Pentex was explained to us as an updated poly-something that stretched less than dacron and lasted longer than kevlar. It apparently weighs less than dacron and more than kevlar. It is priced accordingly. We decided to go with a pentex/tape drive #1 genoa partly for the above reasons and partly because the aesthetic committee found out that it was white and not green, black or some other exotic, "non-sail" color. We''ve had our sail for 2 seasons and found it performs as advertised and still looks great. We are getting a new pentex main this year, after also considering technora (the newest wunderfabric) and the "new, im-proved" kevlar, both of which presented durability questions, cost increases, and were vetoed on aesthetics.
We''re trying out our new Pentex laminate 150 tonight for the first time. We got it built for club racing, and looked to Pentex as a good compromise for durablility and cost. The tradeoff is weight & a little performance. The sailmaker (Quantum) recommended the taffetta backing to get me another season or two out of it. My crew is not terribly experienced; I expect this sail may take some abuse.
He also recommended a Dacron main, which we went with, rather than the Pentex. Basically, while it was cheaper, it will suffer the abuse of the roach clipping the backstay on tacks better. I think also on a masthead rigged boat like mine (C&C 37) the 150 genoa may be a little more important for light wind drive, so put more $$$ there.
My objectives were to get a new set fo sails for club racing at modest cost which would last me a few seasons.
First race is tomorrow night, I''ll tell you how I like them then!
First night out was blowing 15, gusting above 20 so I decided not to risk the new sail yet.
In the two races since then, so far so good with the new headsail. It''s probably heavier than some of my competitors snazzy higher tech sails, but it trims nicely and I can definitely feel more power in the boat. Time will tell how it holds up over this season and next, the lifespan I need to feel my money was well spent.
It''s tough to tell the direct effect of the sails on our placements in races to date, as it''s only our second season out AND we re-did the bottom this year too (bye-bye 17 years of Micron CSC types, hello VC Offshore).
Last year we considered oursleves doing well if we were on the same leg as the rest of our class when they crossed the line, this week we were :56 away from second-to-last, week one we were 1:27 behind the next boat. For us, quite an improvement.
Performance gains are 99% boat prep & sails though, the crew is still pretty confused.
Next time we used it was after my last post. Racing the FIGAWI (Hyannis to Nantucket over Memorial Day Weekend).
Beautiful day, blowing 10-12 knots consistently which is our sweet spot. Halfway along a 14 mile beat we looked up after one tack and noticed a 10 foot hole in the brand new sail!
Apparently a few things contributed to this. I believe there was a late tack on our end, combined with the sailmaker not putting the spreader patches on as per the plans, and presto, the spreader becomes a shredder.
Sailmaker fixed it for n/c, but it sort of shook my confidence in the sail a bit. Spreader patches probably would have saved it, but from what I gather that''s not a given.
Ended up 11th of 13, after having to change sails and finish with my cruising headsail, an older mildewed Dacron 130.
Look in the Sailnet catalog and purchase spreder end boots--they will no longer be shredders! Send a crew member aloft with anti chafe tape and look for everthink that may be sharp--cotterpins at your tangs,etc. Quantum is an excellent sailmaker and generally sailmakers expect you to fit the spreader patch after you hoist your sail and determine the ideal placement for the patch.
I think you have nailed the problems with the newer laminated sails-you have to be much more carefull in handling them. But, you cannot win without them if others in your class are using them.