I don't discuss my member
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Chesapeake Bay
Thanked 33 Times in 33 Posts
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Oysterbob, where do you race? Typical winds? How many crew do you have on your 26 footer? Are they heavy, like 200+lbs / person? Or on the light side? What boat do you have? What rules do you race under? PHRF of the Ches Bay lets me carry a 155% w/o a penalty. If that's the case w/ you, get the 155 as you #1. No reason to give up 5% if you don't have to.
In the chesapeake bay (usually 5-10 or 20+ on a rare occasion) I do ok with a 155% and a 100% but my boat is 3000 lbs. Haven't had a huge need for a #2, but when it's 13-17 it sure would be nice. What are your typical conditions YOU race in? You'll probably be able to do just fine with 2 sails at the club level.
What's your budget? What halyards do you have? And do you change your rig tune to suite the conditions? Reason I ask about rig tune, is you can usually see the more serious racers doing this before a regatta. It can help power up a #1 in really light air or help depower it when you're trying to hold on.
I have a technora #1 from Quantum in annapolis that I bought in the summer of 2009. It's been a great sail and I've beat the hell out of it. Which is one major reason I chose technora over kevlar or carbon. It puts up with being folded and flogged a little better. I also told the sailmaker I wanted to get 3 seasons out of it with great shape, so it was built a little heavier. It's flaked after every race and washed w/ fesh water when needed. Cost was just under $2000 for my Merit 25. A little high, but that's annapolis for ya.
The #3 can be built out of dacron, but I would reserve dacron for a #4 you'll never really use unless it's 30+ out there. Then you need to ask yourself, and the RC, if you'll ever race in 30+. Most will postpone or not go out, so the #4 is a waste. A good laminate #3 with battens will last a very long time, easily 5+ years on the bay with great shape, if taken care of.
Will you be rolling your sails or flaking them? If flaking, I haven't seen a 3DL that was older than 3 years that didn't have delamination problems. Great light air sails, but that wasn't for me. I needed something that lasted a bit longer.
For the main, you can do a dacron laminate, or a laminate. If you have delivery/cruising sails already, no reason not to go all out on the 'race' sails. Roll the mainsail if at all possible. All sails should be rolled, but its a royal PITA.
Talk to 3 sailmakers and get quotes. See how they treat you, do they return your email and phone calls in a reasonable amount of time? Are their prices fair? All sailmakers should come down to the boat and measure it themselves. This shouldn't need to be said, but if a sailmaker wants you to measure for new sails, walk away and find another.
Merit 25 # 764 "Audrey"