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Discussion Starter #1
I am just trying to get educated on sails. I am the new owner of a tartan 30 and new to sailing. I suspect my main is the original but not sure. I was just looking for some talk on what to look for to determine quality and age. What the weight of them are, etc... I have a main with the hull no. on them and the po said they came with the boat. He owned the boat 6 years. I flew the 100% jib and main this year. He bought a a-sail for it which I'm not sure the weight of. Also he purchsed a 160% jib which I have yet to try. I just want to be a little more up on how to determine one sail from another another and get a better idea of what I am looking at. Any help or discussion on the matter appreciated.
 

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The easy stuff to check for is the condition of the stitching and how worn the sail cloth is. An experienced sail maker can check the sail cloth wear using a "***** test" with a needle.

The harder part when new to sailing is evaluating the shape of the sail. A quick test is seeing how well you can control the sail shape with the basic controls. If you can't get the maximum draft to about 35% back from the luff of the sail using halyard or cunningham tension then it's pretty blown out. Likewise if you can't get the sail to be fairly flat for use in high winds then it's likely near the end of it's life.

Dacron sails stretch long before the fabric and stitching fail. You might be able to have a sail maker recut the sail slightly to get it fly flatter and to move the draft forward.

The best thing would be to make friends with some of your more experienced dock mates and take them out for an hour or two to evaluate your sails. Buy them dinner or beers in exchange.
 

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According to what I found, the last Tartan 30 was built in 1978. That makes your original sails more than 30 years old. Even if the dacron and stitching has held up, the shape is likely blown out of them. If you are new to sailing, they will probably work well enough when you're going out cruising in decent weather. After you've had some practice, think about getting new sails for Christmas or a birthday. You will appreciate the difference. You'll likely point higher, the boat won't heel as much, you'll be moving faster on all points of sail. Enjoy!
 

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New sailcloth is stiff and will almost "stand up" in the corner by itself like a new pair of Levi's (or Carhart's). If you look at the sail and think "That would make a comfy pair of pajamas" it's probably gone. If you look at the sun thru the raised sail and think "It looks like there are tiny pinholes everywhere !" it's probably gone.
Just a simple man's guide to REALLY old sails.;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies. the sail may not be the original. Its a 1972. All I know is that they came with the boat for the PO so they are at least 8 years old now. The main has the hull no. on it so I thought they might be original but now realize that dont mean much. Just trying to learn to how to evaluate it to try and judge if I should spend the cash on a new main. Cash is tight but I do need to get the bottom batten slot sewed cuz it keeps comming out so maybe they will give me an evaluation without charging me any more cash. Any tips on finding out how old it may be?
 

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I don't think it really matters how old the sail is. A sail could take only a few years or many to become blown out and inefficient. As RichH describes, you need to properly hoist the thing, and play with it while sailing. If you can get proper shape, then it is OK.
 

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I don't think it really matters how old the sail is. A sail could take only a few years or many to become blown out and inefficient. As RichH describes, you need to properly hoist the thing, and play with it while sailing. If you can get proper shape, then it is OK.
That's good to know. I think my sails are original to the boat, 40 years old, but they seem in very good condition. The main is still kind of stiff. I have a feeling the boat was never sailed much.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Heres the only pic I can find of the sail. Only sailed the boat a dozen or so times. Cant seem to get that fairly large "fold" or slack or whatever out of the foot of the sail. Granted the outhaul was not working. fixed that this winter. Almost embarassed to post the pic but go ahead and tear it apart and tell me what you think about setting, condition, brand. anything you more experienced sailors can tell me. And thanks. https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/12977539034/

 

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I don't think the sail is fully hoisted. It looks like the vang or mainsheet was pulling the boom down during the hoist. This will cause the leech to get tight before the luff and prevent a full hoist.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
More than likely infact. I knew I would learn a few things from posting that pic. Please carry on.
 

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Fairly good looking mainsail.

Here's what I see, 2 possible 'problems'
1. the smaller diagonal wrinkles near the luff indicate that probably the sail is raised without sufficient luff tension. Go back to my previous post about properly raising a dacron main. When you do this the leech will also become a bit more flatter instead of the light curvature towards the weather side.
When you check the tack angle - the angle that the the top of the boom makes with the mast - when the sail is properly raised and if you can measure that angle precisely - the tack angle for a T30 should be 88° .... with the sail properly 'stretched out' as described in that link in my previous posting.

2. the large horizontal crease (a sailmaker will call this a 'girt') ... may be the result of someone routinely not releasing the outhaul tension when the sail was being stored on the boom .... and after dropping the sail, used the topping lift to raise the end of the boom away from the cockpit. (Most non-racers set their outhaul tension and leave it that way ... all season long !!!!!! ... very bad for sail life). Alternatively, There's probably a mast track slug at the forward end of this girt; and, Id suggest that the binding/webbing or shackle that attaches the slug to the sail is too tight and needs to be made 'longer' probably because the tack connection to boom is located further back from the gooseneck than normal (sailmaker didnt correct for this difference and probably never physically was on-board the boat to take measurements). Girts such as these are a common problem ... but NOT releasing the outhaul tension can lead to serious permanent sail deformation.
Other 2a. ... I may be seeing a small 'cringle' on the main just above the tack/gooseneck. I dont see any hardware for a 'cunningham' - a small diameter line that goes through this cringle and additionally pulls the luff (boltrope-sleeve) 'down'. If a 'cunningham' was routinely used on this mainsail, especially used with a lot of force and over a long time, that too will eventually lead to such permanent 'stretch' in a localized area and produce such a 'girt'.
Horizontal (or vertical) girts such as this is not a serious sail problem at all, it just means that the sail is not tensioned equally from one of the 'corners'. I'll make the bet if this sail is properly raised so that the luff becomes better tensioned, most of this girt may lessen or disappear.

Rx- If your eyes are glazed over by this expansive explanation, start with my above previous post and follow that link about 'properly raising' to make your 'on the water' evaluation ... If you do this evaluation etc., possibly all the minor problems I see from your pic will simply disappear.
Your pic show a quite 'decent' sail.
Woven dacron sails rarely become 'blown out'; but, you do have to stretch them out when raising so that they take their proper as-designed shape.

;-)
 

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Looks like you may have had the outhaul pulled too tight and not enough halyard tension. I think you asked in another thread about a local sail loft. I've had good service from Doyle Detroit Al Declercq. He has built two sets of sails for me on two boats. Where in Michigan are you sailing?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I flipped through some of the other pictures - the woodwork really came up nice! I remember what it looked like before, when you first joined. Nice job!
I first joined about 8 years ago when I had the Hunter :eek:
But yes, thanks, the wood did turn out well and really quite easy I might add.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Looks like you may have had the outhaul pulled too tight and not enough halyard tension. I think you asked in another thread about a local sail loft. I've had good service from Doyle Detroit Al Declercq. He has built two sets of sails for me on two boats. Where in Michigan are you sailing?
Out of the Clinton River on Lake St. Clair.
 

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Al is right in the area then. He has really competitive pricing and will come out to measure your boat.
Not affiliated with them just trying to send work to a place that gives great service (rare now days).
 
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