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Old 29-12-2013, 00:01   #1
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Anyone Remember Cotton/Canvas Sails?

i was thinking about the previous thread about furler vs hanks and it occurred to me that i started sailing with dacron sails about 50 years ago and i've never used a cotton or canvas sail - anyone remember what they were like? How long did they last? how long did they retain a useful shape? Were there any advantages over synthetics (kinda cant imagine any...)
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Old 29-12-2013, 00:14   #2
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Re: Anyone Remember Cotton/Canvas Sails?

Worked well when they sailed square riggers and they had a full time sailmaker onboard. The boats never went to windward( the way we know it) so no need to worry about sail shape. Cannon balls went through them easier too.
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Old 29-12-2013, 09:02   #3
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Re: Anyone Remember Cotton/Canvas Sails?

Had one on my first boat, a sailfish. Soaked up serious water/weight when wet. Really made keeping the boat upright a challenge. Tipped the boat over and stuck the sail in the mud. Forever afterwards had a brown sail at the lateen head.
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Old 29-12-2013, 09:21   #4
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pirate Re: Anyone Remember Cotton/Canvas Sails?

We had them on the Royal Navy Montague Whalers and 32ft Cutters I learnt to sail on back in 64/5... we also had oars and had to de-mast the boat on the move when switching from sail to manpower... they were a fair bit heavier.. more so when wet but they did the job just fine..
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Old 29-12-2013, 17:02   #5
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Re: Anyone Remember Cotton/Canvas Sails?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
We had them on the Royal Navy Montague Whalers and 32ft Cutters I learnt to sail on back in 64/5... we also had oars and had to de-mast the boat on the move when switching from sail to manpower... they were a fair bit heavier.. more so when wet but they did the job just fine..

My first dinghy had cotton sails, they were easier to stow didn't crease so easily, but as above heavy when wet. They were from 1952 and we still sailed with them in 1986 !
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Old 30-12-2013, 01:03   #6
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Re: Anyone Remember Cotton/Canvas Sails?

I have never used them, but Eric and Susan Hiscock wrote about them on their first round the world trip. Their next trip around, they used Teryline(dacron) and didnt seem to think that they were that much better. Of course Eric was VERY CONSERVATIVE and wasnt into change. The old J boats used cotton and went to weather like a freight train, so cotton can do the job, but why have something that will rot out in a few days if it gets wet in storage? I like old school, but not that old. _____Grant.
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