Got new sails

Moderator: GreenLake

Got new sails

Postby GreenLake » Thu May 18, 2017 3:00 pm

After nine seasons, my last set of sails started to show definite signs of age, including a loose leech on the jib (which I had coaxed through the last season using a jury-rigged leech line) and lately a split across the collision window.

I went to the same sailmaker for a replacement.

There are a few differences. The jib didn't come with a window for the telltales (a feature I do like) but now sports not one but several sets of telltales. (The bottom one is for basic trim and the upper ones to make sure that the luff breaks evenly across the sail (allows to fine tuning the jib lead position).

The new sails are loud! (They are still so stiff that anything like unrolling or hoisting them makes a racket).

The eye at the tack of the jib was the crucial fraction of an inch narrower so that I had to scramble for a different, narrower fitting at launch. Luckily, I race my DS so there are always other sailors at the dock and one of my friends has a "bucket of stainless" full of all the shackles, rings, pins and other miscellaneous things one might want on boats from 12' to 40'.

The main sets to the full 20' 6" that are allowed under class rules, meaning there's no way to tension the luff other than via the Cunningham. For the old sail, I used to hoist it first, and then pull down the boom to the stop, which put some tension of the luff, and the I could add more via Cunningham. A bit unsure whether the new sail is as it should, whether the luff will shrink, or whether it is fine as is.

Unexpectedly, the boat feels slower in lighter winds.

I wonder whether I may simply need to "unlearn" the way I was trimming the old sails. Anyway, seems to call for some experimentation. Hoping to get some suggestions here.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Got new sails

Postby Shagbark » Thu May 18, 2017 9:18 pm

Who was your sailmaker, if you don't mind me asking?
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Re: Got new sails

Postby GreenLake » Thu May 18, 2017 10:19 pm

I don't mind (and have stated that elsewhere on this forum). However, what I wrote here can be seen as a negative review of the sailmaker, which is not my intent. I've been very happy with the previous sails by the same guy. Last time around, I upgraded from what may well have been the original sails for the DS (given that they seem to have been from a Boston area sailmaker) and the improvement was immediately noticeable. (Too far back, though, for me to have detailed memories of all the things I changed in trimming them, and no racing back then, so I wasn't focused on getting the best boat speed out of them from day one).

So, the aim behind my post was to find out whether some of the differences I see are simply operator errors or whether other people have experience about expected variability and having to adjust their setup.

Some of the design differences are to be expected, there are surprisingly few given that there's been nearly a decade. Many other products would be unrecognizable after a decade of upgrades :shock:.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Got new sails

Postby klb67 » Fri May 19, 2017 11:35 am

I know when I replaced my original 1976 Sunfish sail that was tent rain fly-like with a new intensity race sail (that I like very much) I was definitely slower the first sail or two in light air until I learned how to set up that sail. The new sail may have also "broken in" a bit - who knows.
1976 DSII - #8039
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Re: Got new sails

Postby GreenLake » Fri May 19, 2017 12:58 pm

Thanks, that's a bit of confirmation then. This was my second time out with the new sails, the first time had winds that were a few knots faster and the boat moved quite well, reaching hull speed (*) a number of times. I do remember from the last time I had new sails, that I had the impression that the jib in particular would not want to set as well in very light airs (I mean really light), compared to the old, very soft jib I replaced. That I could trace directly to the fact that the new sail was heavier and comparatively stiff. However, nowadays I know to sail the DS heeled to leeward in conditions like that, which cuts the friction by reducing wetted area as well as allowing gravity to help give the sails the proper shape.

The winds from the time that prompted my original posts were stronger than very light. The boat was moving fast enough to be sailed upright.

(*) hull speed on a DS is nominally a bit over 5 knots, but as I've learned, the standard formula should be adjusted given the hull shape and weight, which would push the hump out to a bit over 6 knots.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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