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I have an ''85 Catalina 30. The main is got a lot of bag in it, and I don''t have the $$$ to replace right now. Is there anything I can do to improve performance until I have the funds for a new sail?
 

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Dacron bolt ropes (the dacron rope that is inside the sleeve at the luff) shrink considerably with age. Have your sailmaker ease the bolt rope.
Sometimes all you have to do is loosen the hand sewn sail twine fastening that holds the bolt rope in the sleeve at the top of the luff; and, ease the bolt rope yourself (by allowing the bolt rope to slide down a little inside its sleeve). Then resew the bolt rope attachment back into position using a sailmakers needle and sail twine.
Typical bolt rope tensions are 1" of preload (shortening) for every 11-12 ft. of luff length; but, unless you know the exact dimension of the luff (you probably dont).... simply ease the luff bolt rope by 1-1/2" inches, reattach, go sailing and see how the ''bag'' has been eased, etc.
Sometimes the effects of a shrunken bolt rope can be countered with extreme halyard and extreme outhaul tension.
Next time when you buy a new sail, carefully measure the luff and the foot to monitor how the bolt rope is shrinking, then ease and adjust for proper dimensions..... also ask your sailmaker to add extra bolt-rope to affect later adjustment when buying a new sail.
 
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