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post #1 of 9 Old 05-12-2013 Thread Starter
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Help! My leech is flapping!

So the LEECH of my headsails (150 and 130) flap, especially on a close reach or a close haul. This happens even when I trim them in til the tell-tales show laminar flow.

I've read my sailing books and I have tried moving the blocks for the jib/genoa sheets forward. I think it improves matters, but the LEECH still flaps.

One problem might be that I have lifelines all the way up to the bow pulpit and the foot of these low-cut, IOR style, massive head sails gets hung up on them.... So it is difficult to know if its my block placement, or the disruption of the tension on the foot.

Or it could be because my sails are 40 years old and stretched out, yes?

Or perhaps my standing rigging needs to be tuned and or replaced?

Is this a common problem? Thoughts?

Thanks!

Last edited by matthewwhill; 05-12-2013 at 11:01 PM. Reason: LEECH FLAPPING NOT LUFF
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-12-2013
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re: Help! My leech is flapping!

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Or it could be because my sails are 40 years old and stretched out, yes?
Having the luff flap is new, i was having problems with the leach on a newer boat recently. My guess your sails lost their effectiveness for upwind performance decades ago, but as far as the luff flapping, I can only suggest tightening the halyard? Placement of the car is more a factor in whether the top of bottom telltales break first. With sails that old even if they are looking full they are most likely not very efficient.

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post #3 of 9 Old 05-12-2013 Thread Starter
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re: Help! My leech is flapping!

Ugh sorry..! My leach is flapping not my luff.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-12-2013
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Re: Help! My leech is flapping!

I fixed your thread title for you.

Flapping leeches on old sails are pretty typical. There should be a leech line - a small cord within the tabling of the leech that you can tighten or loosen as required to control leech flapping, but on old sails tightening the leech line often leads to a badly hooked leech, which is quieter but not very good for shape either.

The leech line is usually held taut by a small clam cleat, or nowadays a velcro patch.. have a close look and see if you've got that. It might help some.

Otherwise it's just old....
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-12-2013
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Re: Help! My leech is flapping!

If the sailcloth is stretched you can sometimes have the leech re-cut to tighten it up. This becomes less worthwhile the older a sail gets. We use 25 year-old sails for hauling leaves and for paint dropcloths, so if yours are 40... it's time for new ones.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-12-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Help! My leech is flapping!

Thanks everyone.

Believe it or not, flapping not withstanding the boat goes to weather pretty fast. Maybe I just have low expectations.

I assume the sails are the originals, but perhaps someone got some "new" ones twenty years ago. I'll ask the previous owners that I know.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-13-2013
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Re: Help! My leech is flapping!

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Originally Posted by matthewwhill View Post
Thanks everyone.

Believe it or not, flapping not withstanding the boat goes to weather pretty fast. Maybe I just have low expectations.

I assume the sails are the originals, but perhaps someone got some "new" ones twenty years ago. I'll ask the previous owners that I know.
I suspect if you got new sails you would be astounded at the performance improvement, particularly to weather!

When was the last time your sails were on the sailmaker's floor? I'll wager it has been some time! even if you have a leech line that can stop the flutter, you will probably find it creates a horrible "hook" in the leech. My advice is to take your sails in to a sail maker. He may be able to get some more life out of them with a little "nip and tuck". Regardless, if they are 40 years old, it is probably time to start saving your pennies for a new sail!

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post #8 of 9 Old 05-13-2013
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Re: Help! My leech is flapping!

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Originally Posted by matthewwhill View Post
So the LEECH of my headsails (150 and 130) flap, especially on a close reach or a close haul. This happens even when I trim them in til the tell-tales show laminar flow.

I've read my sailing books and I have tried moving the blocks for the jib/genoa sheets forward. I think it improves matters, but the LEECH still flaps.

One problem might be that I have lifelines all the way up to the bow pulpit and the foot of these low-cut, IOR style, massive head sails gets hung up on them.... So it is difficult to know if its my block placement, or the disruption of the tension on the foot.

Or it could be because my sails are 40 years old and stretched out, yes?

Or perhaps my standing rigging needs to be tuned and or replaced?

Is this a common problem? Thoughts?

Thanks!
Keep in mind that sheet lead positions depend upon the size of the sails and the strength of the wind. The "neutral" position of the sheet lead is on a line perpendicular to the headsail, through the clew and to the lead. One adjusts the lead forward from there in light winds and aft in heavy, the amount of the adjustment depending upon wind strength.

Beyond that, presumably your sails are fitted with leach lines. If so, once the proper lead angle is set, one can tighten them as necessary to calm the leach unless doing so results in "cupping" or the curving of the leach inward. If the sails are not fitted with leach lines, considering their age, it might be wise to consider replacing them or, at the least, having them cleaned, recut and fitted with leach lines. A company by the name of SailCare can clean, recut and repair aging sails and give them somewhat of a second life at modest cost compared with new sails.

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post #9 of 9 Old 05-13-2013
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Re: Help! My leech is flapping!

Woud a barber hauler help?

Joe - s/v Assignment, Catalina 320
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