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markpj23 27-12-2005 09:03

Choosing a Jib/Genoa
Can't think of a better group to ask these questions... so here goes.

Buying an Endeavour 52 that we plan to cruise Norhteast in summer, Bahamas / Carribean winters. The boat needs a headsail and due to the purchase timing we're looking at used sails.

The broker got a list from a sail loft and I immediately found myself with more questions than answers.
Here are my choices:

E52: I=59'5" J=21'7" P=52'0" E=18'0"
Main is fully battened w/1 reef point on a Dutchman system.

Opt# Luff Leech Foot LP %
------ ----- ------- ------ -----
1 57'9" 55'0" 31'8" 29'7" 137%
2 58'0" 52'10" 37'3" 30'0" 153%
3 61'4" 57'5" 33'8" 31'0" 144%
4 61'8" 60'3" 30'8" 29'2" 135%

All are 8oz Dacron except #2 which is 6.5oz Dacron. I was given other choices in Mylar and one in Spectra, but eliminated those under the assumption that Dacron is best for my intended use.

So here are my questions:
1.) What is the 'LP' measurement?

2.) How do you calculate the coverage %? I thought it was the J measurement Plus how much overlap on the E measurement. So in this case, wouldn't 150% be 21'7"(J) + .5*18(E) = 30'7"?

3.) To determine the leech length, don't I need to subtract the lifeline height from the I measurement? How high above the deck/lifelines should the jib fly?

4.) I assume that I'd have to have the sailmaker modify the sail to meet the luff measurement I need? For example, #1 & #2 seem too short, #3 & #4 too long.

5.) Should I just bite the bullet and get a new sail made? My concern is that lack of experience may lead me to buy a sail I won't be happy with later.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!:confused:

BC Mike 27-12-2005 09:20

Is the luff perpendicular measurement. Lay out the sail flat on the ground. With a long tape measure ( two people ) hold one end at the clew and measure to the leading edge of the sail. Pull a bit of tension in the sail. When the tape is at 90 degrees to the luff you should have your shortest measurement to the clew. That is the number you want. A 150% headsail is 50% larger than the J measurement. You will need to convert inches to decimals for the math and back again for the sail measurement. Or use metric like the sane part of the world. If your J was 21 feet six inches it would be 21.5 times 150% = 32.25. The leech measurement will determine how high off the deck you want the clew, and may also depend on the sheeting angle. You will need some track for the sheet block in the appropriate place. You may want a higher cut clew so you can see under the sail, and to make it easier for the water to travel under the sail in rough conditions. HTH.

Jeff H 27-12-2005 12:34

With all due respect, it takes a whole lot more experience to buy a used sail than it does to buy a new sail. When you buy a new sail, a good sailmaker will know the sailing characteristics of the boat that you are buying it for and the venue that you will be sailing in. Small differences in draft and camber shape, can make a huge difference in how well the sail will perform (by which I mean hoiw much heeling force will occur relative to the drive obtained from the sail). On a boat like the Endeavour 52 headsails are asked to perform across a very wide windspeed range. Fiber angle becomes really critical to the longevity of the sail and the upper end of the wind range at which the sail is useful. Spectra would be an ideal material for a sail on a boat like yours that is being used as you propose and with experience you would understand that.

By the time you buy a used sail in suitable shape for your purposes, and have it recut, you are very close to having spent what you would to buy a new sail from any of the top rate lofts (if the sail is ordered during one of the periods when there are discounts available).


SG 27-12-2005 18:19

Beyond that....
The Endeavours that I've sailed (the 42 and smaller ones) tend to heel a bit -- especially with a larger genoa in stronger winds.

I would tend to get the sail cut-up above the deck a bit or you'll be carrying a lot of water into it while going to weather. That will be putting a lot of stain on the sail, the sailors, and the rig.

Jeff's observations on the cut of the sail are very material. I'd start with the more information (that you can reasonably deem reliable) about the prior use of the sail if you're determined to go with a used sail...Examples include:

o What boat was it on before? Where was it sailed? How old is the sail? etc., etc.

o You are trying to deduce the likelihood it was sailed hard; Determine if it was sailed in heavy UV exposure areas, etc., etc.

Then I'd determine the weight of the material and who made the sail. Get a cheap sail and your likelihood of it lasting as long as well made, properly designed one goes down as you move down the price environment.

Finally, I'd get a quote for a reputable sail maker as to their recommendations as to the cut and measurements -- then you can compare the other choices -- and you have options in case you take Jeff's (and my) advice about buying a sail that you can depend on.

SG 27-12-2005 18:25

What other sails do you have? Do you change down or have two foresails on independant rollers forward?

markpj23 28-12-2005 10:11

Single roller furling jib, boat also has two spinnakers. 1-assymetrical w/chute the other a heavier '30W'.

Sounds like my best approach is to bite the time bullet and have a new sail made vice messing around with the used inventory.....

The old salts here will smile at me... knowing that boats take their own time regardless of the owner's schedule... :p

SG 28-12-2005 16:36

I think that's the best choice
Unless you're "given" a sail and it's just a "through away" -- or unless you can take it on consignment and see if it works, I wouldn't mess with it if you can afford to do otherwise.

I think that a spectra sail, as Jeff says, is a good idea.

If you are going to use those cruising chutes, I'd not go with a very large foresail. You really won't have change-up as much.

I'd look at keeping the foot off of the deck for your boat offshore.

jim lee 28-12-2005 23:05

Would a spectra sail survive on a roller furler?

-jim lee

Jeff H 29-12-2005 06:25

A spectra sails generally do better on a furler than dacron.

markpj23 29-12-2005 07:01

So I've decided to spring for a new sail. Anyone have experience with a Spectra sail in a cruising application? Advantages / disadvantages?
The used Spectra pricing was way below the dacron sails... is there a reason for that (assuming the same condition for the spectra as the dacron)?

Talbot 29-12-2005 11:10

My choice for a new sail will be "Hydranet" this is a Hood sail trademark, but similar available from other sail makers, and is dacron reinforced with spectra, so it offers the longevity of the dralon, with a reduced tendency to bagginess.

Richhh 29-12-2005 13:06

The disadvantages of spectra is the tendancy to take a permanent 'elongation' set (creep) when at high tension for long periods of time. Such creep will eventually lead to permanent distortion. Laminates are indeed nice especially with the minimum weight aloft. But for long distance cruising nothing beats the ruggedness of (quality) dacron polyester despite their heavier weight.

For cruising and the abuses of cruising go with a high grade dacron polyester using cloth from a rated manufacturer such as Contender, Marblehead, or Bainbridge. Avoid the 'offshore' stuff. A headsail made from good quality dacron polyester will be half the price of sail made with spectra.

Jon D 29-12-2005 15:00

I have had Quantum make 3 composite sails for my Moody, a main, #2, #3. All are a Bainbridge Polyester Composite. Some details can be found here

also more design options here

I have been very happy with these sails over time and have had Quantum build similar sails for other boats. The main/#2 are about 5 years old and look new at this time. Just had them in for inspection and all OK. Still holding shape etc. Now to be fair they have seen light/moderate use in that time as boat was being rehabbed for full time cruising.

Let me know if you want more detail.

markpj23 30-12-2005 12:38

After much discussion and input from seller, broker, sailmakers and this forum (thanks everyone!) I've decided on a new 135% in 9oz dacron. Just made the most sense from what I could put together under the circumstances.

Has been quite an eye opener to see how seemingly every sailmaker has a different opinion - possibly based upon what they have in inventory? - and so do the owners. Got a recommendation for a cruising laminate sail - 50% more in price and said to last 1/3 LES time than the dacron. Guess the go-faster cruisers buy that one?

Once again -- many thanks for the input!:jump:

Jon D 30-12-2005 15:14

Congrats -- enjoy your new sail.

135 is great all purpose size. Not surprised there is a cost differential - am surprised that it was 50% more. Also surprised at the lifespan statement. Sailmakers I have talked with indicated the Dacron laminates have the same useful life today. Racing cloth is another issue. Years ago that was not true.

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