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  #1  
Old 01-03-2012
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New mainsail options?

I am looking to purchase a new mainsail within the next couple of weeks and debating on what would be the best design selection for the type of sailing we do.
I have a 3 leg lazyjack system and the type of sailing is mostly family cruising (Chesapeake Bay) and maybe a race or two per season.

My current mainsail with standard batten system has been recut too many times and is past it's prime, and will be our emergency mainsail backup. I have sailed with a full batten main in the past and I was able to get much better performance and sail shape then a standard batten system but handling the sail (hoisting and lowering) was a slight difficult at times.

Is there a compromise in performance and sail handling? Perhaps having two upper full batten and two lower standard battens?
This would allow getting better sail shape thus performance while being able to handle sail while lowering and hoisting.
I will be using Darcon but some have quoted me 7 oz, 7.5 oz, 8 oz and 9 oz fabric. Right now I have 7.5 oz and seems to be a good weight. I think 8 to 9 is for bluewater cruising.

Any thoughts on my compromise sail selection?
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S2 11.0A 36'
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Tanzer 16'
Moseley, Va
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Old 01-03-2012
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Am also on the Chessie and did a lot of research before settling on a fully battened replacement for my aging main on a Tayana 37. I found a really good used main on ebay that was fully battened, but when I was still thinking of sinking the money for a new one, I had decided on a "power head" (i.e., two full upper battens like you describe) and loose footing. My "new" sail is not loose footed, but boy, can I tell the difference in light air - I went out on xmas day for the first time with the new sail and she went like a dream in 4 knots!

Anyway, I think you're on the right track. The power head + loose foot still seems like a very good choice for these waters.
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Old 01-03-2012
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I have Mack Sails full-battened , loose footed mains on 2 boats[as well as a mizzen on 1] . They have the MackPack cover/ lazyjack system. An Antal track /car system on the luff eliminates most all of the friction while hoisting. [58ft on one] They are easy handling and give great performance .
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Old 01-03-2012
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Sneuman, I wish I could find a nice used mainsail within the size and specifications that I want but no luck so far.
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S2 11.0A 36'
Kinsale, Va
Tanzer 16'
Moseley, Va
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Old 01-03-2012
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I'd suggest checking some of the Asian sailmakers for a better price. Rolly Tasker in Thailand makes good-quality sails for one-third to one-half what they typically cost here in the states.
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Old 01-03-2012
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My net main will NOT be dacron as is my current one. but will go with Ullmans CAL vs a string like I have. Same cost as dacron, but lighter wt cloth for better performance on light wind days. I have a 140 genoa made out of it, works well.

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Old 01-03-2012
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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 :-)
jackdale, HDChopper and patrscoe like this.
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Old 01-03-2012
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Pat, i would expect local lofts to have the best grasp on what's right for your locale. In light winds battens may keep your sail too flat. And on the other hand, a heavier more durable sailcloth also may not be good in light winds.

So part of the question is what kind of winds and wind range do you optimize for? ghosting and under 15knots? Or something strong enough to handle 15-20 without stretching out?

I've often wondered, just how specialized or "one size fits most" a sail inventory can be, without getting absurd. Part of the solution may be to remove the battens on light air days, to allow more sail depth. Again, the loft should have some expertise to contribute on that.

And not having spent any time on the Chessie...I wouldn't know what you sail in. It might pay to pull some data from the weather services (land and buoy, archives are online) and see just what wind ranges you are working with, as opposed to what you remember them as.
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Rich, Good information and points.

I did spoke with a local sailmaker but they were almost twice the cost of North Sails and others. They quoted 7.5oz Durcon.

I am sure I will increase my sail inventory but right now I have a long list of add ons and upgrades that I need implement on the sailboat before this coming Spring. (I need to deal with the removal of 10 coats of bottom paint, upgrading the chart plotter and provide a network, replacing the running rigging (just completed), add new dodger, new mainsail, etc...)
So I was thinking of replacing the main that is able to perform somewhat in all weather and knowing it may not sail well under all conditions. Fall & Spring has fairly good wind from 5k to 35k but it is doldrums in the summer along with high temperatures. Even too hot to sail at times.
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Old 01-03-2012
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I have two full/partial battens. The top batten as it came was too stiff for lighter winds. So I have a lighter on for winds to 10'ish knots, 0-5 altho it has be out with up to 10 knots also occurs. I then use the heavier one on days I know it will be blowing etc. The ligheter will also go to 20 knots if need be.

As hellosailor commented, there is more than one way to skin a cat per say.

marty
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