Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Genoa - high tech or traditional?
Probably Kevlar is not the way to go. Kevlar offers great low stretch characteristics that is important to racers and bigger boats where the loads make stretch so much more of a problem and the need for light weight sails is more important. But the loads on a 30 footer, especially a cruiser who is only looking for a little more speed makes Kevlar unncessary. Kevlar adds quite a bit to the cost of the sail and still is shorter lived for cruising than polyester. North makes a 3DL laminated fabric which has taffeta faces and oriented polyester laminated into the sail. This is being used for jibs on boats like the J-105 and has proven to be a reliable product in that application.
I have slightly mixed emotions about the whole 3DL process. It is an expensive technology and it is not as precise as I would like. I have sailed on two boats that have had multiple sets of 3DL jibs that were all supposed to be indentical. We found big differences between one set to the next. In one case, we had a season of firsts, seconds and thirds, followed by a bunch of cheap seat finishes with the new supposedly identical sail. Near the end of the season we went back to the old jib and began to show our winning ways again. North is replacing that sail for free but it still talks about a process that is less than perfect.