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Discussion Starter #1
I have the impression that about half of the cruising sailors prefer foam luffs and I'm interested in knowing what some of you are currently using or purchasing.

While we are not shy about driving the boat pretty hard, I'll probably be reefing more than I would 30 years ago....

Currently thinking about getting a new 150 for our Ericson 27.

Any thoughts?

Joe
 

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ASA and PSIA Instructor
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I'd suggest adding a foam luff on your primary use sail, on my boat its a %135. The 100% I am planning to purchase will not have such a luff, and if I ever get to a 150% with this boat, that would not either. Both the 100% and 150% are in effect special use sails, put up when conditions call for them ( for the $150 that would be racing...). You sail choices would of course reflect local conditions.

The luff flattening provides some minor reduction in the sail shape degradation that starts with one or two turns on the furling.
 

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On a 27' boat I'd rather have hank-on sails and a good sail inventory (most of which could be purchased used for pennies on the dollar).

I agree with sailing fool, a 150% sail is a special purpose light wind sail and should be made of light fabric. A foam luff would be a waste because it couldn't handle higher winds anyway.

I have a 135% with a foam luff and it rolls up better than the previous 135% did that didn't have a foam luff. It still doesn't roll up all that well, and my 105% working jib lets me point higher and the boat perform better than the 135% sail does rolled up the same amount.
 

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On a 27' boat I'd rather have hank-on sails and a good sail inventory (most of which could be purchased used for pennies on the dollar).

I agree with sailing fool, a 150% sail is a special purpose light wind sail and should be made of light fabric. A foam luff would be a waste because it couldn't handle higher winds anyway.

I have a 135% with a foam luff and it rolls up better than the previous 135% did that didn't have a foam luff. It still doesn't roll up all that well, and my 105% working jib lets me point higher and the boat perform better than the 135% sail does rolled up the same amount.
Agreed. Also, the 150 will want to be flown in very light winds, and the foam luff and sumbrella cover (in case you're thinking of adding one of these) add so much weight that it will hang limply in light air.

Personally, I feel that there is a point in the LP where additional size works against you. I knew a guy with a 170% sail, and the sail itself was so heavy, it took more air to fly it than his 140%.

Also, taking a 150% is going to be a PITA....

MedSailor
 

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Interesting now, that foam luffs are not made of foam anymore. They seems to use a row of parallel lines instead.
 

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That is what my foam luff sail has. The lines are still foamy. They just help to roll up the center of the luff tighter than the edges so that the sail has less belly when rolled.

I think the newer style ones (with multiple stripes) are a higher density foam than the older ones, so it doesn't squash as flat and wear out as quickly. That is what it feels like anyway comparing a newer and older foam luff sail.

Good furlers also have an independent tack swivel that allows the center of the sail to be rolled before the head and tack. Having that and the foam luff does help. It still doesn't allow you to point as high as a smaller sail, because the partially rolled sail still has this big sausage at the leading edge and greatly reduces sail lift.
 

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Interesting now, that foam luffs are not made of foam anymore. They seems to use a row of parallel lines instead.
Foam seems to be a recipe for mildew, North has been using a lightweight, non-absorbent rope instead for quite awhile, now... At least, that's what my genoa has...

I agree that a 150 is probably gonna be wasted for this purpose, I think you reach a point of diminishing returns beyond a 125-130%, in general... Also, I'd suggest a UV material other than Sunbrella, it's quite heavy, and is quite susceptible to chafe. Not exactly sure what mine is called, it's some form of treated Dacron, it's held up well and holds to the shape of the sail better than many Sunbrella covers I've seen...
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I am going with the Sunbrella to avoid changing Dacron uv panels. I understand that there's a weight issue...

There's a lot of light air on Long Island Sound so I hesitate to go too much smaller but now I'm thinking about the fact that my old genoa is a pita to tack. Maybe a 140 would be a reasonable compromise.
 

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Hey,

I agree that a 140 with a foam luff is a real good choice. That's what I have on my O'day and I'm very happy with it. I do put up the 100 in late fall and early spring but the rest of the year the 140 is on the furler.

The sailmaker should put a mark on the sail so you can see when it's rolled up to a 110 or so. The foam won't work miracles but you get decent shape from 140 to 110 or so.

Barry
 

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The 150% isn't a bad idea if you have a light air venue. I just think that trying to make a roller reefing sail with a UV cover, foam luff, and heavier cloth that can handle being a 120% sail is a mistake. Make two sails, a light weight roller furling 150% for light air days, and a general purpose 120-135% for all around use.
 

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Hey Joe!
I have a couple of thoughts...I, like you, typically sail in a light air area. Not only do I have a 155% RF Genoa, I have 3 167% sails as well. One for super-light air (cloth is almost spinnaker-weight) and 2 for racing in up to 15kn.
There is no way I would limit myself to a 140% genoa for all-purpose sailing...but I don't mind doing sail changes as needed...the difference in 2-5knots of wind is huge.

I would also recommend looking up the original 'stock' LP% on the #1 for your boat. Likely, the boat's designer had a specific LP in mind that best worked for the boat. I would stick to that size. (I was told that the difference between a 155% and a 167% was nominal...boy, was that bad advice!! the boat SINGS when the 167% is flying...)

Finally, if taking a big sail is a PITA, you can try some things to improve THAT problem, rather than settle for less sail area. Soft shackles, shroud covers, and steering/trimming techniques can greatly improve the sail's ability to get around the mast painlessly...

Hope there's something in here you find useful!

Happy sailing!

Andy
 

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here's another vote for a 140 with a foam luff. It rolls up to a 115 or so and still works pretty well. I have a 110 for spring/fall sailing. It is easy to say "just change sails" but with only me and my wife on board it is a chore that I just dont want to deal with more than a couple of times a season.
 

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If this is going to be your only headsail, then by all means get the foam luff, regardless of the size you go with. I sail on western Long Island Sound, and use a 135 with a foam luff on my Cal 33. Works well in light air and furls pretty well to about the size of a 100. Conventional wisdom for cruising boats around here is go with a 135 on boats over 30 foot and a 150 on boats below 30 foot. If you have two headsails, a 150 and a 110 makes sense.
 
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