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Old 15-03-2011, 14:57   #1
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Mainsail Sailcloth Weight - 8, 9, 10oz ?

Howdy,

I've just ordered a mainsail by sending in some measurement forms and specifying that I will be doing a westabout circumnavigation. They came back to me initially with 8oz cloth, but after a few days they suggested 9 or 10oz.

I like the idea of a bulletproof sail, but don't want to shoot myself in the foot for light airs.

Any thoughts on cloth weight choice? I'm thinking 9oz so it's not too heavy, but then again I don't have much experience with cloth weights etc..

In terms of details:

Boat: 40ft monohull, masthead sloop
Sail: fully battened main, loose foot
Luff: approx 42ft
Foot: approx 13ft

Thanks muchly!
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Old 15-03-2011, 15:20   #2
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight? 8, 9, 10oz?

I recently purchased 8oz sail cloth for a slightly smaller boat (36ft) although I have yet to sail with it so I can't give you an indication of how it is with light air. I think 9 or 10 oz would be reasonable in your case. If anything, you should get a longer sevice life out of it (assuming that is desirable for you).
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Old 15-03-2011, 15:27   #3
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight? 8, 9, 10oz?

There's another option- Ed & Ellen Zacko use a light air mainsail they refer to as a "mainster" on their Nor'sea 27.

From Ellen and Ed sail around the world in their NorSea 27 Entr'acte -Galapagos

The winds were so light that never once during the nine day passage did we shorten sail. Once more our light air “Mainster” and large drifter enabled us to move in winds of 4 to 5 knots while others were forced to run their engines or sit and bang around in the calm.. We didn’t sail very fast but there was no hurry. The seas were calm and we were able to enjoy the quiet time of the ocean rather than the noise and heat of the engine. If all ocean passages were like this the ocean would be crowded with boats.

They wrote an article about the sail for Good Old Boat magazine, & more people are considering such a sail- especially since light nylon sails take up comparatively little room.
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Old 15-03-2011, 15:27   #4
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight? 8, 9, 10oz?

Is this a straight dacron? Panel cut?
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Old 15-03-2011, 15:37   #5
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight? 8, 9, 10oz?

Quote:
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Is this a straight dacron? Panel cut?
Yes, straight dacron, crosscut.
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Old 15-03-2011, 15:46   #6
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight? 8, 9, 10oz?

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Yes, straight dacron, crosscut.
if it's straight dacron, then 9oz would be a good call for a circumnavigation. If it were a reinforced dacron, like a Vectran, 8oz would be better.
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Old 15-03-2011, 15:48   #7
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight? 8, 9, 10oz?

I would agree with Bash. On a long term trip the extra weight will be a bonus.
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Old 15-03-2011, 16:04   #8
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight - 8, 9, 10oz ?

Thanks for that - will go for 9 then- I was kinda thinking along the middle road myself as well - don't know how heavy or light any of these are so we'll see. This is my first NEW sail, so I will now know what a 9oz cloth looks and smells like.
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Old 15-03-2011, 16:32   #9
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight - 8, 9, 10oz ?

Getting a new sail is always so much fun! It's nice and clean, with no rips, crinkles, stains or missing threads. And the first time is even better! Enjoy.
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Old 15-03-2011, 16:36   #10
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight - 8, 9, 10oz ?

I would go with 9 or 10. The heavier cloth (all other things equal) will give you more UV life and will chafe thru later. Sure thing with either weight the main will not be perfect for light airs. But I would put UV resistance above light winds performance for any extended voyaging - when it gets real light, you will be probably motoring anyway.

Much can be gained by going for laminates, even if they are only of the cruising type. The sail is lighter then, stretches less and, depending on finish, can have good UV resistance too.

If money no object, a Spectra sail is a very good alternative - good UV resistance, strong and light. More expensive than Dacron though.

If you expect much light wind sailing then try to suplement your heavier than perfect main with a decent kite of the MPR type (with the luff not too long - so that you can keep it tight) - they are inexpensive and will get you thru many light areas.

Cheers,
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Old 15-03-2011, 19:10   #11
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight - 8, 9, 10oz ?

G'day, mate. I was "ditto" with barnakiel until the comments on Spectra. I have 10 oz. Dacron for our main and have no regrets, even in light airs.

Our mates, bought a new Spectra main from one of the big lofts, left New Zealand and then within a year up in the islands, it started to delaminate, so bad, they couldn't even use it to sail locally. They eventually worked to get a replacement main made out of Dacron shipped to them, not an easy process.

IMO, Dacron is the best option for most cruising sailors. When it eventually does fail, you can be easily patched and put into use until it can be replaced. Cheers.
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Old 15-03-2011, 20:18   #12
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight - 8, 9, 10oz ?

I purchased an off-shore sail w/full battens a couple years ago at 275 sq. ft. (46 x 16) It's a bit over 9 oz. and it does fine sailing. It's just putting it away that's a bitch. It's hard to get flaked but with lazy jacks I manage to keep it under control by myself.

I would not go more then 9 oz. for your size of sail unless you plan some hard passages. If it's loose footed down wind will be fine.
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Old 15-03-2011, 22:33   #13
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight - 8, 9, 10oz ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by akio.kanemoto View Post
Sail: fully battened main, loose foot
Curious why you chose a lose foot for cruising ?

Not saying you shouldn't.



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Old 15-03-2011, 22:35   #14
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight - 8, 9, 10oz ?

Quote:
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Curious why you chose a lose foot for cruising ?

Not saying you shouldn't.



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Why not? No different then an in boom furler.
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Old 15-03-2011, 22:39   #15
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Re: Mainsail Sailcloth Weight - 8, 9, 10oz ?

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Why not? No different then an in boom furler.
Rain catchment is one argument.

Ease of reefing is another.

As I said, I'm not debating the choice but wondering what the reasoning was.



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