Latest News: Forums Technical sails Re: Re: sails

Colin Parkstone

Good points Disgrace, cloth has improved much and it also has less chance of rotting like older cloth did which takes away one of the problems that made sails older faster.

One of the good points about new sails are that they work better, help you point well and give you more control of the sail for all kinds wind strengths as the shape can be changed.

Older sails take a shape of their own which is not always the shape you want, in stronger winds the sail fills and rounds more which is not the shape or fullness you want in strong winds as flatter is best. ( or a reef)

So performance is not only for the racing fleet, being able to point in that close river or creek can save so many unwanted tacks.

A well made modern cloth sail need not be crisp and need rolling, modern cloth comes in a softer type for that time when you bring the sail down into a crowded boat and not like the racer a nice foreshore to pull you boat onto so you can bring the sail down under control.

One thing I do notice when people buy a new crisp sail is that they sometimes just dont get it!
They have sailed with a soft, easy to read sail which is has been a very forgiving shape and often they have had for years. A new sail is hard and stable and often seem hard to read, its new and the shape is how it should be. So your need to give it time to learn about its shape and how to make it work! Bit like a new car when you have had a Morris Minor for years.
One thing you can ask a sail maker to look at is the luff rope. They shrink at a differing rate than the sail cloth so often what happens is the cloth becomes full but is pulled out of a fair shape by the luff rope which will be short on shrink.
By renewing or letting the luff rope free at the tack your sail will be free from the tight luff rope and take the shape of the sail, rather than the other way round. It will not be the same as a new sail but it may help. Best though to cost all these changes to an old sail, could be near to a new sail price in modern cloth!