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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All, I have been soliciting quotes on new main, genny and spinnaker. So far I have quotes from North and Ullman, with two others due Monday.

To my surprise, North 3DL came in under Ullman for the total cost of main and genny (Ullman didn't quote the chute for some reason). I have been reading up on the 3DL, on the North web site, so of course they claim they are the best racing sails hands down. Still, they have Russell Coutts, Dennis Conner and Practical Sailor singing their praises.

So I am soliciting objective opinions on the 3DL sails. They claim it makes for a sail that not only holds its shape better, but also has a wider range of wind speed it can be used effectively in. If that's true, its attractive because I just don't have room below for lots of head sails.

This is a big investment, so I would appreciate comments.

Thanks!

Jim


EDIT! I should have mentioned that the intention for these is racing. I have existing Pentex laminant sails I can hang on to for cruising and race practice.
 

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Don Radcliffe
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Depends on what you are going to use them for. I agree that the genoas especially are among the best, if not the best racing sails around--lighter and stronger and better shaped. However, like all the high-tech sails, they have limited sun resistance, break down quickly when flogged, and North didn't like to put reef points in the mains. Most people store the headsails in sausage bags and roll the mains, because sharp folds tend to break them down.
 

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Unless you race or are rich.....

The 3DL's are unnecessary. Nothing against North's 3DL, they are some of the best sails out there for performance. Sure they look good, hold there shape well, but you do have to handle them with more care than a standard dacron sail and they are a significant upcharge compared to a high quality dacron sail. They are prone to delamination and mold/mildew. If you are going to use the headsail on a RF, expect an even shorter lifespan compared to a hank on. The J105 that I sometimes crew on has 3DL headsails and they rip and delaminate frequently. Granted they are a few years old, but it seems that every 3 to 5 weeks, some repair has to be done on them.

If you can afford them and afford to replace them in 2 to 5 years, go for it. If you're like me, I can't afford dropping many thousands every few years, so I go with a high quality dacron sail. For a headsail a high-quality, crosscut dacron sail will be a good substitute. It will hold it's shape well (but not as good as 3DL), not delaminate, and less prone to mildew.

Once the 3DL's begin to delaminate or when a certain percentage of their fibers break, they are basically useless sails, where as a dacron sail, will still "work".

DrB
 

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Unless racing is your primary use, I wouldn't consider 3DLs. Yes they hold the molded shape well for a number of years, but the total useful life is much less than a dacron sail. Racers that also cruise will typically have two sets of sails - one for racing and one for cruising. For the average sailor, its still hard to beat the value of a well-made crosscut dacron sail. If you want a step up from a crosscut dacron sail, consider a "cruising laminate" sail.
 

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A good kevlar sail has a longer useful racing life if properly cared for. Dacron will lose it's shape quicker and especialy a headsail will be slower since they are fewer ways to adjust them.

True kevlar needs better care, rolling as has been mentioned and just as importantly keeping it out of the sun except when it is not in actual use. A sailmaker friend of mine leaves his main cover on until about 10 minutes before a race. If there is a significant delay between races he puts the head sail down below.

Kevlar shrinks in UV, if you have a 5 or so year old main it will likely be about 6 inches or more short on the hoist. All that being said if you want to race competatively you must use them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
My bad, I neglected to say that my intent is to use them for racing.

So the theme is that they are great sails, but they need to be cared for well and won't last long. One of my questions for the guy who quoted them is how many hours of useful life I can expect, so I see the answer will be not many.

The existing sails are 7 year old Pentex laminates, and I was planning to keep those for practice and cruising.

Are these comments generally for any racing sails like the Ullman and UK Halsey as well, or is the frailness specific to 3DL?

Thanks everyone!
 

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I don't discuss my member
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Are these comments generally for any racing sails like the Ullman and UK Halsey as well, or is the frailness specific to 3DL?
Thanks everyone!
that's a better question. Do a search on SA for Carbon vs Kevlar and it then gets more interesting. I chose to go with technora, as the fibers don't break down as easily as C or K when being bent, therefore extending the life of the sail. At least that's what they sold me on, we'll see what it looks like in a year or 2. If you take care of 3DLs then you can get roughly 2 years of competative racing out of them. Anything more, and you'll notice you don't point as high, heel a little more, etc, however you'll still have great sails, they just might not get you that extra 0.1 of a knot out of em. 4 years you'll start to get some delam, and 5+ years they may even blow out (not the shape, but the material itself).

Also, you haven't mentioned you're price range? Retail on a technora 155 from Quantum was over $2300 for my 25 footer. But times are tough, and you can talk them into a discount pretty easily right now. Even more so in sept. oct.
 

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I don't discuss my member
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And don't be sold on what the "pros" are using. There's a reason they have the sailmakers logo plastered all over the boat.

Do you think Earnheart really likes Budwiser? Or does he put the sticker on his car b/c Budwiser bought him the entire car?
 

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The 3DL's are unnecessary. Nothing against North's 3DL, they are some of the best sails out there for performance. Sure they look good, hold there shape well, but you do have to handle them with more care than a standard dacron sail and they are a significant upcharge compared to a high quality dacron sail. They are prone to delamination and mold/mildew. If you are going to use the headsail on a RF, expect an even shorter lifespan compared to a hank on. The J105 that I sometimes crew on has 3DL headsails and they rip and delaminate frequently. Granted they are a few years old, but it seems that every 3 to 5 weeks, some repair has to be done on them.

If you can afford them and afford to replace them in 2 to 5 years, go for it. If you're like me, I can't afford dropping many thousands every few years, so I go with a high quality dacron sail. For a headsail a high-quality, crosscut dacron sail will be a good substitute. It will hold it's shape well (but not as good as 3DL), not delaminate, and less prone to mildew.

Once the 3DL's begin to delaminate or when a certain percentage of their fibers break, they are basically useless sails, where as a dacron sail, will still "work".

DrB
+1

you have to balance short term performance against cost and long term life.

The Doyle Stratus system is similar but i believe is more reliable.
 

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I sail with my local sailmaker fairly regulary and his D4 kevlar main is now 5 years old and still looks pretty darn good to me, and performs very well.

As I said earlier he takes good care of it but he is only now starting to consider replacing it. That boat probably does about 40-50 round the bouy races a year. No distance stuff.

5 very competative years is not bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
+1

you have to balance short term performance against cost and long term life.

The Doyle Stratus system is similar but i believe is more reliable.
I'm avoiding Doyle for local reasons.

I just spoke with the UK Halsey guy for quite a while. He explained why his sails are excellent as well, without knocking the 3DLs. He did express the opinion that his sails are as strong as the 3DLs but better laminated, so less prone to delamination and the mold issue mentioned above. He said that due to the way the 3DL has its yarns attached, that less pressure can be applied when laminating the layers, which causes slightly weaker lamination.

He offered to come sailing to check out my existing sails, take some photos and then make a recommendation! All things being roughly equal as far as the quality of the sails, this kind of effort really means something to me.

Decisions decisions...
 

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I believe D4 is an independent sail cloth company that will mold panels as per a sail makers directions and then ship the panels to them for assembly.

Therefore several sail makers use their product, I think they are located in Oz..
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I believe D4 is an independent sail cloth company that will mold panels as per a sail makers directions and then ship the panels to them for assembly.

Therefore several sail makers use their product, I think they are located in Oz..
Yes D4 seems to be a type of sailcloth:

D4 Sails
 

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Main is different than Genny for Sail Life

Gary M I sail with my local sailmaker fairly regulary and his D4 kevlar main is now 5 years old and still looks pretty darn good to me, and performs very well.

As I said earlier he takes good care of it but he is only now starting to consider replacing it. That boat probably does about 40-50 round the bouy races a year. No distance stuff.

5 very competative years is not bad.
While that maybe true, I doubt that if he used the same D4 genny for 5 years, it would look as good. The headsail takes a beating, much more so than a main. I don't have a lot of experience with laminates in general, but in this case, for the North 3DL material, my experience is that for a headsail, that is raced and raced often (20+ races/year), it's toast after 2 to 3 years, no matter how well you take care of it. I My experience is based on racing on the same J105 for the past two seasons. We typically use and "old" prime race sail for the practice (beer can) race sail. So the prime race sail is about two years oldand while it still has good shape, it has small local areas of delamination, small tears, and areas the have frayed fibers.


DrB
 

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Over on AS, somebody else was asking a similar question. His 4-year-old Mylar genny is falling apart and he's looking for recommendations for a racing sail material that'll last a bit longer. Here were my comments:

Thing is: Traditionally, you get either low-tech, high-resistance-to-everything fabrics that tend to lose shape, or high-tech, low-resistance-to-abuse materials that don't stretch (much), but tend to give up catastrophically after a few short years.

It is my understanding that most racers expect to have to replace their high-tech sails after only 4-5 years of use, at most. Whereas our 33-year-old polyester sails, while certainly not an optimum shape anymore, are still perfectly serviceable.

That being said: If racing is your primary activity, it looks like Vectran may be your best bet. I bet it's spendy, too . Perhaps Kevlar? I read a lot of good things about Pentex, a couple years ago.

We keep the original sails on the boat for cruising, and only put on the racing sails when we're going to be racing. It's a hassle, but, this way, our racing sails ought to last a good, long time. Also: None of our sails ever get put away wet--or even damp. In fact: Last week our Mylar #1 got stashed below, spread out on a settee, because the grass was damp when we got back from our last race, so we couldn't flake and fold it. (Took care of that yesterday.) Even the old cruising sails... One time last season a friend and I spent about an hour, waving one of the headsails in the wind, waiting for it to dry, so it could be flaked, folded and stored for the season. (It had gotten wet while lashed to the deck, coming in, and the wind was too strong to simply hoist it at the dock.)

Jim
 
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