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  #1  
Old 07-18-2012
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Sail buying question???

I wonder if someone could help me with a sail purchase question.

I am looking at buying a set of 3 year old Kevlar sails for a 27' Stiletto. They are what I would describe as "string" sail. What I mean by that is the sail itself is nearly transparent plastic(?) with kevlar yarns running on a diagonal to one another forming many small triangles about 1/2" apart from one another.

I am not familiar with the design. The question is, I know Kevlar is UV sensitive... What should I look for? Any issue with such a design? I will be buying over the internet so I won't be able to directly inspect. There is no delamination by description but a few minor tears.

They are asking 1000.00 for both a main and jib... Is that reasonable for sails of such a design. I know that would be high for used Dacron but sounds reasonable for Kevlar...I just don't know?

Any advice would be very much appreciated.
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Old 07-18-2012
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Re: Sail buying question???

The main thing you are looking for is delamination. In severe cases the kevlar strands between the mylar layers can move around freely. Old North 3DL sails were notorious for this and it became known as the 3DL Death Rattle!

It is not uncommon for an older kevlar sail to have tears in the clear mylar particularly near the clew patch where sail tends to kink in the same place repeatedly. As long as the kevlar is still intact it is easily repaired with sail repair tape, AKA Insignia Cloth. The strength is in the kevlar, the mylar is just there to hold the strands in position.

What brand of sail are they? Are they paneled sails? (meaning are they made of many panels stitched together) Or are they a seamless sail like a North 3DL or a Sobstad Genesis? The latter two sails do have a limited lifespan. On the other hand, I have a fairly old paneled kevlar sail that still has plenty of life left.

Whether they are worth the asking price really depends on whether they still have decent shape, and how much life is left in the cloth. If you are not sure, you could take them to a local sailmaker to be checked out. The price doesn't sound completely out of line; I paid $800 for a used kevlar genoa for my boat.
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Re: Sail buying question???

No, it is not a one piece design. It is paneled like a traditional Dacron sail but the actual sailcloth appears like fishnet between 2 clear plastic laminates. There does not appear to be any directional or radial components so I think it is a fairly basic design... That is why I question the cost...

I believe the sail is a UK design

As far as shape is concerned.... It was my understanding that a Kevlar sail won't lose it's shape until it basically fails and falls apart. i.e. it won't stretch it just breaks. Perhaps that is not correct?
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Old 07-19-2012
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Re: Sail buying question???

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Originally Posted by SiXeVeN View Post

As far as shape is concerned.... It was my understanding that a Kevlar sail won't lose it's shape until it basically fails and falls apart. i.e. it won't stretch it just breaks. Perhaps that is not correct?
No that is not quite correct. While it is true that they don't stretch the way an old dacron sail does, they do loose their shape to a certain extent. That is why a serious race boat gets new sails fairly regularly, (and no doubt why the seller is selling his 3 year old sails!) That's not to say that they aren't still useable, they just aren't competitive at the higher levels. Plastic sails can also get "blown out" if they are used in higher wind conditions than they were built for. and they are subject to shrinkage due to all the tiny crinkles that never smooth out of the sail!

You really need to hoist the sails to know, but if they are made by a reputable loft like UK, and only 3 seasons old they are probably still ok. As for price; Where else are you going to get a suit of sails that fit your boat for $1k? Just don't expect them to last as long as 3 year old dacron!
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Old 07-19-2012
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Re: Sail buying question???

Is this a private sale or through a sail broker? Can you return them if they don't meet your expectations? Any idea why the seller is replacing a set of sail only 3 years old? A set of 3 year old race sail that have been replaced by a serious racer could be a good deal, but not sure the Stiletto catamaran is raced seriously.
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Re: Sail buying question???

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Is this a private sale or through a sail broker? Can you return them if they don't meet your expectations? Any idea why the seller is replacing a set of sail only 3 years old?
Yes, it is a private sale. It is my understanding that the seller runs a charter boat with their Stiletto where they take people out for day sails. Per the seller the sails were very infrequently used until a few months ago when they were put into daily use while they waited for a new dacron set to be made for their boat. The Genoa requires some repair to the clew cringle as it has begin to pull through the cloth slightly. Perhaps that suggests the sailcloth is failing?

If I had to guess, they referenced the designer of the sails who happens to be a big time cat racer. He frequently races with a Stilleto in the Sarasota Yacht Club events. These sails probably were used in racing by him until no longer competitive and then given/sold to the seller to use in a pinch until they could get their cruising sails finished by their loft. The seller stated they didn't feel the Kevlar sails were acceptible for everyday cruising use and so were selling them.

My thought is I don't plan on competitive racing and if they still have good shape they would represent a reasonable cost for sails built specifically for my boat. Starting from scratch for new is big $$$. I am just afraid I might be buying sails at the end of their useful life???
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Old 07-19-2012
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Re: Sail buying question???

WE use many laminated sails and theres NOT a whole lot of time between GOOD and TOAST as when the film starts to fail it fails FAST
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Re: Sail buying question???

You say the clew cringle is pulling out of the cloth; that doesn't sound right. A racing sail of that size should have a stainless ring attached to the reinforced clew patch with webbing. Sounds like the sail is under built.

If you do get those sails you should be aware that they cannot be abused the way cruising dacron gets treated. You cannot leave them in the sun. Period. The mail should be rolled, and the jib should be flaked. Even treated nicely don't expect them to last indefinitely.

You should definitely take them to a sailmaker to be evaluated.
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Old 07-20-2012
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Sail buying question???

While the price is very attractive, I would stay away from any used laminated sail. I bought a used North NorLam genoa (the one in my avatar) and it lasted for precisely 2 outings before it delaminated (a week after the photo was taken). Fortunately, I was able to return the sail and apply the price to a new Dacron sail.

Sometimes a bargain isn't.
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Old 07-21-2012
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Re: Sail buying question???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabreman View Post
While the price is very attractive, I would stay away from any used laminated sail. I bought a used North NorLam genoa (the one in my avatar) and it lasted for precisely 2 outings before it delaminated (a week after the photo was taken). Fortunately, I was able to return the sail and apply the price to a new Dacron sail.

Sometimes a bargain isn't.
Hmm. I would say it was already delaminated when you got it! It is not something that happens all of a sudden! careful inspection can spot the delam.

Unless the sail was seriously abused for it's short life I doubt very much it is delaminating after 3 years.
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