Sailing A Ketch

Recently we’ve been lucky enough to be able to go sailing twice on our friends’ Whitby 42 ketch, sv Mary Christine.  When we were originally boat shopping, 15 years ago, we compiled a cruising boat necessities spreadsheet.  One of the highest priorities on the list was multiple sail handling options.   Since David had never sailed a ketch, he was reticent to go with anything other than a sloop or cutter rig.   So we chose our Passport 37 sloop and never looked back.

Peter & Jody sailing sv Mary Christine on Charlotte Harbor, FL

Peter & Jody sailing sv Mary Christine on Charlotte Harbor, FL

BUT sailing sv Mary Christine was somewhat of a revelation.  David really LIKED it.  He liked the way the boat felt under sail, he liked the way all the different sail combinations worked, he liked the fact that the sail area was smaller in every case than ours and he liked the lower mast height.  All of which mean more flexibilty.  We have a very sturdy boat that doesn’t heel excessively, but in 17 knots of wind, the ketch performed well.

David and Peter figuring out the rigging the first time we put up the sails ... all three sails!

David and Peter figuring out the rigging the first time we put up the sails … all three sails!

We even liked the center cockpit — shocker!  We’ve never sailed in center cockpit before and had just always assumed that our aft cockpit design was the only one we’d really like underway — too much windage on the hull with a center cockpit.  Well that’s not exactly what we thought after two days on the water with Peter and Jody.

Which brings up the fact that Peter and Jody are my kid’s ages, have quit their jobs, sold everything to go cruising for awhile.  They have two big dogs – family – who seem to be adapting amazingly well, at least to life aboard at the dock.

Betsy watching the water intently on her first sail, I know exactly how she feels.

Betsy watching the water intently on her first sail, I know how she feels.

Gunner wasn't quite as sure as Betsy, but by the second sail, he was almost as curious, in a more regal sort of way.

Gunner wasn’t quite as sure as Betsy, but by the second sail, he was almost as curious, in a more regal sort of way.

We’re very happy for them and thrilled that they are sailing off into the sunset sometime in the next month or so — first south through the Keys & Bahamas, then the Caribbean and who knows.  I’m almost jealous because I remember the anticipation and even a bit of the anxiety we felt as we were getting ready for our first extended cruise across the gulf stream to the Northwestern Caribbean, starting in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.  What fun they’re going to have – if you’d like to follow their adventures, click here:   “Where The Coconuts Grow”

The entire sv Mary Christine Family enjoying their sail

The entire sv Mary Christine Family enjoying their sail

On the other hand, we haven’t been down the Eastern Caribbean and can’t decide where we’re going next.  Maybe we’ll be lucky, since Prez Obama shook Castro’s hand, we could go to the south coast of Cuba next winter.  That’s where we wanted to go when we returned to the US from the NW Caribbean, but never got the right wind and weather to get there.

Betsy, David & I enjoying being

Betsy, David & I enjoying being “chauffered” around Charlotte Harbor by Peter.

But for this winter, we’ll stick to our “plan” of sticking closer to here and my 92 year old Dad.  Next winter might be a different story.

Certainly sailing with Peter and Jody was an eye opening experience.  If you’re boat shopping and have the chance, be SURE to actually sail as many different rigs as possible before deciding what’s right for your cruising dream.  You never know, you might be surprised to find you like something far different than your original expectations.  🙂

Life is good, enjoy every minute.  Anyone have comments about the fun of sailing a ketch rig sailboat?  Or experienced info to pass on to Jody & Peter?  They’ll be reading. Please leave a comment and share!  Cheers.  Jan

 

Comments

  1. Wow!! What an honor to be the subject of one of your posts!! We can’t thank you both enough for coming along to sail with us TWICE as we get to know our new home on the water, SV Mary Christine. We had a blast and can’t wait to get side by side when you’re windlass is back in 🙂

    (For more info and pics of the crew of SV Mary Christine, check out our site at http://www.wherethecoconutsgrow.com) And yes we’ll be following the comments! We’d love any info/tips/tricks since we’re total newbies to sailing!
    -Jody and Peter

  2. Great article! Pete and Jody are our hood friends and my Fiance and I will be joining them on January 14th gor some sailing adventures! Thank you for helping them and welcoming them into your culture. You two seem like great people, the kind of people I need to meet! Hopefully that will happen one day.
    Josh Willey

  3. Hi Jan! Always like to hear about new people heading out cruising!
    We love our ketch rig (a Reliance 44) for all of the reasons that you listed. Peter and Jody- if you need any ketch sailing tips – give me a shout!
    Cheers,
    Jen

    • Hi Jen! I’ll be sure Peter & Jody see your comment – if they haven’t already. Great to hear from you — I’ll have to check where you are & what’s up when we get back to “real” internet … hopefully later rather than sooner. 🙂 Cheers! Jan

    • Hi Jen! Now that we’ve taken the boat out a few more times I definitely do have some “ketch” questions for you 🙂 Please shoot us a message on our website when you get a chance. Thanks!!
      -Jody

  4. Grin, Wait until you try a big cat with a ketch rig, you will love the non heeling, the ability to cook while in a storm, with wind glasses staying on the table, the space inside and inside helming if you get the right one.

    check out this video…

    About 5 mins in the cabin is relaxed and they are doing cooking in the galley, in good sized seas.

Speak Your Mind

*