Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: CT/ Long Island Sound
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Re: new 120% genoa
Stumble seems to have it about right for the differences between laminate and woven sails. It might be useful to look at woven sails as if they were knitted wool sweaters. When you first put it on, it fits beautifully. Wear it a few times in a touch football game or two and it begins to change. The sleeve you rolled up to show off your tattoo is looser than the other one. The bottom droops a bit on the left side where Steve tried to stop you from crossing the goal line. The wool is still there, still the same color and softness, and just as warm as ever. But it will never fit the same way it originally did. Woven sails are similar. Ten or more years old, they may LOOK ok - very little wear & tear, and still as white as new - but their SHAPE will never be the same. Laminates are more like airplane wings. The way they are made keeps their shape from changing at all -- until something in their construction gives, and the whole thing suddenly self-destructs because the glue fails, or because luffing creates a weak spot that cracks. You pays your money and makes your choice.
For the different sized genoas, sono has good advice about trying to get the best rating. The question then becomes how accurate the different ratings for the different sized sails are. If you get a smaller than standard sail, and the rating changes by 5 seconds per mile to compensate you for that, do you actually sail five seconds per mile slower with the smaller sail? If you only sail three seconds per mile slower with the smaller sail, it gives you a two second per mile advantage to use that sail. If you sail six seconds per mile slower with the smaller sail, the five second change isn't enough, and going with that sized sail would put you at a disadvantage. Figuring this all out might take three or four seasons, and the PHRF committee could change things for you if you started winning too many races. The best thing to do might be to determine what size sail you'd like to use most of the time. If Toronto is a heavy-air venue, a smaller sail might simply be easier to handle, and wouldn't affect boatspeed that much. If Toronto tends to lighter air, you'll get more use - and enjoyment - from a bigger sail. Go with the jib you'll get the most from.
Also in light of woven sails, I spoke with a sailmaker this summer who told me about a problem he'd had with a polyester sail succumbing to UV degradation in a very short time. It appears Dupont no longer makes dacron. Nobody does. Different companies make variouis polyester fibers, and it gets woven into sailcloth, such as Pentex. The problem this sailmaker had was that somewhere along the way the new producers tweaked the formula, and the polyester fiber became less UV-resistant than the "old stuff:". The manufacturer replaced all the damaged material, but the sailmaker still had to build a new suit of sails for the boat. Something to be aware of: polyester is not immune to UV.
Last edited by paulk; 09-09-2012 at 10:33 PM.
Reason: updated info