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  • #4046

    Hi all, we have recently bought W7584 and need a set of cruising sails, we are after as much info. as we can get. Any recommendation for manufacturers of new sails or whether used sails are a viable option, if so how do we tell if they are good or not. Hope some of you can help. thanks Vince.


    Hi Vince,

    For what it is worth, I recently bought a new ‘Banks’ cruising sail. To say the firm were friendly, helpful and professional would be an understatement. They really know their stuff and nothing appeared too much trouble.

    I went for two lines of reefing points, with the first reef above the first batten. This gives me a nice deep reef, and as I usually sail alone, keeps the boat nice and level up to a F4 (with a suitable reduction in my furling genoa as well).

    Good luck and I hope this is of some use.

    Laurie W1858



    I bought a small jib from Hyde Sails via Hartley Laminates this year, then ended up buying a new genoa and cruising main with 2 standard reefs from them too. If it’s good enough for the Hartleys to use to sell their own boats then it is certainly good enough for me. If you contact them and speak to the father (Richard?), you’ll get loads of free and genuine advice from a man who is dedicated to W’s.



    Any sail maker can make good cruising sails but it is up to you to specify what you want. Take some time and think about what you want from your cruising sails and discuss your wishes with your sail maker. If not, you may end up with sails that you don’t like, even if they are made by a reputable sail maker. If you have clear ideas about your sails, any sail maker will make you a set of sails that you will enjoy for many years.

    To give you some ideas here is a description of my cruising sails:

    My cruising main is made from a good quality plain Dacron. No fancy racing coatings that break if the sail is not nicely rolled. It should be a sail that can take some abuse, like when it is reefed or quickly stored (carelessly pushed) below decks. Some sail makers confuse cruising sails with “cheap sails”. I had a hard time convincing my sail maker (from Northampton) that I wanted most of the racing options in plain Dacron sails and not “the cheap option”.

    As discussed elsewhere, my main has only one reef, well above the first batten. With this reef a second reef becomes rather pointless. If the going gets tough a try sail is a better option IMHO. Because I have a reefable Genoa with a bolt rope it is easy to use as a try sail. My main has bungee cords instead of normal bolt ropes (just like a racing main). Not only does it pull the sail forward when the outhaul is released in light winds but it also avoids bolt rope shrink problems. If you decide on normal bolt rope, at least have some extra length sticking out at the tack so that when it shrunk after a few years, you can undo the stitches shift the extra bolt rope in to the sail and re-stitch it. Never cut off the excess bolt rope!!

    Back to my main. It has two windows, one for a better all around view (safety) and one at spreader height to show the leech tickers of the Genoa. Obviously the main has tell tails and it has a few boom sliders added near the clew (like a racing main) for a better shape. There are also two mast sliders near the tack in lieu of the usual tack pin. And finally it has a cunningham (not a cringle but a tiny block sewn to the sail) and a flotation cushion in the top to prevent going turtle after a capsize. As you see, it is almost a racing sail except for the cloth, the reef and the flotation cushion. It is not “the cheap option”.

    My cruising Genoa is similar to a racing Genoa but again made from plain cloth (Dacron). It has a window for better all around view (safety) and tell tales. It has some extra’s because I use a Bartels reefing furler. The extra’s include a foam triangle in the luff and a flatter cut for a better shape when reefed. A bolt rope instead of a steel luff wire. (Rig tension is not transferred to the bolt rope but to steel wire inside the furler).


    Thanks everyone for these replies very helpful. can you offer any advice on either rope or wire luffs for the Genoa and jib. I don’t have any furling systems so would change sails and am concerned that wire would need to be rolled carefully whereas rope could be put away quicker if need be.I would try out having both sails tacked on and the unused one tied on the foredeck. would this be easier with a rope luff as sail could be folded and tied down. What is the advantage of a wire luff. Any advice will be gratefully received.
    thanks Vince

    Bob Harland

    we continue to change headsails to suit the wind strength and all have wire luffs.
    A rope luff will have too much stretch.
    Rolling the genoa is the most difficult – and if conditions are testing we just bundle it away somewhere until things are settled. It is worth rolling the genoa whenever possible to keep the fabric in good condition as much as the luff wire.
    I suspect a sail with a rope luff would be more difficult to roll neatly.

    It is quite common to have the second sail tacked on and stowed on the foredeck. My own preference is to keep the foredeck clear and the spare sails stowed in the boat.
    I think the most difficult part is hoisting the new sail and getting halyard tension on. Having the spare sail already on the foredeck does not help that.

    Changing headsails is a job for the strongest member of the crew.

    Hope that helps


    Thanks Bob, that is very helpful. Does anyone have any experience with cruising sails made by EDGE SAILS. I am in contact with them and considering having main genoa and jib made. Any comments will help with the decision making process. Once again many thanks to all. Happy new year Vince


    @magiccardvince wrote:

    would this be easier with a rope luff as sail could be folded and tied down. What is the advantage of a wire luff. Any advice will be gratefully received.
    thanks Vince

    A bolt rope is used only in combination with a Genoa reefing spar. In all other cases the Genoas must have a SS wire to take the rig tension.

    When a reefing spar is used there is a SS wire inside the spar that takes the rig tension. The bolt rope is required to keep the sail in the sail groove of the reefing spar, similar to how the main sail slides in the mast groove.


    thanks swiebertje, SS wire it is.

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