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Old 03-10-2014, 15:42   #1
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New Sails! Advice Needed.

I'm finally going to order new sails. Oh, happy day!

Sails of the size required for my boat don't work all that well in Dacron because of the big forces exerted on the large areas. So I have more or less settled on a carbon/vectran membrane with taffeta on on both sides -- basically a string sail with taffeta.

Due to a great tip received offline from a CF member, I have found a local sailmaker who can supply this at about half the cost of what has been quoted to me by North and Doyle. The sailmaker -- owner of the loft -- will come over on Monday to discuss the details and measure my boat.

Now I need to be sure to ask the right questions, and to ask for a quote for the right details. Here is what I have in mind:

1. For the mainsail -- I have Selden in-mast furling -- I figure short vertical battens not sufficient for positive roach, but enough to avoid a hollow leech. The longer battens seem to be too risky -- jamming risk.

2. Dyneema leech line.

3. UV protection of the clew area.

4. For the yankee -- what about battens? Does it make any sense to have battens in the main headsail?

5. Am I wrong to not order a staysail with the new main and yankee? The existing staysail is made of extra-heavy Dacron so that it can be used as a storm jib, and it's in fine shape. I guess it will look somewhat odd flying with the gorgeous carbon sails, but other than aesthetics, why should I replace it? Is there any good reason?

6. Leech and foot lines in the yankee.

7. Sun protection -- UV strip -- on both sides of the leech area. From Sunbrella? What's the best material for this?

8. Luff pads and reef marks.


And the hardest question: I want to order a good downwind sail at the same time, from the same maker. What do I want? A Code 0? An assymetrical? The purpose being light wind and downwind work -- and I realize I will need some kind of sprit and other gear for it.


This is what the sailmaker wrote to me, in response to a number of queries:

" Every one of our Membrane sails is custom made and the process starts with our designer.

1) Information about the yacht is loaded into the computer. This detail includes rig height, spreader position and length, shroud bases, track positions, mast bend, forestay sag, deck height above the water etc. With this information our designer is able to create the required sail by "building it" on the screen. This is achieved by previously acquired knowledge of the optimum: camber, twist, camber position, entry angle, exit angle etc.


2) Once the sail has been designed it is transported into another section of the computer which calculates the loads within the sail. Once the loads (and the direction of them) are known the designer can then specify the yarn to be used and knowledge of the modular strength of this particular yarn will dictate the denier required to counter the loads. Therefore a sail made from Dacron will need a much higher denier of yarns than that made of Carbon fibre making it far heavier. The selected yarn will then be laid onto the design in the correct formation to align them with the loads in the sail.


3) This sail design plus the "yarn map" is then sent to a laminator.
Unfortunately there are no laminators in the UK therefore we have to use companies either in Italy, France, Germany, USA or South Africa; as we are totally independent we can use however does the best job. There are companies in China and the Philippines but we never use these.


4) Once the panels have been laminated they are sent back to us to be joined and the sail completed. Grand Prix race sails are made from laminates without taffeta to make them as light as possible; these sails are glued together. When more durability is required we add taffeta to the outside of the panels (either one side or both sides) gluing alone is not strong enough to join these panels therefore they are stitched as well.


5) A lot of other sailmakers get their sails made in their entirety in other countries; we do not do this. All of our sails are designed in house and the only process that is carried out abroad is the laminating of the panels; this gives us total control over our product."


I thought this sounded fairly logical.

What else should I be thinking about???
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Old 03-10-2014, 15:57   #2
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

A couple of brief comments. First, a code zero is more of a reaching sail. Perhaps a gennaker that can be roller furled might be more of your liking. Ultimately, your downwind options are sort of governed by how much you are willing to put up with in terms of workload. Symmetric spinnakers are sort of the undisputed kings of down wind angles but can be a handful to set, douse and fly in a boat that is your size. A good chat with your sailmaker about your tolerances for work related to using the sail is probably necessary to flush out what is right for you.

Second is that you sacrifice some sail life with many of the laminate sail materials. There is also the mildew issue unless you are using them all the time or are storing them dry. You might look into hydranet sails as an option. The material is woven like Dacron but has vastly better stretch performance and claims to have good longevity.


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Old 03-10-2014, 17:39   #3
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

G'Day DH,

Your sailmaker knows far more about all of these queries than I (or most other CFers) do, so I won't add to the BS by pontificating.

Only comments:

5. If the staysail's shape is satisfactory for stiff upwind conditions (what you were complaining about earlier this year), I would save the money for now. If the shape is at all compromised, it ain't gonna get better... I think you know that... and you won't be happy with it, especially when you compare its shape with your beaut new main and yankee. You might want to let the sailmaker have a look at the existing sail for evaluation.

7. I've never heard of using sun protection on both sides of a headsail. What is the advantage of this? Seems to me that the considerable added weight on the leech is not a good thing at all.

All in all, it sounds exciting. We couldn't face the longevity vs cost issues that have plagued laminate sails when we were specing our new main and opted for Hydranet. We're quite happy with it, but can understand your decision to go with laminates. Our usage patterns are not so similar...

Will you share the name of your sailmaker? We were very happy with our choice, Steve Walker in Tasmania. He's a small independent loft, but with all the normal hi-tech software and cutting gear. Not cheap, but lots of interaction in the planning stages and none of the " we know best what you want, so shut up and sign the check" attitude we encountered with some of the big name lofts!

I bet you are getting excited about the first sail with the new sails... I would be!

Jim
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Old 03-10-2014, 17:44   #4
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

Do you understand that carbon sails have very low durability ? They are designed to favour performance

You can expect carbon jibs to last about 3 years and mains about 5.
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Old 03-10-2014, 19:06   #5
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

It sounds like your sailmaker has the material in hand, so I won't comment there. But please don't get a code zero. C0's are designed for upwind work, and require very high halyard loads strong bowsprits, and even on a beam reach start to flag.

Even the deepest reaching code sail (a code 3) is only good to about 90 degrees apparent at which point it's time to switch over to something else. For off wind work I would recommend what North calls a G3. It's a deep reaching genniker that is much flatter than a true runner, but still has enough of a shoulder to dig down to 150 degrees or so in 15kn.

To go any deeper with an asym you really need to go to a racing sail like an A2 which while great sails require constant attention and can be a lot of work to keep full. To be effective this far off the wind an asym has to be cut highly unstable, which is fine for a racing boat, but is terrible for a cruiser.
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:19   #6
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
It sounds like your sailmaker has the material in hand, so I won't comment there. But please don't get a code zero. C0's are designed for upwind work, and require very high halyard loads strong bowsprits, and even on a beam reach start to flag.

Even the deepest reaching code sail (a code 3) is only good to about 90 degrees apparent at which point it's time to switch over to something else. For off wind work I would recommend what North calls a G3. It's a deep reaching genniker that is much flatter than a true runner, but still has enough of a shoulder to dig down to 150 degrees or so in 15kn.

To go any deeper with an asym you really need to go to a racing sail like an A2 which while great sails require constant attention and can be a lot of work to keep full. To be effective this far off the wind an asym has to be cut highly unstable, which is fine for a racing boat, but is terrible for a cruiser.
Thanks very much; very useful information.

I have a choice of materials, so comments are welcome there. The other contender is a more conventional tri-radial cruising laminate with carbon and technora. This is also a mylar membrane but with carbon/technora cloth, instead of load path strings. The price is about the same, but the string sail is lighter and stronger. This is the material used by another CF'er on an even larger boat than mine, and he is very pleased with it. But I am interested in informed comments.

As to off-wind sails -- this is getting to be a broader question. An assymetrical which works only to about 150 degrees doesn't really add anything to what I can do with the white sails, in terms of sailing angle. I don't even have to wing the main to sail at 150 degrees, so this is really just making it possible to sail at deepish angles in lighter wind without motorsailing. I guess that is a noble goal, but is this really all that can be achieved? What if I use a pole?

And what about battens in the yankee, and other features I should be thinking about in the white sails?
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:25   #7
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

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Originally Posted by savoir View Post
Do you understand that carbon sails have very low durability ? They are designed to favour performance

You can expect carbon jibs to last about 3 years and mains about 5.
This is obsolete information. The new carbon fibers for sails are far more durable -- a bit less modulus, unfortunately, but far more durable.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:14   #8
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

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7. Sun protection -- UV strip -- on both sides of the leech area. From Sunbrella? What's the best material for this?
A sacrificial strip is generally only needed for UV protection when the sail is furled, so it is only required on one side.

As far a I am aware, Sunbrella Plus offers the highest UV protection. The drawback is that it is heavy.

Make sure the sacrificial strip is sewn with PTFE thread such as Tenara or Helios. This saves a lot of headaches and expense later.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:43   #9
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
This is obsolete information. The new carbon fibers for sails are far more durable -- a bit less modulus, unfortunately, but far more durable.

All the sailmakers tell you that.

A fibre made of carbon snaps sooner and more easily than Dacron and that's all there is to it. A carbon jib will snap a few fibres every time the jib hits the mast or flogs. You will start noticing the differences in performance around the end of year two. The taffeta on the outside of the laminate will protect the mylar but not the carbon. Assuming that high tech cloth is the way to go then this stuff will do the job well and last longer.
http://www.dimension-polyant.com/en/pdf/DP_DYS_E.pdf

Here is an excellent asymmetric spinnaker cloth
http://www.challengesailcloth.com/nylon/fibermax.pdf
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:49   #10
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

If he's using an electric or hydraulic furling system, the sailmaker will put the UV strip on both sides since the sail can be furled in either direction.

We currently have Doyle sails, but when the need arises, I'll probably look at the latest stuff coming out of China after a few friends report back on quality. At only 1/4 the price, it's hard not to take a look especially if the material/fabric is the same.
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:04   #11
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

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If he's using an electric or hydraulic furling system, the sailmaker will put the UV strip on both sides since the sail can be furled in either direction.

We currently have Doyle sails, but when the need arises, I'll probably look at the latest stuff coming out of China after a few friends report back on quality. At only 1/4 the price, it's hard not to take a look especially if the material/fabric is the same.
Sources for Chinese sails?

I hadn't thought of the furling question -- mine furl only one way so I guess I only need one side -- duh!
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:18   #12
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

Dockhead

I can't comment on the choice of material - there are so many others on this board that know infinitely more than me.

We fly a gennaker when going downwind. It takes care of itself to around 155-160 degrees, to go further than that (which we do not often do, preferring to gybe our way downwind which is usually faster anyway), then we pole out and rig barber hauls to hold the leech down.

Obviously this becomes more work since you have to keep your eye on the sail all the itme. It also requires the helmsman to be awake and activeyl steering.

holding 15-160 and gybing your way downwind is considerably faster than just running with the wind straight up you buns.
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:34   #13
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

Keep in mind that sails are rated by aparent wind speed and angle. So a sail cut to 150 apparent is a very deep cut sail. Even a symmetrical chute is really only cut to 160 aparent or so until you get to above 30kn apparent wind speed, at which point most cruisers should be getting it down anyway.

Wing and wing is almost never the fastest way to go downwind. Jibeing is almost always faster and safer.
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:57   #14
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

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Keep in mind that sails are rated by aparent wind speed and angle. So a sail cut to 150 apparent is a very deep cut sail. Even a symmetrical chute is really only cut to 160 aparent or so until you get to above 30kn apparent wind speed, at which point most cruisers should be getting it down anyway.

Wing and wing is almost never the fastest way to go downwind. Jibeing is almost always faster and safer.
The problem I guess is how much wind you need to move at a reasonable speed at these angles, so I guess a big sail which allows us to sail at lower wind speeds is the ticket, even if it can't be used all that deep.

With all white sails, we just put on the motor if there's not enough wind to drive the boat. I guess that's not the end of the world. Motor-sailing downwind in light wind is pleasant enough. But still, an assymetrical which increases the feasible wind range would probably be a good thing.

You didn't comment on the effect of using a pole.
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Old 04-10-2014, 11:17   #15
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Re: New Sails! Advice Needed.

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Sources for Chinese sails?
I sent you an email with the contact information.

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