Sailplan feedback

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  • 27 Apr 2017 08:43
    Reply # 4786295 on 4785673
    Kurt Jon Ulmer wrote:

    (More unasked-for info for anyone: A soft fabric like TopGun, (maybe any fabric) in a flat-cut sail, will lose some of your 'positive stagger' for you, over the long haul. I think it's because it continually slightly permanently stretches on the bias. It's no trouble so far, but I may shorten boom & next 2 battens this winter while I have the chance.)

    Cheers, Kurt

    I can't say I noticed any difference in the battens stagger when we used acrylic for Badger's sails.  Possibly it's not quite as stretchy as Top Gun, but our first Sunbrella sails were about 10 years old when we replaced them (with more Sunbrella) and had done abut 80,000 miles, if my memory serves.
  • 26 Apr 2017 22:33
    Reply # 4785673 on 4764434

    Hi David,

    I used #92 red polyester thread, ordinary sailmaking stuff, to make the sails. They're triple-stitched with zig-zag. I plan to use black #92 of the same kind to resew. Some say red is worst, black best in the sun. Black will be less visible on our sails.

    So far I think I'll run straight stitches rather than zig-zag because the sails are as stretched and stable as they'll get, I reckon. The thread in the sails is actually in pretty good shape. Oh well.

    (For anyone else's info: #69 thread is lightweight; #138 is heavy, stands proud on the surface and needs a real sewing machine. My machine is a beefed-up household oldy. Top Gun sews easily; it's slippery, and makes your socks, knees, elbows, hands likewise; sadly, that useful double-sided tape doesn't stick at all. It's still slippery, in our sails!)

    (More unasked-for info for anyone: A soft fabric like TopGun, (maybe any fabric) in a flat-cut sail, will lose some of your 'positive stagger' for you, over the long haul. I think it's because it continually slightly permanently stretches on the bias. It's no trouble so far, but I may shorten boom & next 2 battens this winter while I have the chance.)

    Cheers, Kurt

  • 26 Apr 2017 20:40
    Reply # 4785482 on 4764584
    Kurt Jon Ulmer wrote:

    Hi Steve,

    Sheeting Distances - I can assure you that if you allow less room down and aft of your sails' clews than Hasler & McLeod recommend, (like I did) you'll have more snaggles and poorer sheeting angles, than if you allow more (like I wish.) Since your height above deck isn't yet settled, I guess you can still play around, check Practical Junk Rig, play some more...

    Sail Material - I'll praise Top Gun for years yet. I've just unbent our sails, (for a preventative re-stitching) which are still tough and undamaged after over ten years well-exercised and never covered. So Top Gun is great for flat-cut sails about the size of yours. For cambered panels, I can't say for sure. 

    Cheers, Kurt

    Kurt, just out of interest, what size, type and colour of thread did you use originally, to get over ten years of life, uncovered, and what are you using to re-stitch?
  • 26 Apr 2017 19:49
    Reply # 4785419 on 4764434

    It was Josh of the Canadian 'Lorcha' who put me on to Top Gun in 2002. I examined his sails and covers in NZ, after he'd sailed from Ontario. He also gave us our copy of PJR, and sailed on. Thanks, Josh!

    I shouldn't have used Top Gun, and I shouldn't have chosen flat-cut sails if I'd been looking forward 15 years ago, to sewing the next suit of sails. 

    If not Top Gun, I might at least have needed to patch or reinforce them; if cambered panels, I'd probably have gotten something wrong and wanted to make corrections, or been tempted by improvements other people have invented since 2002, (or if I'm honest, I believe cambered sails would have worn out by now.) 

    But longevity and perfectly adequate sailing were more on my mind, and now I wonder if I'll ever get to sew our next sails. Still, I remain happy about it all.

    (For an easier exercise I may, however, play around with bend-and-stop battens, next...)

    Cheers, Kurt

    Last modified: 26 Apr 2017 20:04 | Anonymous member
  • 23 Apr 2017 08:01
    Reply # 4770431 on 4764434

    The fabric inspectors often put a fluorescent sticker where they find a flaw. I look at the area, and often can't spot what the problem was, but occasionally it's obvious, like a knot in the weft thread, or a streaky appearance where the dying went wrong. Only rarely have I found damage that made the cloth unusable. Usually it's just a cosmetic flaw that doesn't bother me. So I'm quite comfortable with buying seconds.

    Harbor Time looks suitable, but as Annie says, I'd want to order a yard or two and check it. It's worth trying to sew through at least four thicknesses, to check that your machine setup is going to cope.

  • 23 Apr 2017 01:49
    Reply # 4770211 on 4764434
    Annie, that encompasses the majority of my thoughts actually. I expect that I will end up making new sails in a few years once I figure out what truly works for me and for such low cost I feel ok dropping 500$ for 100 square yards without all that much reticence. I will probably pull the handle on it and Guinea pig it for the rest of us :) 
  • 22 Apr 2017 23:52
    Reply # 4770145 on 4767821
    Steve Wallace wrote:

    Has anyone used Harbor Time for sailcloth? It's very close to Top Gun in spec and Rockford Supply has a very nice deal on 2nds. Secondly (hah) has anyone used seconds material and had major issues? The price per yard is very intriguing and since minor defects shouldn't be as big of a failure point on a junk I'm curious if there's a big reason not to save the 10$ or so per yard. 

    I see that this is made by Sunbrella, which is a quality product, so I dare say they won't be producing rubbish.  However, from the blurb, it seems to rely quite heavily on the coating which is applied to both sides: so much so that they recommend you protecting it against chafe.  I'm not sure that would make it appropriate for a sail where you not only get chafe (which can be protected against) from lazyjacks and the mast lift, but also from cloth-against-cloth in a reefed sail, which is much less easy to prevent.  (Having said which, another site, Outdoor Fabrics of Canada) says they have exceptional resistance to chafe!)  At 11 oz it might be a tad heavier than Top Gun.  It is 'stabilised against stretching', whatever that may mean, which could also be something of an asset.

    Alan on Zebedee has just made a suit of sails from Odyssey II seconds.  He reckons that it was so cheap that if he only gets 4 years from this suit, he'll still be happy with it.  (Although he is using sail covers, this time.) He reckons that he learns so much each time he makes a sail that he's wanting to make another one fairly soon, anyway.  You need to consider your latitude, the number of days that you sail and whether or not you will use sail covers when making these decisions.  But for many of us, saving no less than $10 a yard on sail cloth, especially for sails as large as you will be making, would be an over-riding reason to buy the stuff!  I suggest you send for a sample (or even invest in a yard) of the fabric have a good look at it.  And get samples of other cloth while you are at it. 

    If you are like most of us, you will find sail making satisfying and pleasant work and be quite happy at the prospect of making new (and better) ones somewhere down the track.  If this fabric is truly relatively inexpensive, it might be well worth buying, simply because your first suit of sails is unlikely to be your last!  And bear in mind that full-time sailors hammer their sails much more than weekenders, so longevity is also relative!

  • 21 Apr 2017 16:25
    Reply # 4767821 on 4764434

    Has anyone used Harbor Time for sailcloth? It's very close to Top Gun in spec and Rockford Supply has a very nice deal on 2nds. Secondly (hah) has anyone used seconds material and had major issues? The price per yard is very intriguing and since minor defects shouldn't be as big of a failure point on a junk I'm curious if there's a big reason not to save the 10$ or so per yard. 

  • 20 Apr 2017 14:15
    Reply # 4765418 on 4764434

    David: Yup, I think I'm convinced to go top gun. It's actually what the current rigs sails are made of!  

    Annie: Yeah, I have no illusions of my boat ever being a racer. I don't really even want it to be. As long as I can tool around at 5 or so knots in the open ocean for passages I'm happy. I don't mind using my engine as a chrome sail :) 


    Overall looks like I'll probably go Top Gun and maybe add an additional panel to get a bit more sail area and keep the mast height reasonable from a price and usability standpoint. The masts will be deck stepped in tabernacles - modeled closely on what Robert Leask did on his ketch rig - and I want to keep them a manageable height/weight that I can step them single handed so getting into the 50-60 foot range starts to worry me. 

  • 20 Apr 2017 09:22
    Reply # 4765103 on 4764434

    I used Topgun 9/Mustang for Tystie's latest sails. It seems to me that both Odyssey and Topgun 9 have a lot of resin filler/waterproofer relative to the amount of woven cloth they contain, and when this breaks down/gets abraded, as it will, then the problems start. For this size of boat, I would agree with Kurt that Topgun 11 is a good choice, with its longevity having been proven. 

    The sailplan looks to me as though it will work without too many hangups. Extend the top sheeted batten so that the uppermost sheet spans tend to hang clear of the sails when slack, and then I think the sheeting will be OK. Whenever I've felt greedy and put on "just a little more sail area", I've regretted it...

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