Are you a ketch fancier? Is your boat a ketch? Tell us all about it!
If you are a ketch sailor, we'd love to hear all about you.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the ketch?
Tell us how you came to be interested in sailing a ketch and all about yourself and your boat.
We'd love to hear all about ketches you have owned, worked on or just enjoyed a sail aboard.
For those who are wondering what a ketch is, it's a yacht with two masts of
which the foremost is the main mast and the one nearest the rear, called the
mizzen mast, is stepped before the rudder head.
In England, the original name was Catch but, although this suggests that they
were used primarily for fishing they were, in fact, mainly used as small coastal
Suggestions have been made that the name derived from the use of this type of
vessel to chase, or pursue, other vessels in time of war though this appears to
be refuted by a description given by Glanville in 1625 that "Catches, being
short and round-built, be very apt to turn up and down and useful to go to and
fro and to carry messages between ship and shore, almost with any wind".
They were small vessels, originally of fifty tons
or less, but they roughly doubled in size during the reign of King Charles II of
England, who used the ketch design for his royal yachts. They were square rigged
on both masts to the full ship rig and were often described as 'a ship without a
foremast', the reference being to the sailing rig and not to the vessel as a
Large numbers of small ketches were built by the
Dutch, English and French navies during the wars of the late seventeenth and
early eighteenth centuries, to act as tenders to the fleets.
The design was also adopted by the English to serve as bomb vessels, the large
open space forward of the main mast being ideal for the accommodation of a large
mortar by means of which the bombs were fired. For this particular use, the size
of the average ketch was increased by adding to the length. As a result, ketches
became fast and weatherly and a new use was developed for them as 'packet'
From the ketch rig was also developed the
'Hooker' and the 'Dogger'. With the wide naval use of bomb vessels dying out in
the mid-nineteenth century, the naval value of the ketch diminished and it
largely resumed its original status as a coastal trading vessel until, with the
growing popularity of 'yachting', during the latter part of the nineteenth
century, the advantage of the rig again became apparent.
The substitution of the 'fore and aft' rig for the old square rig, during
that period, enhanced their weatherliness and greatly increased the popularity
of the ketch amongst yachtsmen.
Are you one of those with whom the ketch is
popular? Tell us all about your experiences with ketches. What you like about
them and what you don't. Anything and everything is interesting. Don't worry about your writing
skills, we can edit if needs be, just tell us as if you were talking to an acquaintance about
it, if you find it hard to believe you can write! You'll soon find you've told us without any difficulty at
If you've any pictures you'd like to show, we'll be glad to receive those too.
We're looking forwards to hearing all about it...and
you! In the meantime, if you enjoy reading about times gone by, you may
enjoy our In-Quiz-ition No.1 in
the Quizzicles pages: 10 questions with links to the answers, dotted around