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Old 10-12-2015, 03:11   #1
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Tan sails

I have recently bought an Allan Payne 28 sloop built in Sydney in 1951. Thinking about replacing the sails with tan ones as I think that it will suit her lines. Does anyone know what period of yachting that tan sails were commonplace.
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Old 10-12-2015, 04:20   #2
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Re: Tan sails

Used more on working boats than leisure.. white showed the rust and grease stains from the rigging to much..
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Old 10-12-2015, 05:58   #3
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Re: Tan sails

Tan-bark is the correct term, iirc. The dye was obtained by boiling tree bark,which released a color and preservative for early canvas and Egyptian Cotton material.
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Old 10-12-2015, 06:41   #4
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Re: Tan sails

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossy Man View Post
I have recently bought an Allan Payne 28 sloop built in Sydney in 1951.
It must be a marvelous looking boat!

I don't want to sound like the Sydney Toff but I don't know if tan sails would be appropriate at all. Its likely the boat was built for a yachtsman not a work boat. I dunno if my yacht club would have banned boats with tan sails in 1951 but I think it may have been a close thing: "I say, that new member application has tan sails!" "Wot!? Never! We'll ignore him like we did Slocumb!"

So it would be nice to see the boats history, who she was built for. Which yard?
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Old 10-12-2015, 09:04   #5
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Re: Tan sails

Cotton sails either started out tan or could take on a tan color as they aged, read got dirty. Working Cotton sails weren't made from bleached white cotton or other fiber because the bleaching process reduced the threads strength. Tidey whities were the product of the change from cotton/natural fibers to dacron in the late '50s-early 60s. From the time a the first woveen sails were hoisted in ancient times to then sails were not lilly white. Some natural fabric sails were dyed reddish/brown 'Tanbark' color as a preservative as Blue Stocking pointed out.
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Old 10-12-2015, 11:16   #6
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Re: Tan sails

Keep in mind that dying Dacron sails tan substantially reduces their working life. They become more suceptable to UV damage and the process damages the individual fibers. You can certainly have it done, but expect to replace your sails much more frequently.
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Old 10-12-2015, 12:57   #7
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Re: Tan sails

Welcome aboard Mossy Man.

I take it you're near the bridge, or your boat is. ;-D

As long as I've been sailing, I've heard what Stumble wrote, that the tanbark sails get sun-damaged faster than the white ones. On the other hand, it's your boat, and you should be able to have new tanbark ones made. Talk to the sailmaker and see what he/she says.

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Old 10-12-2015, 13:29   #8
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Re: Tan sails

Welcome aboard. Are you talking about cream color of sails or true tanbark (which are a dark reddish brown color) sails?

Your boat would have likely had cotton as others mention and then would have gone over to some version of a polyester (that's what Dacron is) in the 60's sometime.

Some polyester sailcloths are made of a cream color Dacron and that is not harmful to the cloth as it is the color of the threads themselves. We have a couple 70's era early Dacron sails that are really very strong and they're creamy in color. Having said that, from a distance, they look white.

Tanbark sails (dark red) really are a work-boat style and some modern boats do take them on (e.g. you see a lot of Lyle Hess BCC with them or the Crocker Stone Horse fleet in the NE USA seems to have them) so it is a matter of what people wish to project.

If you like the look--go for it!
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Old 10-12-2015, 13:38   #9
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Re: Tan sails

One of the cloth manufacturers, can't remember which one, makes Tanbark as well as a Tan colored material. The sail cloth the colored material was made of wasn't one of their better grades of Dacron cloth. My sailmaker recommended against using the colored fabric as it wasn't as durable as their better grades.

Doubt very much you could do an aftermarket dye job on Dacron material. The fibers just won't absorb the dye and it will wash out quickly.
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Old 10-12-2015, 13:47   #10
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Re: Tan sails

WE're in the process of equipping our Ingrid 38 with a new suit of sails. The originals were tanbark, which I much appreciate the look of; however, the cloth is substantially more expensive than white, so we abandoned it. If you have the budget for it and like the look, go for it.
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Old 10-12-2015, 17:13   #11
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Re: Tan sails

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Mossy Man, and babaluey.
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Old 11-12-2015, 02:39   #12
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Re: Tan sails

Thanks for this question, and of course the answers that followed. I've just taken delivery of a new suit of sails but it was something I had wondered about myself.

They do look good.
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Old 11-12-2015, 19:56   #13
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Re: Tan sails

Thanks Anne,
Both boat and skipper reside in Mosman although I have Wynstay around at Cammeray in a berth to do some work. She is genuine 2 owner since launch and has at least 30 years of bits and pieces in lockers and everywhere along with some interesting rigging. With a full keel and displacing 8t she is a joy to sail. I have not tried to tax my mind with which number boat she is for me but I have continually owned boats since I was 11 and I am 62 now.
cheers,
Ian
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Old 11-12-2015, 19:58   #14
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Re: Tan sails

Thank you every one for the information band advice. I think that a creamy colour would be best and I am talking to a couple of sailmakers,
cheers
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Old 12-12-2015, 01:35   #15
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Re: Tan sails

Aesthetics aside, there's an interesting side to this controversy.

The original 'tanned' sails were done to help them survive commercial usage. The natural fibres involved... cotton, flax whatever.. would suffer from damage from mold and mildew. The "tanning" involved immersing them in a nasty mixture w hich purportedly made them resistant to such attacks. From memory, the mixture included many of the normal leather tanning chemicals, and often ox blood to give the colour. Yuck! But it must have worked to some degree, for it was a common practice.

The irony is that nowadays, with dacron textiles, mildew is only a cosmetic issue for the most part, and UV damage is more important... and as others have mentioned above, the dyeing of the dacron reduces the UV resistance and the life of the sail.

But, if the cosmetic appeal is important to you, the reduction in lifespan may not matter... only you can make that decision!

Cheers,

Jim
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