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  #11  
Old 11-07-2012
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Re: sailcloth: laminated or woven?

Laminate or dacron, removing a genoa from a furler at the end of the day and flaking it on the deck is a lot of work, especially if you are single-handed. There's a reason you have a UV cover attached-- so you can self-store it on the furler.

It is particularly inconvenient when your sails are wet. Where do you put them and when do you dry them out? You certainly don't want to put them on your vee berth cushions, especially if they've picked up salt.
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  #12  
Old 11-07-2012
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Re: sailcloth: laminated or woven?

I had this idea that new laminates and sails were more resistant.

I bought a boat that had kevlar mylar sails, not old, from 2009 and with little use. The first time I got a F8/9 (quite sudden from a F6)I blew both sails while trying to reef them. Ok, the boat was new to me, I was alone, had a problem on the vang (that was not able to pull the boom up) and I took too much time taking care of the sails but in fact they flog for very little time. My wife was pissed with the fancy sails and said several times that the ones that we had on the previous boat sustained many times worse than that without any problem.

Later the Greek sailmaker that repair them told me that the sails I had were good for 18/20K wind, no more It beats me why the previous owner had a 3ļ reef on the main, since that third reef with only be needed in that boat with 40K or near. Talking with the guy about the possibility of making a new sail for me and talking about materials the guy asked me how many hours I sailed on the summer (on the hot med sun) and I said between 400 and 600 hours and that I sailed everyday on at least 90 days a year and that means folding the main more than 90 times a year.

He laugh and said to me, I make racing sails also but you need good dracon sails. I talked about pentex and more modern materials and he said, well if you want I can make it but it is expensive and it will not last on those conditions.

I did not know if the guy knew what he was saying but in Italy with another sailmaker this one a guy that makes his own laminates and run a medium sail loft specialized in racing sails said to me the same thing.

Well, I guess I am kind of convinced. It seems that the only alternative are sandwish tafeta sails (I had those on my last boat). They are expensive and he says that they don't make much difference to a top dracon triradial sail and they get easily a lot of mold.

So I am kind of convinced but open to knowledgeable sailors that have a lot of experience with sails and that have another opinion.
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Old 11-07-2012
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Re: sailcloth: laminated or woven?

PCP,

Those sailmakers were steering you right. they could have talked you into more expensive sails, but were more worried about getting you into the RIGHT sail for your purposes!
The absolute worst thing you can do to a laminate sail is use it outside it's designed wind range. The second worse thing you can do is flog them!

I am curious about this mold issue. Am I to understand that people are getting mold on laminate sails? How is that possible? How can mold grow and stick to mylar?
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Old 11-07-2012
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Re: sailcloth: laminated or woven?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fallard View Post
Laminate or dacron, removing a genoa from a furler at the end of the day and flaking it on the deck is a lot of work, especially if you are single-handed. There's a reason you have a UV cover attached-- so you can self-store it on the furler.

It is particularly inconvenient when your sails are wet. Where do you put them and when do you dry them out? You certainly don't want to put them on your vee berth cushions, especially if they've picked up salt.
Well I admit that I will leave my sail on the furling until a dry day if it is wet. You are right, nobody wants to put a wet sail inside their boat if they can help it! As for it being a lot of work, I guess it depends on the size of the boat, but I can have my sail down and flaked in less than 15 min by myself.

Even with UV guard the sail is not protected from everything. People who leave their sails on the furling likely leave the halyard tension on as well. In wet weather, the sail will get soaked, and then stay wet. In my part of the world in winter the UV guard grows green algae, and the wet sail inside gets mildew. When storms hit it is not uncommon to see leeches of furled headsails flogging, and sometimes even the whole sail comes unfurled.

I guess it all depends on climate, and how often you are going out sailing, but I have seen some pretty sad sails that probably haven't come off the furling in years!
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Old 11-08-2012
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Re: sailcloth: laminated or woven?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
PCP,

Those sailmakers were steering you right. they could have talked you into more expensive sails, but were more worried about getting you into the RIGHT sail for your purposes!
The absolute worst thing you can do to a laminate sail is use it outside it's designed wind range. The second worse thing you can do is flog them!

I am curious about this mold issue. Am I to understand that people are getting mold on laminate sails? How is that possible? How can mold grow and stick to mylar?
Mold and bacteria can stick to 'anything', and since the materials of sails are 'carbon based' the mold and bacteria under the correct wetted conditions can start using the 'panel joining glues', and the material itself as their nutrient source. Such microorganisms, under the right ambient conditions can use even metals as their nutrient source, as that is how over aeons of time large accumulations of ores were concentrated in single places .... microorganisms EATING and concentrating the metals !!!!!

If one is 'cruising', especially long distance cruising, the use of 'high end' woven dacron is unsurpassed for fatigue, strength, service life, and most importantly - SHAPING under varying windloading conditions. For coastal cruising, then a good 'cruising laminate' - laminate 'center' film covered on each 'side' with a 'taffeta' dacron scrim to protect vs. chafe is probably better, but less shape adjustability and less overall 'service life' ... because the central portion of the laminate is 'film' and the outer layers are porous, there is much less tendency to grow 'mold'.
Especially in super-wet atmospheric conditions on DACRON sails that occasionally become 'moldy' - to prevent such, simply spray on 3M "Mold Guard", works on 'sunbrella' too.
One must remember also too that full laminated sails are designed for specific wind range usage, and not very 'shape' adjustable via applied 'edge tension' .... just the opposite functionality of a high end woven dacron material.
ALL these materials are subject to 'creep' or permanent deformation under continual load .... and as another poster so correctly stated, if you don't release halyard / outhaul, etc. tension when not sailing, youre ultimately going to permanently stretch (permanent 'creep' distortion) the hell out of the luff/foot and that functionally changes the shape on the opposite side; hence, 'blown out' sails - unload the 'edges' when not sailing and you'll keep the designed shape of ANY sail a whole lot longer.
The ONLY real problem with woven dacron sails, especially mainsails is the need for a 3 strand 'boltrope' at the luff. Each time the boltrope is (properly) 'stretched out' to its 'as designed' length and then released (you typically NEED to stretch out a bolt roped sail by an additional 1" for every 10-11ft. of luff length when raising such a sail), the bolt rope ultimately becomes fatter and shorter .... So to compensate and prepare for this 'hysterisis' of the boltrope, have the sailmaker 'store' extra length of bolt rope at the headboard so that when the bolt rope needs 'adjustement' it can be done easily and cheaply - to restore the sail back to OEM length ... just a few $$$ to do so or can be a DIY project if you have a needle palm and sailmakers twine; otherwise without constant (every ~200 hrs.) adjustment of the bolt rope you get a 'baggy', increased draft, hooked up leech mainsail .... and ALL you have to do is 'ease' that boltrope and the sail will correct back to proper 'luff length'. Sailmakers don't like to offer mainsails with 'stored' extra bolt rope at the headboard ... they sell a hell of lot more sails that way.

Also FWIW, for UV covers, Sunbrella has been offering a 'lightweight version' for several years now especially for sail UV covers ... no more need to have all that massive UV cover weight aloft anymore.

Last edited by RichH; 11-08-2012 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 11-08-2012
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Re: sailcloth: laminated or woven?

I have sails that are any where from 3 to 6 yrs old on my boat. The ONLY sail with mold are the Nor-Lam from North. It seems to be a VERY BIG issue. My Ullman fiberpath 155, Cal 140 do not have mold. Nor did my original dacron main, storm jib or 135 from 85. Nor does my UK tapedrive main.

Frankly, I feel it has something to do with the way North makes, buys the dac/mylar sail cloth. As such, until I know that style of cloth is free of that issue, I am not really wanting to buy cloth of that type. I do know someone that bought a nor-lam genoa last summer, and the north rep said they had worked with the cloth manufacture to stop/slow down the mold issue. So I have a feeling they KNOW about the mold on this type of cloth.

If you do want a durable laminated sail, same cost as dacron, The ullman CAL sail is nice. In reality, I wish I would have gone with a main out of this material vs the string that I got. Reality is, for the OP's puropose, dacron, or the ullman CAL would probably be the best $$ spent. The Cal will roll a bit tighter, handle the same wind range as dacron etc, assuming it has been designed as such. Even some dacron cloth sails will only be designed for say winds to 10-15 knots, ie drifter/reachers. My drifter is 3 oz nylon spin cloth. max wind is 6 knots!

My 02 on the subject.

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  #17  
Old 11-08-2012
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Re: sailcloth: laminated or woven?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
PCP,

Those sailmakers were steering you right. they could have talked you into more expensive sails, but were more worried about getting you into the RIGHT sail for your purposes!
The absolute worst thing you can do to a laminate sail is use it outside it's designed wind range. The second worse thing you can do is flog them!

I am curious about this mold issue. Am I to understand that people are getting mold on laminate sails? How is that possible? How can mold grow and stick to mylar?
When I was talking about mold I was talking about tafeta sandwich sails. Both advise me against because the water will will ingress between the layers and will create humidity that results in mold. You are talking about laminated sails, I think someone said that but not me

Regards

Paulo

Last edited by PCP; 11-08-2012 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 11-08-2012
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Re: sailcloth: laminated or woven?

I would like to see a kevlar fiber snap from folding or bending. not going to happen. carbon fibers yes but not kevlar.
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Old 11-08-2012
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Re: sailcloth: laminated or woven?

Our Ulmer/UK main had a lot of mold between the layers which no sailmaker would even attempt to clean long before it began delaminating.
Our boat is NOT a racer, cannot in anyway be considered a racing machine and Ulmer/UK should never have made this kind of sail for a heavy displacement cruising boat.
My point is, it seems many sailmakers today are nothing more than con-men, convincing owners to purchase sails at exorbitant prices made of either untried, inferior or the wrong material just to line their pockets.
I miss sailmakers like Peter Sutter of Sausalito and Cranfield of England. Peter would always insist on being aboard when you flew his sail for the first time (maybe it was just an excuse to go sailing...?) and Cranfield who made a Yankee jib for my old gaffer (1909) that took almost 45 minutes to destroy itself in over 100 knots of wind when I had to cut the sheets.
A few years ago we bought a whole suit of sails from UK Sailmakers for an 81 foot schooner and the sailmaker NEVER came to the boat to see their work or see that they fit properly.
At least with the internet, we can find sailors who have had positive experiences with sailmakers and make our purchases from those sailmakers.
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Old 11-09-2012
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Re: sailcloth: laminated or woven?

Quote:
Originally Posted by overbored View Post
I would like to see a kevlar fiber snap from folding or bending. not going to happen. carbon fibers yes but not kevlar.
Kevlar RAPIDLY loses its tensile strength when repetitively folded. Standard degradation value is 47-50%% loss of tensile strength per 1000 fold cycles with 'most' of the strength loss occurring 'early' in the cycles, less degradation at the the end of the cycles.
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