Join Date: Apr 2006
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Unless you are lucky, I'd call a used sail a stopgap measure. Unlikely to still be in shape, even if you get one with the right dimensions. Although with all the hurricane losses last year, who knows, maybe there are a lot of used sails on the market after salvage.
Sailing with one headsail in all wind ranges is problematic. If you want a sail that performs in light air (1-5 knots) it will be too light and lose shape in 10-15 knots. It will be ruined at 25-30 knots, regardless of size. And if you use a heavy cloth so the sail isn't ruined in 20+ knots, it will hang too flat and stiff under 5 knots.
It is not just making the sail so it won't tear--but making it so it can hold the right 3-D shape. So the question is first, what wind ranges do you have down there? Or plan to sail in? If you're not racing and you don't care to hang around in 2 knots, you don't need a light air sail. If you read the weather right and strike the sails about 20 knots......less fun but again it can save the shape of your sails.
Anybody can hoist rags, but putting sails up with good shape in them, and replacing them before it is entirely gone, that's something else. You might want to compromise and have two sails made up, one for 0-15 knots, the other for 12-30 knots, something like that. Maybe a 140 for 0-15 knots, and a 130 for 12-30 knots, where you can use less sail area and more strength. Two sails isn't a totally unreasonable compromise. If you have a headfoil with two slots, making the changes isn't that big a deal.