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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Buying New Main Sail
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Thread: Buying New Main Sail Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-19-2011 06:18 PM
soyuz i dident bought the sail yet, will post back when i have it.
03-19-2011 05:57 PM
fallard It sounds like you haven't fully researched your options. The quote mentioned 5 oz. Dacron and 1 reef. The last post mentioned offshore sailing and heavy duty reinforcement. These two options are at odds.

First, your Tanzer 7.5 is not what I'd consider an offshore boat nor does it appear that you are likely to be in heavy weather for extended periods, living in Quebec. I'd check with a couple of reputable sail lofts and get their opinion on the kind of sail (cloth weight, number of reefs, etc.) suitable for the type of sailing you intend to do. You probably don't need a bullet-proof, heavy sail with 3 reefs if you are going to choose to sail only in light or moderate winds. Adequate reefing (I'd go for at least 2 reefs) should get you through brief, unexpected periods of high winds.

It's a good idea to verify the measurements for your boat. Hopefully you didn't take the numbers from an old, stretched out sail. I just went through a sail measurement on my own boat yesterday. Even though we had the architect's drawings and the 10 yr old sail it's replacing, the sail loft (which is nearby) measured the boat. A reputable sail loft would tell you how to do this yourself. Assuming your boat is on the hard for the winter and the spars are accessible, it should be relatively easy to measure for a new main.
03-19-2011 05:25 PM
dewam Well, what did you get? I am looking for the same sail. Any lessons learned? Den
02-03-2011 01:36 AM
jblumhorst
In general, you get what you pay for.

Hi,

I am a rep for a major sailmaker....

All the major companies build sails offshore now-a-days and have vaguely similar cost structures...

and, in general, you get what you pay for. You pay for the type of dacron sailcloth and the little details of construction.

For an inexpensive price, you'll get a sail make of inexpensive dacron, with minimum construction details.

For a middle price, you can get a sail made of lower stretch dacron, made with more reinforcements at slugs, clews, batten pockets, etc.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Every sailcloth manufacturer has a table showing which cloths are recommended for what size boats and the level of performance. First of all you want a cruising sail that is durable and doesn't require special handling. And you want it to last. And you don't want to pay a lot.

That means you want dacron sail cloth... probably. It's half the price of cruising laminates.

There are three grades of woven dacron cloth for cruising. 1. Economy cruising, 2. low stretch/high modulus, and 3. high-performance oriented wovens dacrons.

(high performance wovens are VERY expensive, more expensive than nice cruising laminates. So we'er going to discuss the economy and low stretch grades of dacron.)

Name brand cloth manufacturers (Challenge, Dimension Polyant, Contender, Bainbridge) sell dacron cloth in each category, in several weights.


All the cloths from name brand manufacturers will give you years of service if the correct weight is chosen for your boat. BUT The higher grades will hold their shape longer than the less expensive ones.

The difference in price is in the grade of cloth, not the weight. To go up one level in weight is maybe $50 more.

Upgrading to a high modulus dacron might cost $100-$200 more. And the sail will sail almost like new for years longer than the basic dacron.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am very familiar with Challenge and Dimension polyant sailcloths; and passing familiar with contender brand.

Here's what the manufacturer's documentation recommends for your boat:

A) Good quality entry level dacron: one of the followng:

Challenge Performance Cruise dacron, 6.18 oz for cross cut mainsail. Dimension Polyant Coastal 270C or 270TNF (6.3 oz).

B) Better Quality, holds a better sail shape for more years:

These are the high modulus, low stretch cloths, made of more expensive dacron fibers. These cloths come specialized for various aspect ratios. Your Tanzer has an aspect ration of 3:1, which is high. We need a cloth engineered with a low stretch fill-thread.

Challenge 5.93 or 6.63. Dimension Polyant 230 SF (5.4 oz) with a medium tempered finish.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Construction details also are VERY important. But most folks don't know what to look for, because the details are subtle. A sailmaker who DOES include those features will be happy to show you. They make a difference in the shape of the sail as it ages.

You do want lots of reinforcement at slugs, leech edges of seams, and head/tack/clew. Cheaper sails scrimp on these details.

You don't need "blue water" features which generally add extra chafe resistance, double tapes, etc. You don't need triple rows of stitching -- you want triple-stitch zig zag stitching where needed, which stretches better than single stitch zig zag - which most sails have.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In general, you get what you pay for. Any body can buy sails in a foreign country and make inexpensive sails by using inexpensive cloth and building in minimal features.

Don't buy on the basis of descriptions like "coastal" or "off-shore" unless the sail loft gives you a list of what's included. And don't pay more for off-shore features unless you make long passages and/or sail in the tropics for weeks on end.

Hope this helps demystify sail cloth somewhat...
Judy B
Hyde Sails of Northern California
02-02-2011 11:07 AM
blt2ski Another cloth to look at, is Ullmans CAL, this is a laminate that costs the same as a good quality dacron, with less stretch, higher and lower wind range.........

As far as your boat, I could see a bit heavier than 5oz cloth personally.

marty
02-01-2011 11:56 PM
soyuz i guess i have to say that ive only been sailing for 2 summers now thats why i am a bit confuse to what to get and avoid ect.The wind here is blowing good in the morning 15-25 kn but always died down after 12:00 most of the time. Ive sailed for 1000 nautical miles last summer and will do double that if not more the next summer.My main as 4 batten(i want that again) 2 reefs (since i sail reefed lots of times).I want a main that will last a bit its not offshore but i am going to lac bras dor and maybe Newfounland so its as to be a good quality.So 5 onz way to light anything else ?
thanks to everyone who answered its helping alot.
mike.
02-01-2011 05:08 PM
zz4gta If you need 2 reefs, get them. And for a cruising sail, get full length tappered battens. I wouldn't go "offshore" on the cloth weight, but something heavier than 5oz would be nice.
02-01-2011 12:01 PM
RichH A Tanzer 7.5 should have at least 7.5 oz. (eg. high modulus Contender cloth) You can use a 'quality' high modulus 6.5 oz. IF your primary sailing venue is for 'light' to moderate winds.

If you intend on travelling, Id forget full battens and would recommend 2 FULL (& tapered) battens in the top and 2 LONG battens for the lower panels .... less chafe when reefed. Battens: 2 FULL + 2 LONG .... or 2+2.

If you plan a lot of 'travelling', Id also strongly recommend an 'over-the-top' leech cord system so that you can adjust the all important leech tension from the BASE OF THE MAST, instead of 'hanging overboard' trying to adjust a leech cord when on a downwind reach. An over-the-top leech cord system runs to a cheek block mounted to the headboard then runs down the sail luff inside a sleeve, but is 'exposed' and has a cleat at each reef position at the luff. This is beneficial (and safe!!!) when you NEED to adjust the leech tension RIGHT NOW so as to prevent undue leech flogging during a 'blow', etc. ... unfortunately most 'cheapy' mail order lofts usually wont be able to supply such a set-up.

Id also recommend that you discuss with the sailmaker ... to ADD an extra length of LUFF BOLTROPE (stored at the headboard and 'all ready to go') to make future 'easing'/adjustment of the boltrope length EASY and therefore cost effective in the future.
Luff Boltopes on woven dacron sails ALWAYS shrink over time ... and THAT causes a dacron sail to become 'baggy' (draft aft, too much draft, leech hooks to weather - the boat is SLOW, aggressivvely heels and CANT 'POINT'); If the extra boltrope length is 'already there' a sailmaker can do the adjustment 'in about an hour' and doesnt have to do major 'rebuild' or alterations to adjust the boltrope .... this will VASTLY prolong the useful life of a dacron sail. Adjusting the boltrope is cheaper than buying a new sail.
A dacron sail 'should' have the boltrope eased/adjusted probably every 100-200 hours of 'hard' sailing or after each season of 'hard' sailing. Be SURE to personally precisely measure and record the luff length (do this yourself!!!) of the new sail so that any future adjustment can precisely return the luff length to the OEM length, and the sailmaker wont have to 'guess' when doing the all important and periodic 'adjustment' to the boltrope.

hope this helps.
02-01-2011 11:20 AM
blt2ski If one reef is $55, the 2nd would be another $55, then add 50-100 for triple stiching, so less than $600-700 for a main.

You might also look at FX sails, they do advertise here usually in the left side near the top. I know of a couple of folks with their sails, seem to like them. Along with they have 3 or 4 sail type options to choose from.

Marty
02-01-2011 09:41 AM
Jeff_H Unless you intend to do a bunch of light air racing, 5 oz cloth sounds absurdly light for a mainsail for a boat like the Tanzer. A J-22 racing mainsail is typically around 6 oz and these sails are so light that they have very short useful lifespans.

I would also not necessarily suggest going with an offshore spec for a Tanzer 7.5. Unless you spend a lot of time sailing in heavy conditions you do not need the added weight that is assoicated with an offshore sail and that added the weight would really reduce the lower end of the useful wind range of a mainsail on a 24 foot boat without actually increasing the useful life of the sail.

I would also strongly suggest that you go to full length battens.

Jeff
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