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Old 18-05-2010, 18:28   #1
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Spinnaker Fabric Weight Advice

We are in the process of outfitting our new Tartan with an asymmetric spinnaker that will be used with a Facnor asymmetric furler. The boat is 37' (11.3m) long and weighs 16,000 pounds (7,300 kg) on paper and I am guessing about 19,000 pounds (8,600 kg) fully loaded. We requested a light-air asymmetric for use up to 12-15 knots of wind and the sailmaker originally specified a 1212 sq ft (113 sq m) spinnaker using 0.75 oz (.48 g / sq m) fabric.

To make a long story short, the sailmaker is now recommending that we go with a heavier 1.5 oz (.77 g / sq m) fabric for our sail despite us telling them that we intend to use the sail for club racing and coastal cruising and that we especially want something for light to medium air use.

If anyone with a spinnaker can provide some feedback regarding the weight of fabric and wind speed ranges that you use the spinnaker in, I will greatly appreciate it. Am I incorrect in thinking that a 1.5 oz spinnaker is overkill for use in 12-15 knot winds?

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 18-05-2010, 18:37   #2
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I also think 1.5oz is overkill - 0.75oz sounds right to me - It's what we typically have for our light wind reaching & asymetric kites on the boats I race on.

but I'm not a sailmaker....
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Old 18-05-2010, 18:40   #3
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1.5 oz seems heavy, but did the sailmaker say why he thought you should use the heavier cloth? I'd be interested to hear his rationale. I have flown a lot of chutes, but never from a furler... perhaps he's concerned the light cloth might somehow tear if used with a furler?
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Old 18-05-2010, 18:41   #4
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In this case I would advise you not to let the sailmaker talk you into something other than what you want. You probably should consider taking your business elsewhere.

In general terms, a .75 chute is good to 18 knots apparent wind. The question becomes: are you really going to set a chute in heavier air than this? For most of us, the answer is "no." And why would you, in wind where you can hit hull speed with the genny?

A 1.5 oz chute performs poorly in light air. When you discover this firsthand, I'm sure your sailmaker will be quick to sell you a .5 oz chute to go with it.

Or you can start out with a good, all-around .75 that will be useful in the widest range of conditions.
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Old 18-05-2010, 18:50   #5
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Rant!!!

If there's one thing that bothers me about sailing industry pros it's the fact that they are so fast to talk you out of what you want in favor of something you don't want. I recently asked a rigger to do a continuous-diameter splice in single braid. He insisted that a different type of line, newly developed, would do better. It failed the first time I used it, and the rigger explained that it was a new type of line and he'd never done this splice with it. He re-spliced the line, and it failed after three months. The sad thing is that this is not an isolated incident, I find it happening constantly when I contract with sailing pros.

Chances are that if you told this sailmaker that you wanted a 1.5 oz chute, he'd now be talking you into a .75. This is how the industry works these days. The pro has to appear smarter than the amateur, so if you're saying you want A, he's going to insist that B is better, regardless of whether it really is.
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Old 18-05-2010, 19:04   #6
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I have not yet used an asymmetric chute but one thought I have is that you will never sail dead downwind with it, most likely. You will do a lot more reaching with it and this means more pressure on the sail, which may mean that a 1.5 oz. reaching chute won't be as adversely affected in those conditions in term of performance as it would be downwind.

In addition, a 1.5 oz will outlast a .75 oz chute by quite a few years, I believe.

I would certainly seek out opinions, from not only the sailmaker but locals as well who have asymmetric chutes, and other sailmakers as well.

Maybe a 1.0 oz. chute would be a good compromise?

Another alternative: look for a used chute in the correct approximate size to try it out. It would be a much cheaper way to see about performance. For that matter, look for a used symmetric .75 oz to use for racing.

on edit: I see you are a Puget Sound sailor. I have heard very good things about Carol Hasse at:

http://www.porttownsendsails.com/index.htm

If you have not already spoken with her, you may want to give her a call. She probably knows everything there is to know about cruising sails.
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Old 18-05-2010, 19:56   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
If there's one thing that bothers me about sailing industry pros it's the fact that they are so fast to talk you out of what you want in favor of something you don't want. .
Hear! Hear!

Gee, I get tired of this. I already know that I'm an idiot! So, let me be my own idiot, please! Is my money not green enough for you?

Plus, it never seems to fail -- (1) These people have never sailed my boat; (2) Lots of them have never even sailed a boat much like mine; and (3) They never ask why I want to do it the way I want and how that has either already worked or how I think it will work, on my own boat. They just already know I'm wrong. Thank you, me and my money will just go elsewhere and not bother you with my stupidity.

RE: asymmetrical spinnakers -- we have two, a .75 and a 1.5 on board. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have the 1.5. For a cruising boat, the window of conditions where the 1.5 would be preferred over the .75 is just too narrow and not worth the cost, both financially and in terms of space.

My opinion, of course.

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Old 18-05-2010, 21:22   #8
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Short story back to long...

Thank you all for your responses, they reinforce what I believed to be true regarding the 1.5 oz fabric. For Bash, ID and others that are (rightly) skeptical of the sailmaker, there is indeed more to the story.

I didn't want to bias anyone's response, but the long part of the story that I left out is that I was told "the designer changed the fabric weight after he learned that the sails would be used with a furler". However, they never discussed this with me prior to making the change and the first I heard of this was after the sail was built and shipped. I personally think that there was a screw-up and the wrong weight fabric was used on the sail and they are trying to cover things up with the furler story. In my opinion, it is simply unacceptable to make a change like that without consulting the customer first, especially when the specification specifically calls for a light-air spinnaker.

Over the last nine years I have raced and cruised on boats from 21' to 42' and have never heard of a 1.5 oz sail being used for the purposes I specified. I will be the first to admit that if I was cruising offshore, the durability of a 1.5 oz sail would be a no brainer if I was only going to have a single spinnaker.

Thanks again for your comments, I appreciate them and the time you took to make them.
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Old 18-05-2010, 21:40   #9
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. In my opinion, it is simply unacceptable to make a change like that without consulting the customer first, .
I take it they have made the sail and now expect you to pay for it?

LOL that is unacceptable.

For club racing you do want a light kite.
It can also be used as a drifter when the wind don't blow where a heavy one will just collapse.

Tell him to shove it up his mast and go see another sailmaker.





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Old 18-05-2010, 21:45   #10
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"unacceptable" is the nicest thing one could say.

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LOL that is unacceptable.
Refuse delivery! You are being asked to pay for their mistake. There is NO WAY that they could have substituted fabric without consulting you. Hold your position unless they discount that sail AT LEAST $1,000.

You are being ripped off. Period.

I'm dying to know which sail loft would try to pull such a trick.
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Old 18-05-2010, 21:50   #11
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Get a quote from a couple of other lofts. It will be educational.

Paul L
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Old 19-05-2010, 00:27   #12
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That is definitely not the way to do business. I'm with Bash -- refuse the delivery. If you paid by credit card, then challenge the payment. That will get their attention.

ID
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Old 19-05-2010, 01:25   #13
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Fortunately the sail has not yet been paid for and I agree that their substitution is completely unacceptable. During the bidding process I also received bids from three other sailmakers so I have plenty of options should things not work out with this one. I would, however, like to salvage the deal if possible as I worked out a package price for the main, jib and asymmetric that I was very pleased with.

Thanks again to all of you for your experiences and suggestions, they have definitely convinced me that I am not mistaken in wanting the lighter fabric for a light-air running spinnaker and it has also helped firm my resolve in expressing my dissatisfaction with the substitution. I really don't see any viable options for the loft to not provide me what I ordered as I have a contract for a 0.75 oz spinnaker from them and they admit that they made the cloth weight change without consulting me first. Hopefully they will resolve this situation without any further incident and, to be fair, I have just sent my response to the loft and they have not yet had a chance to respond so I will let you know how things turn out.
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Old 19-05-2010, 01:31   #14
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Offer to keep the 1.5oz for a couple of hundred as soon as they send you what you ordered.

Forget each and every argument anyone makes - they sent you something you didn't order. This is product substitution and is illegal in the USA.

I'll repeat this - They sent you something you didn't order.

If they sent you a mainsail instead of an asymmetric spinnaker (even with lots of convincing arguments about why you need a mainsail instead of an asymmetric spinnaker) would you pay for it?
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Old 19-05-2010, 04:51   #15
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Bash, I've sailed with too many sailing "pros" that don't know crap.

For a 35 footer that will be used for cruising there is no reason to ever consider a 1.5 oz kite. I would find another sailmaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
If there's one thing that bothers me about sailing industry pros it's the fact that they are so fast to talk you out of what you want in favor of something you don't want. I recently asked a rigger to do a continuous-diameter splice in single braid. He insisted that a different type of line, newly developed, would do better. It failed the first time I used it, and the rigger explained that it was a new type of line and he'd never done this splice with it. He re-spliced the line, and it failed after three months. The sad thing is that this is not an isolated incident, I find it happening constantly when I contract with sailing pros.

Chances are that if you told this sailmaker that you wanted a 1.5 oz chute, he'd now be talking you into a .75. This is how the industry works these days. The pro has to appear smarter than the amateur, so if you're saying you want A, he's going to insist that B is better, regardless of whether it really is.
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