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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-16-2006
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Mailsail cut wrong?

Hey everyone,

I've recently purchased a 24" Bristol ketch that has a strange mainsail. I havn't done much sailiing in about 4 or 5 years so my skills are a little rusty but I'm positive that something is funny with this sail.

I have trimmed it as best I know how, but even at the most optimal levels of trim, it seems that the sail has far too much "belly" to it. If I sail straight into the wind so that the sail luffs, the leech snaps back and forth at least 2 1/2 feet port or starbord. I have found no way to trim this out. The battens are inserted.

In my past boating experiences, mainsails were pretty much in line with the boom/mast... maybe with 6 inches to a foot of travel to either side.

Is something funky going on here? I could swear that this thing was miscut or is the wrong sail (extremely unlikely because of the fittings on it) but it is the only main that came with the boat.

Any ideas?

Last edited by copperheadclgp; 07-16-2006 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 07-16-2006
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How old is the sail? Sounds like it may be stretched out on the foot end.
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I believe that the sail is the original (1974). But the previous owner said that he had the sail washed and resewn a season or two ago by a professional sail loft.

Is there any way to alleviate the stretch on the foot end? Could it be tied off too tight along the boom?
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Old 07-17-2006
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Sounds like the sail is just blown out. It is 22 years old... and even if it is re-sewn, that doesn't change that fact that it is 22 years old and that the material has stretched over time as it was used, and also that the fabric has probably undergone some fairly high level of UV damage, which will weaken the material.

I seriously doubt that a 22 year old sail is really in any condition to be worth saving. The P/O probably just had the sails washed and re-sewn to make them presentable for the sale of the boat.
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Old 07-17-2006
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OK. Is this a safety issue or just a performance one?

Thanks for all the advice - I thought I was going nuts.
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Old 07-17-2006
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You would be better of, just replacing the sail. Scott's sail loft are an on line sail loft. They will make you a good main for a reasonable price.
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Old 07-17-2006
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I don't know... My sails are 30 years old and still fairly tight with good shape. Not as tight as the laminates I'm gonna get but not bad.
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Old 07-17-2006
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Originally Posted by CharlieCobra
I don't know... My sails are 30 years old and still fairly tight with good shape. Not as tight as the laminates I'm gonna get but not bad.
I'm not saying that it isn't possible to have good sails of that age.. just that it is exceptionally improbable. UV-damage and use over 22 years is more than likely to cause the sails to be blown out...especially if a good sail cover wasn't used and the boat was sailed hard.
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Old 07-17-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Sounds like the sail is just blown out. It is 22 years old... and even if it is re-sewn, that doesn't change that fact that it is 22 years old and that the material has stretched over time as it was used, and also that the fabric has probably undergone some fairly high level of UV damage, which will weaken the material.

I seriously doubt that a 22 year old sail is really in any condition to be worth saving. The P/O probably just had the sails washed and re-sewn to make them presentable for the sale of the boat.
I would tend to agree. But it doesn't necessarily need to be replaced tomorrow. Of course, it helps to have a good main but you get most of your power from the jib and could live with it for awhile if you don't feel like spending more money at the moment.
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Old 07-17-2006
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Actually that sail is 32 years old if original to the boat. And while not likely a safety issue I would think that it would need to be addressed soon - you're right not tomorrow. It sounds like its not often when the sail is performing well no matter how its trimmed and that can't be too fun.

Last edited by Sonofasonofasailor; 07-17-2006 at 02:49 PM.
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