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Old 04-07-2014, 09:23   #31
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Re: Sail life

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Originally Posted by Jd1 View Post
SNIP

I do fly the sail in 20 knts,

SNIP
Just wanted to add that when I use the term twenty knots it is often more of a figurative than literal term. On many boats the standard advice is to reef at twenty knots. I suspect part of this advice stems from the fact that even in the trades (where I have very limited sailing experience confined to windsurfing on holiday) twenty knots usually means twenty knots with higher gusts. Sometimes much higher gusts which can be combined with significant waves.

The combination of maybe a twenty percent variation in wind speed and the shifting of the apparent wind forward as the boat surfs down the face of a wave resulting in potential luffing or at least a need to trim the sail or simply the stress of changing wind force on the sail as the boat moves up and down on the crest and trough of the wave results in much greater stress than sailing in say ten to fifteen knots with small differences in the wind force hitting the sails.

I tend to be a gentleman sailor who tries to avoid beating, especially in to winds greater than ten knots and reefs at fifteen knots. The result is my sails last longer than sails used in heavier winds and seas.
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Old 04-07-2014, 16:38   #32
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Re: Sail life

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Originally Posted by OceanSeaSpray View Post
Well, I know this ruffles some feathers, but... there is just about everything wrong with the one sail approach other than convenience and low cost, and it is not a racing vs cruising debate.

<snip>

Maybe you can fit a wire forestay inside of your furling genoa...
I don't think what you said is controversial at all. The furling Genoa is a compromise of performance vs. convenience and I agree with everything you said.

I think if one were setting up a boat for serious off shore work one would want a storm jib on a baby stay as you suggest and not rely on the genoa. I've looked at how that can be done on my boat but I probably won't get motivated to do it. I just won't be out in those conditions long enough to make it worth the effort.

For the weekend sailor coastal cruiser who encounters the occasional thunderstorm I think you can live with the single sail and run for home when the hurricane comes.

Single or short handed I don't rig the spinnaker and I don't even rig the asym. living with the relatively poor performance of the genny downwind. A code zero on a furler would get a lot more use (for me) as a next sail than a storm jib.
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Old 04-07-2014, 16:44   #33
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Re: Sail life

For those wishing to avoid the hassle and cost of owning and managing a spinnaker, it's easy enough to find or make a light whisker pole to help with sailing wing on wing.
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Old 04-07-2014, 16:58   #34
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Re: Sail life

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SNIP

I just won't be out in those conditions long enough to make it worth the effort.

SNIP
Agree. I often wonder how folks make the decision to go out or stay out in uncomfortable conditions.

I hope this does not start an anchor thread but spending more money on good ground tackle so you can safely stay at anchor till bad weather passes may well be cheaper than buying new sails to replace sails damaged by sailing in bad weather.
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Old 04-07-2014, 17:14   #35
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Re: Sail life

For me,sailing starts to be fun at 15 knts apparent. Not going out in those conditions is just not an option. Changing sail is not an option - the day I trashed my Genoa the winds literally changed from less than a knt to 35 knts and there is no way that as a single hander I can change foresails every time the wind changes. I will just have to figure out a way not to kill my sails.
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Old 04-07-2014, 17:20   #36
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Re: Sail life

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SNIP

I will just have to figure out a way not to kill my sails.
All sails die, some sooner than others. From what you have posted you seem to be hard on sails compared to some folks who have posted in this thread.

You may just have to accept that you will be going through sales more quickly than them.
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Old 04-07-2014, 17:40   #37
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Re: Sail life

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For me,sailing starts to be fun at 15 knts apparent. Not going out in those conditions is just not an option. Changing sail is not an option - the day I trashed my Genoa the winds literally changed from less than a knt to 35 knts and there is no way that as a single hander I can change foresails every time the wind changes. I will just have to figure out a way not to kill my sails.
Most boats should be fully powered above 15kts - that means the normal sailplan is able to push the boat along at hull speed. Carrying full sail above hull speed is not useful except in having a little reserve power to accelerate the boat when the swells/waves slow it down.

For performance rig the sails for the sustained wind and absorb the gusts through sheeting or heading the boat up when gusts hit.

For cruising rig the sail sail plan for the gusts set the autopilot, enjoy the ride and accept that you will be going slower between gusts.

Don't overthink "wearing out" the sails. Dacron will sag - it's a fact. You should feel no worries carrying your genny to 20kts or even above. My Genoa is 6 years old and still has decent shape and "stiffness" - In weekend sailing you really aren't going to wear that sail out quickly. It's more important probably to makes sure it is UV protected.

BTW - Make sure you don't get confused by apaprent wind. Apparent wind is observed wind speed + a component of boat speed depending on heading. If you have 15 kts measured and you are motoring dead into the wind at 5kts the apparent wind is 20kts. If you were motoring dead downwind the apparent wind would be 10kts. 90 degrees the apparent wind would be (essentially) 15kts. What matters is what the sail is seeing.

Apparent wind is important to understand as you go up the performance ladder. Many sailors complain of poor windward performance and don't understand how to generate their own apparent wind.

Unlike dinghy's that are light and accelerate quickly, you can't just tack a heavy boat, point up at 3 knots and hope you get to 5.5 or 6.0. You bear off (a few degrees) sheet out a bit and accelerate the boat, then point up while sheeting in. It can take a heavy boat 3+ minutes to "change gears" to where it has boat speed and pointing. And if a gust, bad steering or something else knocks you off "the step" you have to bear away and start over.

If you remember nothing else about performance trimming remember this - Boat speed, boat speed, boat speed...

You can have bad sail trim, bad sails, a boat out of rig or other issues that make the boat hard to point, but if you aren't getting boat speed you will never point.
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Old 04-07-2014, 17:47   #38
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Re: Sail life

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Don't overthink "wearing out" the sails. Dacron will sag - it's a fact. You should feel no worries carrying your genny to 20kts or even above. My Genoa is 6 years old and still has decent shape and "stiffness" - In weekend sailing you really aren't going to wear that sail out quickly. It's more important probably to makes sure it is UV protected.
Thanks for that .... it helps a lot!
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Old 04-07-2014, 17:52   #39
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Re: Sail life

Jd, the answer to your situation is pretty easy... sorta!

You need a second stay and a staysail. With that setup, when the wind exceeds the design capabilities of the genoa, you roll it all the way up and unroll (or hoist) the staysail.

The inner stay can even be made of Dyneema and easily removable if you don't want it in the way all the time.

Our boat has a Solent rig, so the staysail (or whatever you want to call it) goes to essentially the same spot on the mast as our fractional gennie. We started out with a fairly small sail there, about 19 sq metres (compared to around 50 for the genoa). There was a noticeable gap in performance between where we like to roll up the gennie at around 20-22 apparent and where the staysail was powered up at around 26-28 apparent, but it still worked well for us. That sail and its furler were trashed a few weeks ago when the Highfield lever at the bottom of the stay came open at sea, and we've just completed replacing the lot (without the treacherous lever). The new sail is somewhat larger at 25 sq metres, and cut flatter. On brief trials, it seems to do very well in the 20-24 knot range, and has a luff pad so that it will maintain its shape a bit better when reefed to cope with 40+. Time will tell how we like it. The point of all this is that our fairly lightweight 120% genoa never gets stressed beyond its designed wind strength and has lasted very well indeed (now 7 years of full time cruising and with good shape retention).

Downsides? Well, besides the cost, having the roller furled staysail in the way means that tacking the genoa requires rolling it up most of the way, and I hate that! But tacking the staysail is a breeze, and when we are in a short tacking situation, we just use it instead of the gennie. We think the new, larger staysail will make that a better compromise... we'll see!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 04-07-2014, 18:08   #40
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Re: Sail life

Jd:

FWIW, The sailmaker who built our mainsail makes sails for racing boats and cruising boats. He told us that with the Dacron cloth available to him these days, dacron sails are "good" for about 4 yrs. That might be enough for you????

Ann
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Old 04-07-2014, 18:14   #41
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Re: Sail life

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Jd:

FWIW, The sailmaker who built our mainsail makes sails for racing boats and cruising boats. He told us that with the Dacron cloth available to him these days, dacron sails are "good" for about 4 yrs. That might be enough for you????

Ann
I have heard the figure of 10 years with the sail occasionally carried to 20 years but never as low as 4 years. I guess I shouldn't complain then since my current sail is about 9 years old.
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Old 04-07-2014, 18:27   #42
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Re: Sail life

Ya gotta take the sailmakers advice with a grain of salt. Our guy was really upselling composites and we were tempted but not at almost 2/3 again the price of dacron.

4 years in daily service yes you won't get 20 years.

If you do get a new sail make sure you get both leech and foot cords - My view is the biggest killer of sails is fluttering of the leech and foot. Flogging is noticeable and corrected in short order but fluttering can go on for hours and hours with oblivious skippers.

I've been on boats that were fluttering and had to untie very old cord knots. The skipper had them on set and forget.
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Old 04-07-2014, 20:05   #43
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Re: Sail life

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If you do get a new sail make sure you get both leech and foot cords - My view is the biggest killer of sails is fluttering of the leech and foot.
I did mention that for the quote and was told that is standard for his sails. I was under the impression that the leech cord was standard but had made good use of the foot cord and wanted that feature.
I wish there was some method of reducing the flutter without that big hook in the sail that is created with the leech and foot cords .... or is that a sign of a bagged out sail ?
The sailmaker said that the Sunbrella causes this as it shrinks/stretches different than Daron. Apparently you can have Dacron as the UV protector to reduce the formation of the hook but it doesn't last as long.
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Old 04-07-2014, 20:26   #44
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Re: Sail life

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Jd:

FWIW, The sailmaker who built our mainsail makes sails for racing boats and cruising boats. He told us that with the Dacron cloth available to him these days, dacron sails are "good" for about 4 yrs. That might be enough for you????

Ann

He would have been talking about yarn tempered Dacron. That stuff is only for racers not allowed to use laminates, such as Etchells.

Cruising cloth can last much longer.
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Old 04-07-2014, 20:34   #45
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Re: Sail life

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<snip>

I wish there was some method of reducing the flutter without that big hook in the sail that is created with the leech and foot cords .... or is that a sign of a bagged out sail ?
<snip>
I was going to ramble on about use of leech cords in the previous post but yes - they can seriously mess up your sail shape if too tight.

And yes the closed leach, full belly is a good sign of a bagged out sail. If racing the best bet is let it flutter while you are waiting for your new sail to arrive...
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