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How to tell when one needs new sails

Nov 30, 2018
Catalina Capri 22 San Francisco
Hi, I have a 1988 capri 22 and the sails are in working order, no tears or frays or anything, but they are probably fairly old - the sail numbers are cracked and peeling.

How do I tell if it's time for replacement? Can I measure the draft of the sail somehow to get an idea? My main seems really deep - upwind performance is pretty mediocre, but maybe I just don't have things adjusted properly? I've tried various traveler positions to get more down force on the boom and whatnot, but it seems impossible to flatten the sail out any.
Mar 29, 2017
Hunter 30t 9805 littlecreek
New sails are always nice. If your asking this question there probably done. Somethings you can do to get thru season because usually sails are cheaper to buy in winter is. Add a Cunningham if you don't have one. Pull mainsail up tight on winch then give it a ton Cunningham forward and down to flatten and set outhull up with more power add extra pulley or put on winch. Play with all luff lines to try flatten. On jib pull haylard tight real tight and get your cars back. Of course a back stay adjustment will help both sails. And down wind power u need let all that out
Nov 26, 2012
Hunter 34 Berkeley
Ask an experienced racer to look at them. There are telltale signs (no pun intended). First of all, are they ratty and worn? With the main, the telltale sign is a diagonal wrinkle across the sail when it's up and filled that won't go away. With the headsail it's a belly that won't go away. When the jib sheets are hauled in tight the sail should flatten out in a simple curve. If, when pulled tight the sail has an S shape along the bottom when it starts flat at the clew and then belly's out a bit the sail is done.
Nov 30, 2018
Catalina Capri 22 San Francisco
Thanks guys - yeah, I figured it's probably just time for sails - what do we think of these replacement sails on catalina direct?

Jun 25, 2004
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
Read this thread

I’m a sailmaker. I posted an analysis of what a sailmaker with a trained eye looks for in mainsail shape.

This is what a really nice mainsail looks like
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Nov 30, 2018
Catalina Capri 22 San Francisco
Yes @DrJudyB , that's a very nice thread - I can't get my main anywhere close to that flat, but I don't have any good pictures really. I might get out this weekend, I'll post a pic, might be educational.

And from my limited experience, I'd say the boat performs rather poorly - heels in gusts and/or heads up, and it doesn't like to point upwind. I'm a n00b in sail trim and whatnot as well, so that probably doesn't help, but it's hard to learn probably if your sails are crap.
Aug 1, 2011
Catalina 270 Wabamun - on the orange ball
Not to poop on an idea, but a cunningham or an adjustable backstay isn't going to do squat to resolve a sail that isn't going to play nice.