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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 02-11-2013
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old sails?

I recently bought a 1985 Catalina, and I'm fairly certain that the sails I have are the originals. No matter how much I trim in or let out the sails and no matter what direction the wind is coming from, the leech of my mainsail always flutters. I am new to sailing, so I don't know if this is normal. Is this the sign of an old, worn out, and stretched sail that needs to be replaced?
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: old sails?

Yes, but some of the flutter can be eliminated by the "leech line" a small diameter line somewhere along the leech that can be tightened.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: old sails?

Blake,

Two things...

1) the leech line on the main likely needs to be tightened. At the clew there should be a small string coming down the leech of the sail attached to a small cleat, rings, ect. Tightening this up should help.

2) at anything over 5ish years a sail that is used regularly is going to have lost a significant amount of its original shape. The only real solution here is to replace the sails with something newer.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: old sails?

Just check your leech line.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: old sails?

If the sail is old and baggy, in order to get rid of leech fluttering, you may need to tighten the line so much that is starts to cup the leech. If this happens the aerodynamic shape of the sail will be poor, you won't be able to point, and weather helm will increase. If you can get rid of flutter w/o cupping the leech, you are golden. O/W consider a re-cut, or replacement. If you don't have a leech line, it is a do-able DIY job.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: old sails?

Yep, 30yo sails are very difficult to use... spent all last season racing that way (yep, fruitless way to live)... 2 of mine were missing leech lines.

Agree with the above assessment. Try a 2nd tier sailmaker and get yourself a nice new sail... and you may be able to get a deal. You could try "used," but you may be in the same boat (pun intended). If it's a common catalina model, the associations might be a place to start. or ebay... but again, you get what you pay for.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: old sails?

Find somebody who knows how to sail to see if they can tell you if you're doing something wrong. Your local yacht club is a good place to start, tell them you have a sailboat and are interested in racing, and talk to those guys. At the right club they are usually nice and knowledgeable.

I joined my local yacht club and learned an incredible amount from the members, well worth the cost of the membership.

If you gave more info, like how long your catalina is, if you've tried adjusting the outhaul, cunningham, does your sail have battens, reef points, traveler, etc. Some pictures might help.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: old sails?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Blake,


2) at anything over 5ish years a sail that is used regularly is going to have lost a significant amount of its original shape. The only real solution here is to replace the sails with something newer.
I disagree completely! Sails last far longer than 5 years, and can still have a perfectly acceptable shape. Just because a sail is 30 years old doesn't necessarily mean they are no good. Some boats go for years being used only occasionally. Some sails spend much of their lives in bags in someone's garage.

Take the sail in to your local sail loft and have it evaluated. If the cloth is still stable, then it may just need a re-cut. Don't be so quick to throw it in the bin without getting a professional to look at it.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: old sails?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blakeyoung View Post
I recently bought a 1985 Catalina, and I'm fairly certain that the sails I have are the originals. No matter how much I trim in or let out the sails and no matter what direction the wind is coming from, the leech of my mainsail always flutters. I am new to sailing, so I don't know if this is normal. Is this the sign of an old, worn out, and stretched sail that needs to be replaced?
... maybe a stupid question... but do you have all the battens in???
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Old 02-13-2013
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Re: old sails?

Thanks to everyone for the replies. I'll try to address as many responses as possible.

My boat is a 1985 Catalina 22. The main does have battens. Now, CURRENTLY one of my battens (2nd from the head) is missing. However, I was having this problem before this batten got lost. How that happened I have no idea. A few weeks ago I took the boat out in some pretty rough winds, and I actually had one of my battens fly out and almost hit me on the head in the cockpit. I replaced it, but I suppose it could have fallen out again in rough winds when I wasn't paying attention and is forever lost. So the fluttering is significantly worse now, but it was still a problem when all the battens were in place.

Now, for the outhaul, cunningham, and traveler. I just noticed today that the sail looked a little slack along the foot, and I was able to pull the clew back quite a few inches with the outhaul. However, this was to no avail to help the fluttering. I do not have a cunningham set up. I do use a traveler, but I usually keep it locked pretty much dead in the center. I would love to post a pic, but I don't have those privileges yet (I don't have my 10 posts).

Again, having sailed in only 2 boats in my lifetime, and one of those boats being my own, it's hard to say how baggy my sail is. It does LOOK baggy to me though. As mentioned above, even with the outhaul fully tensioned, the sail fully raised, and the vang tensioned, the bottom 10-12 inches or so of the foot looks kinda like a deflated plastic bag. It's like I can't apply enough force anywhere to make that part taut.

It doesn't look like I have a leech line. The only lines anywhere near the clew are the outhaul and reefing line. Maybe I can do some searching around for a DIY leech line as was suggested.

There are several members of a local sailing club whom I have met, so if I run into them I might get their input as well.
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