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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 05-14-2007
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Blow out..! Main = RIP (pun intended) .

So, SF Bay did in my (Cat 30) mainsail yesterday. Turns out the sails the
surveyor told me were good for a few more years... maybe he meant, if
they stay in the sailbag, rather than in use..!

Oh well.

Point is, I need something new.

1) would love source suggestions. Value is key (to wife, thus me)

2) How critical are full battens to performance? I want to beer can
race eventually, but ease of use is more important, as is cost.

3) Buying used? smart? insane? You tell me!

thanks! tom
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Old 05-14-2007
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Tom, have you considered making your own? I have a copy of "Sailmaker's Apprentice" and am sorely tempted to try my hand at making a new main. I can borrow my daughter's high school gym for a couple of weeks to loft it....

Anyway, build-yer-own might be an option. Someone who's actually done it might have more valuable opinions, of course.

Cheers!
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  #3  
Old 05-14-2007
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Geary-

If you're only going to be beer-can racing, then it doesn't really matter what sails you get... full batten sails are not allowed in some class rules, but many racers/cruisers prefer them. A fully battened sail is often easier to flake, reef, lower, and will generally resist flogging itself to death better than a partial batten sail. It can also support a greater amount of roach and give you more sail area than a non-fully battened sail. However, it is harder to hoist, since the sail is heavier, and the battens can cause problems at the mast track, and also can have problems with chafe.

Buying used can be economical, if the sail is usable without any expensive modifications. If your boat is a completely stock Catalina 30, then getting a slightly used sail from another Catalina 30 would make sense. However, if the sail needs any modifications, like the luff modified for different slugs, or if it needs to be reinforced or shortened at all.. it may not be economically any advantage to going the used route.

Also, be aware that you can't always be sure of the quality of the used sails that you will be getting... after all, technically, the boat had "used" sails that were good for a few more years... and look how they turned out.

New sails, from a good loft, will give you much better performance and will be a completely known quantity. Also, if you want to have the sails customized to any degree, like adding a third reef point, you can do so at minimal cost, relative to modifying an existing sail.

Making your own, especially on a fairly well-known design like a Catalina 30, isn't a bad option if you have the time, space and equipment to do so. You need to have a lot of space to lay out the sail and a very heavy sewing machine to sew the material with. Sailrite sells kits for sails if you're so inclined... but most people don't have the time, space or equipment to do such a job properly.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 05-14-2007 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 05-14-2007
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See? I knew someone with more experience would have better advice!

My second choice when I replace sails will be to just buy new.

Cheers!
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Good advice. Thanks, guys. Pmoyer, the make your own idea is excellent...just not for me. My To Do list is already a killer, and I just can't fathom One More Gigantic Project.

FX sails has catalina sails ready to go, from their SailShop.
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FX, Cruising Direct, and several others... it is definitely worth comparing and doing a bit of price shopping.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 05-14-2007
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If you're going to spend any money, and plan on keeping the boat for more than 5 years, I'd bite the bullet and buy new. Used is used, any way you look at it.

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Old 05-14-2007
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sailrite kits aren't that much cheaper than FX or CD.
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Old 05-14-2007
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Old 05-14-2007
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You should definitely look into used sails IMHO. SF Bay Area has some great used gear at the swap meets and/or on craigslist. There are also lofts in the area that specialize in reselling used sails; lots of racers that want new or upgraded from stock equipment. Old, lightly used sails sitting in garages are plentyful around here.

As an example; I bought a 125% roller furling genoa a couple of months ago (to fit a 52' I) for 50 bucks. That was probably a rare find/price but even if it was ~$200 it is still less than 10% of the cost of a new sail. If it blows out I don't care; until it does it is saving me the wear/tear on the new 105% heavy dacron sail that came with the boat. I'm saving that one for future offshore use.

If you are serious about racing/beercanning you might want new sails but it would also be a good idea to have some used sails on hand for daysailing on the bay.

Last edited by KeelHaulin; 05-15-2007 at 03:13 AM.
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