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post #1 of 62 Old 05-18-2012 Thread Starter
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Baggy Main Pt. 2

So tonight I went to the boat and raised the sail. This time i completely eased the main sheet and the vang. I raised it and gave the winch a few extra clicks. I don't have a cunningham nor do I have an adjustable boom. I played with the outhaul, but it didn't seem to do much at all. Once raised, I then tightened the vang a bit. To me, it looks MUCH better. Here are some pics. It was maybe a 1-3 knot breeze...not much at all...but the sail has a much better shape and not a lot of the bagginess it had before. I looked at the top of the sail and no its not too big for the boat, I have a few inches to spare before it reaches the top. How tight should I tighten the main halyard? I don't want to break things and over-tighten it...this seemed like a much better shape though, and when a light breeze picked up, the sail had a nice pocket. Thoughts?

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post #2 of 62 Old 05-18-2012
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Re: Baggy Main Pt. 2

Much better.
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post #3 of 62 Old 05-18-2012
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Re: Baggy Main Pt. 2

The horizantal creases in your previous post disappeared now. Thesail is in much better shape now.
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post #4 of 62 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Baggy Main Pt. 2

Looks 100% better, make sure your topping lift doesn't interfere either.

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post #5 of 62 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Baggy Main Pt. 2

Looks way better. I see what you mean about the windex. Looks like the birds have been practicing with it.

A new main is in the cards for you. Don't skimp when you do as it will last 10-15 years which will equate to 300 per year approx. Small pocket change per year on a sailboat.

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Re: Baggy Main Pt. 2

I am guessing that your vang kept the boom too low and you were unable to raise the sail all the way. Once you loosened the vang you got the luff tensioned correctly.

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post #7 of 62 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Baggy Main Pt. 2

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Originally Posted by NewportNewbie View Post
How tight should I tighten the main halyard? I don't want to break things and over-tighten it...
The amount of tension you should put on the halliard depends on the wind strength. Generally, the stronger the wind, the more tension you should use, and conversely, the lighter the wind, the less tension. But, instead of thinking in terms of putting X amount of tension on the halliard in a windspeed of X miles per hour, you should learn to think in terms of sail shape. The tension of the halliard affects the leading edge of the sail (the "luff). If you don't put enough tension on the halliard, the luff of the sail will be relaxed and wrinkled somewhat. Usually, you'll want to tension the halliard enough so that the luff will lie smooth and flat, with no wrinkles. If you tension it too much, the luff of the sail will have a long curl in it all along the mast.

Looking at your photos and your representation that they were taken when the wind was very light, I would have eased the tension on the halliard and also on the outhaul. Too much tension on the halliard and outhaul makes the sail flat, and that depowers the sails. When you are in light air, you want to maximize the power generated by the sails. Easing those two controls will give the sail a deeper draft, which is a more powerful shape, and will help drive the boat in light air.

By comparison, when the wind is blowing hard, the sails will generate more power than you need, or can use efficiently, so you should put more tension on the halliard and outhaul, to make the sail shape flatter, and reduce it's power.

The bottom line is that you should apply the amount of halliard tension that is right for the amount of wind on any given day.

The same principles apply generally to the amount of tension that you should use when raising the jib.

Within reason, you don't need to worry about damaging the sails by overtensioning them. Sails are very strongly made and reinforced, and they can tolerate a lot of tension, but they can be damaged if you grossly overtension them, so don't use all your strength and your body weight to tension them. Ordinarily, it shouldn't be necessary.

That sail is a North, full batten mainsail, and, when new, it was an excellent sail. It's hard to say, from photos, how bad it is now, but IMO it's probably still a lot better sail than many of the discount sails on the market. I'd suggest you not replace it for now. If you buy a good quality new sail, you'll begin to wear it out before you have learned how to make the best use of it. I'd suggest you learn the basics of sail trim and practice them on the old sail. There will come a time when you'll look at your sail and can see that it needs a better shape, but you can't achieve that shape through sail trimming techniques. When you are that knowledgeable about sail trim, that will be the time you should think about buying a new sail. I'll guess that you'll reach that stage after about a year of practice.
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post #8 of 62 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Baggy Main Pt. 2

By the way, I notice that your reef lines haven't been affixed to the sail. Some day, soon, you'll be out there sailing, and the wind will pipe up, and you'll begin having enormous difficulty controlling the boat, and you'll suddenly realize that your reefing lines are down below, in a drawer somewhere, instead of affixed to the sail. Do yourself a favor and rig your reef lines now, and learn how to tuck in a reef, so you'll avoid the hard lesson that many of us had to learn.
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post #9 of 62 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Baggy Main Pt. 2

I agree with Sailormon6. It is very difficult attach the reef the first reef linewhen needed. Attaching the second reef lines is nearly impossible.
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post #10 of 62 Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Baggy Main Pt. 2

That's a good looking, rugged sail. It has heavy patches and the shape does not appear to be stretched out. Definitely have the reef lines on and ready but you probably knew that. You can judge the right tension by how your helm balance changes. It can make a tremendous difference. It's why I have left my wire halyard in place instead of replacing with rope. I have found that the tension should be as tight as you can make it before distorting the luff. Boltropes are sewn in under tension and at least that amount must be exerted for the sail to attain its correct shape. I just got finished resewing in a boltrope that came loose at the head. The sail (got it used) performed terribly last year when I tried it and I couldn't understand why because the sailcloth is like new. I didn't notice the unsewn boltrope until recutting and making the sail smaller this winter when I restretched the boltrop back to its original position (and then some). That sail is an import, nicely made, triple stitched, but they end their heavy hand thread with burned globs instead of spending the time to knot off and bury the ends properly. The ends break or pull through and unravel after a while.

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