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post #11 of 25 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: Alternatives to Sailrite?

Your boat specs will give the luff angle you're looking for. The person selling the sail can easily lay it out flat on the deck and measure the angle. Just have them use a 3-4-5 right triangle to see if it's close to 90 degrees. Some sails do not have a 90 degree angle although most are close. If headroom is an issue, and the new angle is greater than the old, it could be a problem. On my boat, the boom is very close overhead when I'm standing. If it were lower by only an inch or so, it would be too close for comfort and it would be necessary to use the topping lift all the time rather than letting the sail hang naturally.

Alberg 35: With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.
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post #12 of 25 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: Alternatives to Sailrite?

I have to admit, you guys have me curious to order a Sailrite kit for a 155% genoa, just so that I can learn and understand the process of sailmaking.

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post #13 of 25 Old 12-11-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Alternatives to Sailrite?

Hopefully, that information is somewhere in my documents, it's a 1975 boat...


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post #14 of 25 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: Alternatives to Sailrite?

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I have to admit, you guys have me curious to order a Sailrite kit for a 155% genoa, just so that I can learn and understand the process of sailmaking.
It really is fun and not rocket science unless you're designing you own. A Sailmaker's Apprentice is a great book on the subject. I almost ruined my home quality sewing machine at first and had to buy an old Pfaff 130 which will sew through 8 layers of 8 oz cloth. That and somewhere to use as a "loft" where you have room to spread out an entire sail is really all you need in addition to some sailmaking needles, a leather palm, and grommet dies. You also need to be able to stretch luff ropes somewhere post to post or tree to tree but with modern line, stretch is less an issue.

Alberg 35: With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.
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post #15 of 25 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: Alternatives to Sailrite?

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I have to admit, you guys have me curious to order a Sailrite kit for a 155% genoa, just so that I can learn and understand the process of sailmaking.
Brave man. A 155% has to be about the hardest sail to sew, just in terms of materials handling. Nylon sails are the easiest to manipulate and stitch -- only took about two hours to join the panels on our 145% nylon drifter -- but you do have to be very careful basting the seams, because nylon stretches.

Cutting down a sail that is close-but-not-quite to right for your boat is a possibility. Be aware that a sail is a three dimensional critter, tho -- draft % is a function of the chord, and its location is sewn into the design. If you just lop two feet off the leech, you've effectively moved the draft on your sail back and reduced its total power. You can correct this error by ripping & re-broadseaming the sail ... but at that point, you are in for almost as much work and calculation as building from scratch. You'll probably still end up ahead if you get a great deal on a overstock/unclaimed/nearly new sail from Bacon's. I'd never expend effort recutting a sail with significant mileage on it.

For example, our Ballad came with a hank-on 150% G1 in fair condition. Fine for beercan racing with a crew. For cruising shorthanded, we want roller furling. Converting that sail to roller furling would cost a couple hunnert bux and it's too big & too deep to reef with any shape anyhow. The resin has gone a little soft in the leech, but you couldn't cut it down to a G2 without totally screwing the sheeting angle. So we plan to either find a Good+ used headsail for our standard 138% furling jib (or make one), then sew up a nylon genoa for the light days.

Symmetrical spis are the easiest sails to cut down: the top is a sphere, the bottom a cylinder.

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post #16 of 25 Old 12-11-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Alternatives to Sailrite?

@ smurphny - if you were going to give a short list of suitable sewing machines, what models would that list include? I've been looking online, seen some interesting singers, etc., a Domestic (Dometic?), a few Pfaffs - really wondering which ones would work.


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post #17 of 25 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: Alternatives to Sailrite?

Saw this one on e-Bay. There are many offered for sale there. What type of slides do you need for the mast and boom? Do you know the maker of the mast?


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post #18 of 25 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: Alternatives to Sailrite?

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@ smurphny - if you were going to give a short list of suitable sewing machines, what models would that list include? I've been looking online, seen some interesting singers, etc., a Domestic (Dometic?), a few Pfaffs - really wondering which ones would work.
I have no experience with any machine other than the Pfaff 130. I got it on Ebay and then added an upgraded motor and a big handwheel from Zeus sewing machines. Zeus is very helpful. The reason I went with the Pfaff is because it is small enough to keep right onboard and has no cheap plastic gears--all metal. Many of the heavy machines are made to be mounted permanently somewhere and are way too large to even consider keeping on a small boat. I built a sturdy case that fits right in a locker. The hand wheel makes it usable even with no power by just turning it manually, not fast but a LOT faster than hand sewing. It would be nice to have more stitch types like a 3-step which is stronger than a plain zig-zag and used by sailmakers. I use #20 needles and 92# thread for most of the heavy stuff. As I said, the bugger will sew right through 8 layers of new 8 oz. sail cloth for corner patch work. Everyone says they like a moving foot. The 130 does not have one so I have no info. on that. Don't even know what it does.

One thing mentioned above is basting. Sailrite sends basting tape with their kits. It seems to be absolutely indispensable so it should be included in any material list you make. Keeping long seams aligned without it would be next to impossible.

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post #19 of 25 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: Alternatives to Sailrite?

The Sailrite LSZ-1 is a nice machine that comes well equipped. I bought a "clone" made by Barracuda (found on amazon), but have spent a lot of time and money upgrading it to be as nice as a LSZ-1. It would have been cheaper to buy the Sailrite machine in the first place.

These are solid all metal machines with a walking foot and only two stitches, straight and zigzag. They handle heavy cloth pretty nicely, but at a slower rate than an industrial machine. The whole thing packs away nicely into a carrying case that would fit onboard.

I haven't made or modified sails, I've just done basic canvas work. This thread is interesting and opening up possibilities for me.
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post #20 of 25 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: Alternatives to Sailrite?

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The Sailrite LSZ-1 is a nice machine that comes well equipped. I bought a "clone" made by Barracuda (found on amazon), but have spent a lot of time and money upgrading it to be as nice as a LSZ-1. It would have been cheaper to buy the Sailrite machine in the first place.

These are solid all metal machines with a walking foot and only two stitches, straight and zigzag. They handle heavy cloth pretty nicely, but at a slower rate than an industrial machine. The whole thing packs away nicely into a carrying case that would fit onboard.

I haven't made or modified sails, I've just done basic canvas work. This thread is interesting and opening up possibilities for me.
They handle heavy cloth pretty nicely, but at a slower rate than an industrial machine.

This is a huge advantage! Assuming you are not a trained seamster/ress, the problem is not the machine going too slow but the machine going too fast! Having the possibility of going slow and with control was for me the biggest advantage of installing the Sailrite Monster Wheel.
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