Ketches

What is a ketch?

 

Main features of a ketch

 

 

A ketch is a sailboat whose rigging has 2 masts: the main mast (also called mainmast) and the mizzenmast (or aft-mast), which is shorter and located at the rear of the boat in front of the helm station. This stabilises and increases the sail area. The first mast, with a cutter rig, supports the mainsail as well as several headsails on a bowsprit, while the second mast carries the mizzen sail. Ketch rigs can be used on a monohull or multihull (slightly rarer). This rig is often compared to the yawl (or sloop) since they look very similar. The only difference is that on a yawl, the mizzenmast is positioned behind the helm station.

 

 

A ketch can be rigged in three different ways:

 

  • a double-spreader ketch: the main mast and mizzenmast both have a square-topped gaff rig with a spreader;
  • a single-spreader ketch (or gaff rig) : the mainmast will have a mainsail with a spreader and square rigging while the mizzen mast has a marconi mainsail;
  • Bermudian ketch (or marconi): this is the rigging found on modern ketches. Both masts have a marconi sail and the foremast may have one or two headsails.

 

 


The history of ketches

 

Etymologically, ketch is derived from "catch", which refers to a fishing catch. This is because, traditionally, ketches were fishing vessels whose rigging setup made it easy to fish with nets.

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The ketch, a sailboat with multiple advantages


The advantages of a ketch

Ketches have many benefits:

  • better stability in heavy weather;
  • easier to use;
  • a split sail plan: the sails are smaller and therefore easier to handle;
  • ideal for sailing on the high seas;
  • and some people like them for their elegance.

 

 

 

 

Ketches are sometimes preferred to sloops because of the split sails which allow for easier handling. Also, over long distances, the extra sail area on a ketch (as compared to a sloop) makes the boat more balanced and easier to handle because it is smaller.


Ketches

 

The sturdiness of the Evasion 32 from the Vendée-based manufacturer Bénéteau has made it internationally famous and it behaves very well under sail, another factor that makes it popular with sailing enthusiasts. The Endurance 35 Ketch from the Belliure shipyard has demonstrated time and time again that it sails well and the owners of this boat find it very safe. Amel's Sharki is capable of tackling any ocean and will reassure nervous sailors with its quality.

 

Curious about ketches? Browse our new and used yacht listings on Band of Boats and find the ketch to take you to the other side of the world.