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Old 09-05-2002
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mikehoyt mikehoyt is offline
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new sails

OK. The boat has 23 year old sails. The sails are in decent shape for such an advanced age but they are obviously not going to perform as well as they once did. So on my Niagara 26 it is time to replace one sail (I am not a millionaire so I must do one per season at most).

The spinnaker is seldom used and is not declared in my racing inventory so we will skip that.
I only race in club races and only about 10 times per year. I also use the boat for some cruising.
During races I use the #1 on light wind days which is about 70% of races and the #3 on other days.
In Nova Scotia there is a fleet of N26 that race one design with #3 and main only. My boat is not currently in this area but may be at some time (2+ years in future).

With this info which sail should be replaced? I am thinking on the Niagara 26 that the main will produce the biggest improvement. Am I wrong in this?

The next part of the question is about materials. Apparently the genoas and blades can be made with dacron (of various grades), mylar or kevlar within a mere mortal''s price range. I am being told that the mylar and kevlar headsails are far superior to those made of dacron and that they will actually outlast their dacron counterparts as useful sails that can be used for racing. What should be used? Is this a sailmaker trying to sell more product or is there a generally accepted rule used here? Is the laminate/dacron arguement the same for a #3 as it is for a #1? What about mainsails? Do you use these materials in a main?

Finally what about the sailmaker. North Sails is big and offers a good product but there are local sailmakers in both the cruising and racing sails market. Is North any better than a local loft or is it the other way around?

I have had quotes that vary from 1325 thru 1850 to 2200 (Canuck Bucks) for just a mainsail. These are from three different saillofts that all sell quality goods. I am confused and bombarded with information. I am being told by some parties that saving a few dollars will get me poor quality product and that dacron sucks when kevlar is available...

Is there anybody out there that has all the answers????

Mike

PS. Routine maintenance like replacing windows, refinishing decks, rebedding keels is far less confusing!
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