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Old 29-07-2020, 08:53   #1
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Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

Hello CF.

Iíve been looking for a used asymmetrical spinnaker for our Lagoon 400 with no luck, and I am considering sewing my own sail using a pre-cut kit designed by Sailrite. At 1238 square feet and using 2.65 oz Contender Nylite cloth itís less than half the price of a new sail. I have a Sailrite LSZ-1 and have sewn complicated projects. Iíve watched their videos and sewing this sail is mostly taping and sewing long seams and adding reinforcements at the corners, all of it pretty straight forward. I have the time to do it, and this kit would save me a lot of money.

My questions:

1. Am I crazy?
2. Is 2.65 oz overkill? I want it to last and keep its shape, but Contender makes Nylite in 1.75 oz.
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Old 29-07-2020, 11:08   #2
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

Unless you have made nylon sails before and had success, I will say do not do it.


Unless you have space to loft the sail, a say do not do this.



You may think you save something but when the sail blows up, you discover you saved nothing.


Cloth weight vs. sail area you take it from tables. It is a function of desired wind range and area.


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Old 29-07-2020, 12:27   #3
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

Our 0.75 oz 1350 sf asym. for very light air, weighs ~41 lbs w/the snuffer.


If we do the rough calculation based on cloth weight, your 2.65 oz sail will weigh ~120lbs (or more). IMO not too easy lug around unless to will run it on a furler.


Similar calculations for a 1.5 or 1.75 oz. cloth, starts bringing the weight of the sail >80lbs.


Have seen lots of used ones out there that would fit your boat for much cheaper than you could build it.
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Old 29-07-2020, 13:20   #4
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

One problem you will have with the sailrite is fitting a small sail through its arm. They are nice machines but that throat is really small compared to a normal loft machine. KItes are hard to roll up and getting half a kite through the throat will be a killer. Try it with any similar sail you have.

I can understand wanting to build a kite - it would be fun but years ago we didn't tape kites but just were very careful with cloth tension. We used sunken pits and nice machines. Getting all that right with a tiny machine, no sunken pit and no large floor would be really hard IMHO.
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Old 29-07-2020, 16:59   #5
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beach View View Post
.

My questions:

1. Am I crazy?
2. Is 2.65 oz overkill? I want it to last and keep its shape, but Contender makes Nylite in 1.75 oz.
Beach view,

You are asking exactly the right questions, but maybe reverse the order.

I built a more than 1000 square foot asymmetrical using 0.75 oz fabric from a Sailrite kit using a Sailrite machine. For me this was an enjoyable process that resulted in a very nice sail. The sail was built in sections to make the process more manageable. The last few seams required manipulating the full sail and required careful management to pass through the throat of the machine. For me the build was made much more manageable having a space that could accommodate the full length of the luff.

Your design is 25 percent larger. Using a heavy fabric will definitely be a challenge getting that final couple seams through the Sailrite machine. Probably doable. Go slow, use care.

However, fabric as heavy as the 2.65 oz may not be required. I suggest talking the details with Jeff at Sailrite to end up with the right material for your boat and design wind conditions.

The 0.75 oz fabric can handle mid teens apparent wind in my nominal 1000 square foot sail (38 foot catamaran). Sailng deep angles by the time we get to mid teen apparent wind the boat is getting very frisky, sailing double digit speeds in force 6 or better. In other words, the sail comes down well before we challenge the limits of the sail. On the other end of the wind scale the light weight fabric is certainly prefered for those light wind days, setting nicely in 5 knots of apparent wind. The sail is very enjoyable for those situations where without it we would have motored.

As noted above heavier fabric will also be a factor for getting the sail on deck and hoisted. To heavy and it won't ever come out of the locker.

For your situation I suggest building the sail of the lightest material strong enough for modest conditions. Consider a second sail of heavier fabric but smaller for higher winds, if needed. For my boat this second sail would be a code 0 about half the size of the assymetric.

I think building your own sail is a crazy and wonderful project.
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Old 29-07-2020, 17:50   #6
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beach View View Post
Hello CF.

Iíve been looking for a used asymmetrical spinnaker for our Lagoon 400 with no luck, and I am considering sewing my own sail using a pre-cut kit designed by Sailrite. At 1238 square feet and using 2.65 oz Contender Nylite cloth itís less than half the price of a new sail. I have a Sailrite LSZ-1 and have sewn complicated projects. Iíve watched their videos and sewing this sail is mostly taping and sewing long seams and adding reinforcements at the corners, all of it pretty straight forward. I have the time to do it, and this kit would save me a lot of money.

My questions:

1. Am I crazy?
2. Is 2.65 oz overkill? I want it to last and keep its shape, but Contender makes Nylite in 1.75 oz.
I do not think you are crazy. One of my early sailmaking projects was a spinnaker using 3/4 oz fabric (for a 40 ft monohull). It was a fun and successful project. If you use a precut kit it should be even easier(I cut my own from my own design).

One issue I had was thread tension. Big zig zag stitches will pucker the cloth. Pros use 3-step machines, which I did not have., You will need to use smaller stiches and carefully monitor the tension and stitches.

You should not have to pass the whole sail through the throat of the machine. Plan to keep adding small pieces onto a bigger piece, then only the small piece has to go through the throat. But some rolling will be needed, yes, but you can do it.

I have since sewed a 1.5 oz sail, which was split across the mid section, back together (overnight, missing the regatta party for that night). I rolled 1/2 half of the sail through the machine.

2.65 will be a bullet proof sail. If you have enough wind for that weight cloth you don't really need a spinnaker. I suggest 1.25 or 1.5 or even 1.0 oz cloth.
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Old 29-07-2020, 18:04   #7
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Unless you have made nylon sails before and had success, I will say do not do it.


Unless you have space to loft the sail, a say do not do this.



You may think you save something but when the sail blows up, you discover you saved nothing.


Cloth weight vs. sail area you take it from tables. It is a function of desired wind range and area.


barnakiel
This seems an overly pessimistic view, b. First, with the precut kit from Sailrite, no lofting should be required, just seaming and some reinforcement in the corners.

Can this be done with his equipment and space? Most likely, IMO. Years ago I built a symmetrical 3/4 oz kite for my Yankee 30, and without the benefit of a kit... just a slim pamphlet on spinnaker design from Sailrite and a bale of spinnaker cloth seconds that they sold back then.

"Borrowed" some floor space at work at night for doing the lofting, did most of the sewing in a small living room full of junk (bachelor days) on a 50 dollar used Singer home machine, and finished off the clews on Ann's Pfaff 130 at her house.

Took it down to the boat and hoisted it in the berth and damm if it didn't look good. One little gather in a seam, easily corrected, and off we went. Won quite a few races with that sail, too.

So, it can be done. I'd agree that his cloth seems way heavy, and that the lighter the cloth the easier it will be to shove it through the machine. And his sail is bigger than the one I built, too, but in the end, if the final assembly of the major pieces proves too difficult, I'd expect that a local sailmaker or awning guy could be hired to do those last few seams on their bigger machines.

Finally, there is no reason that a home built sail should blow out any easier that a pro-built one. Getting the shape right, well sure, things could go wrong and the amateur would not notice them, b ut structurally there should be no issues IMO.

And there was sure a lot of satisfaction in doing the job, and that is a worthwhile justification in itself!

Jim
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Old 30-07-2020, 07:26   #8
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

Jim,


You probably have way more experience than I. Likely, too, different production standards.


All I ever had was 18 months' of apprenticeship with Doyle NZ production loft where we made 5-10 sails each day.


Towards the end of my apprenticeship, I was able to make some parts of sails, but not the whole sail. The difficult parts were done by master sailmakers only.



Different folks, different strokes.


In manual arts, what is easy or difficult depends on person's skills and dexterity as much as on a general 'objective' difficulty level. I am of the 'clumsy' type though.


b.
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Old 30-07-2020, 07:37   #9
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

If you are the kind of person that enjoys the fact that you built it, go for it. I inherited my late wife's LSZ-1. Followed videos and made a few things, including rebuilding a Sunfish sail. 75 sq.ft, no comparison, but go for it. Can't advise on wt fabric for how you will use it, but maybe get a couple samples of each wt and see how your machine, and you, handle it.
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Old 30-07-2020, 10:22   #10
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

My opinion. Spinnakers don't get alot of use because of the amount of manpower needed to hoist. And my wife forbids me to fly it unless a very calm day. Many sit in bags in a closet of the owners house.
What I did. I purchased an unflown sail off a 60' monohull that was WAY to big (35' X 75') for my boat for $300. Then I recut the sail to fit my needs (35' X 53'). Then used the excess sail material to build a proper snuffer using a used ATN spinnaker sock for $125. With the extra line, seaming tape, and thread using my Sailrite the cost was under $500. Plus, in my opinion, it is much easier to recut a sail than build from scratch and alot less time. I have flown it since (without my wife) and love this sail . There is a certain amount of satisfaction watching it fly on a whisper of wind. At 8 knots of wind, we were moving 7.5 knots. I will say the sail had some graphics and now they look weird because I cut the center out of the sail.

I am considering getting several chutes that are different weights and different sizes, meaning the heavier the weight, the smaller the sail. For the price of one sail I could recut 3 sails. My huge spinnaker is .75 weight. I will ask my sail maker friend the different sizes I would need per the weight.

There are alot of spinnakers that have very little use and they want to be flown.
Building or recutting a big sail takes alot of area to lay it out. You will need a large flat area that will allow for seaming due to wrinkles. Also. when sewing something that large, you will have a fair amount of creep if a large area isn't used. I built a 12' X 16' sewing table in my basement much to the chagrin of my wife. I also recut a brand new mainsail and headsail. Sewing a 35' seam caused about 2" of creep. I was able to mark in 2' increments with a pencil to insure little creep. In the end, I just recut the luff to match.
I absolutely love having the learning knowledge of recutting new unused sails. It saved me thousands.
I am now looking to replace my Code Zero and Gennaker.
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Old 30-07-2020, 13:07   #11
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

Everyone,


Thanks for all of your input!



2.65 oz cloth is overkill, and I’ve asked Jeff at Sailrite for another quote for 1.75 oz cloth. This would provided better performance in the wind range I’ll be flying it in (5-20 kts) and would save weight and money.


I scoured the web again today for used asymmetrical spinnakers of the correct dimension for a Lagoon 400. I found one, but the seller hasn’t gotten back to me. If he doesn’t, I’ll pull the trigger on a Sailrite kit. I have a place to lay out and tape the pieces (local gym), I have a decent sewing machine, and I’ll have the time to sew it this winter. I’ve wrestled many rolled-up pieces through my machine, so I’m sure I can figure it out.



If I do sew my own spinnaker I’ll post pics on CF.


Thanks again,


Bill
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Old 30-07-2020, 13:52   #12
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

Hi Bill,
I made a 110% light air jib (not a spinnaker) for my Islander 29 from a Sailrite kit for use in the Chesapeake bay. Works great, excellent directions, reasonable price, and comes with everything you need. I had a great time making it.
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Old 30-07-2020, 13:53   #13
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

No you are not daft, I made a full set of sails including downwind (in my case square sail and topsail) some from Sailrite kits some from scratch. All worked fine and have done an Atlantic crossing. I think however you may be overweight in you cloth, 2 1/2 oz is a heavy weather cloth, great idea to have one but it should be about a 1/4 the size of the standard spinnaka and would be used for running in heavy weather. I have run 3/4oz cloth in 20kn, all be it reefed down, with no problems and that weight will stand up to any breeze that does not overpower the boat as long as it is properly made. Crucial points are good edge tapping and lots of reinforcement at the head, what you thing then add 50%!! The good thing about building spinnakers is the shape is not that critical, it works on area not aerodynamics.
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Old 30-07-2020, 16:09   #14
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Re: Home-sewn asymmetrical spinnaker, and how heavy is your cloth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Jim,


You probably have way more experience than I. Likely, too, different production standards.


All I ever had was 18 months' of apprenticeship with Doyle NZ production loft where we made 5-10 sails each day.


Towards the end of my apprenticeship, I was able to make some parts of sails, but not the whole sail. The difficult parts were done by master sailmakers only.



Different folks, different strokes.


In manual arts, what is easy or difficult depends on person's skills and dexterity as much as on a general 'objective' difficulty level. I am of the 'clumsy' type though.


b.
Well, sarcasm noted, b.

I must admit that I'm surprised that after 18 months of training you couldn't build a sail, but I suppose that when one is employed by a major loft they are a bit picky about the way sails look and work when the customer uses them. I had a very sympathetic customer for my sail!

In my case, the kite was the first time I had ever used a sewing machine and there was definitely a learning curve... and some harsh language was used at times. But when one uses seam tape to assemble the panels before sewing, and uses zig zag stitching which is easy to rip out when mistakes are made, and when there is no straw boss urging you to speed up the process, well, it just ain't that hard to do.

I was heavily involved in single hand ocean racing at the time as well as a crewed inshore series, and that sail was good enough that I was season champion in the single handed series two years straight, and competitive in the crewed series (one design racing). The sail was still good when I sold the boat, about three years usage, so longevity wasn't an issue either.

So, I'll stand by my opinion that it is a reasonable thing for the OP to do. It sounds like he has the necessary work space and equipment and much more sewing experience than I had... I think he will be fine, and might well enjoy the experience beyond the money savings.

Jim
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