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Old 22-10-2012, 08:38   #1
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New Sails

As I mentioned on another thread, Santa Claus is being very, very good to me this year and is bringing a new suit of sails

Dacron is the best choice for 90% of cruisers, but I think it's not for me. For one thing, my sails are very large -- the yankee is more than 1000 square feet with luff around 70 feet -- and this means disproportionately high loads and more stretch.

I sail hard and reef late, so I'm afraid I'll stretch out a new set of Dacron sails in no time.

Big sails are also heavy sails, so the lighter weight of string or laminate sails is a really big advantage. It takes three strong people to shift my Dacron yankee

For another thing, I finally have a boat with an efficient keel and underbody design, which is capable of a bit of speed, and so which is capable of getting the most out of decent sails.

So I'm looking at different types of higher performance sails and getting thoroughly confused.

I've read a lot of praise for the UK "Tape Drive" sails, which have been around for a long time. Bob Perry has been using a set of these for years and says they hold up really well. Something like this: The official site of UK Sailmakers Lofts Worldwide

The North 3DL also looks good (despite the fact that some sailors say that "DL" stands for "DeLaminate"), as do the Quantum FusionM sails: - Quantum Sail Design Group :: Premier Sail Design and Development#

I realize this has been discussed on here a few times, but perhaps someone has some words of wisdom, particularly, words of experience?
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Old 22-10-2012, 08:43   #2
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Re: New Sails

On my previous boat I had a suit of tape drive sails built, and was quite pleased with how they held up. The sails were only about six years old when I sold the boat, but still had their original shape. I understand that the UV protection has been improved considerably in the past few years.

Nothing bad to say about the sails.
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Old 22-10-2012, 08:57   #3
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Re: New Sails

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
On my previous boat I had a suit of tape drive sails built, and was quite pleased with how they held up. The sails were only about six years old when I sold the boat, but still had their original shape. I understand that the UV protection has been improved considerably in the past few years.

Nothing bad to say about the sails.
Thanks for that.

Six years is pretty good .

I am planning to have my present yankee (which is in nearly perfect condition but just a bit full in shape now) recut into a blade jib. I am hoping that I won't be too lazy to put away my pretty new yankee and hoist the blade whenever I go upwind in heavy conditions. This should extend the life, I think, considerably -- won't use it in heavy conditions, won't use it furled down.

I have beaten the h*ll out of my present sails, partially out of ignorance, as I rebuild my sail trimming skills, and partially out of knowing that I would be replacing them. I will change my behavior when I change my sails.
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Old 22-10-2012, 08:58   #4
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Re: New Sails

I too have been looking at sails. Many of the sail manufacturers out there now "outsource" their sails offshore. Most of them are now built in one place, Called China Sail Factory. They build them to the lofts specs, so the sails come out all different. There are two different technologies they use to make laminate sails that you might be interested in. One is traditional strings type sails, called load path. The other is CAL, or cruising axis Laminate. Here, the sail cloth is laminated in panels, and the panels are sewn together like a cross-cut sail. These sails approximate the load path, but I hear they do a good job. The hold shape like a load path laminate, are much cheaper, not much more than dacron, but are just as heavy as dacron.

Some lofts I know that use China Sails Factory are:

Neil Pryde
Ullman
Island Planet (online)

There are many more.

Chris
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Old 22-10-2012, 09:17   #5
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Re: New Sails

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Originally Posted by witzgall View Post
I too have been looking at sails. Many of the sail manufacturers out there now "outsource" their sails offshore. Most of them are now built in one place, Called China Sail Factory. They build them to the lofts specs, so the sails come out all different. There are two different technologies they use to make laminate sails that you might be interested in. One is traditional strings type sails, called load path. The other is CAL, or cruising axis Laminate. Here, the sail cloth is laminated in panels, and the panels are sewn together like a cross-cut sail. These sails approximate the load path, but I hear they do a good job. The hold shape like a load path laminate, are much cheaper, not much more than dacron, but are just as heavy as dacron.

Some lofts I know that use China Sails Factory are:

Neil Pryde
Ullman
Island Planet (online)

There are many more.

Chris
You can spec the loft you use. UK-Halsey wanted to build a main for me in their Hong Kong loft, and I insisted it be built in their Sweden loft. Once they understood that the Hong Kong loft was a deal breaker for me, they were quite accommodating.
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Old 22-10-2012, 09:39   #6
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Re: New Sails

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You can spec the loft you use. UK-Halsey wanted to build a main for me in their Hong Kong loft, and I insisted it be built in their Sweden loft. Once they understood that the Hong Kong loft was a deal breaker for me, they were quite accommodating.
Was the price the same?

UK Sails in the UK are not UK-Halsey. I don't know where they make their sails, but a lot of sails are made locally here.
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Old 28-10-2012, 04:57   #7
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Re: New Sails

I am also in the market - looking for a new cruising laminate headsail. I am leaning towards a CDX-7 laminate but have not been able to get much info on the material (made by Contender sailcloth). Rather than hijack your thread, I started a new one - am curious to hear what you end up with.
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Old 28-10-2012, 06:03   #8
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Re: New Sails

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Originally Posted by sbrin View Post
I am also in the market - looking for a new cruising laminate headsail. I am leaning towards a CDX-7 laminate but have not been able to get much info on the material (made by Contender sailcloth). Rather than hijack your thread, I started a new one - am curious to hear what you end up with.
I would not have minded if you had posted the question here. We could have a general "what sails?" thread.

I don't know what I'm going to end up with. I am in full sticker shock after getting a bid from North Sails for 31,000 pounds (about $50,000) -- WITHOUT VAT -- for a set of 3DL's, quite a bit over my budget.

Still waiting for some other proposals. We shall see.

I have not found anyone who does the UK "tape drive" sails here, but there are a lot of lofts which do various laminates.
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Old 28-10-2012, 06:17   #9
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Re: New Sails

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I would not have minded if you had posted the question here. We could have a general "what sails?" thread.

I don't know what I'm going to end up with. I am in full sticker shock after getting a bid from North Sails for 31,000 pounds (about $50,000) -- WITHOUT VAT -- for a set of 3DL's, quite a bit over my budget.

Still waiting for some other proposals. We shall see.

I have not found anyone who does the UK "tape drive" sails here, but there are a lot of lofts which do various laminates.
ouch! i reccomend using the £36000 for a nice down wind sail to singapore with the old ones,then with the £16000 left over get rolly tasker to make you some nice new ones
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Old 28-10-2012, 06:37   #10
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Re: New Sails

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UK "Tape Drive" sails . . . North 3DL . . . FusionM sails
I have used all the above, plus spectra laminate (both North and DP cloth).

From a purely sailing perspective, forget longevity, the 3DLs are the best shape and shape holding (of the string sails). They are the only one laying the sails up on 3d molds into the actual flying shape. BUT . . . I don't know what your cruising plans are, but you DO NOT want to take 3dls into the tropics. They unfortunately use a thermoform adhesive (Which they did to avoid having to put expensive air extraction equipment in their Minden factory), which will soften when very hot. 3dl is actually considered obsolete in the North world.

From North, if you want the best of both worlds you can get it (for a bunch of money) with 3di. This is a non-laminated and non-string sail - made like a pre-preg hull is made. It simply cannot delaminate - it can break if you overload it, and it can in theory peel at the panel joins if there was a failure at the factory but this is very rare). For a cruiser I would get the volvo version (the 760 model line) which does not have carbon in it. It does not 'feel' very 'nice' - sort of like tarp material, but it is terrific sail cloth. The corners need to be done carefully for a cruising furling jib, because their normal procedure for racing jibs makes the corners stiff like boards. They can make them soft(er) but the need to know it should be done.

Excluding 3di I would pick FusionM slightly over tape drive, its a slightly newer and better technology both in laminating and in the strings themselves.

Personally I have just recently gone back to spectra laminate cloth rather than string sails. They are less expensive, have about 50% more (at least) durability, about the same shape holding capability (if the cloth is speced right), while they are heavier (about 15-30%?) depending again on the cloth weight speced) than string sails.
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Old 28-10-2012, 07:52   #11
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Re: New Sails

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I have used all the above, plus spectra laminate (both North and DP cloth).

From a purely sailing perspective, forget longevity, the 3DLs are the best shape and shape holding (of the string sails). They are the only one laying the sails up on 3d molds into the actual flying shape. BUT . . . I don't know what your cruising plans are, but you DO NOT want to take 3dls into the tropics. They unfortunately use a thermoform adhesive (Which they did to avoid having to put expensive air extraction equipment in their Minden factory), which will soften when very hot. 3dl is actually considered obsolete in the North world.

From North, if you want the best of both worlds you can get it (for a bunch of money) with 3di. This is a non-laminated and non-string sail - made like a pre-preg hull is made. It simply cannot delaminate - it can break if you overload it, and it can in theory peel at the panel joins if there was a failure at the factory but this is very rare). For a cruiser I would get the volvo version (the 760 model line) which does not have carbon in it. It does not 'feel' very 'nice' - sort of like tarp material, but it is terrific sail cloth. The corners need to be done carefully for a cruising furling jib, because their normal procedure for racing jibs makes the corners stiff like boards. They can make them soft(er) but the need to know it should be done.

Excluding 3di I would pick FusionM slightly over tape drive, its a slightly newer and better technology both in laminating and in the strings themselves.

Personally I have just recently gone back to spectra laminate cloth rather than string sails. They are less expensive, have about 50% more (at least) durability, about the same shape holding capability (if the cloth is speced right), while they are heavier (about 15-30%?) depending again on the cloth weight speced) than string sails.
Wow, you are a wealth of knowledge, as usual, Evans, thanks!

But now I'm thoroughly confused -- I though string sails were supposed to be less expensive and more durable than regular laminate sails -- and you're saying the other way around? Hmmm.
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Old 28-10-2012, 07:54   #12
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Re: New Sails

I just bought a CAL mainsail from Ullman. I also wanted something a step up from dacron. Ullman was cheaper than Island Planet and Ullman has lofts all over.
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Old 28-10-2012, 08:45   #13
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Re: New Sails

My boat came with a four-year old, UK tape drive genoa (built in 2003). I suspect this was an Aramid laminate from the yellowish color, but I'm not sure. It held it's shape beautifully until it didn't. While single-handing in 25+ knts I had a problem with the furler, and I made the mistake of heading up into the wind to drop it on deck. The 30-60 seconds of flogging blew the sail apart, with long horizontal tears along the panel seams.

At UK-Halsey's recommendation I replaced it with a 9.2 oz Dacron genny for general purpose cruising. It's been a great sail. However, I miss the beautiful shape of the laminate jib. At some point I'd like to upgrade to something like a UK tape drive genny with Spectra laminate. I'll stay with 9.8 oz Dacron for the 90% blade jib and the main. This seems like a reasonable compromise in performance and cost. Its the genny where I care most about weight (to facilitate headsail changes), and upwind shape. At least that's my present thinking.
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Old 28-10-2012, 08:53   #14
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Re: New Sails

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Originally Posted by witzgall View Post

Some lofts I know that use China Sails Factory are:

Neil Pryde
Ullman
Island Planet (online)

There are many more.
Indeed. Doyle, Elvstrom-Sobstad, UK-Halsey and Momentum to name a few. Others who have outsourced in order to save on labor costs are Quantum in RSA, North in Sri Lanka and Hyde in the Phillipines. Here's a link to an interesting article by Nigel Calder on the China Sail Factory:
http://www.leesails.ca/images/Sailsfromchina2.pdf
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Old 28-10-2012, 15:24   #15
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Re: New Sails

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Wow, you are a wealth of knowledge, as usual, Evans, thanks!

But now I'm thoroughly confused -- I though string sails were supposed to be less expensive and more durable than regular laminate sails -- and you're saying the other way around? Hmmm.
Strings, even with double taffeta, will definitely be less durable than equivalent DPI (denier per inch) spectra laminate. The strings themselves are strong and properly speced will not break, but that's not where string sails fail - the film fails between/around the strings - often on a 'flutter riser' down the leach or where they get crushed under the reef points

The spectra laminate sails I have had, have actually never failed at all - the shape has just degraded enough that I wanted new ones. That's primarily been caused by different distortion in transitions across different panels and around patches. In our latest sails, I worked very hard with the designer to make all the transitions very smooth to reduce this problem. This added weight but is worthwhile for me - usually the designers (And racing customers) prefer to reduce weight and cloth but at the expense of shape longevity.

As to cost . . . may be different in Europe, but here in the USA the strings are 'premium' to the paneled sails (even with spectra laminate). The amount of premium differs by loft - probably depending on what the labor rate is where the panels are put together.
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