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  #1  
Old 01-12-2009
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Buying new sails, need advice

The boat: 1975 catalina 27. Roller furling genoa, no adjustable backstay, only sail controls are boom vang, outhaul, cunningham, traveler, sheets and halyards.

The place: Western Long Island sound, near New York City, where the summer winds are flukey.

The plan: new genoa and mainsail, to be purchased from North, fx, or some other company that I can use to order by phone after I measure things.

The question:

What should I get? I want an "all purpose" set of sails, since I am not going to be changing them according to wind conditions (I know all purpose doesnt really exist). We generally sail in light wind conditions, pleasure sailing only, and daysailing only (so far), but we do like to go out in the occasional big blow.

Loose footed main or not?

How big a genoa?

Any full battens or none?

Anything else I should be thinking about? Sail weight, etc?
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Old 01-12-2009
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I'd check out FX Sails which you can access through this site. Definitely the best prices around. For a C27, I'd go with a 150% genoa with the foam dealy-bob that allows for better performance when furled. Main: loose-footed and full battened.
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Old 01-12-2009
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I had a new main sail made last year by SailCare after l did some research. Although I have a Helms 25, our sailing needs seem to be similar. Here is the purchase list I ended up ordering:
• Maximized area and roach with new style head as discussed.
• 6.5 Oz. highest threads per inch American sail cloth as discussed.
• Loose foot.
• 2 + 2 Style reinforced batten pockets with battens included.
• Helms 25 Blue Official insignia on each side of sail as located on original sail.
• Black 552 numbers on each side of sail as located on original sail.
• Draft stripes. Higher one in proper location when reefed.
• Reef points – Two, one for above 15 kts and one above 25 kts .
• New stitching pattern stronger than triple stitching as discussed.
• Adjustable leech cords and cleats.
• Sewn telltales.
• Sail bag.
• Sail slugs, minimum distance spacing for no wrinkle luff.
• Two year plus warranty.

I hope this helps.
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Old 01-12-2009
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For your setup, I would stay with a Dacron main, 2 partial + 2 full battens to maxmize shaping with minimal flogging. Definately a loose foot on the main if you plan to use the outhaul - you might want to consider a shelf foot (extra material at the foot), but I have no direct experience here. Try to maximize the roach to get some more drive on the light air days, especially off the wind where the genoa might be in the wind shadow of the main. A 7-8oz material weight should be appropriate for the main. Your choice of reefs - I have 2 reef points on the sail, but I only have one permanently rigged. I figure if I need 2 reefs in the main, I should probably be motoring.

For the genoa, from which the C27 derives much of its drive, a 140-145-150% is probably necesary for the light air conditions you describe. Go with the 140 if you can increase the mainsail area - it will furl down to 110 and keep good shape. Otherwise, the 150 is the better choice, but realize you'll still have a bunch of sail area up even when reefed. A rope or foam luff is mandatory to keep good shape when roller furling down in higher wind. You might consider upgrading the sail material to a premium Dacron, like North's softer Norlam - maybe 7oz. UV protection for the leech and foot is a no-brainer if you are keep the sail hoisted on the roller furler.

Keep us up to speed on what you decide.

Jason
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Old 01-12-2009
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You might want to have a look at Practically Sailing - The best sailing ideas and techniques on the Internet . It's a new site authored by Joe Cooper, who's with Hood Sails in Newport. There are several articles on the topics you mention, including full battens for cruising boats, how to measure for new sails, etc. As I said, it's a new site and all the bugs haven't been worked out yet, but if you stick with it you'll work yourself around to the things that are of interest.
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Old 01-12-2009
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Pnone order vs Loft sails

Judging by the questions you are asking, I would strongly suggest calling a local sail loft (usually a UK, North, Doyle, etc loft nearby) and talking to one of the sailmakers. There are so many new materials and combination materials out there, that any one of us who tells you what to get without talking to you at length and seeing your boat is just plain wrong.

Sails are probably one of your bigger purchases for this boat. Unless you have sailed a long time, bought lots of sails, and are sure of what you want, you may not be pleased with your results.

Having bought sails by mail order as well as through a loft, I can attest that while the loft sails were generally more expensive by 20% or so, they ended up being the sails we like and use regularly, and were well worth the extra cost for what we got. Having someone from the loft who has made sails for 25 years walk me through the type of questions you asked, and a whole lot of others, and then making suggestions based on my needs was worth the effort. Sure, once you have gone through the process a couple of times, and are sure of what you want in terms of material, size, reef points, etc, it may be easy to buy over the phone or internet, but new sails are a pretty big investment to figure out on your own for the first time.

Can't recommend a local loft, but I can recommend at least giving them a call and meeting with them. You can always decide to go the other route if you are unhappy.

Good luck.
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Old 01-12-2009
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If your boat is a standard Cat 27... I'd recommend going with National Sails, as they're going to be really tough to be on price.
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Old 01-12-2009
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The last time we went through this here the loft sails were about 100% more expensive than the FX/Internet sails. For casual use on LIS on a hugely popular boat there is absolutely no need to incur extra expense.
My own advice would be to get a 130 genny so you can roll it up with still decent performance at 100% on those 20 knot days. The 150 would come in very handy on many summer days but you'd be better off with a light air reacher and sock as a summer winds option.
Two reef points in a loose footed main should be all that is needed.
You don't say whether you have a tall rig Cat27 so I will assume standard.
FX has the following
Mainsail...loose foot 2 reef, with insignia...$765
135% Genny $889 add $100 bucks for a 150%
Using 6.53oz Challenge Dacron Sailcloth on all.
Shop and compare! FX is here:
Catalina 27 Sails
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Old 01-12-2009
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Does Fx have any repiar lofts or do you drag it down to the local sailmaker
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Old 01-12-2009
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Cam's price at FX beats National Sail, so use FX, and support Sailnet at the same time.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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