Join Date: Jul 2000
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For an S2 7-7.5oz. a high modulus dacron would be quite adequate ... especially if you're looking for 'adjustability' of the sail shape (only one mainsail in your inventory) for the varied conditions of the Ches.
Other suggestions that will give longevity but added expense ...
• A radial panel configuration ... all the panels arranged for the least amount of permanent 'stretch' and fabric 'stability'.
• 2 full top + 2 loooong bottom panel battens for shape control .... tapered battens and which are easily adjustable (in compression) for the amount of desired 'fullness' (power) or flatness (speed and 'light wind' sailing).
• An 'over-the-top' leech line control system ... so that the leech purse line is adjustable from the base of the mast ... prevents 'hanging overboard' to adjust the leech when on a reach. Such 'over-the-top' leech systems usually are adjustable from either leech/luff reefed positions.
• If you race and use gorilla tension on the mainsheet (for power pinching, etc.) then consider to add small auxillary battens between the standard battens at the head, between the topmost and the 2nd battens (where the 'roach' is curved) .... will keep a hard-use main in better/longer 'leech shape'. You dont have to add the aux battens to the pockets until the leech stretches out as the sail get 'older' -- this will solve the leech flutter between battens #1 & #2 .... later on.
• Loose footed
• Most important for a woven dacron sail of any panel configuration .... excess length of luff boltrope 'stored' at the headboard .... allows easy 'boltrope' adjustment when the boltrope eventually 'shrinks' and doesnt require a sailmaker to perform major work (or expense) to reestablish the correct luff/boltrope length. If you sail 'hard' you should be adjusting that boltrope length after every season of 'hard' usage. If you dont readjust every season of hard sailing, that boltrope will become 'shrunken' ... and the sail will become 'draft-aft', baggy, the leech will 'hook up to weather', ... the boat will heel aggressively, will be slow, less pointing ability, light wind sailing will be 'god awful', etc. If an excess amount of boltrope is 'stored' at the headboard ... re-adjustment of the boltrope is cheap and easy .... will restore much of the original shape and you will typically have the sail 'twice' as long - but you have to keep the original luff dimensions in a safe place and available for any future boltrope adjustment. If you had this 'feature' on your previous dacron main, you'd most probably not be buying a new sail. Sailmakers do NOT like to add 'stored' excess boltrope length ... they sell less new sails because of this. Expect to be 'talked out' of this feature.
• Other important item. Get the sailmaker to divulge the exact amount of boltrope 'preload' that he/she included in the design of the boltrope length ... when raising the sail always 'stretch-out' that 'preload' to its as-designed length 'after' raising the sail .... sets the designed 'position of max. draft' correctly ... for precise 'helm balance' and 'pointing ability', etc. On most woven dacron sails the typical amount of required stretch-out of the 'boltrope preload' is approx 1" additional 'stretch' for every 10-11 ft. of luff length, .... after raising the sail. If you dont stretch out the 'preload': baggy, draft-aft + 'weather helm', full draft, slow, etc.
hope this helps :-)