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Sabreman 09-12-2010 10:18 PM

Genoa Delam Wooes
Late last fall, I purchased a used North bi-radial genoa that was ironically built for another Sabre 38. The sail is about a 1990 vintage sail and looked to be really clean and virtually unused, judging by the lack of wear on the luff tape and other fittings. The sail has a "North Cruising Sails" label on it and was marked as "Nordac" fabric.

This spring, while removing the old sail numbers, I noticed that the taffeta backing on the sail was pulling up in a few isolate places. Since then, we sailed MD Gov cup and other daysails, etc. The max wind was 15 kts. The sail is large and light and I know that 15 kts is about the max for this sail, so I've been careful. I've had it on the roller furler for only a month, the rest of the time, it's been in the bag.

In the last couple of weeks, I noticed vertical gray streaks resembling dirt that runs from the head to the foot and about half the width of the sail. yesterday, I also noticed that all the taffeta was separated from the 2 panels near the head (the taffeta is only only on one side and looks like a giant blister). Otherwise, the sail shape looks good and is pretty flat. From what I can see and have read, the taffeta is only used as a protective cover and has no structural purpose. I plan to call Sailcare to see if anything can be done, but am eliciting recommendations from the SailNet crew.....

It seems to me that I have 4 options:

1. Toss the sail and chalk up the cost to experience. I'd rather not do that for obvious reasons especially since the sail still has a good shape.
2. Have Sailcare clean and try to refurb it. I've used them in the past and know that they can work miracles, but don't think that the taffeta can be rebonded.
3. Cut out the taffeta and use the sail for a couple more years. Does anyone have experience with this fabric? Do I really need the taffeta? I suspect that the sail is really Norlam, but don't know for sure. A North loft is not nearby.
4. Have Sailcare insert 2 new panels. I worry that more panels will delam so I hesitate to use this option. I could end up rebuilding the sail panel by panel.

Before the whole community jumps on me and tells me that I need a new sail, I'll admit that I know that a new sail is imminent. My question pertains to what happened to the bonding (was it just old?) and how to proceed with this particular.

Thanks for any help. BTW - the sail is the one shown in my avatar.

sailingdog 09-13-2010 07:40 AM

IIRC, the taffeta material was primarily there for UV protection of the underlying laminate. If you remove it, the sail will degrade much faster than it would with it in place. Why do you think the taffeta material can not be re-bonded??

Calling a North sails loft for advice might be a wise idea. They've probably run into this issue previously.

Sabreman 09-13-2010 07:45 AM


Why do you think the taffeta material can not be re-bonded?
Based on what many people have said regarding laminates, I assumed that they can not be rebonded.


Calling a North sails loft for advice might be a wise idea.
I agree and now plan to.

sailingfool 09-13-2010 10:54 AM

54 Attachment(s)
I would expect the dirty area are mildew, the result of the sail be rolled up wet. If so, it's nlot likely to come out, just something you need to live with.

zz4gta 09-13-2010 11:33 AM

Re-laminate? Probably not. If you can live with the taffeta coming off, then do so. But lets be real, you have a sail that's 20 years old and it still has a good racing shape? You gotta post some pics. Close hauled looking up the center of the foot to the head.

20 years and now it's just starting to delam? Play the lotto. I've seen sails 5-7 years newer completely fall apart w/ moderate use, you can hardle ask dacron to last 20 years with shape.

Sabreman 09-13-2010 07:35 PM

zz - You're right. I started getting quotes for a new 145% You guys confirmed what I was thinking. Thx

zz4gta 09-14-2010 09:21 AM

You'll love the new one! I know it sucks to buy new sails as I'm looking for a 140 this winter after buying a 155 last summer. But sails and the hull should be the 2 most expensive things on a sailboat. IMHO.

Sabreman 10-27-2010 10:26 PM

Update - Success!
As I indicated on the Annapolis Boat Show thread, I met with a number of sailmakers and received quotes for a 145% 7.4 oz dacron genoa. With that info in hand, I decided to contact the seller of the used genoa that I bought in November 2009. I thought that it was a long shot that they would do anything about it since it had been nearly a year since the purchase. But since I'd only used the sail since August, I felt that it was a valid issue to raise with them.

I showed the sail to Gary, the Sales Manager at Bacon Sails in Annapolis (, and discussed the problem. He was very concerned about the sail and very interested in finding a mutually agreeable solution. We agreed to apply the purchase price of the dead sail to the purchase of a new sail.

Bacon's new sail price was very competitive with what I was quoted at the Boat Show but their sail was better constructed, with better features. I picked up my new sail today and it's awesome. I can't wait for the weekend so that I can fly her. I'm making tote bags out of the dead sail. :laugher

In my opinion, the solution that I received was fair and Bacon's ready willingness to correct a problem is an example of extraordinary customer service. We all know of business that would have shut the customer down in similar circumstances. But Bacon's is a shining example of what should be universal.

Sabreman 10-31-2010 08:09 PM

Flew the new sail today. I was amazed that the chronic weather helm that we've had since we bought the boat has disappeared. Gary deliberately cut the sail moderately flat to reduce the weather helm. In the same circumstances in August, we had very heavy weather helm. Today, we had nearly none.

Looks like Bacon's is a strong contender for the main sail that we plan to order this winter.

sailingdog 10-31-2010 08:54 PM

Good to hear Sabreman

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