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Old 28-01-2016, 07:12   #1
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stock sails - asymmetrical

I'm contemplating getting a gennaker to complement my sail plan. Having had a less than stellar experience a year ago buying second hand sails from the UK and a limited budget, I'd like to ask in advance if anyone is using stock (i.e. not made to order) gennakers and their experiences with such.

Specifically, I'm looking at two vendors in the UK: C&J Marine and SeaTeach. The pricing is really attractive compared to local sailmakers and my go-to big German online vendor for marine equipment, who also has their own stock gennakers
.
I have no experience with gennakers and am definitely not a performance sailer. I understand the sails may have differences in construction and materials, but am looking at a basic boost to light air performance with added sq meters (or ft). So, if you have experience with stock sails in general or the two above mentioned vendors in particular, please share your knowledge here!

markus
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Old 29-01-2016, 08:45   #2
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Re: stock sails - asymmetrical

We are in the same boat, so to speak. Looking forward to responses!
Steve
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Old 29-01-2016, 09:26   #3
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Re: stock sails - asymmetrical

Steve, really hope someone with experience in these things chimes in. Do you have any suppliers in Canada/US? Happy hunting!
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Old 29-01-2016, 09:32   #4
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Re: stock sails - asymmetrical

Coincidentally, I just spoke to a gentleman yesterday about sources for used sails and he said that he had a couple in the U.S. and that he would get back to me soon. I will post his contacts as soon as I receive them.
Steve
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Old 29-01-2016, 09:38   #5
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Re: stock sails - asymmetrical

Have a look at the pre-made sails at National Sail Supply in Florida. Their prices are hard to beat.
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Old 29-01-2016, 10:23   #6
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Re: stock sails - asymmetrical

Thanks Privilege! Just the info I'm looking for. For me the vendor should preferably be within the EU, otherwise need to pay freight + customs + VAT (around 25%). The two vendors I mentioned earlier still seem very cheap, even compared to National. Hope Steve gets some help here as well.
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:30   #7
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Re: stock sails - asymmetrical

Ok - no one with pre-fabricated sails here, or experience of those two vendors?

A shameless bump, I know...
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:57   #8
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Re: stock sails - asymmetrical

I don't think that you will have any problem with a pre-fabricated asym spin or gennaker for a cruising boat. If your boat is over 30' I recommend adding a "socK" to make deployment and dousing easy. While that will add to the cost it will also increase your usage considerably. Suggest considering a .75 oz. Lightweight but easy handling. I have flown .75 oz kites down or off wind in 20K+. You should have each vendor provide you with full specs (luff, foot, leech, mid-girth lengths; square meters overall; weight; fabric; type and design of "sock" or "snuffer"). Most important, they should be able to tell you the wind speed range and the apparent angle range of use. The wider the angle rangle (e.g. 100-160) the better. Sometimes refered to as an "all purpose" off wind sail.
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Old 07-02-2016, 20:17   #9
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Re: stock sails - asymmetrical

Quote:
Originally Posted by silversailor View Post
I don't think that you will have any problem with a pre-fabricated asym spin or gennaker for a cruising boat. If your boat is over 30' I recommend adding a "socK" to make deployment and dousing easy. While that will add to the cost it will also increase your usage considerably. Suggest considering a .75 oz. Lightweight but easy handling. I have flown .75 oz kites down or off wind in 20K+. You should have each vendor provide you with full specs (luff, foot, leech, mid-girth lengths; square meters overall; weight; fabric; type and design of "sock" or "snuffer"). Most important, they should be able to tell you the wind speed range and the apparent angle range of use. The wider the angle rangle (e.g. 100-160) the better. Sometimes refered to as an "all purpose" off wind sail.
I'd second most of the above, but with one or two caveats.

You may want to consider a heavier fabric, for a couple of reasons.
- UV eats kites a lot faster than other sails. As, for example, when a boat does the Transpac (often using the same kite for 75% of the race). It's usually toast by the time they get to Hawaii, due to UV degredation.
- There will be times when you can't get the sail down before the breeze gets stronger than is comfortable for both you, & the sail. Thus stressing it quite a bit.
Plus, taking kites down when it's blowing like that is more difficult, & involves higher loads on things. So again, a heavier fabric wouldn't hurt.
- Spinnakers intimidate folks, especially newbies. And under stress it's easier to make errors. Of which, a slightly heavier cloth is more tolerant.
- If you're short handed, then that makes handling the kite that much more "interesting". So having a bit of extra built in strength in order to deal with non-ideally executed manuvers, such as; take downs, jybes, etc. makes sense.
- Kites get dumped into the water from time to time. And even when you can stop the boat immediately, the loads on the sail are enormous. Given that ithe kite's now acting as a big sea anchor. So...

Regarding sail shapes, & what kinds of wind angles you want it optimized for, consider this. It's easier to run (deeper angles downwind) with a reacher, than it is to reach with a runner.

When the breeze is real light, much of the time it makes sense to sail a bit closer to the wind than is "ideal", in theory, because sailing the tighter wind angles increases your AWS & thus SOG (& SMG). And while doing this may necessitate your sailing a few more miles, & doing a few more jybes in order to get to your destination, it'll boost your CMG/VMG enough, in the long run. That you get to point X faster.

It boils down to a boat's Polars, & what they suggest are your optimal saiing angles for given wind strengths. As well as what your optimal jybing angles are. Or as most folks on here (incorrectly) put it, "tacking downwind".
But if you take the time to use them, they're a big help in terms of getting the most performance out of your boat.

Also, when the wind's really light, sometimes sailing closer to the wind's kind of a necessity. As the increased AWS & boat speed produced by doing so, stabilizes things enough so that the waves aren't bouncing the wind out of your sails, every time you go over or through one. That, & it lets the off watch crew have an easier motion for catching some sleep.
So a more reaching oriented type of kite makes sense. Especially if you can only have one kite.

Ah, & in addition to the above, you can always fly a "reaching" kite from a conventional pole, in order to let you sail deeper angles with greater efficency. Even when using an asmmetrical.
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Old 09-02-2016, 23:23   #10
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Re: stock sails - asymmetrical

Sliversailor and Uncivilized, thank you for the advice! The whole spinnaker/gennaker thing is a bit intimidating for this newbie for sure, considering the size compared to the normal sails. Have contacted the vendor and they do have a suitable size for my rig in stock. Will also get a snuffer/sock. The fabric is given as 64g/sqm, which I think is 1.50 oz. It's a 63 sqm sail, so weight of fabric is just 4kg (9lbs)?? Is that possible - sounds _very_ light? I understand the weight will go up considerably with the associated add on. What would be the advantage of a lighter cloth?

Although we had great winds here in the Baltic last summer, in 2014 the gennaker would really have come in handy. Since I'm planning a much longer cruise for this year, I think now is a good time to get one and play with it before we take off.
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Old 10-02-2016, 02:30   #11
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Re: stock sails - asymmetrical

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandibar View Post
Sliversailor and Uncivilized, thank you for the advice! The whole spinnaker/gennaker thing is a bit intimidating for this newbie for sure, considering the size compared to the normal sails. Have contacted the vendor and they do have a suitable size for my rig in stock. Will also get a snuffer/sock. The fabric is given as 64g/sqm, which I think is 1.50 oz. It's a 63 sqm sail, so weight of fabric is just 4kg (9lbs)?? Is that possible - sounds _very_ light? I understand the weight will go up considerably with the associated add on. What would be the advantage of a lighter cloth?

Although we had great winds here in the Baltic last summer, in 2014 the gennaker would really have come in handy. Since I'm planning a much longer cruise for this year, I think now is a good time to get one and play with it before we take off.
The fabric weight which you're talking about is close enough, that it's likely the same thing.
As to the total weight of the sail, it'll be a good bit more than 4kg, due to extra fabric, for reinforcement, around all of the sail's edges, & at the; tack, clew, & head. Plus, at those corners, there are layered, radial patches, much like on a main or a jib.

Regarding learning to handle the sail. Not to be flippant, but the best way is by trying it.
That, & for the price of some beer & sandwiches, you can no doubt find a couple of experienced hands/racers who'll be happy to get you started, regarding learning about them.
Plus, of course, there's plenty of info; in print, & on video, regarding kites & the various techniques for handling them, in situations; X, Y, & Z.

BTW: Never, Ever, put stopper knots into any lines attached to a kite. As given their size, they are powerful enough, when the breeze is up (double digits+) to cause a knockdown, broach, accidental gybe. And, or, in rare cases pin a boat on her beam ends. Causing downflooding though any openings in the deck, or through open hatches.
Which, as Tarzan would say, is "Bad Juju, Bwana".
I'm not trying to spook you, it's just that it's an easy mistake to make at first with them, unless you have an experienced hand to teach you.
This is also part of why I always carry 2 knives when sailing, & Never loan them out. My loaner knife is in my gear bag down below.

Okay, back to "normal mode": For learning, & just for plain old fun; it doesn't hurt to pick up a couple of used, practice kites; symmetrical, & asymmetricals, to play with. Such that if you shred them, you wont worry about it much. Plus, if you do tear one, usually the loft can reassemble the bits; for some coin.
These practice kites can be a bit undersized for your boat, also. Which to some degree makes them a bit easier to learn with. That, & when cruising, it's nice to have a "semi-disposable" spare (kite) on hand. And or, an undersized one, to fly when the breeze is up, & you want to do a bit of surfing downwind/make some time & have FUN!

Also, you can hitch rides, or sign on as crew on racing boats, in order to get "schooled". Including on techniques regarding how to "de-tune" kites a bit, just as is possible with mains & jibs. Ditto on takedown techniques, etc. when the breeze is up, & or when you're flying a kite sans sock or furler, etc.
And it's good to learn as much as you can about both kinds of kites (as well as Code 0's), along with their associated hardware.
Both the off of the shelf sort, & how to improvise your own (it's not overly tough, once you've got the basics of flying & trimming them down).

Back to the cloth weight thing. Lighter weight kites are easier to fly in really light winds, in addition to having better shape when the breezes are somewhat lacking.
And when you're flying a kite, the breeze is "less", just due to physics. As a sail only ever sees Apparent Wind (unless you're tied to the dock). So when you're going downwind, the breeze is "less". Thus, most kites are in the sub 1oz range, fabric wise. But too, they're usually being flown by; experienced sailors, with deeper pockets, who are willing to push things for that small edge in performance.
Your AP/Windvane can't see puffs, squalls, or steer around waves & or kelp patches, which when you plow into them, send your boatspeed from 9kts to 3kts, in a boat length, doubling the apparent wind.

Most racing boats only break out the 1.5oz, or 2.2oz kites, either when reaching in a breeze (when there are white caps at a minimum), or the crew are wearing their foulies, as things are breezy enough to start to get a touch wild... to the full on loony, and fun side of things.
And yes, such days are definitely a hoot... well, except for the sailmakers (who have to un-Humptey Dumpty things), & the owners, when it comes time to write checks for the replacement kites.
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Old 10-02-2016, 03:34   #12
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Re: stock sails - asymmetrical

Uncivilized, thanks a lot for your effort! I'm in the good position that my ex-racing brother in law doesn't have a boat of his own now and has been an invaluable asset. Quite often he even brings his own beer . I'm sure the new sail will prove irresistible to him. But yes, getting out and getting the kite up is the only way to go, I'm sure.

Unfortunately haven't been able to find any used ones here and reluctant to order used sails abroad, since last year I had a bad experience.
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