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post #1 of 33 Old 11-06-2013 Thread Starter
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Second-hand sails

At the recent regatta I discovered my new-to-me mainsail needs some significant re-work and was advised that any money might be better spent on a second-hand sail a season or two old and then sell what I've got now. Problem is, my boat isn't exactly one of a class, hence I'm unlikely to ever find one with the correct dimensions just sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting for me to buy it...

I know enough to know I would need to buy a bigger sail than what I have for it to be cut down the luff - but what dimensions should I be looking for (% bigger) and on what axes? Foot? Luff? Both??

Any ideas as to how I might work out what I need??

Thanks,
Cameron

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"Honestly, I don't know why seamen persist in getting wrecked in some of the outlandish places they do, when they can do it in a nice place like Fiji." -- John Caldwell, "Desperate Voyage"
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post #2 of 33 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Second-hand sails

I can't imagine in Melborne there aren't a number of local sail lofts. They all likely have used sails on consignment, and if not have a network to track them down.

Generally it is easiest to cut down the luff, but it depends on the make of the sail, what material, and how much it needs to be cut down.

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post #3 of 33 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Second-hand sails

The 'on-line/used' sail lofts have search engines where you can enter your limits for dimensions and search that way.. Use them now and you'll come up with some standard 'designs' that might be a good fit if only for reference.

Sacrificing 4-6 inches in hoist will probably not be terribly noticeable. We got a main and jib from the SF J-105 fleet for a great price.. and going on the 6th or 7th season with it now - the main fit fine (slightly short on hoist) the jib required a major cut down. It's since 'died' and we bought a new headsail last season.

The other thing to watch for is excessive roach.. if your boom is longish vis-a-vis the backstay a larger roach sail will be a PITA to gibe in light air.

Ron

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post #4 of 33 Old 11-06-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Second-hand sails

Thanks guys - all good advice

Fast: Roach - yes, good point. I won't be wanting a main with any more roach than I have now! In some ways, knowing that the sail I want is exactly the dimensions of what I have now will make it easier.

Stumble: I'm after an ordinary Dacron 'cruising' main. I'll check again, but AFAIK the local sailmakers around here don't do stuff on consignment - that's left to the on-line folks. There used to be a guy in Sandringham who sold second-hand sails, but after years of slow business he's shut up shop and passed his stock to a guy in Sydney.

Assuming I find something with the correct measurements on-line, not being able to look at it first I suppose I have to take the sellers word that if the quality is "good" then it is, right? It's not like shipping sails is cheap..

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"Honestly, I don't know why seamen persist in getting wrecked in some of the outlandish places they do, when they can do it in a nice place like Fiji." -- John Caldwell, "Desperate Voyage"
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post #5 of 33 Old 11-07-2013
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Re: Second-hand sails

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Originally Posted by Classic30 View Post
Thanks guys - all good advice

Assuming I find something with the correct measurements on-line, not being able to look at it first I suppose I have to take the sellers word that if the quality is "good" then it is, right? It's not like shipping sails is cheap..
From what I've seen, what these places call "good condition" I call blown out but still in the shape of a triangle. But I like nice sails. You will always get your money's worth out of new sails unless you sell the boat right after. I can't see throwing good money after bad.

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post #6 of 33 Old 11-07-2013
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Re: Second-hand sails

Was it a sailmaker who gave you that advice Cam ?

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post #7 of 33 Old 11-07-2013
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Re: Second-hand sails

I had the pleasure of sailing on a boat about a month ago with new sails, it was amazing how close to the wind we could point. The owner said before the new sails he was 15-20 degrees farther from the wind.

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post #8 of 33 Old 11-07-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Second-hand sails

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Originally Posted by zz4gta View Post
From what I've seen, what these places call "good condition" I call blown out but still in the shape of a triangle. But I like nice sails. You will always get your money's worth out of new sails unless you sell the boat right after. I can't see throwing good money after bad.
That's what worries me. I like nice sails too... and I expect to get more than a year's life out of them!

Having spent $1,000 on this thing already I could put this down to experience (sometimes a free sail isn't free!), but a new main is going to cost +$2,000 where a second-hand swap-over should be less than half that.. although a new sail will be far, far easier to organise.

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Was it a sailmaker who gave you that advice Cam ?
Yes, it was - a visiting sailmaker from NZ who had no interest in the sails other than wanting the boat to go as quickly as possible, since he happened to be crewing for me in the Regatta that day.

He pointed out two major faults with my main - one is that the new panel I had inserted to raise the height of the sail wasn't stitched properly (by Doyles) and is wrinkling the panels either side; the other is that the bottom foot or so was braced incorrectly and should be cut out and replaced - oh, and the leech wasn't double-stitched so the leech line is starting to wear through in places. It looked to him like (and probably was) a rush job.. "get it out the door" "we're too busy right now to do it properly" "he won't even notice"

Given that the cloth is ok, he suggested a second-hand sail simply because it would cost more for me to fix it than to buy a 2nd hand sail and sell this one for some else to cut down.

..and my lovely 2nd-hand-bought-with-the-boat kite is getting a little thread-bare..

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post #9 of 33 Old 11-07-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Second-hand sails

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Originally Posted by azguy View Post
I had the pleasure of sailing on a boat about a month ago with new sails, it was amazing how close to the wind we could point. The owner said before the new sails he was 15-20 degrees farther from the wind.
Yeah, yeah, I know.. rub it in...

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"Honestly, I don't know why seamen persist in getting wrecked in some of the outlandish places they do, when they can do it in a nice place like Fiji." -- John Caldwell, "Desperate Voyage"
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post #10 of 33 Old 11-08-2013
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Re: Second-hand sails

Cam.

A jib I might not have an issue buying used. Especially if like faster, found, one can get a used jib from say a J105 fleet. They do there 25-50 tacks with the thing, then out it goes. So from a probably not as performance oriented raceing as you and I do, along with some light cruising, you can still get plenty of use from the Jib, even if slightly small. I know a number of folks with 40' boat that get used farr 40 jibs. Used very little vs what they want, yeah a bit smaller, but from there stand point, plenty of life left for half the cost of new.

A main on the other hand, seem to get thrown out when well worn! So I personally am not sure you could get a main used, cut, and make it work per say vs just going new! I would just go for the new one if you have time to wait etc.

any way, my 02 on this.

Marty

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I drives me dinghy!
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