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Old 28-09-2011, 06:24   #31
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

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Originally Posted by islandplanet View Post
(...)

If your bi-radial genoa was Dacron, you were sold something inappropriate for your needs. (...)
If you look thru the catalogs of DP, Contender, Bainbridge, North, etc., you will find that some of them make polyester cloth (a.k.a. Dacron) which is designed for radial cut. E.g.:

North Sails: 200 Series Upwind Sails

Nothing wrong with radial Dacron sail, provided the cloth was the one designed for radial cut.

Alas, much as I trust our sailmaker, I must admit back in 2002 someone out there made a mistake that resulted in a less than perfect product.

This is one of the reasons why I nearly always recommend cross cuts - least to go wrong, easiest to repair.

b.
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Old 28-09-2011, 10:05   #32
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

Getting back to the point of my posting....are modern sails tending not to be as long lived as sails from say 10 years ago.

Nick.
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Old 28-09-2011, 10:36   #33
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

Hello hellosailor,

A criticism I have long maintained of our industry is that sails are too frequently sold based on hype rather than sound facts. There is also a lot of unnecessary upsell. A former dock neighbor of mine had too many drinks at the boat show and got talked into a $7000 Spectra main for his 44' motorsailor that rarely leaves the dock for more than a daysail or overnight at a nearby anchorage. The sailing public has been all but brainwashed into believing that everyone needs a full batten main from 20 footers on up.

On the other hand, I've had many people approach me with an idea for a sail that we feel is unsound. I've explained why and I'm sure some people simply shopped until they found a sailmaker who accepted the order without comment.

I have written some articles and collected info from other sailmakers that I like to share with people to help them make good decisions.

There's a real shortage of factual information. Sailing magazines simply hype whatever the advertisers have to offer.

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"you were sold something inappropriate for your needs."
If I tell a loft that I want the new spinnaker made of 1/4 ounce pink toile and they just say "OK" I may get what I asked for--but a professional loft damn well out to have two psychiatrists examine me and make me sign off "AGAINST LOFTS ORDERS" before they take my money on it.

If it is the wrong material for the apparent job, a professional will gently bring up the point and confirm that there's no confusion, and there's some special need you are filling.

Like maybe you're racing in the Bolshoi Ballet SingleHanded Best Costume Division.
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Old 28-09-2011, 10:59   #34
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

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If you look thru the catalogs of DP, Contender, Bainbridge, North, etc., you will find that some of them make polyester cloth (a.k.a. Dacron) which is designed for radial cut. E.g.:

North Sails: 200 Series Upwind Sails

Nothing wrong with radial Dacron sail, provided the cloth was the one designed for radial cut.

Alas, much as I trust our sailmaker, I must admit back in 2002 someone out there made a mistake that resulted in a less than perfect product.

This is one of the reasons why I nearly always recommend cross cuts - least to go wrong, easiest to repair.

b.
There are some Dacron products designed for radial cut. They are not what we would use on a cruising boat. We like WarpDrive but the finish is too firm for most cruisers. Sails with a firm finish are harder to handle and generally don't last as long. We can build a laminate sail for less than radial Dacron so the only time we use radial Dacron is for one designs with cloth restrictions. I'd be happy to send you some articles from leading sailmakers that make a case against radial Dacron sails.
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Old 28-09-2011, 13:41   #35
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

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There are some Dacron products designed for radial cut. They are not what we would use on a cruising boat. (...)
YOU can do as your skills, education and experience dictate you. North Sails, Doyle, Quantum have resolved otherwise.

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Old 28-09-2011, 14:04   #36
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

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Getting back to the point of my posting....are modern sails tending not to be as long lived as sails from say 10 years ago.

Nick.
Getting back to the point, ;-), I did not notice. Actually, I believe the modern cloth lasts longer.

(However, with cut, design and detailing improvements over the years, I would not bet my money - as it may very well be that these improvements added so much to the lifespan of a sail that any loss in cloth performance has been covered up).

Another idea is if, say, the way the cloth is optimized today made the difference? Maybe we can have longer lasting cloth (which will, unfortunately, say, stretch way beyond acceptance levels for modern sailmaking)? Sort off like a trade-off?

b.
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Old 28-09-2011, 14:34   #37
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

All this makes one wonder how the average cruiser type who just wants to sail, and not become an expert in sail design, can believe anything the sail loft says!
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Old 28-09-2011, 17:24   #38
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

Practices vary. Once you find a good loft, stick with it. My experiences have been almost exclusively positive - Sweden, New Zealand, West Indies.

I cannot say equally positive things about everywhere, but a brand loft in a sailing country gives you a good chance of buying a good sail. The same applies to smaller lofts but these find it hard to beat the bigger guys who buy huge amounts of material and so can offer very competitive pricing. A loft that delivers poor quality sails to local community - how long will it be in the business?

If you know what you want, just walk into the loft of choice and ask if you can see any of their current production.

If you do not know what you want, ask more experienced sailors for a recommendation.

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Old 28-09-2011, 23:04   #39
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

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YOU can do as your skills, education and experience dictate you. North Sails, Doyle, Quantum have resolved otherwise.

b.
Barnakiel,

I am far from alone in my views. Some of the most prominent sailmakers in the industry have expressed the same viewpoints and I'd be happy to send you copies of what they wrote.

Many of these lofts are marketing juggernauts. You can choose to believe the ads and hype while those of us with a sense of responsibility for our work will recommend what we know is a sound choice.

I find your response a bit impolite as you imply I don't what I'm doing. I have to quietly laugh that you're the one with a premature sail failure yet you want to question my judgement based on what some magazine ads and aggressive salespeople are telling you.

None of my customers have had a sail fail like yours did and Practical Sailor rated us higher than the brand name lofts in their survey.

I'm done with this conversation.
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Old 29-09-2011, 00:18   #40
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On an entirely different note, how well do the newer Cuban fibre, spectra and carbon fibers hold up as cruising sails? Obviously emphasis is on racing in view of costs but longevity and UV resistance?
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Old 29-09-2011, 06:07   #41
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

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I'd be happy to send you copies of what they wrote.
.
I would be interested to read them - always take an opportunity to learn. You have my e-mail address.

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On an entirely different note, how well do the newer Cuban fibre, spectra and carbon fibers hold up as cruising sails? Obviously emphasis is on racing in view of costs but longevity and UV resistance?
As I mentioned in another thread . . . typically the mylar goes first in a laminate sail, not the primary fibers. 'Cuban fiber' is in fact made from spectra fibers. And spectra fibers hold up very well to both UV and flex. Carbon holds up well to UV but is broken down very quickly by flexing.
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Old 29-09-2011, 10:01   #42
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

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On an entirely different note, how well do the newer Cuban fibre, spectra and carbon fibers hold up as cruising sails? Obviously emphasis is on racing in view of costs but longevity and UV resistance?
Not so newer anymore. I think Cuben has been around for at least 20 years or so.

Cuben fiber is doing fine. Expensive, not real for a cruising application - handling awkward.

Carbon based sails do not take rough handling (esp. crimping and tight bending) too well. Not too practical in the cruising context.

Spectra best of the three. Similar UV resistance to Polyester, less stretch, lighter, more resistant to chafe. I think a Spectra sail is fine for cruising but it is expensive.

Then you have all the sorts of mixes where you will have e.g. Spectra combined with Polyester. Look up the 'cruising laminates' and plenty of info should pop up in google.

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Old 29-09-2011, 10:34   #43
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

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Barnakiel,

I am far from alone in my views. Some of the most prominent sailmakers in the industry have expressed the same viewpoints and I'd be happy to send you copies of what they wrote.

Many of these lofts are marketing juggernauts. You can choose to believe the ads and hype while those of us with a sense of responsibility for our work will recommend what we know is a sound choice.

I find your response a bit impolite as you imply I don't what I'm doing. I have to quietly laugh that you're the one with a premature sail failure yet you want to question my judgement based on what some magazine ads and aggressive salespeople are telling you.

None of my customers have had a sail fail like yours did and Practical Sailor rated us higher than the brand name lofts in their survey.

I'm done with this conversation.
Hi,

No offense intended here.

Your branding sailmakers like Doyle, North Sails, Quantum as marketing juggernouts - I will disagree.

Your jumping to conclusions about the sources of my sailmaking knowledge - I can only say you are completely wrong.

Your branding of sailing magazines as untrustworthy in one place of your post and admitting that they rated you higher than top notch lofts right in the next sentence of your post just leaves me puzzled.

If, as you claim, a good radial cut sail cannot be made in properly chosen polyester cloth, then please post links to the opinions you quote. I am certain they will be of interest and education not only to me but to all followers of this thread.

I am the last to read a well based research and keep on saying things are not what they are found to be.

Now I am also done with this conversation ;-) and I hope we can go back to expressing our knowledge & views and learning from each other.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 29-09-2011, 10:54   #44
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

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On an entirely different note, how well do the newer Cuban fibre, spectra and carbon fibers hold up as cruising sails? Obviously emphasis is on racing in view of costs but longevity and UV resistance?
One of our team members was a sail designer for the America's cup campaign where Cuben got its start. I am not aware of too many cruisers using it other than (ironically) our team member who has one Cuben sail in his inventory. Always nice when there's some cloth left over ;-) There is an east coast based Freedom 33 that went with Cuben a few years ago. Initial reports from that boat were very positive. The cloth is quite light for the strength offered but it's not going to have the lifespan people are used to with other offerings. The price point is a barrier for most cruisers.

Dimension Polyant's radial HydraNet cloth is probably the best proven Spectra product for distance cruisers. It is not a laminate cloth. I think we would build a large number of sails with radial HydraNet if the price point was lower. The boats I would recommend it for would be performance oriented cruisers. It would be a good fit for something like a Wauquiez Centurion with an ambitious cruising itinerary in areas with few or no sailmakers. It's a very reliable and stable product.

It is very important people realize that anytime you opt for radial construction, a lot of cloth ends up in the dumpster. You can end up with 30% of the cloth getting thrown out due to the nature of radial construction. The inherent waste associated with radial cut sails is why many sailmakers favor load path sails. Load path sails use cross-cut panels and the fibers are aligned along the load paths. There is a wide range of fibers offered ranging from polyester to aramids and carbon. We use a lot of Vectran load path sails for cruising applications. Vectran is often misunderstood and unappreciated. It's proven itself to be an excellent material. We use a UV block film that is made from the same materials used in car windshields that extends the life of any load path sail.

In short, radial construction is a technique that many sailmakers are moving away from for mains and genoas. Load path technology has matured and makes more sense for someone who does not want a sail prone to stretching like Dacron is known to do. However, any laminate sail is not going to be as easy to repair as Dacron, so if cruising plans include areas with little access to sailmakers, consideration should be given.
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Old 29-09-2011, 11:11   #45
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Re: How Long Do Modern Sails Last ?

Keith Lorance of Quantum on mitre cut and radial Dacron

Here's an article on the merits or lack thereof of using Dacron for radial construction.
I have a book excerpt with a quote from Tim Woodhouse (Hood Sails) that says essentially the same thing in regards to radial Dacron sails.

Sailmaking conglomerates are no different than other businesses in looking for upsell opportunities. I stand by my comment that the large brand names are marketing juggernauts. And it doesn't take an MBA to realize that part of what you're paying for when you buy a sail is the "brand image" and that you have to subsidize those ad campaigns and staff of professional sailors on grand prix yachts every time you buy a sail from one of those companies.

With the notable exception of Practical Sailor, I'm not aware of any sailing magazine that does not accept advertising. I know enough people in sail media to know that what gets written is influenced by the advertisers. In a conversation with one well known sailing journalist, he admitted one of his largest frustrations was having to write what amounted to fluff pieces.
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