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Old 17-02-2015, 09:10   #1
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Cruising Sail Features

Folks,

Its about time for us to consider replacing our mainsail and I'm looking for guidance on features that would be seen in a great cruising sail.

So far I have:

- Three reefs with the largest being in excess of 50% - maybe even 60 or 65%

- Cunningham (we do not currently have one).

- Full Battens. I am on the fence about this... on one hand they help the sail maintain its performance longer but on the other hand, they seem to get hung up in my lazy jacks.

- Tides track or similar. Like the idea of the "switch" harken system but that looks very expensive and issue prone.

- Strong headboard

- High modulus cloth

- heavy duty tell tails

- Chafing protection at rigging/spreader

Anything else?
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Old 17-02-2015, 09:35   #2
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Folks,

Its about time for us to consider replacing our mainsail and I'm looking for guidance on features that would be seen in a great cruising sail.

So far I have:

- Three reefs with the largest being in excess of 50% - maybe even 60 or 65%

Make sure the reef points are well-reinforced.

- Cunningham (we do not currently have one).

- Full Battens. I am on the fence about this... on one hand they help the sail maintain its performance longer but on the other hand, they seem to get hung up in my lazy jacks.

Move the lazy jacks out onto the spreaders so that the angle is wider. This helps tremendously. Full battens are great. Have the sailmaker sew dacron webbing over the batten pockets and you won't get any chafe from them against the rigging (might not be a problem with your rig).

- Tides track or similar. Like the idea of the "switch" harken system but that looks very expensive and issue prone.

We have the Tides track and I can't figure out why people spend all the extra money on fancier systems. When I release our sail, it falls instantly straight down.

- Strong headboard

Consider no headboard at all - particularly if you go with the Tides track.

- High modulus cloth

- heavy duty tell tails

- Chafing protection at rigging/spreader

Anything else?
Consider using a lighter weight cloth with it being doubled on the edges. Saves some weight, yet keeps good shape.

Mark
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Old 17-02-2015, 09:45   #3
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

Battens get hung up on lazy jacks whether they are full battens or not. If it's a persistent issue for you I'd look at redesigning the geometry of your system and not let it get in the way of your decision on the battens. Personally, I have lazy jacks and like my full battens. Considered a dutchman system but have seen too many of them break offshore and leave you with a irksome situation if you're short-handed.
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Old 17-02-2015, 14:58   #4
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

We had a dutchman system previously - removed it in favor of the lazy jacks because I didn't feel the dutchman did a very good job at what it was supposed to do. I also thought that the wires (this was an old system with covered wires rather than Dynex Dux or some such) didn't allow the sail to shape well.
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Old 17-02-2015, 17:50   #5
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Folks,

Its about time for us to consider replacing our mainsail and I'm looking for guidance on features that would be seen in a great cruising sail.

So far I have:

- Three reefs with the largest being in excess of 50% - maybe even 60 or 65%

- Cunningham (we do not currently have one).

- Full Battens. I am on the fence about this... on one hand they help the sail maintain its performance longer but on the other hand, they seem to get hung up in my lazy jacks.

- Tides track or similar. Like the idea of the "switch" harken system but that looks very expensive and issue prone.

- Strong headboard

- High modulus cloth

- heavy duty tell tails

- Chafing protection at rigging/spreader

Anything else?
Good, but:

A third reef at 45% is roughly the same size as the category 1 trysail, you probably wouldn't want it to much deeper.

Cunningham is not really required for cruising but if you like playing with strings then you could add it.

As said all battens hang up on the lazy jacks. One idea is to have battens that feed in from the luff with adjustable box's so the aft end of the pockets can be very streamlined.

Tides track is good but requires a lot of slides so sail stack height is quite high. There are some good low friction sliders available that fit most standard tracks

Cruising sails don't really need a headboard, a head ring can be easier to deal with, lighter and stronger.

The best chafe protection is on the spreader, rather than on the sail.
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Old 17-02-2015, 19:00   #6
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

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Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post

The best chafe protection is on the spreader, rather than on the sail.
We have a 40 to 50% reef right now and its not enough.

What kind of protection do you put on a spreader?

The reason I was looking at a headboard is that we had this on our small Colgate (and I really liked that boat!) but your point is well taken.

FYI - UK made our original sail (27 years njow) and we think we will just stick with them but any feedback on UK is welcome.

http://www.uksailmakers.com/Sails/Sa...on/Dacron.html
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Old 17-02-2015, 19:09   #7
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

We have rubber boots that are open top and bottom. You can use, leather, rollers, yoga mat and tape. The back edge of the spreaders can be fitted with a rubber channel if they are sharp. The only patches on the sail that really work are Dyneema PSA. The regular sail number PSA that is normally used wears though in no time.
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Old 18-02-2015, 12:54   #8
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

What do you guys think of "http://www.dimension-polyant.com/de/" for woven sail cloth?
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Old 18-02-2015, 19:52   #9
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

Dimension Polyant make some good cloth, more common in Europe as their wovens are mostly made in Germany. More expensive in the US compared to Challenge sailcloth. All cloth companies make low grade dacron and high grade, the price difference can be double and you get what you pay for. Dimensions low grade is called Seabreeze and their high grade is AP Blade
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Old 18-02-2015, 20:02   #10
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

For a cruising sailboat, I've read .. get the reefs, forget the battens and up the weight of material.

I personally wonder if getting the batten pockets and putting something more flexible in the pockets(like swim noodle material or sail material folded over almost like a batten), that will kinda hold out the leech(is that right?).
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Old 19-02-2015, 01:27   #11
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

Quote:
Originally Posted by SURV69 View Post
For a cruising sailboat, I've read .. get the reefs, forget the battens and up the weight of material.

I personally wonder if getting the batten pockets and putting something more flexible in the pockets(like swim noodle material or sail material folded over almost like a batten), that will kinda hold out the leech(is that right?).
I'd suggest finding a new reading source! What you have described is a very bad sail in terms of performance. The good side of it is that with such a mainsail your engine would not lack for exercise!

And your substitute battens are useless, for the whole point of the batten is to support the leech, especially in roach areas. Pool noodles, etc have absolutely no use in such applications.

Please listen to folks who are actually sailmakers... like Kelstahl. They actually know something about how to build sails for the modern cruiser.

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Old 19-02-2015, 06:00   #12
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post
Cunningham is not really required for cruising but if you like playing with strings then you could add it.

As said all battens hang up on the lazy jacks. One idea is to have battens that feed in from the luff with adjustable box's so the aft end of the pockets can be very streamlined.

Tides track is good but requires a lot of slides so sail stack height is quite high. There are some good low friction sliders available that fit most standard tracks.

The best chafe protection is on the spreader, rather than on the sail.
A Cunningham is FAR more than just a "Racer's Toy". Unless you're REALLY into coming up head to wind constantly, & re-adjusting the main halyard tension.
It's a great/the best tool for draft control, & subsequently sail shape on the main. So, up until you reef, it's one which is in constant use as the wind speed & angle changes. And can even be used to avoid needing that reef, if conditions are right on the edge of going back & forth between needing one & not (by cranking it on tight, & blading out the sail). Also, it can be used to flatten the sail out it's super light.
Wind don't like making sharp turns when it's moving slow.

Plus, given that it's the primary tool for draft control, when used properly, it can add a good bit of speed, as well as keeping you from sailing on your ear. And unlike the halyard being used for this purpose, it doesn't require you to either come up close to head to wind, or to full on flog the main (luffing hard) so that you can tune the halyard. And the bigger the boat, the more this is true/the more useful it is.

Basically it lets you tune your main (especially when used with other trim controls) from an A-cup to a C/D-cup & back, just by pulling on this one control line.

As to stack height, & what track system you choose, such is governed more by prudent choices of the type & placement of the various kinds of sliders, than it is by who makes them. Especially as, generally speaking, those from Harken & other heavy duty/pricey slides, tend to be taller, individually, than those by Tides.
So, work with your sailmaker to place the right kinds of slides intelligently to cope with the differing loads in different sections of your main. That'll make the biggest difference in minimizing stack height.

When I'm putting together a fittings plan for a main, for me, or someone else, the easiest way is to pull out the sketch pad. And start by adding in the reefs, & their necessitated mast hardware. And also including tack & clew, rings/blocks.
From there, you can optimize (full, & 3/4 length) batten placement, & the required mast/track hardware for them.
Followed by general attachment points, evenly spread out so as not to create stress points in the sail/cloth. Which lets you minimize how many of them which you need.
- Ah, & it's vital too, when doing this, to have a listing of the sizes of the various slider types on hand when doing your sketching & math.

Basically, more, & beefier/longer slides in higher load areas, such as reef points & batten cars, & fewer, smaller ones where there aren't any heavy lead concentrations in the sail.
By going this way, as opposed to sticking to a semi-generic formula, you can cut the stack height by 1/3 or more.
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Old 19-02-2015, 06:12   #13
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

A nice piratey or old world explorer logo...
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Old 19-02-2015, 06:29   #14
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pirate Re: Cruising Sail Features

Seems to be a fad these days.. rollers on the luff for the reefing system... great if your a fair weather sailor.. but they don't stand up in a real blow 40+...
Go for the traditional SS rings..
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Old 19-02-2015, 07:03   #15
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Re: Cruising Sail Features

PS: I can't guarantee that it'll help your mainsail configuration choices, but viewing Skip Novak's heavy weather (especially reefing & trysail vids + commentary) was highly recommended to me https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...+storm+sailing
He's been doing a LOT of High (well Low, technically) Latitude Professional Expeditioning for many a decade. As well as having an offshore & racing resume which would impress about anyone.

Also, there's more than a little wealth of knowledge possessed by (Carol) Hasse & Co. at www.porttownsendsails.com She/they've been making world renowned sails for cruising boats for decades. And have a lot of little tricks, detailing ideas & opinions, etc.
That, plus heaps of good; reading, links, resources, etc.
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