Gennaro Coretti and the ketch rig
This sacred monster of sailing is often asked by many sailors for advice and tips on how to improve their sailing experience and, with his inalienable “English humor”, he promptly answers the several letters he receives on a British magazine exclusively dedicated to boat owners seeking advice.
In particular, I was struck by the detailed explanations he was able to give to a couple of sailors who had written him a letter of just 10 lines. ” My wife and I”, the two senders had begun, ” we have decided to sell everything and set sail”. Then, they continued: ” we want to buy a used Victory 40-feet ketch so that our dream can come true. All our experience is exclusively based on some publications and books dealing with sloops ( boats with one single mast). Since I’m convinced that the technique is always the same, I want to ask you which are the pros and cons of a ketch rig”.
John Goode filled a whole page where, avoiding any pedantic theoretical lucubration and using some very clear pictures, he elaborated a real ” Bignami” manual about the most appropriate use of a two-mast rig.
In his telegraphic premise, he wrote: ” I think that your choice to buy a 40-feet Victory is very good because this boat is a real carthorse, suitable for offshore navigation and able to offer great maneuvrability in both ports and docks. When choosing a boat of 40 feet or more, a split rig is the ideal solution especially if the crew is made up of just two members“.
We Mediterraneans generally like to avoid misfortunes and, in nautical descriptions, we are more willing to illustrate the amenities of interiors, the size of bathrooms and refrigerators and, with a slightly detached look, we admire the rugged nature of northern sailors who handle very harsh, sometimes impossible, weather conditions. However, now that I’ve honoured the famous foreign guest, my De Crescenzo-inspired spirit emerges and makes me say: dear John, after making fun of over 40′ boats, and treating them as old men, please forget mast breaks and, even if I agree with you about the pros of a ketch, at least for these two, please don’t evoke disasters; they’ve already said that they’ve sold everything…!