Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 12-09-2014, 04:53   #1
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,750
Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

It's time to raise this question yet again as I have blown out my yankee jib, irreparably, and need to order new sails without further delay.

My boat is a Moody 54, 54 feet on deck and 25 tons loaded. Bulb keel and pretty high performance for a cruiser -- D/L of about 200, and conservative SA/D of 16.5. I sail year around in a lot of strong weather (English Channel, Bay of Biscay, North Sea), and can't avoid sailing upwind (no "gentleman", I guess"), so upwind performance is of crucial importance to me.

I have pretty much ruled out normal Dacron sails, as they are immensely heavy in this size, and without being too heavy to even raise at all, they can't cope with the forces involved without bagging out. I'm well tired of trying to claw upwind with bagged out sails and ready for something completely different.

One of the best things I've read and reread 50 times about sails is on our own Evans Starzinger's site: Sails. He writes so persuasively that I am inclined to take this as gospel, including points like Hydranet and similar woven Dyneema sails being of no benefit compared to regular Dacron.

But sail technology advances every year, and Evans wrote this some time ago. Are there some new ideas worth considering? Is it the consensus that Hydranet-type sails are of little benefit on boats like mine? (I just got a message offline from someone who, on the contrary, recommends them).

Is the North 3DL type sail still considered the touchstone? What about 3Di?

I see more and more carbon sails on cruising boats -- is there something new there?


And the last question: What about vertical battens for in-mast furling sails? I have read highly conflicting ideas about these. Some people swear that they make a magical transformation in the shape of an in-mast furling main. Others say they are the devils own work and cause horrible jams. What is the truth?
__________________

__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 05:04   #2
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,750
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Reading this, by the way, was quite depressing:

"*Footnote: there is a simple reason that cruisers don't plan to sail to windward. It is that the typical cruising boat, loaded down with cruising gear, with a slightly foul bottom and slightly used sails (still in good but not absolutely perfect shape) is very very slow to windward. It's usually much more enjoyable to sail somewhere else on a reach or wait for the wind direction to change. Just for example, a typical 40' cruising boat, in 15kts of true wind, will sail upwind at about 6 kts at about 35 degrees to the apparent wind in flat coastal water (and make 3 degrees of leeway) and about 5kts at about 40 degrees in open ocean wavy passage-making (with 4 degrees of leeway). This produces true tacking angles (including leeway) of 103 degrees in flat water and 113 in ocean water, and 90 miles made good per day in flat water and 66 miles in ocean water. That's for a typical boat and by no means the worst case. That makes upwind passages pretty painful and 'higher performance' sails (with the same amount of wear/usage on them) will not change this much - in the best case they will add perhaps 4-5 miles/day made good. Even Hawk, which has been carefully designed and fit out to be a good windward boat, and is very good by cruising boat standards, will make only 126 miles/day vmg in flat water (82 degrees tacking angle) and 109 in ocean waves (91 degree tacking angle) dead upwind."

Sails

My goal is to be able to make 5 knots good dead upwind in 12 to say 20 knots of true wind, which would require something like 7 knots of boat speed and a net tacking angle (difference between COG on either tack) of something less than 100 degrees.

Is it possible? The polars for my boat suggest that it must be; they suggest 8 knots of boat speed at 40 degrees to the true wind in 15 knots true. I have never been able to get close to the performance shown in my polars when sailing upwind, although anywhere off the wind my polars are dead on. Is the difference my bagged-out sails? Or is it as Evans says:

". . . 'higher performance' sails (with the same amount of wear/usage on them) will not change this much - in the best case they will add perhaps 4-5 miles/day made good."

That's a crucial point. If it's really like that, then there is really hardly any point to "higher performance" sails, is there?
__________________

__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 07:23   #3
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 3,750
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Dock . . . . I have not reread what I wrote of sailcoth for a long time, but I thought that I had said that there was a size/load breakpoint where dacron stops making as much sense (for cruising) . . . . generally about when you might start to need two plys of dacron in the main leach or the dacron sails get too heavy to manhandle (not so much of an issue with you all furling).

It also depends on your keel/rudder and sailing skill, whether you will actually be able to get benefit from the 'lower stretch' nature of laminates.

I have always considered Hawk too loaded for dacron, and we have always had laminates. We have tried a quite wide variety of cloth by now and I consider a dyneema laminate to be the 'sweet spot' in terms of price/durability/performance.

3dl are very nice in colder climates, but not in warmer climates - you are sort of in the middle ground in that regard. But North considers them pretty much obsolete (unless you seen a particularly light sail) and has 'switched to 3di. 3di's are heavier but much more durable, and also much more expensive - ridiculously expensive the last time I looked. The last time I bought sails Tom Widden (North's chairman) said he though 3di's made little sense for a cruising boat, even a 'high performance' one like hawk.

Every other loft has their own string sail, but they will all be less durable than a good dyneema laminate, and while they look very pretty when set I doubt you will see any actual numeric performance improvement.

Hydranet has very vocal supporters and detractors. We have never had one ourselves but all our friends who have have liked it, but looking at the stretch numbers - it is essential an 'up-rated' woven Dacron sail.
__________________
estarzinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 07:32   #4
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 3,750
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

"The polars for my boat suggest that it must be; they suggest 8 knots of boat speed at 40 degrees to the true wind in 15 knot"

40 to the true wind is pure dream land. You will never get there. 50 to the true wind is a more realistic target.

7 kts of boat speed, with 15 kts of true wind at 50 degrees true wind angle gives you 4.5kts VMG WITHOUT any leeway (so its going to be worse than this) and 20kts of apparent wind at 35 degrees apparent angle (which is usually 'close hauled' for a good cruising boat).
__________________
estarzinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 07:41   #5
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
This produces true tacking angles (including leeway) of 103 degrees in flat water and 113 in ocean water, and 90 miles made good per day in flat water and 66 miles in ocean water.
Well, crapo.

My upwind for 1,300 nms took 14 days (or was it 1,400 in 13 days?) and the 1,600 up the Red Sea, we were making about 100 nms per day. (Edit, that maybe with retrospective rose coloured galsses because we had current against us in the Red Sea, maybe we only got 66 miles VMG...)

Off the wind in these conditions I would be expecting 140nms not pushed too hard.

I guestimate the whole circumnavigation I averaged 136 nms per day. Best day about 176 nms, and 'normal' max 156 nms.

So with your longer waterline you should be doing much better.

I think the cloth depends on how many miles you wish to do per year. If you are doing long range with 5,000 to 10,000 per year you might need Dacron, or a very expensive new fabric.

I havent read Evan's post yet, but I do remember their advertising some sail cloth that was getting them 40,000 miles... but at what cost? Dacron should last that long too, or longer.


Mark
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 07:54   #6
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 3,750
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
the 1,600 up the Red Sea,
as a bit of an aside . . . Mark, the red sea is only 1,040 miles long. You may well have sailed 1,600nm by your log, but that is not the distance made good - if you did then your tacking angles was 49.5 degrees, just exactly what I suggested in my post above was realistic.

And usually the first part of the red sea has just a bit of favorable winds.
__________________
estarzinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 07:56   #7
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,750
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Dock . . . . I have not reread what I wrote of sailcoth for a long time, but I thought that I had said that there was a size/load breakpoint where dacron stops making as much sense (for cruising) . . . . generally about when you might start to need two plys of dacron in the main leach or the dacron sails get too heavy to manhandle (not so much of an issue with you all furling).

It also depends on your keel/rudder and sailing skill, whether you will actually be able to get benefit from the 'lower stretch' nature of laminates.

I have always considered Hawk too loaded for dacron, and we have always had laminates. We have tried a quite wide variety of cloth by now and I consider a dyneema laminate to be the 'sweet spot' in terms of price/durability/performance.

3dl are very nice in colder climates, but not in warmer climates - you are sort of in the middle ground in that regard. But North considers them pretty much obsolete (unless you seen a particularly light sail) and has 'switched to 3di. 3di's are heavier but much more durable, and also much more expensive - ridiculously expensive the last time I looked. The last time I bought sails Tom Widden (North's chairman) said he though 3di's made little sense for a cruising boat, even a 'high performance' one like hawk.

Every other loft has their own string sail, but they will all be less durable than a good dyneema laminate, and while they look very pretty when set I doubt you will see any actual numeric performance improvement.

Hydranet has very vocal supporters and detractors. We have never had one ourselves but all our friends who have have liked it, but looking at the stretch numbers - it is essential an 'up-rated' woven Dacron sail.
Thanks; extremely helpful.

What do you think about the 3DL Marathon? That was what North were proposing to me, albeit at huge cost (about $50,000).
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 08:05   #8
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,750
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
"The polars for my boat suggest that it must be; they suggest 8 knots of boat speed at 40 degrees to the true wind in 15 knot"

40 to the true wind is pure dream land. You will never get there. 50 to the true wind is a more realistic target.

7 kts of boat speed, with 15 kts of true wind at 50 degrees true wind angle gives you 4.5kts VMG WITHOUT any leeway (so its going to be worse than this) and 20kts of apparent wind at 35 degrees apparent angle (which is usually 'close hauled' for a good cruising boat).
With my present sails, bagged-out Dacron, I get optimum VMG to windward at 37 degrees to the apparent wind in good conditions. With 15 knots of true wind, and a cleanish bottom, I get 7 to 7.5 knots of boat speed on this point of sail. That gives me a tacking angle (difference between COG, so including leeway and everything) of something more than 100 degrees, but usually less than 110.

I am really hoping to get that angle down to less than 100 degrees and the boat speed up a half a knot, and I think I might crack 5 knots VMG.

My boat has a bulb keel, semi-balanced rudder, and efficient underbody. Waterline is 47 feet. D/L is about 200 -- so she is very light and strong with fully cored Kevlar hull. The rig is stall -- 23 meters air draft. I have a very good rig with very good sail controls -- towed jib cars, wide range traveller, boom end-sheeted, 8 cockpit winches, etc., etc.. I am thinking that surely I will get a very noticeable improvement in performance with decent sails.
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 08:12   #9
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 3,750
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Thanks; extremely helpful.

What do you think about the 3DL Marathon? That was what North were proposing to me, albeit at huge cost (about $50,000).
3dl marathon is exactly what we had - two suits of it. They are terrific sails in all regards except durability/cost. There are two failure modes for these sails:

- in hot and moist weather they can delaminate when highly loaded. That's how all our jibs went. For various technical reasons (which I can explain in great detail if you really want to know) North's 3dl laminating glue is more vulnerable to delaminating than anyone else's (other brands of string sails are more 'brittle', which leads to other failure modes, but less prone to delaminating).

- And the mylar is vulnerable to crushing and rubbing. We had one main come apart where it was repeadily crushed under the reef crew lines (that's the main we used in chile) and another where it was rubbing against the lazy jacks (on a long passage to Hawaii when the main was double reefed quite a bit). This is common to all the brands of string sails. The 'marathon' taffeta's help protect the mylar but still it is much more vulnerable than the 'rolled goods spectra laminates'.

I happen to know that North Europe hates making the spectra laminate triradials that I think are the sweet spot because they are labor intensive and the European labor rate is high. 3dl's for you would probably be made at the North plant in Menden Nevada (although they might be made in sri lanka, but they are big for that facility) where the labor rate is lower.

We loved the 3dl's, but I did not pay retail for them, and would not.
__________________
estarzinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 08:46   #10
Resin Head
 
minaret's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Seattle WA
Boat: Nauticat
Posts: 7,201
Images: 52
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Dockhead, just want to take a second to remind you of something I mentioned to you before. You have in mast furling I believe? I recently had a new suit built by some extremely reputable sail makers, designed just for my furling rig. A key point they wanted to address in design was sail stretch, which they explained is a problem made much worse by roller furling. This is because as soon as you partially furl the main, the luff is rolled onto the furler and can no longer prevent vertical stretch. As a result, they built "reef points" into my furling main. These are sort of like a false luff. Each is marked, so that one furls to the mark. This will dramatically reduce the length of time it takes to blow out a furling sail. They did the same on my genoa, with a foam luff too. This makes it trim much better when partially furled, and once again makes for a much longer lasting furled sail. This is the one true drawback of a roller furling main, IMO. They blow out much faster, and require replacing quite a bit more frequently. But, they are also much cheaper than a traditional main. Vertical battens are a nightmare. As I've said before, if you must have an in mast furling main with roach, look at AirBattens.
__________________
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,

Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
minaret is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 09:06   #11
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,750
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
3dl marathon is exactly what we had - two suits of it. They are terrific sails in all regards except durability/cost. There are two failure modes for these sails:

- in hot and moist weather they can delaminate when highly loaded. That's how all our jibs went. For various technical reasons (which I can explain in great detail if you really want to know) North's 3dl laminating glue is more vulnerable to delaminating than anyone else's (other brands of string sails are more 'brittle', which leads to other failure modes, but less prone to delaminating).

- And the mylar is vulnerable to crushing and rubbing. We had one main come apart where it was repeadily crushed under the reef crew lines (that's the main we used in chile) and another where it was rubbing against the lazy jacks (on a long passage to Hawaii when the main was double reefed quite a bit). This is common to all the brands of string sails. The 'marathon' taffeta's help protect the mylar but still it is much more vulnerable than the 'rolled goods spectra laminates'.

I happen to know that North Europe hates making the spectra laminate triradials that I think are the sweet spot because they are labor intensive and the European labor rate is high. 3dl's for you would probably be made at the North plant in Menden Nevada (although they might be made in sri lanka, but they are big for that facility) where the labor rate is lower.

We loved the 3dl's, but I did not pay retail for them, and would not.
As usual, a wealth of extremely useful information -- thanks.

Hmm, well then, they might work better with in-mast furling, then mightn't they? Because there is much less chafe and no crushing. No lazy jacks or reef lines.

I am guessing the the North sail is going to be much more expensive than other variants -- I doubt if there is all that much slack in those numbers. I just got a hot tip from someone off line who bought carbon/vectran sails for a much bigger boat for 22,000 pounds and is very happy with them. I have contacted the loft, which is not far from here.

We'll see what they come up with.
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 09:50   #12
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Mark, the red sea is only 1,040 miles long. You may well have sailed 1,600nm by your log, but that is not the distance made good - if you did then your tacking angles was 49.5 degrees, just exactly what I suggested in my post above was realistic.
I need to dramatise a bit

I think your tacking angles are realistic. Its certainly less fun going uphill for days on end, but too many think its impossible to handle. Its not that bad, as you know, its just a matter of plugging away at it.

The first, souther part was favourable, it changed to northerlies in the most southern place the pilot charts said it could... And the wind was quite light 15 kts, but those who spent another month in the south then had a much heavier slog up wind into 30 kts. Again, timing is important.

That was the last adventure for that mainsail. It was old and bulgy like a fat man. It blew out on the crossing to Turkey in 40 knots. I had my brand new one below. I had decided not to use the new one up the Red Sea even though it would have been much better... Sort of a trade off... Who wants to bugger up a new sail on that leg?



Point is not to fear the work to windward
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 10:40   #13
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Cat Island, Bahamas
Boat: Fountaine Pajot Belize 43 catamaran
Posts: 132
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

We have used many of these materials for large sails like this. We have had some issues with Spectra laminates delaminating. I feel this is in part because of the "creep" issue with the Spectra fibers in the high load areas. Once the leech grows in length from this, the bonds are broken with the interior films. Better choices on the cruise laminates is the Carbon cruise. This is about the same price as cruise Spectra or Hydra Net but, the Carbon yarns stretch very little and are not affected by UV as much as other fibers.
Hydra Net is great cloth as well as the new Fibercon Pro Hybrid from Contender Sailcloth. Both have Dyneema fibers in the warp and Fibercon has Dyneema in the fill as well. In triradial cuts, both these materials will give good performance, and durability. We build a continuous fiber Load Path sail in house in Florida. Even though we have a very long lasting construction with these, I would not recommend this for large offshore sails.
We have been using some of the latest warp dacron, in triradial cuts,for mid size catamaran sails but, jury is still out on the performance life on these.
__________________
davecalvert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2014, 20:47   #14
Senior Cruiser
 
AussieWayne's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Hope Island, Gold Coast, Queensland
Posts: 191
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Hi Dave
So if you were going to sail that cat of yours around the world would you choose the Hydra Net or the Contender Fibercon Pro Hybrid or one of the Carbon Cruise laminates. Taking into consideration durability, shape holding, ease of handling, weight and of course cost which would you choose for your boat and why?
AussieWayne
__________________
AussieWayne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-09-2014, 06:23   #15
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Cat Island, Bahamas
Boat: Fountaine Pajot Belize 43 catamaran
Posts: 132
Re: Optimum Sail Material for Large Performance Cruiser, Chapter 12

Hi AussieWayne,
Good question, all three options, Hydra Net, Fibercon Pro, and Carbon cruise, would be of similar weight. The price of these would be simular as well with the Fibercon Pro slightly less (15% on the material cost) The cruise laminates, in general, have some mildew issues in the tropics. The Carbon cruise would have the lowest stretch by far and would make a great sail that would hold it's designed shape the life of the material. The two Dyneema woven materials would give the longest material life but, would stretch some in time, loosing a slight edge upwind. But, as a circumnavigation would be mostly off the wind, I would probably go with one of the woven Dyneema cloths. These would be best for chaff and UV resistance.
__________________

__________________
davecalvert is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cruise, cruiser, sail

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sail Inventory for a Large Cruiser Dockhead Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 24 09-11-2012 01:24
Sea of Cortez: Cruiser's Guidebook free chapter Om Shanti Commercial Posts 0 21-10-2011 17:48
New chapter in our lives bayoubouy General Sailing Forum 3 18-04-2008 06:26
brand new and about to start the next chapter peter d christensen Meets & Greets 7 12-03-2007 04:14
Another Sad Chapter for the Stuemer Family Knottygirlz Cruising News & Events 5 16-08-2006 09:07



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 00:10.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.