What is a cutter?
Main features of a cutter
Resembling sloops, cutters are sailboats whose rigging includes a mast, a mainsail and several headsails (or jibs). The mast is positioned further back than in sloops so you can have multiple sails. The headsails, called the jib and staysail, are mounted on a bowsprit, which is sometimes very long. Splitting the headsail into several sails reduces the sails' surface area and thus makes handling them easier. If there is a second mast (which is then called a mizzen mast), you call it a yawl cutter.
Cutters can be rigged in several different ways:
- naval cutter: a large topsail (square sail) is added above the sails it already has;
- gaff cutter: the mainsail has a spreader;
- classic (or Bermudian) cutter: the mainsail is complemented with a split headsail.
This cutter rig is particularly popular with cruising enthusiasts since you can set up several sail combinations that fit any weather conditions. But those who want top speeds are sure to want to opt for a racing cutter.
Cutters, amazing monohulls
The benefits of cutters
Cutters have many benefits:
- their manoeuvrability due to the headsails being split;
- their speed especially for upwind sailing;
- ease of use changing from an all-weather rig to a setup that is suitable for bad weather.
The historical uses of cutters
In the past, there were so many benefits to using cutters that they were used for a wide range of purposes. Cutters were used as warships, especially by privateers, to hunt merchant ships. Their light armament allowed them to maintain their speed. They also had civilian uses, and cutters were used as fishing boats, coasters or even pilot boats (boats that were used to get to a boat in distress quickly).
Cutter rigged yachts
The Aluminum Cutter 53 has repeatedly demonstrated its worth: it's easy to handle with a small crew, as well as being comfortable and fast. The RM shipyard has released a 10.60 cutter, which holds its course well and is very seaworthy. And Garcia Yachting's cutter-rigged Exploration 52 is ideal for long-distance cruising in the tropics and is sure to appeal to you due to its comfort.
Got a hankering for a cutter? Browse through our many new and used cutter ads on Band of Boats and set sail for new horizons.