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Old 06-08-2015, 21:15   #1
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Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

Please see this image, does that seem normal? I just don't want to put a new sail up if it's going to get cut like that again.

I guess just because it looks like it got cut off somehow and didn't "tear"

But hoping those here will say this is normal failure and doesn't mean anything is wrong with the curler etc.

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Old 06-08-2015, 21:30   #2
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

Hard to tell from the pic, but I am guessing that's the head (top) of the sail and a ring (or soft eye) was originally webbed in place, and the stitching has let go, so now no webbing or ring? If that the case the cause could be chafe, but more likely sun damage to the stitching. What's the UV cover like on the sail. Unfortunately sailmakers often add the webbing after the UV strip, because its easier to stick it down without the webbing. this leaves the stitching and webbing tacking all the UV, and the thicker webbing outlasts the thin thread. If thats the cause a good sailmaker will be able to repair it better than new for a modest sum.
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Old 06-08-2015, 21:36   #3
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

Also looks like the halyard had a bit of load on it. How did it fail? If you tensioned the halyard before you tensioned the backstay that would really load up the luff of the sail. Also check out the other corners. probably similar construction so you can get feel for how the top should have looked before the failure. Get the sailmaker to restitch and cover the tack and clew if necessary.
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Old 06-08-2015, 22:10   #4
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

Thanks for the thoughts.

I should have said a few more details. This is on a C&C 41 and we were sailing in about 15 knots of true wind close hauled.

I have sailed in these conditions several times before so there was nothing extreme going on.

It is on a roller furling so I did not touch the halyard or the back stay in this situation just unfurled the sail and trimmed it very near max trim for the sailing angle. It was definitely in a fairly maximum load situation being max trimmed in that 15 knots close hauled.

Yes there remains the fueling head and a small piece of the sail at the top of the mast so I haven't been able to see it yet. I will be going up the mast for it soon. Yes I am assuming there is the ring up there as you describe.

I was just surprised that it looked like someone cut it right off with a Samurai sword.


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Old 06-08-2015, 22:29   #5
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

I think the samurai sword might have been the sailmakers hotknife! I think I can see the stitching holes for two loops of webbing?

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Old 07-08-2015, 00:51   #6
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

We'd need more pics to do a good diagnosis of the situation, although some good info & theories have already been posted.
Take a whole bunch of the furler, as well as the masthead configuration & halyard setup(s) when you're up there retrieving the bits of the sail still attached to the halyard.

Also, needs be, it's pretty easy to remove the furler while it's still on the headstay, while leaving the mast in place. Which makes inspecting the furler in detail a lot easier.

When you have the sail repaired, it'd likely be worth having them use Spectra webbing, instead of the standard stuff. As it's a Lot more UV & chafe resistant. Thus yielding a longer lifespan, even if it's uncovered. And make sure to have them use some good UV resistant thread too.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:46   #7
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

I have had a similar situation when a furler separated a one of the junctions and twisted to an alignment not matching the adjoining section. I have since replaced the furler with one that can't do that. The edges at the joints in a furler are very sharp.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:53   #8
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

all the suggestions sound creditable. I don't see UV sacrificial in the pic if it doesn't have it, get it and I would suggest restitching the whole sail. if some of the thread has gone bad then more is close too. no sense doing a repair like that just to have a seam open on the next passage or so.
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:14   #9
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

The sail is repairable-take the pieces to your local sailmaker. Ask them to inspect it for other damage and possible restitiching while they are at it.
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Old 07-08-2015, 13:57   #10
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

Looks to me like a normal load on sun damaged stiching. Maybe the sacrificial (sun protection) cloth had come away a little at the head and left the head of the sail exposed to UV while furled. I very much doubt the clean cut is from something on your furler. As suggested I'm sure it is a seam in the construction of the sail. There is normally a lot of load on the head of a Genoa.
It's just a simple repair for a sailmaker.


If a sail is secondhand or a furler has been replaced or its winding direction has been changed, its possible for the sacrificial cloth to be on the wrong side of the leach so it's inside the roll rather than outside. Not likely but worth checking.


Sometimes you see strips of sacrificial cloth on moored yachts streaming in the wind from the rolled headsail. I know a couple of owners that recently thought they needed new Genoas but it was just the sacrificial cloth doing what it is meant to do; being a sacrifice to the UV God.
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Old 07-08-2015, 22:41   #11
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

Is there any chance that the sail's luff might be a little bit longer than your furler? If so, you wind up with a situation where a high wear point is created at the top edge/end of the foil where the sail rides above it. Thus resulting in something akin to what's in the picture.
It's easy enough to check anyway.
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Old 07-08-2015, 23:21   #12
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
Is there any chance that the sail's luff might be a little bit longer than your furler? If so, you wind up with a situation where a high wear point is created at the top edge/end of the foil where the sail rides above it. Thus resulting in something akin to what's in the picture.
It's easy enough to check anyway.
As I see that; I don't believe the sail could ride above the foil as then the top swivel being above the sail would also have to ride above the foil and be derailed. As far as I know there is always a stop at the top of a furler foil to prevent that happening. If the luff were too long it wouldn't tighten and further cranking might break the stop with a bang. Nobody would rig it that way.
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Old 07-08-2015, 23:42   #13
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

Looking at the photo again, what puzzles me is that the luff / bolt rope appears also cut along the same line. If stitching comes undone normally the luff rope stays in the groove. It would take a hell of a lot of tension to break a luff rope. You could likely pick up a car with it.

Also if the sail was cut, the luff rope would be protected by its groove.
I suggest you get your binoculars out and look for something abnormal.

I use a tele lens on a camera for that myself and check by blowing it up on a screen but I have long tele lenses.

Foils are joined in sections and if there is a short section at the top that has come adrift it could be the cause and could act as a guillotine. There could be a short section there to make the correct length.
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Old 08-08-2015, 01:39   #14
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

More thinking.....maybe Uncivilized is right and the sail luff is a just little too long. Then the top swivel would push against the stop at the top of the foil.
This would happen every time the halyard is tensioned. Eventually this pressure separates a join in the foil sections lower down the foil. ( lower by the same length as the cut top section of the sail) Then the guillotine effect of two loose foil sections gradually cuts through the luff rope. Once it's cut the sail starts to tear with a classic accelerating progressive failure.

Foils are usually / always assembled out of sections. I can't remember how long they are but say 10'. You might need for example 4 X 10' sections plus 1 X 2' section cut to make up a 42' luff foil. That join would normally be made towards the top.

The tension, if my theory is correct would be greater at the top foil join because the friction of the luff rope in its grove would cause less tension lower down.

Get out the binoculars.

I hope to hear the end result of this exciting story. Meanwhile in a couple of days I'm going on a Pacific cruise from AKL to YVR. Nothing goes to windward like a Boeing 777.
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Old 10-08-2015, 08:51   #15
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Re: Genoa tore free during a sail - does this look right?

check your sail slide, if one of the set screws came off the slides are misaligned and will tear the sail
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