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Old 12-09-2011, 13:37   #1
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Stupid Questions - Sail Measurements

OK, I have a stupid question. Or, as you'll see, a series of stupid questions. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm the (hopeful) new owner of an Irwin 25' sailboat (IRWIN 25 sailboat on sailboatdata.com). The boat is in decent shape, but needs a new main sail. I'm looking to get into sailing on a water budget (not even a beer budget on the beer to champaigne budget rating system), and so I'm trying to find decent used mainsails. According the the Sailboatdata web site, the luff is 29.5', and the foot is 11'. It looks to me like a "standard" Catalina 27 sail should work (CATALINA 27 sailboat on sailboatdata.com), and that even the tall masted Catalina 27's sails should work (CATALINA 27 TM sailboat on sailboatdata.com). Is that right?

No, that wasn't the stupid question. Here it is: What happens when the foot or the luff is bigger than specified for my boat? For example, if the luff was 28?, and the foot was 12'? Obviously, I'd be able to hoist the 28' luff without a problem, since the mast is set up for a 29.5' (I assume the sail wouldn't go all the way to the top of the mast, defeating some of its purpose, but otherwise not really impacting things much). But what about the extra long foot? I mean, it can't exactly stick out the bottom of the boom! So, to phrase my question another way, the specifications are ideals and "not to exceed" dimensions, right? Significantly smaller sails would reduce the total sail area and slow the boat down, but as far as potentially changing the location of stress points along the boom or mast, it would essentially be the the same as a reefed main, right?

I do understand that I could have bigger sails cut down, assuming things like battens don't get in the way. But that seems counter-productive when looking for an inexpensive sail.
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Old 12-09-2011, 13:44   #2
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Re: Stupid Questions - sail measurements

An even better fit is the Cal 3-27 tall mast.
CAL 3-27 TM sailboat on sailboatdata.com

Not sure that the 3-27 is as popular as the Catalina 27, though.
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Old 12-09-2011, 13:58   #3
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Re: Stupid Questions - sail measurements

The clew and tack have to be firmly attached and the luff and foot reasonably tight but if the sail would fit at the first reef then the sail will work even if the shape is not optimal.

I sail with the first reef in 50% of the time and if you are inexperienced life might be less complicated with a reef in.
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Old 12-09-2011, 14:00   #4
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Re: Stupid Questions - sail measurements

You won't be happy with this inexpensive sail.
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Old 12-09-2011, 14:02   #5
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Re: Stupid Questions - sail measurements

With which sail, Gord? The theoretical 28 footer that I described, or the sail from the Cal 27? And why wouldn't I be happy with it?
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