I had never
sailed a ketch prior to owning an Amel and the best advice I can give you is
trial and error. Now, I would never want a sloop rig again.
One of our
favorite sail combinations is what is called Jib and Jigger. When properly tuned,
there is almost no need for the auto pilot. The mizzen sail acts as a sort of
air rudder. Steering in heavy weather is a really light touch on the wheel and
the boat sails a true straight course with no pull to windward with gusts. Here’s
a good read: https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/cruising-life/ketch-sailing-jib-and-jigger-31436
- Cream Puff - SM2K - #275
cruising - Tahiti, French Polynesia
main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io [mailto:main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io] On
Behalf Of Paul Harries via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, July 8, 2021 7:24 AM
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io; Justin Maguire;
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Self introduction and question about
autopilot redundancy and solo sailing
Never having sailed a ketch I was hoping someone could
elaborate on how the mizzen is used to steer.
I understand that first the
other sails have to be adjusted to give slight weather helm but what is the
secret with the mizzen?
Thu, Jul 8, 2021 at 11:24, Justin Maguire
What bill said 👆🏼
On Jul 8, 2021, at 12:19, Bill
Kinney <cruisingconsulting@...> wrote:
not believe it is reasonable to expect one (or even two!) people to hand steer
a boat for a thousand miles. It just gets mentally and physically exhasuting,
depending on point of sail and weather. BUT>>> there is an
alternative as Thomas of GARULFO suggests. A well balanced sailboat (and
a SM is pretty good at this) can sail on it's own for a good long time, holding
a more or less constant angle to the wind. It is very effective upwind,
moderately so on a shallow reach, and is difficult to impossible as you come
further downwind. You can not go anywhere you want to go, but you are not
helplessly drifting either.
There are a few tricks. To get a SM holding a steady course you must trim
the sails so there is a bit of weather helm. If there is even a bit of
lee helm the boat just will not balance. In light winds, sometimes the mizzen
traveler needs to be cocked to windward a bit to get the rudder turned the
right way. The boat needs to head up in a gust, not bear away. Off the
wind, sheeting the jib in a bit loose, and having the mizzen just a bit tight
can help. The boat won't hold a dead straight line, but it will find its
When sailing close hauled, the rudder needs to be locked in place, as you bear
away, there comes a point where the boat will usually behave better with the
rudder left free to find its own angle. in both cases, if the need existed,
this could be handled by the emergency tiller.
Minor course adjustments are made by tweaking the angle of the mizzen.
On our old boat (a 40 foot ketch) we broke our wind vane 1/3 of the way from
California to Hawaii. We managed 650 miles back upwind to California just
trimming sails. Once the boat was in the groove, we made course
adjustments with the mizzen sheet. We hardly touched the wheel at all
until we were back in the variable coastal winds.
Each boat, and each set of sails, has its own sweet spot. The only way to
really know is to practice it. Having a powerful, reliable electric autopilot
covers up a lot of sail trimming sins. Learning how to balance the boat so she
can take care of herself will make anybody a better sailor.
We have the linear drive installed on our rudder, the chain drive on the wheel,
either one can be driven by either of the two autopilot computers, and we have
a backup linear drive that drops in place easily. But of course all those
do depend on the constant supply of electricity.
Brunswick, GA, USA
Prospective Amel Buyer