A husband/wife sailing team on a long passage means one person is below resting or cooking while the other person is above deck sailing. An offshore boat's rig must accommodate sail changing, reefing and tacking by one person without jeopardizing safety. Dependence on an autopilot for sail management can be dangerous if the unit fails, especially when the person on watch is out of the cockpit on deck. At Shannon, Walt Schulz has been dealing with the real issues of short handed sailing in boats over 38 feet since 1975 . No company in the marine industry has more experience than Shannon in setting boats up for husband/wife sailing teams to go long distances confidently without additional crew. The Shannon Scutter and Sketch rigs were developed by Walt 1995 as an evolutionary milestone in his quest to perfect short-handed sailing. The Scutter rig became a reality because of the recent improvement in the dependability of roller furling gear. Be aware that in spite of all the hype and the claims, a large (135%-150%) genoa cannot be reefed down to make a safe working jib. A genoa can only be successfully reefed by 30% before the sail loses shape and becomes worthless with no drive into the wind. A conventional sloop with a roller furled genoa on a single headstay cannot be reefed down to create a working jib that can claw off a lee shore or beat into strong headwinds for long periods of time. A small spitfire jib hanked on a babystay added to the foredeck of a sloop is fine as a storm survival sail, but it is too small and too far aft for sailing into the wind. A staysail on a cutter rig has the same limitations. On the Shannon Scutter and Sketch a real working jib is placed on the bowsprit forward of the genoa. By placing the jib forward, helm is reduced and the high cut jib will easily tack through the slot in front of the genoa. A Shannon is sailed normally with the genoa up to winds of about 20 knots. When the wind increases, the genoa is reefed ( a 130% genoa becomes approximately a 100% genoa.) As the wind climbs the reefed genoa is completely furled, and the working jib is rolled out. If necessary in true storm conditions, the working jib can also be reefed by 30% to become an effective heavy weather jib. In addition, Shannons are equipped with a removable storm jib inner forestay for extreme conditions. The Shannon Scutter and Sketch rigs create four useable headsail combinations all available without leaving the cockpit. Another feature of the new Scutter and Sketch rigs is the control of main halyard and reef lines from the cockpit.
Thus, all sails, headsails and mainsail can be set, reefed and furled by one person from the cockpit.
Our video on the Shannon Pilot 43 shows the ease in which sails can be raised and lowered by one person all from the cockpit.
For those looking for the ultimate in short-handed rigs, Shannon is one of the few builders that has real world experience designing and building two masted ketch/Sketch rigs. There are more Shannon ketches sailing the oceans of the world than other two mast rigs from any company in business today.
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