Racing Sails Vs. Cruising Sails??? - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  

Quick Menu
Boat Reviews  
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Marine Electronics
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here

Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
 Not a Member? 

LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 10-27-2011
NewportNewbie's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Newport Beach
Posts: 504
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 4
NewportNewbie is on a distinguished road
Racing Sails Vs. Cruising Sails???

Looking to get some advice on the differences between racing sails vs cruising sails. I know with cars and I am assuming that with boats its the same, you can't increase the performance without a negative impact somewhere else. Usually more performance means lower life or more difficult to use. So when looking at sails and seeing a performance cruising dacron sail vs a kevlar race sail, what other than money is the difference? Kevlar will have less give and be stiffer so it would react quicker to wind, thus faster acceleration, but would it be more difficult to sail? Is sail trim that much more important?
S/V Cuajota - 1975 WD Schock Santana 30

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Old 10-27-2011
Faster's Avatar
Just another Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
Posts: 15,956
Thanks: 98
Thanked 278 Times in 268 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Faster has a spectacular aura about Faster has a spectacular aura about Faster has a spectacular aura about
Race sails generally have a short competitive life if one wants to be at the top level. Many casual racers will get several seasons out of a sail, and in many cases the sail will still be serviceable, but not top-of-the line fast anymore.

Some of the non-dacron sails have a 'set shape' and do not react to normal tweaks of halyard tension and outhaul the way a conventional dacron sail might so in some respects can be less 'trim-able'...

Most real 'race' sails will not be as durable as a well made 'cruising sail'. Some of the materials used simply break down sooner.

All that said I quite like my 'no longer race worthy' pentex headsail. With no UV cover I remove it from the furler between sails, and appreciate its being half the weight of dacron. Some used race sails can be a great deal for a cruiser when that last nth degree of performance is less important. (I got a great deal on a used J-105 set that only needed jib recutting)

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Old 10-27-2011
RichH's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,149
Thanks: 19
Thanked 114 Times in 104 Posts
Rep Power: 15
RichH will become famous soon enough
Hopefully this will give you a 'functional' difference between the two.

Cruising sails are cut so as to be 'forgiving' to an inattentive or inexperienced helmsman. The area of the luff is cut more 'rounded' so that separation and stagnation stalls dont as easily develop and the helmsman can be more inattentive and 'sloppy' to hold a 'course'.
Cruising cut sails are designed for a 'wide range' of expected wind/wave conditions - a generalized 'cut' or designed shape that effective between 5-15kts and with waves (typically) not exceeding 2ft.

Racing sails are cut for precise helmsmanship ... quite FLAT luff 'entry' shapes which are useful in a very narrow 'groove' or range of steering by the helm. They are also designed for the exact target conditions of wind and waves (an optimized 'balance' of speed and power). Racing cut sails shouldnt be used by inattentive or inexperienced helmsman, as they require CONSTANT attention to angle of attack and precise rudder steerage. Racing cut sails are very sensitive to trim and 'shaping' adjustment ... shaping adjustment for optimum performance hardly/rarely ever encountered on 'cruising' boats unless the helmsman has prior 'racing experience'.

The differences in 'forgiveness' and 'easy steering' can be quite LARGE

You need to be 'constantly on' with racing sails or they will luff/separate/stagnate in the blink of an eye.

Others will chime in on the longevity, etc. etc. differences.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.
User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Racing Sails stam22 Racing 8 09-09-2011 03:36 PM
Sabre 30 Racing sails Michael01 Racing 2 05-28-2008 03:02 PM
Used racing sails Frick Gear & Maintenance 1 07-06-2007 08:39 AM
recommendation for racing/cruising sails mcagney Racing 9 05-01-2006 07:20 AM
Racing sails noscreenname Racing 9 01-19-2006 08:58 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:08 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) LLC 2000-2012

The store is owned and operated by a company independent of the forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.