I'm in the process of deciding on what loft to go with for new sails (main and genoa) for next season. I have it narrowed down to 3 lofts, and for the most part they are fairly close in price. My question isn't so much which loft I should go with, it's more about which cloth I should go with.
Before I go any further, My boat is a 1990 Hunter 27' with 5k lbs displacement, fractional rig. I do not race the boat, but I do like to push the boat fairly hard and always strive to get the boat to hull speed whenever possible because I A). enjoy trimming the sails just right and making the boat go fast and B). like to take frequent weekend trips and the faster I can make the boat, the farther I can go / the happier my girlfriend is (more time to see where ever we are going, less time getting there)
Below is the cloth recommendations from each sail maker:
-Ullman Sails, Bainbridge Ocean 6.55oz cloth for both the main and the Genoa
-Kappa Sails, 5.9 High Modulus Dacrons for the Genoa, and 6.62oz High Aspect Dacron for the main
-Neil Pryde, Challenge Performance Cruise 6.18oz cross cut Dacron for the Main, and Challenge Low Aspect High Modulus 5.53oz cross cut Dacron for the Genoa.
I'm looking for input more on the cloth recommendations than feedback on the actual lofts, but both are apprecieated.
I'm going through the same exercise as well. From what I've read, all are fine cloths that will suit you well given your requirements. I don't have my materials here but I think that Kappa uses Challenge too. I was seriously considering the same short list of sailmakers but placed an order yesterday with Bacon's in Annapolis for other reasons.
My only concern with Kappa is that they use a very odd mitre panels (oriented with the leech and foot) for their headsail and use 2 cloth weights. I'd go with a straight crosscut and stay away from the mitre. KISS.
You may be correct on Kappa using Challange, but they didn't list it in the quote they gave me in Annapolis, and I forgot to ask (assuming it would be on the quote like everyone else)
the mitre panels they use increases the life of the sail and improves performance (according to them), they claim it "flattens as the breeze increases, since the threadline in the panels are rotated around a curve that straightens with more load" and they told me this results in less fatigue on the sail resulting in longer life. not sure how much I beleive that or not.
I think that unless they've done a load analysis followed by a detailed fiber analysis with empirical data, it's just speculation. I see a lot of that.
If you want the shape to last, look into a tri-radial cut main and genoa if you can swing it. Cross cut is about the cheapest way to go, and thus, is the first to loose its shape.
Good article about it here:
Cross-Cut vs. Radial Sail Construction
Tri-radial is definitely nice, but unless I'm racing it's hard (for me) to justify the extra cost. I agree that cross-cut is the first to lose it's shape, but as a compromise between cost and performance, I think that it is a rational alternative. From what I've seen, most sailmakers specify some sort of laminate for their radials. For a cruising boat, I'd stay away from laminates unless the budget allows replacement within 5 years.
Either way, I'd stay away from mitre cut. BTW - Bi-radial should not be confused with a mitre cut. I have an old North bi-radial and while it was a great sail, I'm replacing it with a cross-cut.
Just my %0.02..... Sorry to stray away from the original question. :)
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