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Hello,

I have been looking at used cruising sails for a little while and up until now I was only considering dacron.

But I started looking up other materials such as UK Sails Tape Drive Laminates. From what I gather, it seems to be as durable or more than dacron but with better performance.

I'm looking for durability over performance. Durability and performance would be perfect but I'm sure it comes at a price.

I always thought that those high tech materials were big on performance, but week on durability. Are there some that I should consider for a cruising sail? And which ones do I want to stay away from?


Thanks
 

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Larus Marinus
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China Sails is making laminated sails with a Dacron taffeta facing for cruisers. They are a bit stiffer than straight Dacron, but much stronger and they hold their form longer. I got mine from Elvstrom-Sobstad under their Genesis label. They don't cost much more than straight Dacron.
 

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Be careful buying used sails -- they are often stretched and baggy in the all the wrong places, which can seriously degrade performance. When I replaced BR's old sails with new ones I got a knot +/- more boat speed and 5+ degrees closer to the wind in light to moderate conditions . I now have about 15000 miles on my main which is Hood vectron (dacron with a vectron fibre every 1/2" or so) and it's holding up very well. The jib is dacron - ditto. I told the sailmaker I didn't care what he made them of but I wanted them "bullet proof". He chose dacron and recommended the slight upgrade to Vectron only to reduce the weight of the main (we could use 9 oz vectron vs 10 oz dacron).

I am no expert but I've heard the really high tech sails must be treated very gently when they're not set i.e. carefully rolled / folded -- no jamming them in a sail bag and stuffing he bag in a lazarette. Maybe the more modern hi tech stuff holds up better.
 

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Don Radcliffe
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My UK tape drive genoa lasted about a year in the tropics before the sun killed it, versus 10 years for its dacron replacement. Some of the laminates with dacron on the outsides may last OK, but dacron is still the best cruising sail material for reliability and cost.
 

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North Sails North-cloth Oceanus sails

Oceanus sailcloth, thanks to a unique and patented design, is almost indistinguishable from traditional canvas in both hand and appearance while enjoying the strength and durability of rugged polyester construction.
 

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A lot of this depends upon where you are at, and $$ you want to spend. Ullman has a CAL which is a laminate for the same price as a dacron. A friend recently bought on for his 40' live aboard, likes how well it furls tight, and it pulls way harder than his old genoa, but then again a 20 yr old dacron is usually pretty blown out.

I also have one of these on order for next spring delivery to use as my cruising, daysail sail vs using my carbon. The latter is just to be my race sail.

I went with a UK TDS for the main. So far so good in 6 months or so. Way more power out of it than my original main, But then again as said before a 20 yr old dac sail is pretty blown out! A new dac main would out perform my old one.

As I understand it, some of the newer lams should last as long as a dac sail. BUT< the usable life will be shorter if you will, ie stretched/blown out on a dac sail vs a lam. Both will last say 10 yrs, the lam will have a 50% stretch life at say 7 yrs, the dac at 50% at 5 yrs. So the performance part will be longer, but when a lam goes, it goes downhill faster than a dac will.

In reality, not really right or wrong moves, but personaly, I feel in a decade or so, that dacs will be on there way out to laminates. Same as cotton did to dacron way back when. Where we are at in the change of things.....any bodys guess there.

If in the tropics, UV will kill any sail quicker than for me in the NW US!

marty
 

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. So the performance part will be longer, but when a lam goes, it goes downhill faster than a dac will.
Ain't that the truth!! I had a North Norlam genoa some years ago. It looked in great shape and then, in the skirt where waves punished the sail a bit, we saw a smallish area of delamination.

Three months later we threw the sail away. It was totally done, beyond further use. Never again. Straight Dacron for me from now on.
 
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