Join Date: Jun 2006
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I have converted several "close match" tape luff sails for use on my Viking 33 (with a 15 foot J measurement, I usually took a slight total area penalty to get the right hoist measurement). The reason for this is because a lot of racers chuck foresails that still (from the cruiser point of view) still have life in them, and the cost of $130 for me (mostly the price of 15 or so piston hanks, I guess), was super reasonable instead of paying $2,500 for a new No. 1.
Basically, I use these composite sails for four years or so, then I salvage the hanks and do it again. I would consider a new No. 1 pretty well blown out after 12 seasons or so, so this represents a 70% savings to me. I have done this now with a No.1, a main and a No. 3. The "free to me" main, the cost of which to me was about $250 for slugs and a recut along the foot, has a hoist that was two inches higher than my ideal main, meaning I finally used the cunningham! The "new" one needs a repositioning of the clew grommet to fit my outhaul. Otherwise, it's a near-perfect, durable Dacron that should last five seasons with care.
So you can convert your existing sail, or use the various "boat spec" sites to determine a boat with a similar foretriangle, and then you can see if someone has a sail they want to get rid of.
I have some great one-season tape-luff Dacron sails in my garage rafters off a C&C 34 (very close in measurement to me) that came my way for free because the racer in question opted to go for composite sails 10 years ago, and they were folded away clean and dry 10 years ago. They still smell new.