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An Introduction to Cat Ketch and to Free-Standing Rig.checkred.gif (260 bytes)Click here to view images



  checkred.gif (967 bytes) An Introduction to Cat Ketch and Free-Standing Rig

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The Cat ketch rig is not an aberration but the most popular and prolific sailing rig of yesteryear, evolving from the New Haven Sharpie of the 1850's. Minimal crew and ease of handling were important in working sailboats. Sailors turn to the Cat Ketch rig as they once more seek the same virtues.

It is interesting to note the appearance of recent articles in various publications extolling the advantages of free -standing rig. We are seeing Carbo-Spar with their Aerorig, the stay-less French Admiral's cup boat Krazy K-Yote 2, the word that some America's Cup boat uses the mainsail to twist the carbon mast to present a better alignment with the wind. One can also note my design introduction of a free- standing rig for the use with the America' Cup yacht "Independence", a challenge sponsored by a Connecticut syndicate. She could have been the fastest boat to compete in the 1992's America's Cup races. This Cup yacht could be even faster and easier to handle that the current crop of America's Cup boats for the year 2000 race.    

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Sailors worldwide might convert to free- standing rigs in the future. And why not? A free-standing rig makes the same sense for sailboats as a free-standing wing does for airplanes. Simple, safe, and more aerodynamically efficient. For cruising or racing.

I have produced custom sailboats for years, designed, engineered and constructed to be the optimum with various rig configurations. But I have also developed Cat-Ketch rigged yachts. By this I mean boats with rig and hull designs conceived for proper balance, which requires a certain degree of contrary thinking from that required to design sloop or cutter rigs.

The Marine Industry 23 years ago with one exception was not geared toward the free-standing rig and the Cat-Ketch in particular. To compensate for this a manufacturing capability had to be developed. The carbon composite technology for producing the rigs surpassed anything seen in the sailing industry.

I am convinced that free-standing- rigged cruising boats in the 35' LOA and larger range should have two masts to maximize performance, ease of handling and cruising enjoyment. The Cat ketch rig provides the optimum power to weight ratio for larger boats with the least amount of weight aloft. It allows for proper balance of hull/rig parameters, lowers the center of effort, increases the boat's stability, allows for the shallowest draft with the best windward ability, and lets you carry maximum sail with the easiest sail handling capability in all sorts of sailing conditions.

To accomplish the best design and construction of larger Cat Ketch yachts, it is necessary to develop the technology to produce lightweight and extremely strong carbon-fiber composite, free- standing masts to be used with wishbone booms. Aluminum and wood can be used on smaller boats were loading factor are not substantial enough to require carbon composite masts or justify their cost. They must, however, be fabricated from the highest-grade aluminum alloys and designed to accept bending moments to handle loads created by forces inherent in the boat's hull design. And preferably utilized with a Cat- ketch rig which subjects each mast to far lower loads in relation to the sail area than a similar size boat with cat boat rig or free-standing sloop rig. Use of the wishbone boom in its fullest sense requires that the full camber (draft) of each sail can be set with no pinching of the sail or distortion of air flow, while the entire boom should be capable of rotating more than 180 degrees about the spar. Not possible on a rig with shrouds or a boom affixed to a gooseneck. The wishbone boom acts as both the boom and vang, being one piece of equipment that replaces all the normal complexities of gear and equipment associated with straight booms affixed to a gooseneck at the mast. If increased roach is desired for racing or extreme light air performance, full battens need then only be adds to the top half of each sail. Wishbone booms also provide the easiest possible sailing with no threat of boom hitting anyone in the cockpit. Only one or two winches are necessary, and no large crew required handling them.

The rig technology and hull designs have created Cat Ketch rigged yachts where each mast is, in effect, a true flex loading beam incorporated into a hull designed and constructed specifically to work with its qualities.

Combined with wishbone booms, these yachts have proven to be well balanced with excellent windward ability. Yachts which can be handled with the absolute minimum of gear and equipment. The result is a sailing yacht, which I believe provides the best of both worlds--excellent performance, easy handling, and complete cruising comfort. No excess headsails or gear, no crew, and no work! They answer the need for an easier and less complicated way to enjoy sailing.

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Here are just a few of the comments received about Tanton from professionals in the trade:

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"Yves-Marie de Tanton is one of the great designers but not exceedingly well known outside the trade. He pioneered the unstayed carbon fiber Cat-Ketch rig. He specializes in the sort of intensely personal custom designs that keep his customers coming back."    S. C. B.

"Yves-Marie is a very talented designer with lots of fresh ideas, a guy worth keeping tabs on."   D. S

"Tanton has designed some of the world’s fastest and most exotic racing yachts. This gives Tanton a most unusual perspective on design features for esoteric cruising boats."  R. H.  P.

"I had the pleasure of working with Yves-Marie when I was on the East coast. I must say that my own drawing style and design approach was markedly influenced by the six months that we worked together. Yves-Marie probably draws the fairest set of lines that I have ever seen. His lines gallery are truly works of art."  B. P.

"Tanton has never been accused of surrendering to convention."  Q. W.

"Tanton has already designed five boats for me and currently designing two more. This speaks for itself."  B.  G.

"Tanton had met the criterion creativity and had offered a highly professional design that would provide a two-person crew a uniquely capable world cruiser."  B. W.

"Un Franšais, Yves-Marie TANTON, s'est installÚ Ó la Mecque des U.S.A. : Newport. Il compte parmi les meilleurs."   G. R-D



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