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Old 16-08-2016, 18:08   #1
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New sails -- premium dacron versus tri-radial dacron

I’m in the process of buying new sails for our Reinke 13m which is configured as a cutter. I’ve been quoted similar prices for Tri-Radial with Challenge sailcloth’s Warp Drive fabric (Dacron for tri-radial construction), or cross-cut with Challenge sailcloth’s top end Dacron Marblehead.

Initially I was leaning towards the tri-radial option for improved sail shape (and tri-radials sure do look pretty!), however the sailmaker recommends the Marblehead cross-cut with two ply leech on the main and two ply leech and foot (Crescent cut) for the yankee jib & staysail.

These will be largely used for offshore cruising, frequently in heavy weather (25+knots common, 40+knots regularly) and all too often upwind. So although this isn’t for racing, upwind performance is still important to us, as is durability.

I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on this choice (tri-radial versus premium cross-cut) and if anyone has used Warp Drive tri-radials for extended periods.


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Old 16-08-2016, 19:16   #2
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Re: new sails -- premium dacron versus tri-radial dacron

The boat is a Reinke 13m (14m LOA), aluminium construction, weight 12t.

The main is 38m2, High cut jib 53m2, Staysail 19m2

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Old 17-08-2016, 00:13   #3
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Re: New sails -- premium dacron versus tri-radial dacron

I am surprised the prices are similar. Tri-radials typically have a large amount of waste in their construction. Personally I would go with the cross cut sails having had both.

While shape is better with tri-radial if you are unhappy with the shape of a tri-radial (not flat enough for instance) then re-cutting a cross cut sail is immensely easier than a tri-radial (fewer seams). One sail maker told me doing a tri-radial out of a purely dacron material is a joke because no cloth manufacturer has been able to construct a pure dacron cloth that can with stand the forces they must cope with including Dimension Polyant that manufactures a cloth they claim can. I should have listened to him.

If you are willing to spend the money for a more exotic cloth then that is a different story but the re-cutting issue remains.
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Old 17-08-2016, 00:51   #4
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Re: New sails -- premium dacron versus tri-radial dacron

We've had good service from Dolphin Sails in the UK. Give them a call or send an email and ask their opinion. They'll give you all the options and tell you approximately how long the sails will last.
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Old 17-08-2016, 03:08   #5
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Re: New sails -- premium dacron versus tri-radial dacron

May I just add my 2 cents worth.

My sails are slightly smaller area than yours.

I have a small auxiliary so do a LOT of sailing.

I got 6 years of life out of my first set and 5 years out of my second set.

Both were 9.4 oz mid range cross cut Dacron from a good Australian lofts.

It wasn't the shape or wear that killed them it was UV damage. Got to the stage were they ripped with handling. They were always covered when not in use.

With the current set I have gone for premium contender 12.46 oz crosscut Dacron for very little extra cost in the hope they will last longer. Hopefully the heavier fibres will take longer to decay.

So far they are living up to expectations.

I'm sure some clown will point out that for a lighter weight cloth and a tri radial Dacron cut you can get a more performance orientated sail, but this all pales into insignificance when one mounts a bloody great radar reflector , wind generator, and radar aloft, Not to mention all that heavy cruising necessities you are lugging around.
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Old 17-08-2016, 03:44   #6
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Re: New sails -- premium dacron versus tri-radial dacron

What sort of performance benefits are promised with different materials and cuts? And service life too? Point above is well taken if you factor in all the cruising gear carried... which might negate the benefits... maybe.
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Old 17-08-2016, 09:52   #7
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Re: New sails -- premium dacron versus tri-radial dacron

The Challenge Warp Drive dacron and the Marblehead dacrons are both good options. In the triradial Warp Drive, you would have better fiber aliment so, probably a longer performance life. There are two versions of the Warp Drive dacrons, a race and a cruise version. The "Race" version has larger warp fibers and smaller fill yarns. This offers less stretch but, the small fill yarns will break down sooner with UV exposure. Best to make sure you go with the cruise version if cruising in high UV exposure areas.
The Marble head cloths are about the best dacron you can get. These styles have a very tight weave and use the high modulus fiber 104.
The prices are usually similar between these two options, the Marblehead dacrons cost more per yard than the Warp Drive but, the radial cuts have more waste and seaming labor.
We have been making mutlihull mainsails with the Warp Drive dacrons as a low cost option to laminates but, upgrade from the cross cut dacron sails with extra leech plys.
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Old 17-08-2016, 09:55   #8
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Re: New sails -- premium dacron versus tri-radial dacron

We are in year 9 with a Doyle Spectra 110% genoa and it still has good strength and shape. On third suncover and blew the clew out last summer as the webbing had been exposed to the sun and deteriorated. It had 5 years of 6 month use, 2 of 8 month use and 1 of 12 month use.

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