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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 01-21-2008
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Sailcut software

Has anyone made their own sails using the open-source Sailcut utility? It looks quite reasonable to hand-plot smaller sails this way, Dacron is cheap, and I'm always looking for new hobbies.

I'm curious about the shape and performance of the final product. I'm also looking at the Sailrite kits, probably will start with a jib kit from them. If it goes well, you could make one from raw materials for about half the kit cost. I gots lots of sails to replace; both boats are 30-35 yrs old with original canvas! (Any experiences with Sailrite welcome.)

Finally, ripstop nylon is even cheaper than Dacron. Think it's reasonable to use my Buccaneer 18 cross-cut spinnaker as a pattern and upsize it for the San Juan 21? They're not so fussy about shape, right? And should we use the silicone-impregnated ripstop?

(FWIW, I have an industrial-quality sewing machine -- Necchi Supernova, from the days when things were made beautiful because they could be -- and ain't no hack in the stitchery department.)

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-21-2008
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I haven't used it, so I can't vouch for it, but the price is right.

From what I see it should be able to do the design work just fine for most (cruising) sail uses. It won't handle fabric stretch, but unless you're racing, who cares?

Sailrite has nice little booklets on making sails. We got the mainsail (http://www.sailrite.com/stormsail-ma...=2&category=69) and jib booklets. If you're thinking about making sails, these booklets are highly recommended. We're still thinking about it, but after seeing the booklets the idea is certainly do-able.

The big challenge with the software is lofting the panel shapes onto the fabric for cutting. This is where I'd see a tradeoff of the cost of the Sailrite precut kit vs. the time and effort to get accurate panels marked and cut. (The Admiral is the fabric expert, though -- maybe it's easy for her.)

Good luck,

Tim
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  #3  
Old 01-25-2008
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Gramps: Turns out, lofting is quick and easy. Especially with smaller, simpler sails: each panel top is straight, and each panel's leading and trailing edge is a fixed slope. Bottom of each panel has a teensy curve to provide concavity to the sail. It's especially easy if you choose 54" Dacron -- only 4 panels and a bit!

Because it's winter & I'm bored, I plotted out a scale model based on the Sailcut numbers, then made a model boat to try it on. Graph paper, which isn't ideal sail material. Wind supplied by a fan.

Close reach


And beam reach


Looks to me like the draft needs moving forward at the foot (which Sailcut can do), and should probably reduce the radius on the foot, too. Estimated cost for material is $185, not too bad (includes pre-made luff tape.) Sailrite kit is $285; cheapest ready-made I've seen is $325 (Sail Warehouse).

Now, what strength material should we use? This is a 100% jib, for a very windy location. Thinking 5.4 oz cruising cloth; are the High-Modulus Dacrons superior in shape or longevity? They cost about the same.
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Old 07-31-2011
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Sailcut

I have used it half a dozen times to make small sails. I used it a few years back and I wrote an excel program to flip the panels over and give me a series of numbers that worked well for hand-plotting. I see that they added a hand plotting output but I haven't taken the time to see how I like it. The software worked pretty good for cross cut sails. I made one assymetrical spinnaker for an Elliot 770 but it took a long time to hand plot. I purchased a roll of 48 inch craft paper($50) for the spinnaker patterns and was able to us one sheet which I reduced as I cut out the clew radials and a second sheet for the tack radials. I may have tweaked the design until the head panels were all the same. It was a few years ago. I have to make 4 new sails this week and plan to dust off the cobwebs in my head and figure out how to hand plot again.
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