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Swan 65 ketch flying a spinnaker
Fisher30 motorsailer ketch

A ketch is a two-masted sailboat whose mainmast is taller than the mizzen mast (or aft-mast),[1] generally in a 40-foot or bigger boat.[2] The name ketch is derived from catch.[3] The ketch's main mast is usually stepped in the same position as in a sloop.[4]

The sail-plan of a ketch is similar to that of a yawl, on which the mizzen mast is smaller and set further back. The addition of headsails can make a cutter-ketch.[2] In New England in the 1600s the ketch was a small coastal craft. In the 1700s it disappeared from contemporary records, apparently replaced by the schooner.[5]

Staysails can also be hoisted between the top of the mizzen mast and base of the mainmast to help downwind performance.[6]


  1. ^ "Definition of KETCH". Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b Reynolds, Pat (27 July 2015). "What's in a Rig? The Ketch". American Sailing Association. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  3. ^ "the definition of ketch". Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  4. ^ Jordan, Richard (13 January 2011). "Sailboat Rig Types: Sloop, Cutter, Ketch, Yawl, Schooner, Cat". Jordan Yacht Brokerage. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Ship Model, Ketch". National Museum of American History. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  6. ^ Nicholson, Darrell. "A One-sided Defense of the Cruising Ketch - Inside Practical Sailor Blog Article". Practical Sailor. Retrieved 13 June 2019.