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Old 26-11-2012, 05:28   #1
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Help With Sail Cloth Choices

Hi, all

I'm in the process of ordering a new main, Yankee and staysail for my Bowman 40. We're slowly cruising back to Australia from the Med, will take 5 - 7 years. New sails will need to last at least this long.

We are leaning towards UK sails, they have a good rep in Turkey, where we'll have the sails built. I'm wondering about cloth choices. The main will have a lazy jack -stack pack system, I never thought that cruise laminates dealt with sharp folding very well. This suggests to me that a Dacron like Square rip-stop may be the right choice. Is it worth the extra money for Hydranet?

The Yankee lives on a furler, so maybe a DP cruise laminate Might be the go, but what about mildew in the tropics.

Staysail, folded- and banked on. Dacron?

Interested in comments about cloths and sailmakers for this application

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 27-11-2012, 23:34   #2
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re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

We've used double taffeta laminates on customers cruising boats for years. You really don't have issues with sharp folding, particularly with a lazy bag/stack-pack arrangment.
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Old 28-11-2012, 08:07   #3
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re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

According to Carol Hasse*
(sails from Carol Hassey's Port Townsend Sail are consistently amongst the highest rated in the SSCA's surveys)

http://www.porttownsendsails.com/pdf..._headsails.pdf

“... Sailcloth options fall into two
general categories: woven and laminated. The most common modern
woven fabric appropriate for a roller furling headsail is Dacron (a trade
name for polyester). “Premium Dacron” is the name given to the highest
quality and most stable Dacron woven by a sailcloth manufacturer. There
is also a sailcloth woven of Dacron with a Spectra rip-stop grid. Spectra
is a very low stretch fabric with similar UV resistance as Dacron. It has a
lot to offer cruisers with big boat and therefore big loads on their big sail.
Big pocket books are helpful here because Spectra fibers, whether woven
or laminated into sailcloth, add significantly to the cost of a sail.

Laminated fabrics can include “exotics” like Spectra, Kevlar, Technora,

carbon fiber, and Mylar, the not so “exotic” Dacron, and glue. Laminated
sailcloth that is appropriate for cruising sails is called (imaginatively),
cruising laminate. A cruising laminate fabric is comprised of a layer of
mylar film containing either high tenacity Dacron or Spectra yarns
sandwiched port and starboard between two layers of Dacron taffeta.
Laminates offer greater cloth stability (i.e. their designed shape is more
likely to stay put through a broader wind range) than a woven fabric.
They are also stronger for their weight than woven Dacron sailcloth.
Unfortunately, laminates can delaminate, and they can also develop an
unsightly “algae bloom” on and inside the cloth. Mold and mildew just
can’t get enough of the glue that holds laminated sailcloth together ...”


More articles ➥ Port Townsend Sails
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Old 28-11-2012, 08:57   #4
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Re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

As above, laminated cloth results in mold.

Soft dacron, as originally sold by Hood decades ago, now available all over.

There is a substantial difference in quality of cloth. You need high quality cloth, which costs more. The lower quality cloth is appropriate for marina queens.

All sailmakers can and as a practice do use cloths from all manufacturers.

Contact Challenge Sailcloth, they will give you the straight scoop. Very high integrity organization, comes from the top (Bob Bainbridge).
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Old 28-11-2012, 10:09   #5
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Re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

See also:

“Happiness is finding a sailmaker who understands”
~ by Bill Sandifer
from Good Old Boat magazine July/August 2000
Good Old Boat - I've got the new sail blues article

Discussion About Sailcloth ~ by Mack Sails
Sail Cloth
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Old 28-11-2012, 12:02   #6
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Okay, further discussion with the loft has partially convinced me that the new Dimension Polyant cloth (CXT) has solved the problems of mildew and longevity. I looked at some 4 year old sails that looked like new.

Then they showed me tape drive sails. Same longevity, better stability, lighter.

Anyone have any rfeal world experience with these new cruise laminates and string sails?

Steve
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Old 28-11-2012, 12:21   #7
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Re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve.garlick View Post
Okay, further discussion with the loft has partially convinced me that the new Dimension Polyant cloth (CXT) has solved the problems of mildew and longevity. I looked at some 4 year old sails that looked like new.

Then they showed me tape drive sails. Same longevity, better stability, lighter.

Anyone have any rfeal world experience with these new cruise laminates and string sails?

Steve
I've had a UK tape drive jib and was happy with it, especially considering the price of the original sail. I also had a triradial main made of a cruising laminate built by UK. Held its shape nicely for six years until I sold the boat. Slight trouble with mildew.

I'm still on the OEM dacron sails with the current boat, but I will definitely replace the main with a cruising laminate when the time comes. Probably something with a double taffeta scrim.
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Old 28-11-2012, 12:40   #8
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Re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

Quote:
Originally Posted by islandplanet View Post
We've used double taffeta laminates on customers cruising boats for years. You really don't have issues with sharp folding, particularly with a lazy bag/stack-pack arrangment.
G'Day IP,

The realities of short handed cruising mean that often when reefing the mainsail especially at night (slab reefing) it gets bunched up and compressed at the clew. Not very tidy at all, sharp creases, etc. Actually embarrassing in the cold light of dawn, but it does happen.

So, how do these double taffeta laminates like that treatment? We're due for a new main pretty soon, and would surely enjoy the benefits of such a cloth.

Thanks for all your posts on this subject, by the way... I find them quite informative.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 28-11-2012, 13:46   #9
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Re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

I have a lot of respect for Carol of Port Townsend Sails but I suspect that particular excerpt may have been written some time ago. Technology for laminate sails has evolved greatly and the old complaints simply don't have the validity they used to have.
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Old 28-11-2012, 14:01   #10
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Re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

Our curren sail wardrobe includes a Dacron heavy weather jib), a double sided tafetta laminate working jib and Dacron/Spectra woven (Hydranet radial) genoa and mainsail. We are very happy with all of these sails. It is possible to over-think these choices.

One thing I will say, having experienced first hand on the weekend, chainging over mainsails on a friend's boat, is that a Dacron sail will probably be quite a lot heavier than a Hydranet or laminate equivalent. Sailing short-handed, this may be worth taking into consideration.
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Old 28-11-2012, 17:36   #11
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Re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

Jim,
Lot of cruisers using load path sails with double taffeta even with the occasional abuse of a midnight reef. One thing I like about our ketch is we can just drop the main....Thanks for the kind words about my comments!

Weyalan,
Dacron will be heavier than laminates but there's limited weight savings with Hydranet since it's a woven with some Spectra. One way to reduce weight savings with Hyranet is mix in some lighter cloth in the lightly loaded sections. We could so something like a combo of 383 and 343 for example.
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Old 28-11-2012, 21:03   #12
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Re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

i have a 10yo furling genoa, ? dacron, has shredded a bit to 6' in from the clew while furled in a storm, . i am thinking of repairing it with tape and then stitching with ?6 or?8oz cloth, any thoughts? thanks
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Old 28-11-2012, 22:49   #13
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Re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

Quote:
Originally Posted by islandplanet View Post
Jim,
Weyalan,
Dacron will be heavier than laminates but there's limited weight savings with Hydranet since it's a woven with some Spectra. One way to reduce weight savings with Hyranet is mix in some lighter cloth in the lightly loaded sections. We could so something like a combo of 383 and 343 for example.
Indeed. Our sailmaker used varying weights of cloth in different areas for our mainsail. I guess, also, that for a given "weight" of cloth, Hydranet would be slightly stronger than Dacron, so one could use a slightly lighter weight of Hydranet than Dacron... say an 9oz Dacron versus an 8oz Hydranet, or something like that? Either way, our Hydranet main is significantly lighter than our Dacron main.
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Old 30-11-2012, 04:32   #14
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Re: Help With Sail Cloth Choices

Steve, I know your looking at laminates now, but thought it might be useful to put some prices to cloths as we have just been through a similar saga. Genoa was 140% on a 31ft yacht.

Bainbridge Premium Ocean Plus was £1000 (its a budget fabric despite its name).

Dimension Polyant Square £1500 (much tighter weave than Premium Plus)

Dimension Polyant Hydranet Radial £2200 (there are two types of Hydranet btw depending on cross cut or radial requirements)

We opted for the DP C-Breeze in the end for coastal cruising and value for money. However, for a new main next year we may choose a higher spec cloth since its a comparatively small sail.

Would be interested to hear which you choose.

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Old 01-12-2012, 14:20   #15
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Hi Pete,

We ended up having to choose between CXT cruise laminate sails, or Tape Drive. The td sails were gorgeous, but about E1000 more and I couldn't justify the expense. The CXT main, 5 batters, 3reefs, Rutgerson batt cars was E3000, the Yankee was E2000 and a dacron staysail E550. The boat is a 40' Bowman, don't know how these prices compare with UK equivalents.

I'll be interested to see how long the CL sails last.

Steve
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