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joyinPNW 12-14-2015 01:28 PM

What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
Looking to replace a number one and two headsail for a fractional rig, 35.5 ft long. Regular racers, but not seriously competitive- we prefer performance sails with durability. I've reviewed and researched the options but was interested in what other racer/cruisers think of the options available? Leaning towards tape-drive or norlam but open to learning about other options from sailors with firsthand experience.

We want a light number one for those ultra-light wind days, and a medium number two for a broader range of wind conditions. We have a number three that is solidly built.

Sorry to add yet another "What material should I buy" thread but I can't seem to zero in on a single material based on various threads I've read. Any ideas, thoughts, or recommendations?

Shockwave 12-14-2015 05:16 PM

We found the load path sails were generally good all around sails, fairly quick, held their shape well and lasted a decent amount of time. If longevity is more important then the podium then a woven material will live longer but will get round and slow sooner.

For an inventory I would rather have an AP 1, #3 and new main. The light 1 big 2 never really worked for us. YMMV

paulk 12-14-2015 09:08 PM

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.

joyinPNW 12-14-2015 09:09 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Shockwave (Post 3214081)
We found the load path sails were generally good all around sails, fairly quick, held their shape well and lasted a decent amount of time.

We have a choice in the PNW of a number of major sailmakers, along with a few small ones. I like to support the small companies but we also want to get the right material. Any particular preference of sailmakers for the sails you used and liked?

Thanks in advance! The choices of materials and supposed advantages is hard to sift through.

joyinPNW 12-14-2015 09:27 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by paulk (Post 3214577)
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) .

We had quite a blow here this last weekend and we shredded an older laminate we had (and loved). Didn't think of using duct tape!

Who made your Pentex sails and are you saying you furl your sails? I was under the impression that laminate sails shouldn't be furled but I need to become better acquainted with the Pentex material. We have a furler but haven't used it when racing. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

paulk 12-15-2015 11:04 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
We carefully folded our tape-drive sails between uses. That was when we had a double-slotted tuff-luff for the jib. Since then we got a roller-furler, and since we needed a new jib anyway, we got a pentex one. When we needed to replace the main, the aesthetic committee voted to have the main match the jib. We've been happy with Z Sails, in Stamford CT. They seem to have fast sails in a good number of fleets - J/24's and bigger.

Shockwave 12-15-2015 11:14 PM

Joy, work with the guys you like. Most, if not all, of the sailmakers you work with will give you good service. Or sail maker has been 4 lofts in the time we've bought from them. The sticker on the tack changes but the people are the same. That's who you buy from.

joyinPNW 12-16-2015 12:04 AM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
The perplexing part is that the lofts have their own proprietary sail type/name and it takes careful consideration to figure out what material is being used and how does it compare with material only offered at a competing loft. We are zeroing in on a fabric with the help of our local "small" shop who built another sail for us. He's recommending either a GPL or a new fabric that Dimension Polyant makes called Carbon Sport with the option of adding a "liteskin" of taffeta.

We want to buy local, no doubt, and we want to buy the right product for our needs. Since we're mostly club racing, durability is highly valued, followed by performance. Thanks so much for all the insight!

capttb 12-16-2015 11:21 AM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
2 Attachment(s)
Ullman dominates the market here in Orange County California, his main loft is here. I just bought my first laminate, it's Mylar from Ullman, it was also the first used sail I've bought and the first thing I bought from Fleabay. Lightly used (if at all) and made for the same model boat as mine, the spreader patches and everything line up perfect. $700 and it fits my Schaeffer furler.
I can't keep up with materials, a friend had a 140 made for his fractional Jeanneau 36i by Ullman last spring, it's got white and black "Fibers" and a taffeta cover I think. Very nice sail, his size was limited by the length of the jib tracks. I think it was close to $4000, we both keep them on furlers with an ATN jib sleeve or sock. I'll try to attach some pics of my used sail, I've only had a couple days to try it.
$560 cover to protect a $700 sail, that's boat economics.
It's got someone else's PHRF numbers, kinda afraid to try removing them.

joyinPNW 12-16-2015 10:58 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
We recently got some on Ebay, too, for our boat and we never see sails for our boat! I watch all the sites regularly because some racers go through sails pretty quickly. We'd love to see some fancy ones like that!

Just got the quote for the 155% GPL Tri-radial carbon/technora genoa=ouch! Gonna have to really think about this one!

SHNOOL 12-17-2015 07:38 AM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
I've done sails for a much smaller boat a Capri 25, headfoil 2, and went with epsails, using loadpath... I went from mid fleet, to number 2 for the year (same crew/same boat/same lousy driving, and was within a quarter point from the leader)...

I was really happy with the service I got, the time they took to understand how I sail, and they shipped it before I needed it. I bought 3 sails in 2 years, a 155 heavy number 1, a 135 number 2, and a main, all to match...

They also stood out nicely on the race course. I'm scraping together my pennies now, to order a new main from them for my S2 (I'll likely be getting a number 1 shortly thereafter). Ignore that I hadn't fixed the skirt in this picture, we were about 50 feet from the line and had JUST tacked (RC took the picture, I'm yelling at them, the mark is behind my shoulder)... We won that race correcting over the guy directly behind me on the horizon (he knew it too which is why he's idling seeing how many seconds behind him we finished).
http://www.shnool.com/images/capri25...e/IMG_2043.JPG

capttb 12-17-2015 11:39 AM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
That's a seriously beautiful pair of sails, can't pretend you aren't really trying when you show up at the start with those. I notice you left the BBQ and dinghy engine on the rail, nice touch. I had a friend that had a fake inflatable BBQ and satellite dish to put on the rail for a charity regatta.:wink

Shockwave 12-17-2015 11:50 AM

Joy, welcome to the racing world. It's not hard to easily spend $20~30k seasonally to keep a 35 footer in new sails. And this is just regional racing. Go big time like the M32 and being a paltry millionaire won't allow you to complete.

Cruising is a bit more affordable.

jsaronson 12-17-2015 05:00 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
Here is an unbiased description of various options:

https://store-cwqft4h4.mybigcommerce...pecifications/

Laminates look cool and maintain shape better, but when they fail, it is catastrophic. Dacron stretches slowly. Neither is perfect. IMHO HydraNet Radial is expensive, but offers the best of both worlds.

djodenda 12-17-2015 05:23 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
I purchased a Pentex #1 from Ballard Sails (Shilshole) a few years ago. We like the sail.. It sets well and is fast. Really like the service from Ballard Sails, and they provide great customer service. It's a bonus that they make the sails in house (In most circumstances)

We don't keep it on the furler, we only use it for racing (we're casual racers).. We keep the sail in a sausage bag.

aelkin 12-18-2015 06:47 AM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
Hi Joy!
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!

joyinPNW 12-18-2015 10:34 AM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by djodenda (Post 3219337)
I purchased a Pentex #1 from Ballard Sails

They are our choice as well--great service. They made our number 3 and it's holding up well.

Really appreciate the advice given in this thread. It's helped us hone in on what best suits our needs and I like the advice of using an AP #1 up to the limit and switching to #3. Ballard told us that while we gave 12 knots as the limit for our new sail, most will bump up against that so their sail is for up to 15. We'll add a layer of taffeta to (hopefully) give us a bit more life out of it, too.

cb32863 12-18-2015 11:59 AM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
When I got new sails for my First 235 back in January, got a great deal in the off season by the way, I went with Mylar/Kevlar for my 135% furling genoa and Dacron for my main. Both were $800 as I bought them at the same time. Reason for a Dacron main was that it would take the flogging a main gets more than a laminate. I will eventually go all laminate but, I need to get my $$ out of these and we are just staring to build the racing program for my boat. I got my sails from Sommerset in NY.

2 cents.

gybeho 12-18-2015 12:16 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
Take a look at Warp Drive by Challenge. I purchased a new main and genny with it a couple of season's ago. I couldn't justify the cost or longevity of a laminate.

djodenda 12-18-2015 05:09 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by joyinPNW (Post 3220321)
They are our choice as well--great service. They made our number 3 and it's holding up well.

Really appreciate the advice given in this thread. It's helped us hone in on what best suits our needs and I like the advice of using an AP #1 up to the limit and switching to #3. Ballard told us that while we gave 12 knots as the limit for our new sail, most will bump up against that so their sail is for up to 15. We'll add a layer of taffeta to (hopefully) give us a bit more life out of it, too.

This is a key reason to employ a local sailmaker, as they understand local conditions. Let's face it, going from almost nothing to 15 knots in a short period of time is pretty common around these parts

blt2ski 12-26-2015 12:24 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
Joy,

To add one in here. You might find a really light drifter is nice for the days that the winds are under 5-7 knots. They can be made of 3oz nylon, and are cheap $$ wise.

Ballard do seem to be good folks. The folks at Ullman also are. They have a tri-radial laminate that is a strong puller. Usually about 10% more cost than decent dacron. But the pulling power is about 60% of the difference between dacron and a string sail, ie Ullmans fiberpath. I believe Ballard can get the same cloth. It is a panel sewn sail so cheaper labor cost than a tri-radial sail.

I would not go with norlam, as it stretches quicker than dacron.

There have been some blustery days earlier this month! Other than the round vashion day......a driftfest from what I understand.....

marty

bobperry 12-26-2015 01:28 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
"Norlam" just means a laminated sail made by North. There are several fabrics that can be called Norlam. I had a Norlam genny on the Valiant 409 and it was one of the best sails I have ever owned.

The Ballard Sails guys are top notch. As is Jack at the Seattle North loft.

joyinPNW 12-26-2015 01:46 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
The Ballard folks met us at the loft on Christmas Eve morning just so that we could look over the various cloths. We're thinking of going with a black x-tech with aramid scrim. Seems it'll give us the features we're looking for at a (somewhat) reasonable price. Any additional thoughts on the Aramid? From what we've read about the carbon fill, it's prone to the carbon fracturing.

Yes, the Vashon race was a wet drifter mess! Our patience paid off but we got smacked in the Squaxin Island race!

blt2ski 12-27-2015 04:14 PM

Re: What sail material are racer/cruisers recommending these days?
 
Glad someone got some good use of a norlam/dacron mylar mix sail cloth. Most I know are a bit disappointed in the cost longevity ratio standpoint. I do note the pentax or other cloths like the tri radial Ullman use, seem to have better longevity/performance reviews for the extra cost vs "a good" dacron. I'm using GOOD dacron as you can buy some 2nd and 3rd generation back cloths still online from some sources. So the good is a recent version that will cost more.

I will admit, I do like my 155 fiberpath from a racing standpoint. I also have a 140 that in hindsight, should be a 130 or 135 for daysailing, delivery etc use that is the Tri-radial or CAL cloth when I bought it. Pulls surprisingly well for what it is vs the 155. I should have gotten the main of this material vs string. The 200ft main vs a 350 155 makes in my boats case, the headsail being the main puller. So it being of a lower but still decent quality cloth would more than likely not keep me out of the winners circle. A 130-135 would pass around the mini forestay easier than the 140+lp does. More power for double handing etc than a 110, but still able to pass around the mini stay easy enough.

I find I can use the 155 locally upwards of 18-20 knots depending upon summer vs COLD winter days in the 13-15 knot range. My 110 norlam is used after this as others have noted. Altho at times, we will drop to the 140. The norlam for its use is a bit stretched sooner than I was hoping.

Marty


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