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Old 25-10-2021, 11:09   #1
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Should I Buy a New Main ?

I bought a 2005 32' Catalina 18 months ago, so still "learning" the boat.
When sailing hard to windward, I am not sure if I should be frustrated with my (lack of) sailing skills or my main.

Please see attached pics. All were taken with traveler to windward (as you can see) because it felt like I was spilling all my wind/lift. Yes, main was raised all the way.

I understand average life expectancy for a main is approx 10 years (+/-).
Do you think a new main might allow her to hold a course closer to the wind (i.e. <40 -- note: she is a wing keel) and I might not need to play traveler games as much?

If you need a different pic, pls let me know.

Thank you in advance for any guidance on this topic,
Tom
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Old 25-10-2021, 11:17   #2
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

After 16 sailing seasons it appears to be a drop cloth. Time for a new main. You will be amazed at the increased performance when the draft is where it belongs. You will be propelled forward instead of to leeward.
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Old 25-10-2021, 11:17   #3
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

Doesn't look like you have nearly enough mainsheet tension for close hauled. Put a leech telltale on the main near the top batten. Tighten the mainsheet until the telltale starts to fly forward once in awhile.

Make sure your topping lift is loose enough.

There's a lot more to getting the trim right. Find some youtube videos.
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Old 25-10-2021, 11:19   #4
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

Pulling your traveler all the way to windward removes the downward force exerted by the mainsheet on the boom. As a result, the top of the main sail twists off and it spills the wind out the top of the sail reducing the power you have.
Generally, in lighter airs you want the traveler closer athwartships to the boom location which pulls down on the boom and closes the top of the sail off increasing drive. In dead light (drifting) conditions you should experiment with twist as it may be that twist is needed to get the wind to attach to the top of the leech.
If you get some leech telltales on the main you can see when you have flow (power) up there off the back of the leech.
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Old 25-10-2021, 11:24   #5
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orion Jim View Post
After 16 sailing seasons it appears to be a drop cloth. Time for a new main. You will be amazed at the increased performance when the draft is where it belongs. You will be propelled forward instead of to leeward.
Indeed, time for a new sail, that is well stretched and the difference is huge.

Choose a good quality cloth with the help of a local sail maker and enjoy the huge improvement.

Pete
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Old 25-10-2021, 11:29   #6
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

About How much would a new main cost? I know lots n lots of factors but just looking for a ballpark.
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Old 25-10-2021, 11:32   #7
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

Picture 1 shows too much twist in the main. Telltales on leach near each batten would help achieve proper trim. Sheet in tighter, until all telltales stall at the same time, and adjust traveler until they are just flowing. The full batten mains will hold their shape a long time, and Picture 3 shows the draft is in about the right spot, but the draft looks a bit deep. Depending on the average wind in your area, you might ask the sailmaker for a bit flatter main. More outhaul tension would help flatten the bottom part of the sail that you have..

Picture 2 doesn't say much about the main, but the jib draft is way too far aft, and it looks like the leach may be cupping to weather. Classic look of a blown out jib. More halyard tension will help the draft a bit, moving the lead back will free up the leach a bit, but if you want more windward performance its new jib time.
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Old 25-10-2021, 12:17   #8
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

Ok some basics.
  1. You need to put 2-3 rows of tell tales on the sail. You cannot tell trim without knowing how the air is flowing over the sail.
  2. The leach is very open. On a main sheet system like yours, this can be remedied by hardening the vang. You may need to ease the topping lift to close the leach and get rid of the twist.
  3. There is a little extra draft (depth) to the sail. Is the outhaul all the way out?

The cost of replacement depends on what you want. A good sail, from a good loft will cost $3-4 boat bucks. Yes there are cheaper ones.

Finally, donít throw out the sail! Send it in and get a free bag, or donate it.
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Old 25-10-2021, 17:09   #9
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

Great feedback, thank you everyone !

Outhaul and vang were snugged up with the topping lift loose. Trust me, main sheet was cranked in (although it may not look like it).

I think I will take the plunge on a new main (with tell tales!!).

I dont race, but periodically I sail the ICW with North/South winds and a couple degrees windward make a huge difference
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Old 25-10-2021, 18:14   #10
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Decompression View Post
Great feedback, thank you everyone !

Outhaul and vang were snugged up with the topping lift loose. Trust me, main sheet was cranked in (although it may not look like it).

I think I will take the plunge on a new main (with tell tales!!).

I dont race, but periodically I sail the ICW with North/South winds and a couple degrees windward make a huge difference
I see this all the time teaching. People are amazed how much more tension you need to get the upper leech twist out. If you can't then there is something wrong with your running rigging.

One rule of thumb indicator is that the top batten should be about parallel to the boom when you sight up from the boom for close hauled.
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Old 25-10-2021, 18:20   #11
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

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Originally Posted by cal40john View Post
I see this all the time teaching. People are amazed how much more tension you need to get the upper leech twist out. If you can't then there is something wrong with your running rigging.

One rule of thumb indicator is that the top batten should be about parallel to the boom when you sight up from the boom for close hauled.
^^^^^ This! ^^^^^

Also, your halyard might be "all the way up" but it does not look NEARLY tight enough.
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Old 26-10-2021, 09:10   #12
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

Before you spend money on new sail, look around your marina and find someone who is experienced to go out with you sailing one day. Get their opinions on what you're doing so you can see if it's you or the sail. If it's you, new sails will just get ruined quickly. Can't find anyone, hire a sailing instructor.
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Old 26-10-2021, 09:18   #13
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Decompression View Post
Great feedback, thank you everyone !

Outhaul and vang were snugged up with the topping lift loose. Trust me, main sheet was cranked in (although it may not look like it).

I think I will take the plunge on a new main (with tell tales!!).

I dont race, but periodically I sail the ICW with North/South winds and a couple degrees windward make a huge difference
Your original post said you had the traveler all the way up which is how we would normally ADD twist since the main sheet tension would be lower to bring the boom to center line. Normally if you were wanting to remove twist you would bring the traveler and the boom into closer alignment so the downward pressure of the main sheet would take twist out by pulling down on the boom.
As noted by others, vang can do this as well but due to leverage it is hard to get the vang to exert sufficient force.
Please note that more main sheet (or vang) is not always desirable.
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Old 26-10-2021, 09:26   #14
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

IMHO think you should start by getting Don Guillette's excellent book and trim charts.
https://shop.sailboatowners.com/prod.php?51998
https://shop.sailboatowners.com/prod...ail+Trim+Chart
You may indeed need new sails, hard to tell with the pictured sails trimmed the way they are. New sails won't set well until correctly trimmed. Possibly hire a sailing instructor that is good with sail trim and go out in 10-15 knots for an hour or so.
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Old 26-10-2021, 09:34   #15
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Re: Should I Buy a New Main ?

Main sail looks relatively baggy. A new mainsail should allow you to sail closer to the wind.
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