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post #3 of Old 12-14-2015
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Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?

We went with UK tapedrive sails and promptly won that year's club championship, and I think the next, sailing against an assortment of well-sailed boats in our fleet. (J/109's, 105's, B36.7, assorted Tartans, Swans, C&C's.) We liked the tapedrives a lot, and used them a lot. They ended up lasting about three seasons. The jib disintegrated in one race delaminating in so many places that we ran out of sail tape and almost ran out of duct tape before we were able to round the last windward mark.

We've been using Pentex since then with the idea that the sailcloth will at least hold up longer than four years, even if the shape is no longer optimal after three: it won't disintegrate mid-tack. Our heavy dacron delivery sail still works despite the loft having gone out of business more than twenty years ago. We also have a fractional rig, but find that when the wind pipes up to around 20 it is easier to reef the main than to downsize to a #2 jib. (Besides, weight on the bow is slow.) When it's blowing in the upper twenties we'll simply furl the jib if we're cruising and sail under the main. We'll set the #3 if we're beating in that much breeze. Our #2 hasn't seen much use since we got a roller-furler. Most seasons it doesn't even get out of the attic onto the boat. For races, the narrow wind range and heading for which it would be useful - perhaps 18-20 knot beats - means that it isn't worth the space it takes up in the v-berth forward.
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