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Old 04-03-2016, 15:16   #1
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Challenge sail cloth recommendation

I'm looking at buying new sails. I've read many threads and heard much praise for the Marblehead sail cloth. I am a cruiser and while performance is great, I want a sail that is durable/long lasting. My sail maker recommended the Challenge High Mass Fiber Dacron (HMFD) which protects the fill fibers from UV by using high denier warp fiber. Both directions are low tenacity i believe. The Marblehead uses high tenacity fibers in both directions, but is not as UV resistant. While I understand that the HMFD sail will stay structurally adequate longer (10 yrs?), I'm concerned the shape may only last 2 years. While the Marblehead may weaken and fail sooner, It will certainly have a better shape for a longer time, maybe 5 years.
BOTH cloths are SAME PRICE.

I'm planning to sail for a year 2017 in the Caribbean, live-aboard. Then back to weekend coastal cruising in New England. What do you all have to say about the Challenge sail cloth options??

Also, it is $190 extra for foam luff inserts. Is that money well spent? My current Genoa does not have them, but shape does suck when reefed.

Thanks,
Zach
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Old 04-03-2016, 15:29   #2
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

Following.
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Old 04-03-2016, 15:39   #3
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

+1 following also.
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Old 06-03-2016, 21:43   #4
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

You did not say the size of your vessel, nor the location. East Coast? Call Mack sails in Florida. Also consider Contender sail fabric. Marblehead is a lower aspect cloth. It will not work in every application.

Yes, you need foam or rope sewn into the luff of your genoa.
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:52   #5
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

nightmare isn't it and despite hours of Googling I found it all very confusing 2 years ago when looking at sail cloths for a new Genoa.

Does this help?

Sails, Sailmaking, Sailmakers, Lymington, South Coast, Hampshire, Sanders, Saunders, Yacht, marine upholstery, dinghies, quality, boat, design, standard

There is something similar on Mack Sails website.

Does higher denier in the HMFD mean larger fibres which due to size require less weaving, so cheaper?

Marblehead has been around for 12 years and a well known quality fabric btw.

Pete
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Old 11-03-2016, 14:01   #6
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
nightmare isn't it and despite hours of Googling I found it all very confusing 2 years ago when looking at sail cloths for a new Genoa.

Does this help?

Sails, Sailmaking, Sailmakers, Lymington, South Coast, Hampshire, Sanders, Saunders, Yacht, marine upholstery, dinghies, quality, boat, design, standard

There is something similar on Mack Sails website.

Does higher denier in the HMFD mean larger fibres which due to size require less weaving, so cheaper?

Marblehead has been around for 12 years and a well known quality fabric btw.

Pete
Hi Pete.. thanks, and the article states what I've heard from other sources regarding quality of Dacron. From that thought process, the HMFD is not as good as a cloth as the Marblehead b/c its high Denier, lower tenacity. And Marblehead has great reviews. But my sailmaker is recommending the HMFD. He may be biased b/c they may have too much HMFD on hand or better profit margin on it. Or perhaps the HFMD will last longer in years before structural failure. But I'm worried it will become a poor shape early in it's life, even if it goes 15-20yrs. Maybe Marblehead will only last 5yr in the UV of the tropics? Wish I could hear from some live-a-boards that have either Marblehead or HFMD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CAELESTIS View Post
You did not say the size of your vessel, nor the location. East Coast? Call Mack sails in Florida. Also consider Contender sail fabric. Marblehead is a lower aspect cloth. It will not work in every application.

Yes, you need foam or rope sewn into the luff of your genoa.
I'm currently coastal cruising in New England and plan to spend 12-18 mo. in the Caribbean in 2017 - 2018.. This is for a 1975 Tartan 41. Marblehead is sold in both high and low aspects, though low aspect for a genny on my boat would probably be fine with it's long J dim'. I'm pretty set on the sail maker and they use Challenge cloth. So Mack and Contender are not really considerations at this point.

I will spring $$ for the foam luff...
thanks,
zach
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Old 12-03-2016, 06:19   #7
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

Just so you know Marblehead is 60% more expensive per yard than High Mass Fiber so I'm not sure why your sailmaker would tell you its the same price, simply not true.
Marblehead is generally very good. HMF I have seen some cases where it has failed early, it is very cheap.
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Old 12-03-2016, 07:34   #8
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

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Just so you know Marblehead is 60% more expensive per yard than High Mass Fiber so I'm not sure why your sailmaker would tell you its the same price, simply not true.
Marblehead is generally very good. HMF I have seen some cases where it has failed early, it is very cheap.
A price increase is what I expected to hear when I asked my sailmaker to quote Marblehead (he had quoted the HMF first). But he said "there would be no change in price, but I still recommend High Mass Fiber as originally quoted." That's what prompted me to start this thread b/c that didn't make sense to me. Should I ignore my sail maker's advice, and have the sail made in Marblehead? I'm starting to lean in that direction, but wondered if Marblehead will degrade quickly in the UV of the tropics? The sailmaker guy alluded to the lack of UV protection on Marblehead. Anyone using Marblehead in the Tropics that can weigh in on it's longevity?

Thanks
zach
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Old 12-03-2016, 07:54   #9
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

I think, if you are going to sail mostly in the West Indies, then for long periods of time the sail will be covered. In this case, I would be willing to forego some UV resilience and go for the cloth that may keep the shape longer - there is normally plenty of wind in the Caribbean and sails get at times severely abused before they get properly reefed.

Foam inserts, if made in quality foam, are absolutely worth it. We had them in our old sail and we do not have them in our new sail. The old one was 100% usable deeply rolled. The sail without a foam luff can only be used effectively reefed maybe 1/3 and then it get an odd shape that makes it useless upwind. Ask the loft to design the foam pockets slightly oversize so that the foam can be replaced some way into the life of the sail.

Go for top quality thread throughout - many many sails die at the seams up first. Like cloth, threads differ hugely in their UV resistance and unlike sail fibers, the thread is mostly exposed to the elements. Go quality thread.

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Old 12-03-2016, 08:14   #10
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

It sounds very strange that he would quote HMF and then say Marblehead is the same price, a lot of time the retail price of a HMF sail would be the cost price of Marblehead sail. Either hes making a lot of money on HMF or he doesn't actually know.
HMF doesn't have any UV protection, it simply is woven with big warp fibers which last a little longer in the sun than smaller fibers. Being a loose weave it requires a lot of resin for stability so may not last longer at all.
For maximum UV I prefer Dimension Polyant Blade UVi which is a tightly woven dacron which performs well and the UV protection is in the fabric coating.
I've used a lot of Marblehead here in tropics and so far its been fine. I have some test pieces of dacron that have been sitting in the sun for 6 months of marblehead, blade and another one I use. Will test the tear strength against other new samples in a few more months to see how much the UV has degraded the dacrons.
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Old 12-03-2016, 08:17   #11
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

The Challenge high mass fiber cloth is designed for good UV resistance and tear strength but, is not a high modules fiber like the fiber 104 and 1W70 used in the Marblehead cloths. Also the Marblehead cloth is a much tighter weave giving the best in stretch resistance for a Dacron. This Marblehead cloth is also about 50% more in cost than the HMSW cloth. If the sail price is the same for either one, go for the Marbelhead!


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Old 12-03-2016, 09:28   #12
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

I do not share good opinion above on DP cloth. Our original sail was built in 'premium grade cruising' dacron from DP. It was easily one of the worse sails we ever had. I am not buying a DP cloth sail again.

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Old 12-03-2016, 21:29   #13
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

DP doesn't make a cloth called 'premium grade cruising'. So not useful information unless you know what cloth it actually was.
Their base dacron used to be called TNF and was very average, but that was a few years ago now.
All of them are capable of making good and bad cloth depending on price level.
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Old 12-03-2016, 21:51   #14
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

Challenge sail cloth is pretty much standard stuff, been around for decades. "Marblehead" I've never heard off and would invest a bit of effort to research to see if Anyone has used it successfully. I used Challenge sail cloth on as set of sails I had made 20 years ago, they were great sails with good shape and stability.
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Old 13-03-2016, 01:07   #15
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Re: Challenge sail cloth recommendation

Jeckells have been around for a couple of hundred years and this is what they have to say about Marblehead:

Sail Cloth | Sail Fabric | Sail Material | Jeckells The Sailmakers

Marblehead Woven Dacron

This is the closest woven Dacron available today. It is virtually resin free and is made using only the highest quality polyethylene terepthalate yarns. It is woven on the most modern shuttleless looms which have been specially rebuilt and reinforced to pack in the highest possible number of yarns.

Because of its tight construction there is not the usual crimp problem so this material is ideal for the most discerning yachtsman be it for round the cans racing where a long lasting good performance sail is required or for a Round the World yachtsman who wants, expects and demands the best and most manageable sails.
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