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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 30' S2, 1984. It's in good shape, but after my
first season, a little cruising, some club racing, and a bunch of
day sails on Narragansett Bay, I'm realizing I need new sails. The original 135 genoa is shot. The more recent 155 genny it came with is ok, but needs some repairs. And the mainsail, maybe original, works ok and stitching looks good, but I can't get it flat enough; there's always a little sag near the boom.

I need a new smaller genny, 110-130 (roller furled) for weather AND a mainsail. But I can't afford that at once, even used in good condition.

Your opinions welcome: should I spring for a mainsail that's new Dacron and will give me the shape I need, not sag? Or is the genoa more critical?. I'm hoping to point better, and get more out of the main, which isn't doing much now I'm afraid. And I think the 155 genny is making it hard to point.
 

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While this isn't one of those 'skinny main' IOR rigs (less than a foot difference between J and E) you probably have the greater power in the genoa.. however I suspect that when not racing the combo of a new main and 120-ish would be the ticket.

Either way, you seem to know you need both, so flip a coin and in two seasons you'll be flying ;) But you use the main ALL the time, the headsails generally don't all do full time duty so I'd probably start there.
 

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If your mainsail is woven (cross cut) dacron, Id first recommend that you have a sailmaker take a good look / analyse the condition of the status of the boltrope(s). Typically these boltropes shrink over time and in doing so will cause a sail to become draft aft, 'baggy', and which creates a lot of helm pressure. The 'baggy-ness' causes excessive heel and helm imbalance problems. If the status of the leech, especially between the topmost battens, is not permanently stretched-out and the boltrope(s) can be easily and be economically 'eased', then you can easily and economically proceed in replacement of the headsails ... after simple 'adjustment' to the mainsail.
Dacron mainsails can usually/sometimes easily and economically be brought back to 'reasonable' raised shape by boltrope 'adjustement' ... an intermediate and often economical remedy.

Aerodynamically the mainsail is vitally important to the contribution of 'upwash' (and other aero effects) that headsails operate in - hence their efficiency; so, Id first check/evaluate the condition of the main first.

A 'good' sail loft will match the expertise of the helmsman with the typical LOCAL wind and wave conditions in building a 'good' suit of new sails ... you need the sailmaker to come to the boat and actually sail with you to evaluate your helmsmanship ability AND the boat.

Here's a thread on how to evaluate a dacron mainsail with a boltrope: How to properly RAISE a woven dacron mainsail - SailboatOwners.com post #1.
 

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If your S2 has been raced, it might have a shelf footed main sail. I was chatting with another guy who was complaining that he couldn't get his mainsail flat enough, and that's what he had. A shelf footed mainsail has an extremely deep shelf foot, like the name implies. You flatten it initially by tensioning the outhaul. If it still isn't flat enough, then a shelf footed mainsail usually has a flattening reef about one foot above the boom. You can pull in the flattening reef in the blink of an eye. Before you decide what to do about your mainsail, you should find out whether yours has a standard foot, or whether it has a racing shelf foot. If you're lucky and it's the latter, then you might just need to learn how to use the flattening reef. If so, you'll probably learn to like the sail alot.

Most sailing venues have alot of light air during the summers. If your venue is like that, and you want to do some club racing, I'd get a 150 for the headsail. In most venues, most races are sailed in light to moderate winds, and the boat will at least be competitive. If you don't have a 150, the boat won't be competitive in most races. In stronger winds, you can roll it up some, and it won't be as competitive, but you can still nurse it around the race course. The strongest winds will be in the spring and the fall, and that would be a good time to take a vacation with the family, until your budget permits you to buy another sail. Although the boat will be slower in the windward leg if you have to roll it up some, you can unroll it on the reaches and runs, and perhaps regain a small advantage on those legs of the race.

I'm not sure what kind of rig your S2 has, but if it's a masthead rig, then, if forced to choose between a new mainsail and a new headsail, I'd go for the headsail, because it's the principle driving sail for the masthead rig. Relatively speaking, the mainsail is less crucial on a masthead rig.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow, good tips here. The boltrope adjustment is something I'll look into right away. If that can be adjusted I'll look for a newer genny. It is a masthead rig, so maybe the headsails are more critical. But I'm convinced the mainsail is keepin me from pointing as it should--it really turns quick into the wind when helm is released. I'm pretty sure it's not a shelf footed.

Now I'm thinking I should wait and get my sailmaker aboard to see what's needed before buying anything. Thanks.
 

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Once you get your (dacron) mainsail properly raised, the helm pressure adjusted by the aforementioned link then I suggest you go through the recommendations of the following sequential articles:
http://www.ftp.tognews.com/Publications/Arvel Gentry Articles/08_Checking_Trim_on_the_Wind.pdf
http://www.ftp.tognews.com/Publications/Arvel Gentry Articles/09_Achieving_Proper_Balance.pdf
http://www.ftp.tognews.com/Publications/Arvel Gentry Articles/10_Sailing_to_Windward.pdf
http://www.ftp.tognews.com/Publications/Arvel Gentry Articles/11_Are_You_at_Optimum_Trim.pdf

these articles will then allow you to make the best decision if what is needed is either better sail 'shaping' and sail 'trim' by yourself; or, if correctly shaping/trimming becomes difficult because of 'blown', etc. sails, then quite possibly you really do need a new suit of sails. At least with this suggested schema you'll have a better idea if you really need new sails.
;-)
 

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Thanks for posting those articles, Rich. I read some Arvel Gentry articles before, and they were so technical as to be almost incomprehensible. These articles are much more readable.
 

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He's a masthead rig on a heavy 30 footer. if it's the 9.2A or C
9800lbs+
Nice cruiser!
I'd go with a new mainsail first, unless you are planning on racing. But the power/drive of that boat is mostly headsail. Faster has you covered.

You'll get by with used sails, but it won't really impress you as much. Buy new from a 2nd or 3rd tier sail maker and you'll be impressed (local sailmaker if you have one). Also you don't have a OD class to worry about, so when you order your main, order a loose foot, with sail slugs. It'll make raising the sail easy, and flattening it, easy. Next year or so, go back to the same sailmaker and have them make you a nice roller furler genoa in the size you feel you need most, by then you'll know better once the balance is better with the new main.
 

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These Arvel Gentry articles are from the 1970s "Sail Trim" series and were written for the non-technical sailor in mind.
Many of his later articles were in straight 'aerodynamic speak' but in the past few years he re-wrote many them for the viewpoint of the non-scientist. His website has been 'down' for almost a year; he should be in his mid 80s by now. So, many of even his 're-writes' will soon be lost forever in the 'ether'.

Suggestion: Perhaps Sailnet could consider to be the 'repository' of these 'great' landmark articles, permanently saving them for future posterity but dividing them into 'laymans' and 'technical' articles. Especially, those articles that describe "how sails REALLY give lift", the 'debunking' of the so-called slot-effect, etc. etc. still remain ultimately valuable. Many of the 'modern' sail trim book authors use these articles as the core basis of explanation, even the Great C. A. Marchaj referred and deferred to these Gentry articles, many of the Americas Cup folks of the 70s, 80s, and 90s used these articles as their 'secret source'.
The loss of these articles would be a great loss to all sailors. Many of these articles are now dispersed in various old FTP sites etc.; and, they too are slowly disappearing.
So how about it, if Sailnet put out a call to all who have copies or URL locations of these articles, sorted them out and posted them in a central location on this server .... we'd all be better (aerodynamic) sailors for that effort, so too would future sailors.
These articles should be saved for current and future sailors. How about it Sailnet?
 
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