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Old 10-10-2014, 07:59   #1
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Genny Opinions

The OEM Technique Voile #2 genoa on our Jeanneau SO40 has earned its retirement and our boat deserves better wind propulsion. We're cruisers who do one or two informal distance races annually, almost always double-handed when on the water. We're interested in a high-end woven polyester (aka Dacron) sail, no pricey laminates that won't last. Aspect ratio is 2.6 for this sail.

We're looking at loft proposals using Challenge Marblehead, Contender Fibercon Pro (low aspect), and Dimension-Polyant Square cloth. The Challenge application chart shows Marblehead in range for our application, but some consider our aspect ratio too high for it. The D-P Square is supposedly stiff and difficult to handle, but a dockmate who has it reports the opposite. Handling is a consideration because we change down to our #4 whenever the wind is going to approach/exceed 20 kt.

The cut options are mainstream crosscut, miter, and tri-radial. One report on the latter claims that it will go "lumpy" after 5ish years of use and need to be replaced.

Any opinions & experience out there on cloth, cut, etc. in this application?

Karl
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Old 11-10-2014, 00:10   #2
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Re: Genny Opinions

Hi Karl, talk to Hasse & her crew at Port Townsend Sails (Port Townsend, WA). Her stuff's legendary for a reason, plus she & co are great to talk to, & even better to visit if you've got the time.

One heads up, their sails are pricey. And it's been a bit since I talked to them, but as of last check, some folks would take in their production sails to her loft, & have the loft beef them up/give the little detail areas some TLC so that they'd last longer under the wear & tear of cruising.
When I say production, I mean off the shelf, very basic sails, both cloth & especially detail work. Domestic & Foreign.

And as a plan B, if funds are tight, you can always pick up something that's been gently pre-loved, & have it re-cut &, or beefed up, to your specs.

As to handling (qualities of the cloth), I wouldn't sweat it too much. It's 98% technique. Like for me, despite being REAL rusty, I'd be comfortable taking down/handling any headsail on a 50'er (in a foil or free flying), given anyone brighter than a monkey handling the halyard. Even full on Mylar. It just takes a bit of practice, & like riding a bicycle...

I'll stay from talking laminates, given your comments. But a lot of them are really good. If you look up some of my other postings, you'll see where dockhead, one of the mod's is looking at new sails for his Moody 54. He's thinking laminates, & the sailmaker is talking 20,000+ miles out of them.

Back to Dacron, yes, after a while, tri-radials more or less do what you're saying. As to how long, that's a question of their quality to begin with, & how hard you push them.
With standard crosscuts, yep, a nip & a tuck is often an option. Provided that the sails have been kept out of the UV enough so that they'll still have life left after a "face lift". That & that they were good cloth to begin with.
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Old 14-10-2014, 07:47   #3
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Re: Genny Opinions

Mablehead and Dimension square in cross cut configuration are both excellent quality and well proven fabrics. The Dimension square is available in hard and medium finish, HTP or MT so make sure you order MT if you don't want it stiff. Dimension AP is also a good quality dacron. The Fibercon is the new kid on the block and doesn't have a track record.

You mite want to PM S/V Totem or he might chip in, he actually tested Dacron fabric for a job!

I'm not a fan of radial cut dacron, and neither are other NZ sailmakers apparently because the cloth agents don't bother importing it.

Cruising laminates can actually be cheaper than the high end dacron's, provided you are sailing in a non-tropical climate and don't leave the sail rolled up for months after it has rained, it could be a option.
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Old 14-10-2014, 18:19   #4
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Re: Genny Opinions

Construction style
With Dacron, crosscut and canted crosscut are the only viable option for your size boat. I’m not sure if anyone does canted anymore. It results in lightly better fiber alignment along the leech, but higher cloth waste in construction versus ever so slight gain in shape control.
Miter cut sail do not work with low stretch Dacron. The shaping seams that join at the miter are perpendicular, difficult to do perfectly. They usually look like a elephants arse at the miter unless the cloth is stretchy. Also, along the luff the area below the miter and above have different cloth bias angles resulting in funky luff shapes when the halyard tension is on.
Tri-radial Dacron sails are fine on small racing boats with highly tempered and resonated cloth. This approach controls the bias stretch well enough. It also makes the cloth exceedingly stiff and with a relatively short lifespan. For racer/cruiser and cruiser application, sailcloth manufacturers haven’t been able to produce warp oriented Dacron with enough bias stretch control using yarn density and weave.
Cloth
I agree with Kestral on his cloth comments. I haven’t done cloth testing for some time, so don’t have much info on current Contender Dacrons. In the past, Contender Dacron had excellent low load stretch (crimp) numbers because of resin coating that make the cloth stiff and short lived. I’ve seen some evidence of this on newer Contender cloth as well.
Within the range of quality Dacron, trading longevity for a tiny performance gain only makes sense if you expect to replace sails often. PM me if you have questions - Jamie.
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Old 18-10-2014, 16:24   #5
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Re: Genny Opinions

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Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post
Cruising laminates can actually be cheaper than the high end dacron's, provided you are sailing in a non-tropical climate and don't leave the sail rolled up for months after it has rained, it could be a option.
Which cruising laminates?
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Old 18-10-2014, 18:07   #6
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Re: Genny Opinions

We had Dimension Polyant dacrons and they did not last nor did they keep their shape all that well. I would not use their material again.

All other things equal I would always consider cross cut quality dacron (e.g. Nordac, etc.) up first. I think Challenge and Contender are both HQ makers. Use less resined stuff if you manhandle the sail.

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Old 18-10-2014, 18:59   #7
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Re: Genny Opinions

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
We had Dimension Polyant dacrons and they did not last nor did they keep their shape all that well. I would not use their material again.

All other things equal I would always consider cross cut quality dacron (e.g. Nordac, etc.) up first. I think Challenge and Contender are both HQ makers. Use less resined stuff if you manhandle the sail.

b.
Dimension Polyant and all the cloth company's have about 5 different styles of dacron ranging from budget to high end, the price per yard can double. Challenge probably has the biggest difference in quality between their low and high end. So please say which style of Dimension Polyant dacron you had. You know North use DP cloth on high end dacron race sails so what does that tell you about Nordac.
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Old 18-10-2014, 20:06   #8
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Re: Genny Opinions

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Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post
Dimension Polyant and all the cloth company's have about 5 different styles of dacron ranging from budget to high end, the price per yard can double. Challenge probably has the biggest difference in quality between their low and high end. So please say which style of Dimension Polyant dacron you had. You know North use DP cloth on high end dacron race sails so what does that tell you about Nordac.
Ask my ex-sailmaker. It was supposed to be the best of what was available back in 2002.

I have never heard of North using DP dacron. They may be using DP cloth (as you said) but I was not discussing other types of cloth, only various types of dacron.

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Old 19-10-2014, 22:47   #9
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Re: Genny Opinions

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Ask my ex-sailmaker. It was supposed to be the best of what was available back in 2002.

I have never heard of North using DP dacron. They may be using DP cloth (as you said) but I was not discussing other types of cloth, only various types of dacron.

b.
I think most of the styles have changed since 2002. I know the low end DP dacron was bad back then because I made quite a few sails from it and they all got the small hole syndrome.
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Old 20-10-2014, 05:23   #10
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Re: Genny Opinions

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Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post
I think most of the styles have changed since 2002. I know the low end DP dacron was bad back then because I made quite a few sails from it and they all got the small hole syndrome.
And so did all other makes: North, Challenge, Contender. We do not assume they stood there waiting for DP to catch up.

I did not order low end. This is not a marina queen boat here. We are sailors.

We did not have any small holes.

The sails were half gone after only a year of sailing. Of course, this means 365 days of UV exposure and unlimited abuse. Still.

In fact the main did not make it and we sailed back to Europe on the original older main. Believe me or not, this old main took us to the West Indies and back last winter again.

Actually, while there, we noticed Doyle offered a 55k/5yrs warranty on their new products. I was very tempted. Given my experience with Doyle, I might go this avenue when we order a new set. Last time I was there they made in Challenge and Contender.

Cheers,
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