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Laminate sails on a cruiser?

Discussion in 'Sail Trim with Don Guillette' started by lurker, Jul 14, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. lurker

    lurker

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 23 likes
    Hunter 410
    CA Vancouver Island
    Looking for ideas here on getting new sails made.

    I'd like to hear thoughts from cruisers and racers alike on battens (full, 2f+2p), loose-footed or not, how deep to set up each reef, cruising laminates versus higher performance dacrons etc. Anyone that has put a fat-head main on a B&R rigged sailboat I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.

    The boat is a 1998 Hunter 410, non-furling mainsail. B&R rig, boom is around 20' long. Tides strong track has been installed and the slides will likely be switched from the old sail to the new. Roller furling headsail.

    Sailing area is Vancouver Island/Desolation Sound, Pacific NW.

    Boat is normally double handed, not raced. That said I love squeezing every knot out of the wind that I can, and sailing as efficiently as possible. (Max speed, minimum heel.)

    Desires with the new sails:

    1) For the mainsail, shorthanded ease of dropping, trimming, and putting away are equal to the desire for a good performing sail. The boom is very long, therefore grabbing the leech as the sail drops is near impossible. We find it hard to drop and flake easily as the height of the boom, along with the dodger and bimini limits reach. The Tides track has helped immensely with quickly dropping the sail, but we know that it won't be flaked beautifully each time. We currently use a stack pack set up for our OEM non-loose footed main that comes from an internet loft that I'm less than impressed with. I will consider replacing the stack pack at the same time.

    2) For the headsail, good performance, easy to trim, and preserves the existing sight lines below the foot of the sail.

    Ideally the sails are left on year round for those ideal winter days here when we can sail for a few days.

    The boat won't be going south anytime soon. It will be sailing around Vancouver Island. Therefore light air sailing on the Georgia Straight is as important as the heavy westerlies you get on the outside waters west of Vancouver Island.

    Finally, I like the idea of laminates primarily for weight reduction and ease of use for raising/lowering either single or two handed but am concerned with longevity. Thanks to all who reply.
     


  2. Apex

    Apex

    Joined Jun 19, 2013
    752 posts, 87 likes
    Oday 28
    US Traverse City
    call judyB at Hyde sails, she is on this site often. She made some very nice sails for me 2yrs ago.

    cruising laminates are becoming more prominent, esp with tafetta to aid in abrasion resistance.
     


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  3. Sailavie1

    Sailavie1

    Joined Oct 31, 2012
    147 posts, 84 likes
    Hunter 2008 H25
    ca Lake Wabamun
    The nice thing about the B&R rig is the allowance for a large roach main. Although my little 25’ is a world away from yours, the performance of new laminate sails will be noticeable. Full battened main is easier to handle although a bit of a beast to flake and put away. The top two battens need to be pulled out slightly so the sail lays flat in the cover (but that’s a small price to pay). I needed the make my sail bag 4” wider to accommodate the lager roach main. Also, I opted for the battened jib as this adds considerable area and power. My last recommendation is to get a Code 0 asymmetrical reacher. Nothing beats these in light wind for upwind performance. Get a long bowsprit and you got yourself a cutter rig.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
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  4. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,897 posts, 2,061 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    @lurker, I just received my new main. I have bent in on to the boom, and raised it while at the dock, but not been able to sail it. Like having a new toy your Mom says put it back in the box till you finished your dinner... Ahhh Mom.

    This next weekend...

    My experience with North Sail of Seattle has been very positive. We sail some of the same water. Jack Christian was prompt to set an appointment to measure the boat. He spent 90 minutes at the boat talking about what I was looking for and measuring all of the aspects for the sail. Gave me a quote. That was less then some and a bit more then the lowest. measured the boat on May28th and the sail was delivered the morning of July 13th.
    Very pleased with the service. Sail looks great. Jack was a knowledgeable fellow. Got positive comment from my rigger Bob Doyle of Everett Sailing.

    I’ll let you know my thoughts once I raise it in a bit of wind.
     


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  5. lurker

    lurker

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 23 likes
    Hunter 410
    CA Vancouver Island
    The pics you have look fantastic. What sail cloth did you choose for your main and jib? The square topped main is similar to what I've been thinking. Did it change the balance of your sails significantly? (More weather-helm, with more sail area than before?) I've thought that adding vertical battens in the jib could solve the issue of the square head main generating additional lift affecting balance, as I really don't want a bigger headsail than what I have right now.
     


  6. lurker

    lurker

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 23 likes
    Hunter 410
    CA Vancouver Island
    Thanks for the good feed back on North, as well to Apex's comments on Hyde sails. Rather than focusing on which loft/brand is best, I'd like to talk about design elements for changing from 20 year old sails into new sails that will work better for two handed performance cruising on a boat with a B&R rig.
     


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  7. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,897 posts, 2,061 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    I have a mast head rig so not sure about the choice I made on your boat.

    My decision was to choose a cruising sail of Dacron material. Cost/Quality/Endurance https://northsails.com/sailing/en/products/cruising-mainsails
    I chose the top batten full and the rest leech battens. This reduced the cost a bit and since I have a standard steel track on my mast it allows for smoother action when raising and lowering the sail.
    I also selected the plastic track slides. One path is to go to a “StrongTrack” system. It improves the speed that the sail can be raised or loved. But at another Boat Buck ($1K) I decided to apply those funds to other needs.

    Loose foot is the modern way. It gives a bit more trim options in my mind. A boom footed sail is a bit more full. I went with 2 reef points. They came reinforced. I like the reef point at the tack on a strap rather than in the sail. It makes fitting it to my reef hooks very easy. I ordered the Cunningham, which adds options to tightening the luff when it is up full to the top.

    Cloth is their NPc Coastal.
     


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  8. Apex

    Apex

    Joined Jun 19, 2013
    752 posts, 87 likes
    Oday 28
    US Traverse City
    yw Lurker. i mentiined Judy as she is a good resource for just that discussion. i talked with her about the kind of sales I would want, and based on my needs and sailing style... She helps me choose a triradial construction with warp-Drive dacron. we discussed laminates and i decided after we discussed benefits of each.
     


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  9. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    2,806 posts, 319 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    I have laminate sails on my Tartan 3800, film-on-film with Pentex fibers between, material made by Bainbridge, sails made by Z-Sails in Stamford, CT.

    I wouldn't have chosen these, but they came with the boat. The "lore" on laminates versus dacrons is that dacron sails will last longer, but fail gradually, stretching and "blowing out;" laminates will retain their shape, but then fail suddenly.

    Mine are 10+ years old, although weren't used for a few years. They seem fine, though some stitching should be re-done next year.

    They are like airplane wings when set! Truly dramatic, perfect shape, and move the boat smartly in light air, not much heel in heavier blows. Light weight, easy to handle.

    But, expensive, I'm told, maybe 50% more than dacron.

    If you can do it, it might be fun.
     


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  10. shemandr

    shemandr

    Joined Jan 1, 2006
    3,478 posts, 564 likes
    Marblehead Skiff 14'
    US Greenport, NY
    I sailed on a boat with sails built by Z sails and they were awesome. The thing about “Laminate” sails is that the sailmaker has to get the shape right. They’re not that adjustable.
     

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  11. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    2,806 posts, 319 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    I guess so! But, the respond well to trim, so far, at least.
     


  12. shemandr

    shemandr

    Joined Jan 1, 2006
    3,478 posts, 564 likes
    Marblehead Skiff 14'
    US Greenport, NY
    I didn’t mean to imply that they don’t need to be trimmed. I’m saying that the designed shape is what you get. If that shape isn’t fast on an individual boat, you can’t change it very much.
     


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  13. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,735 posts, 1,167 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    As for balance, that will all depend on design. More sail area and more lift doesn't mean a change in balance. It will all depends on where that center of effort ends up. Your sailmaker should be able to help you determine where it is currently and where it will be with the new sail(s).

    - Will (Dragonfly)
     


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  14. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,897 posts, 2,061 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA


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  15. jon hansen

    jon hansen

    Joined May 25, 2012
    1,024 posts, 487 likes
    john alden caravelle 42
    us sturgeon bay, wis
    for me, the most important expenditure on any boat are the sails. it's the engine. get the best you can afford. then never look back. you will love every sail more with crisp, well designed sails aloft. a $200.00 hand held GPS will take you around the world. anything more is overkill, but sails, top of the line, great shape, crisp, ooooooooh!
    my alden is on it's 53rd season, it's bottom is as smooth as a baby's butt, and i have fresh crisp shapely sails.
    i'm a loose footed convert. love the shape. it is a hoot under sail!
    just my $0.02
    ..... and your $12,000.00 :)
     


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  16. jon hansen

    jon hansen

    Joined May 25, 2012
    1,024 posts, 487 likes
    john alden caravelle 42
    us sturgeon bay, wis
    [​IMG]

    this is my favorite main, fresh and crisp! the jib is an original 66' Hood sail. still good shape :)
    best of both worlds. my big genoa's are all new and high tech.
     


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  17. uncledom

    uncledom

    Joined Jun 11, 2011
    1,008 posts, 189 likes
    Hunter 41
    US Lewes
    Best investment I made on the boat. As you can see by the dodger still being in place we don't take racing seriously but I love taking green crew out to get the sense of it. The boat heels less as the sails hold a better shape and can be properly taunt, there is far less drag as these sails have a well engineered camber for the boat.
    They are Paneled Tri-Radial Pentex/Technora with Tedlar UV cover (Optic gray).
    I had him off the line but I had water in the tanks and the dodger in place so you can imagine it was short lived. :)
     

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  18. uncledom

    uncledom

    Joined Jun 11, 2011
    1,008 posts, 189 likes
    Hunter 41
    US Lewes
    :plus: Mine are also Z Sails from Stamford. So happy with them.
     


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  19. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    8,974 posts, 2,263 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    @lurker,
    Nice detailed description of what you are looking for. I have only one question: How often do you hear your sails when sailing?

    The reason I ask is that the only true advantage dacron will have (for you) will be resistance to wear and flogging. If you hate it when they flog, keep your leach-lines correctly set, and smartly tack your jib, get laminates and never look back.

    You have a tides track. Excellent. Get full battens. Huge benefit with minimal disadvantages. Better longer sail shape, and it sail with almost drop-flake on the boom.

    Your small jib means much less wear on the headsail. It's off the lifelines and does not get dragged around the mast and spreaders each tack. On a roller it will last for years. UV strips or a sock, your choice. For your size boat I'd go with strips.

    With tri-radial construction on both, a laminate will cost maybe 20% more than good dacron. Why bother?

    Dacron can take a lot of abuse. Mylar film IS dacron, just extruded. The part that does not like flexing is the matrix of carbon or arimid fibers (Kevlar, etc) fibers that give the sail strength. Carbon used to be more brittle, but newer formulations make it very long lasting with a little care and is a great choice.

    Loose foot is the only way to go. No reason not to. If you plan to race, go IMS/PHRF MAX dims on your head, 7/8, 3/4, and 2/4 girths. You'll only get full beni from a fathead if you can (and will!) pull your boom up to the centerline on every tack.

    Plus, who does not like black sails??
    cropped main.jpg
     


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  20. jon hansen

    jon hansen

    Joined May 25, 2012
    1,024 posts, 487 likes
    john alden caravelle 42
    us sturgeon bay, wis
    blue J always looks so sweet!
     



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