Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Port Dover, Ontario
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Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
I sail a 35-foot masthead, 1971 C&C. Primarily racing, but do more cruising/singlehanding than a lot of racers in my area.
My boat came to me a few years ago with 14 sails. None of them are much use for racing, so I've been systematically trying to rebuild the inventory.
2 years ago, I bought a North sails laminate #1 that is good from 2kn-12kn true. Like others have stated about their new high-performance sails, I took home 8 flags that year - having previously won only 1. This spring, I was intent on filling the next 'hole' in my inventory, and buying a top-quality #2....until another sailmaker (Haarstick Bay sails in Hamilton, ON) advised me that a #2 would never get used. So, I bought a good Dacron #3 from him. The idea is that I carry the North #1 in light to medium air, and once I get into 12+kn, I go directly to the #3. That philosophy worked really, really well for us this year. I seldom have to spend much time thinking about what sail to put up, and I'm confident in both headsails, so I never have to 'talk myself' into putting up a higher quality sail that is poorly suited for the conditions.
Moral of the story, Joy, is consider buying fewer sails for the inventory, and spend your hard-earned money on the best you can afford. I would also second the recommendation to buy as local as you can. It's amazing how much insight and knowledge the guy who MADE your sail can impart to you about how to FLY your sail.
Best of luck!