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Old 08-09-2014, 06:14   #1
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Sail Advice Needed Urgently

I shredded my yankee jib in a storm in the middle of the Baltic at night a few weeks ago. The sailmaker has just confirmed that it is not economical to repair it. So I will be having new sails made this winter in any case.

Meanwhile I have to decide what to do about a shorter-term solution. I had ordered a supposedly lightly-used blade jib for delivery to me in Germany before my North Sea crossing, but the utter w*nkers of a used sail dealer (Exchangesails of Torquay, supposedly the UK's largest) sent me the wrong sail, delivered to the wrong address, etc., etc.

Now I am back in the UK, and the used sail dealer is suggesting a different sail from the one I bought. It has a foot length of 5.98 meters, slightly longer than my "J" dimension of 5.92 meters, and the clew will be 1.5 meters above the deck according to the dealer. He recommends it as a better solution as it is Condition 9 (the sail I bought now turns out to be Condition 7, although it was sold to me as Condition 8 ).

The sail I ordered had a foot of about 5 meters, so it was a true blade jib. I had planned to sheet it to the self-tacking track used by my staysail, with additional barber hauling as necessary to shape it.

The proposed alternative sail is very slightly overlapping, so I won't be able to sheet it that way. But it is quite a bit less area than the standard yankee jib, so still useful for heavy weather or beating upwind.

One part of me thinks I need to get my money back and cut ties to this obviously unreliable company. On the other hand, I need a solution soon or I will miss the whole autumn season of sailing. I won't have my new sails finished until next spring for sure. I am a little skeptical about the original sail which is now suddenly a Condition 7, although that would be the right type of sail -- a true blade -- which I would be happy to have in my sail inventory even after receiving the new laminate sails I will have made over the winter.

Anyone offer any wisdom? Does the slightly overlapping clew negate the advantage of the higher condition of the proposed alternative sail?
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:44   #2
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

You always have the most interesting quandaries. You mentioned wanting a blade earlier in the summer. If the one being offered is not too UV damaged to be repaired in the future you ought to get it. You can use it this fall and get it reconditioned as a spare over the winter.
I am going to try an experiment this winter. I would like to get a lower aspect ratio jib for my inner forestay fore use when conditions forbid using the main. The mizzen and Yankee combination works well but I think I could get more power from the fore triangle with a larger low aspect sail. Its all about making power without to much heel and hull shape drag.
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:55   #3
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

Dock,

Can't you just get your new laminate sail moved forward? My impression is the European sail making business is pretty slow. They should be able to build you a jib in 3 weeks (or less).

As to your direct question - is the used condition 9 sail really inexpensive (here in the US used sails, even 'unused ones' are usually extremely inexpensive)? If so, and if you are pretty sure it will sheet correctly (a key question) . . . . they why not give it a try?

When we first got Hawk we stocked up on about a half dozen used (but 'unused') head sails, just to try out various things and see what we liked and worked in terms of area and shape. They were inexpensive and we learned a bunch and a few we kept and used for years.
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:55   #4
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

Or they offer something which has a luff 1.4 meters too short, but with the right foot.

So here's a question: How do you use a sail which is not a full hoist? If I could leave the gap at the top, this wouldn't be bad. But is it not true that this will cause furling problems? If the gap is at the bottom, then it's not so nice.
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:59   #5
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

1.4m short will "probably" not cause a halyard wrapping problem.

If it does there are a couple ways to avoid it. The easiest is to add a section of dyneema sewn into a piece of bolt rope and add this (you can just lash it with some dyneema cord) to the head of the sail. That will make the halyard 'think' the sail is full hoist.
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:19   #6
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
1.4m short will "probably" not cause a halyard wrapping problem.

If it does there are a couple ways to avoid it. The easiest is to add a section of dyneema sewn into a piece of bolt rope and add this (you can just lash it with some dyneema cord) to the head of the sail. That will make the halyard 'think' the sail is full hoist.
Hmm, ok, then maybe this is a good choice. Thanks.

The idea is that whatever sail I buy now should stay in the inventory for sailing upwind in stronger conditions -- a very common situation in these parts.

I have a gap between 20 to 22 knots of wind where the normal yankee jib is good without reefing, and 30 knots of wind where I can sail efficiently on staysail and reefed main alone.

If I have to get upwind in 25 knots of wind it can be really tough, because I need as much power as possible to punch through the seas; yet I can't carry the unreefed yankee. I lose a lot of pointing ability when I reef the yankee.

The idea is that a blade jib would be just right for this work -- with the short foot, I can sheet it inside the shrouds and gain a lot of AWA. If the sail is not quite full hoist, then maybe so much the better. What do you think?
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:21   #7
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

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Originally Posted by IdoraKeeper View Post
. . . Its all about making power without to much heel and hull shape drag.
Exactly!!
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:27   #8
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Dock,

Can't you just get your new laminate sail moved forward? My impression is the European sail making business is pretty slow. They should be able to build you a jib in 3 weeks (or less).

As to your direct question - is the used condition 9 sail really inexpensive (here in the US used sails, even 'unused ones' are usually extremely inexpensive)? If so, and if you are pretty sure it will sheet correctly (a key question) . . . . they why not give it a try?

When we first got Hawk we stocked up on about a half dozen used (but 'unused') head sails, just to try out various things and see what we liked and worked in terms of area and shape. They were inexpensive and we learned a bunch and a few we kept and used for years.
Well, first of all, it can't be done in 3 weeks, because you have to have an appoint for them to come and measure the sail, then when it's made, more fitting, etc. Plus I have to get various bids and decide on who to commission them from, decide on the right materials, etc., etc. A fairly complicated process. But the main problem is I simply don't have the money -- I am going to have to liquidate assets -- sell a much-loved old 2.2 liter Porsche 911S I have owned for 25 years -- to pay for the new set of sails, which will cost more than $50,000, apparently.

And yes, used sails are a dime a dozen, all 1000 pounds or less each including cost of alternations. I guess they are 10% or less than the new price, even in "as new" condition. So I have found the same as you -- little to lose with used sails.
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:54   #9
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

Quote:
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Well, first of all, it can't be done in 3 weeks, because you have to have an appoint for them to come and measure the sail, then when it's made, more fitting, etc. Plus I have to get various bids and decide on who to commission them from, decide on the right materials, etc., etc. A fairly complicated process.

I don't know who you are dealing with, but i would expected if you are spending +$50,000 and told them you were in a bit of a rush . . . .they would have someone at the boat to measure it tomorrow.

As to cloth, that's a one day gut level decision. Unfortunately no-one is going to give you any data comparable to anyone else, so it's just going to be a judgement call - I can suggest right now - go with a nice heavy spectra laminate

Fitting . . . . if they are any good at all, with a proper measurement and a decent computer, they will fit. They just put them on and away you go. Someone may need to fiddle with the batten tension after a week or so.

I am not talking out the side of my head here . . . . we arrived in Hawaii with a mainsail with holes in it that birds were flying in and out of. I told North we needed a new one ASAP or we would miss the Alaska season, and we had one in 2 weeks (made in sri lanka and flown in).

But perhaps things are different in the UK.

But I feel for you about selling the 911 . . . . that's a life changing decision . . . .


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Old 08-09-2014, 08:48   #10
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

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. . . But I feel for you for having to sell the 911 -- that's a life-changing decision . . .
Yes, well, I was crazy about cars in my misspent youth. I have had an early 911S in my garage for most of my life since finishing college. Drove my first one all through law school (a 1971 2.2 liter 911S sunroof coupe). Drove another one all over Europe (an absolutely mint 2.2 liter 911S couple with 5,000km on it when I bought it). They are wonderful, exciting cars with an incomparable tactile feel and hair-raising sound.

However . . . they were never expensive collectors' items in those days. They were realistic cars for driving every day. At the time they were half the price of a Ferrari 308 (now they are worth 4x more). In the last couple of years, however, the prices have gone through the roof, with some of them going for $200k plus, which is just silly money, as far as I'm concerned. Nowadays, I care a lot more about sailing than about cars, maybe 100x more, and can't justify having that much equity tied up in a car. It's hard to sell a car you've loved and owned for 25+ years, but it's just time to cash in the chips. At this stage in my life, the sails are a lot more important.
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Old 08-09-2014, 15:10   #11
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

Quote:
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If it does there are a couple ways to avoid it. The easiest is to add a section of dyneema sewn into a piece of bolt rope and add this (you can just lash it with some dyneema cord) to the head of the sail. That will make the halyard 'think' the sail is full hoist.
Which is what Kemps in Gosport did for me when they converted a little jib from hanks to furling.

Dockhead, don't forget it is Southampton Boatshow time starting on Friday, which might be useful to see all the sail makers in one place.

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Old 08-09-2014, 15:55   #12
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

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...I have a gap between 20 to 22 knots of wind where the normal yankee jib is good without reefing, and 30 knots of wind where I can sail efficiently on staysail and reefed main alone.

If I have to get upwind in 25 knots of wind it can be really tough, because I need as much power as possible to punch through the seas; yet I can't carry the unreefed yankee. I lose a lot of pointing ability when I reef the yankee....
Did you consider having luff pads added to your yankee? I had that mod done on the 110% yankee on my cutter-rigged IP 380 and it made all the difference in the world. In the low-20 knot range, I furled the yankee up to just overlap the staysail, with the main double-reefed and the combo was perfect.
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Old 08-09-2014, 17:28   #13
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

Go on Udkik see if they have anything to fit. The seller may be closer at hand too.

Then talk to local sailing community, mostly the racing part of it. They tend to replace their sails long before this becomes necessary.

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Old 09-09-2014, 03:38   #14
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

The real question you want answered is will a blade jib work for me. That question can only be answered by hoisting a blade jib on your boat. So, buy the blade jib. If it works -- then you can get a new blade jib later. If it doesn't work -- at least you will know a lower cost.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:06   #15
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Re: Sail Advice Needed Urgently

Cut your ties with the sail shop of idiots, otherwise you'll waste the fall dealing with fools. Use the sails you have along with some diesel to get where you need to be over the next month. Motor sail. Contact members who've recently purchased imported sails, save your money and keep the car.

Install a fuel polishing system, a hookah dive system and buy my Ferrari 308 with the many thousands saved.
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