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Old 25-05-2009, 02:28   #1
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Top Gun Fabric as Sailcloth

Hi all. Just wondering if anyone has had any experience using Topgun fabric as sailcloth. Tom Colvin mentioned it as an alternative to Dacron. Would be for gaff rig 43' pinky schooner. Thanks for any ideas.
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Old 25-05-2009, 05:38   #2
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I have a boat cover made of Top Gun. It's heavy stuff, and coated with acrylic. Not sure why you'd want to make sails out of it. Does Mr. Colvin mention any advantages of Top Gun over standard polyester (Dacron) sailcloth?
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Old 25-05-2009, 08:23   #3
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Hi Hud3,
yes.. Mr. Colvin had a few things to say and I hope he won't mind if I quote him.
"I do not use Dacron... it is a miserable material. On sails for hulls under 40 tons I use a material called TOP GUN it is not sold as sail cloth but for sail covers. It is not ultra violet sensitive, has about the same stretch characteristics as Dacron, can be cut with a knife, scissors, or razor blades, it does not un ravel when cut, it is available in 18 different colors, it weighs about 11 oz. per square yard, it come only 62" wide. I have this slit into thirds or do it myself. Good canvas is hard to come by and what I used to use is no longer available."
So that's what he said regarding sailcloth. Would a sailmaker be prepared to make us sails using this material. I fear he may have some thing to say about it. It appears to be substantially cheaper than regular 10oz dacron. Any thoughts? . Thanks in advance.
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Old 28-05-2009, 14:30   #4
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Originally Posted by bonaccordians View Post
Hi Hud3,
yes.. Mr. Colvin had a few things to say and I hope he won't mind if I quote him.
I'm quite suprised he would say he doesn't like Dacron. In fact, I would check that he said that (sober). It isn't the be-all and end-all of materials but there is a reason why it's so widely used.

That said, I think if you were looking for a substitute for canvas, this might do the trick. That is, for a certain set of traditional looking sails on a traditional looking boat. I am less certain for other uses.
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Old 28-05-2009, 14:47   #5
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bonaccordians,

Have you taken a close look at the fabric? My Top Gun boat cover is coated and shiny on one side and kind of dull looking on the other. To my taste it would make an ugly sail, but others may think differently.
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Old 28-05-2009, 17:38   #6
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Andy Soper of Kington Sail Loft will use TopGun at a client's request. For pinky schooner, he'd be a good choice since he's very knowledgeable about traditional sails.

Andy made about 10% of the sail for the movie "Master and Commander".

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Old 29-05-2009, 01:14   #7
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I have a feeling Colvin is talking from the point of view of working with this material himself. For instance, if he had a choice of hand sewing a boltrope onto Dacron or Topgun, perhaps the Topgun would be much easier to push a needle through and general handworking of the cloth. For my purpose though, a professional sailmaker would probably be happier working with a familiar cloth like standard Dacron as his loft would be setup for this material. Just trying to see things from Colvin's point of view and understand his dislike for dacron. Cheers.
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Old 29-05-2009, 02:11   #8
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It's a stupid idea. Dacron is far less stretchy than Top Gun, is lighter and sailmakers understand it.
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