records and won the monohull class a number of times as well as holding the current monohull course record. This is a fair test for a boat that is "embarrassing and with a useless rig". You can look up the record book at www.watertribe.org


As Par and a number of others have said "boat design is all about compromise". That dangerous foredeck has kept me dry as I slept with my head under the overhanging foredeck, my foul weather gear keeping the rest of me dry. I have been able to lay my chart under there, positioned so that I could see the highlighted land marks while hiked out comparing what I could see on the shore. My spray dodger connected to that foredeck so that I had nice sleeping for two at anchor. Owners have told me that their young children have sheltered or slept under there. That "useless" forward locker should not be filled up while sailing but mine carried my anchor in chocks vertical against the forward bulkhead along with it's rode. After launching, we would throw our deflated beach rollers in there so that they were out of our way for sailing. We kept the gear that we needed most, close by in the seat lockers and the extra gear fore and aft from there. It always amazed me that we could carry all of out gear for a week with it all stowed blow.


As for the cockpit seating. When not hiked out it is comfortable sitting inside the boat. On more than one occasion I have dozed at the helm late at night in a sleep deprived condition way offshore in rough conditions and blessed the fact that I was inside the boat and okay.


In light air, sail area is everything and wetted surface is your enemy. In stronger winds that wetted surface is your friend as it is giving you the horsepower to stand up to the wind and giving a nice flat run to allow planing and surfing.


The reason that I mention the EC is that it is a good example of the conditions one might see while coastal cruising. Our boats may no be the fastest in any one condition but they are pretty good in most conditions giving a high overall average.


One aspects of the rig that is often overlooked is it's versatility. When Alan and Paul on Dawn Patrol snagged a day marker in the dark, breaking the main mast, they raked the centerboard aft to reduce weather helm and beat the last 20 miles under mizzen alone. They won the race overall and smashed the monohull course record doing it in 2 days and 2 minutes. I have tacked out of shallow water with no rudder in the water using just the sails to tack and steer. 


There is a good video of Dawn Patrol and Phil's CS17 running and surfing down the west coast of Florida on this web site somewhere.


One of the great things about building your own boat is that you can make your own compromises.

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VERY well said, Graham!!! People that have only sailed sloops, and listen to everyone's advice, and don't understand the hows, why, and wherefores of the split, sprit rig, have the pre-conceived notion that it is "embarrassing and with a useless rig". I know that you made a believer out of me.

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jongo42 said

Forrard deck and cross seating awkward and dangerous if needing to reef at sea in a blow. Can't reach mainmast without kneeling on cross decking, very awkward

Just to add another point with respect to reefing the main-  if you set your boat up with reefing in mind there is never a need to go onto the foredeck (a common misconception) as it can be easily done from the cockpit as I showed in this old thread (with you tube video). I leave all my lines permanently run and simply clip on with snaphooks so rigging is little different in time compared to rigs without reefing lines. There is no need to run the control lines down both sides as reefing the main is done head to wind anyway.





Peter HK

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  • 2 weeks later...

What Graham said. My CS17 finished the very tough Watertribe Ultramarathon in 2012 and the Everglades Challenge in 2014. And we are returning again in 2015, can't wait. 


I do sometimes race mine around the buoys and it stays pretty close the the Catalina 22s in sub planing conditions. If it's blowing harder, they point a bit better than me but leave them in the dust reaching and running. 

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