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Old 11-26-2011
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Sail Replacement Advice Wanted

I believe my boat - A 1972 Macgreggor Venture 21 - needs new sails. As I'm such a newbie, it's difficult for me to know for sure, but they seem very stretched out. Is there a way to tell if sails are stretched beyond reasonable usage? Can sails that have been stretched out of shape be fixed? If I buy new sails, how can I best determine what kind to buy?

I'm not going to be doing any racing - just cruising, but I want the boat to sail as well as possible without spending a fortune. Any advice I can get would be most appreciated.

Marc
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Old 11-26-2011
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Do you know how old the existing sails are? If they have a very soft 'hand'.. ie there's no crackle left when you flake or fold them it's likely they are nearing the end of their useful life.. are they badly discoloured? another indication of age.

Look at some sail trim articles... if your sails don't look like they set up similarly, and you can't make them look like that, then again, your sails may essentially be toast. But reading those articles may give you some ideas on halyard and sheet tensions that might be making your sails look bad and hurting performance.

In the end, if you decide to renew, shop around.. try FX sails online for some guidelines, they often come in much less than the mainstream sailmakers.. at least you'll have a comparison point. There's much to be said for buying locally, esp from an after-sales-service perspective, so that's a factor to think about too.

Otherwise that's a relatively well known boat and getting sails made for it will not be complicated.
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Old 11-27-2011
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I don't know thw age of the sails, and I'm too inexperienced and/or unknowledgeable to know the state of their "hand" or "crackle". However, they're not discolored much, if at all, and have no serious damage - although I have the sails at home and will see what I can determine about these things. I'll also look into FX and others per your suggestion.

Thank you!
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Old 11-27-2011
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The 'hand' of a sail is how it feels to handle the cloth... a sail that feels soft and not somewhat stiff is getting on. If it still makes a noise when you fold or flake it there may be some life in it.

It's also possible you're not hoisting the sail enough.. if there are sags or 'scallops' between your hanks and/or slugs then the halyard is not tight enough. The correct tension here is important to how the sail sets up. As a general rule hoist until you've a slight vertical wrinkle when you're head to wind.. there may be marks on the mast for the max hoist of the main (a black band - but lots of boats won't have that)

Getting some experience and perhaps asking someone knowledgeable to spend an hour or two with you will get you on the right track. There are plenty of articles and books on the subject too, of course.
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Old 11-28-2011
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Thank you for the additional info. Talked about these things with my wife last night, and we're pretty sure we had the mainsail hoisted sufficiently - but I will keep that in mind this spring (which is much too far away, unfortunately).

Cheerio!
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Old 11-28-2011
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You can post pics and that might get some better advice as to their state, although the "touchy feely" portion of the test will be missing.

If you do decide to go with new sails, most sail lofts have used or "trade in" sails available for a lot less than going with new. Having a common boat comes in handy when it's time for replacement of sails, as there should be a somewhat decent inventory of used sails out there. If there are no rips or tears in the seams/stitching, and they seem stiffer than say a cotton shirt, no need to replace. If I really didn't know, I'd befriend dock neighbors, and find one with practical experience that will share his/her knowledge, and ask them. Sailors are usually friendly folks.
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Old 11-28-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishDragon View Post
I believe my boat - A 1972 Macgreggor Venture 21 - needs new sails. As I'm such a newbie, it's difficult for me to know for sure, but they seem very stretched out. Is there a way to tell if sails are stretched beyond reasonable usage? Can sails that have been stretched out of shape be fixed? If I buy new sails, how can I best determine what kind to buy?

I'm not going to be doing any racing - just cruising, but I want the boat to sail as well as possible without spending a fortune. Any advice I can get would be most appreciated.

Marc
Marc--

There are quite a few good sail lofts in your area, any of which can examine your sails and make suggestions, repairs etc. Unless you are racing and/or unless the fabric is rotten, older sails can be cleaned, re-cut and reconditioned reasonable inexpensively, particularly so for a small boat such as yours. For example, there is a company by the name of SailCare ( see Sail Care for sail cleaning, sail repair, new sails, roller furlings and sailing equipment) in Penn. that does very good cleaning and refurbishment of older sails. We had them refurb a 10 year old 135 Genoa on our prior boat (Cal 2-29) and the sail came back looking new and performed extremely well.

FWIW...
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