NewSailaPalooza

Moderator: GreenLake

Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby tomodda » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:53 pm

GL:

There's adhesive backed dacron stripes that you can buy. Sailrite has it, for instance, look for "draft tape".

We'll see how useful these are to me in practice. May just be another source of "bad habits." However, I'm already trying to move my draft around via the usual controls (halyard, outhaul, cursing), and guessing what I'm doing based on the position of the battens and the cross-seams on the sail. Now I'm hoping that now I can actually see what I'm doing. No guarantee that I'm doing the right thing, though!
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby Fly4rfun » Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:05 pm

SEM makes a paint for cloth/upholstery i have thought about painting some on my "pristine" sails. can you teach me how cursing works for you? i can't get my sail to respond. :lol:
"Sail Aweigh" 1966 DS1 #2675
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby tomodda » Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:10 am

can you teach me how cursing works for you? i can't get my sail to respond. :lol:


Haha! True story, my Dad owned a MacGregor 36 Catamaran. In case you've never seen one, it's the answer to the question "What happens when you cross a Hobie Cat with a 1980 Datsun King-Cab Truck?" but at least it was FAAAST. We were out sailing once with my 15yo little sister and one of her girlfriends when we wrapped the Genoa around the forestay in a bad gybe. Much yelling and cursing ensued: "Loose the Genny! G*D*mn Genny! Douse that F*ing Genny NOW!" etc, etc. Once we had the situation back somewhat under control, we noticed a small waterfall of big fat tears streaming down the little girl's face. Her name was Jennifer, aka Jenny. She looked at us and bawled "What did I do WROOOOONG?!??"

Poor kid... that incident, among others is why I keep shouting to an absolute minimum on my boat. Sailing is meant to be relaxing(ish).
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby GreenLake » Tue Mar 30, 2021 11:17 am

this needs the "like" button.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby Shagbark » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:39 pm

AWESOME Story! Nothing like scarring kids for life. She probably hasn't been on a boat since. :lol:
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby Fly4rfun » Wed Mar 31, 2021 12:07 am

Tom, I needed that, thank you, been a rough few weeks.
"Sail Aweigh" 1966 DS1 #2675
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby tomodda » Fri Jul 02, 2021 10:41 am

New Sail Report

Since last posting here, I've had several outings with my new sails, in everything from 20ish knots (double-reefed) to ghosting along. Mike Bartles from MHB Sails made a masterpiece, in my not-humble opinion. Some observations:

-New sails are so much fun to have, that new-sail sound. I don't know if it's the new sails or just better handling on my part, but tacking is now so much smoother, the jib goes POP over onto the new tack and fills immediately, as does the main. I can definitely point higher, I've even had to reset the tabs on my masthead wind-indicator.

-The new mainsail almost sails itself! What I mean is that I don't have to adjust the trim anywhere near as much, way less "twitchy" than my old main. Mike worked with me to carefully measure the bend on my mast.. he told me what to do, I measured and took photos. We discussed my average winds around here, then he built the bend into the sail. Result? The sail flattens itself in gusts, like it's supposed to, and I don't have to trim so much. Let the sail do it's thing! I use the vang to adjust the "range" of flattening... still working on really understanding it, but I can make the main more "sensitive" to gusts by vanging on. That changes with wind strength (i.e the vang works differently in lower vs higher winds), so I'm still taking notes. Great fun, though :)

-It's the opposite on the jib - way more sensitive, but in a good way. A 1/2 inch difference in sheet trim will get the telltales streaming properly or dancing around in bad air. Thanks to my ratchet blocks, I can do that "fine trim" with my fingertips (almost), just opening and closing my jib-sheet hand, at least in low to moderate breezes. Also, I can easily see the telltales "breaking" from bottom to top and then adjust the jib car as needed. Halyard tension and inhauler placement are both very effective now, an immediate "feedback loop" from the jib telling me how to trim. In other words, I'm not just tightening the jib halyard when I see scallops in the luff, then hoping for the best... I adjust the halyard and immediately feel us pointing higher (more tension) or widening the "groove" (slack off the halyard a bit). Very gratifying. Especially because I put a lot of effort and too much money into both systems, inhaulers and jib halyard tensioner. Good to get some concrete results this season.

-I figured out the new batten pockets (see previous photo), they work great! There's a velcro tab at end of the pocket which holds the batten securely and also allows you to set the tension on the tab. If I know winds are going to be light, I loosen them a bit before I raise the sail.

-The sails are working TOGETHER very well. Mike uses a seaming technique (narrower and wider seams) which built a perfect airfoil shape into both sails, you can see it when hanging them up (between trees horizontally, I was testing). They "fit" together like perfect puzzle pieces, I'm very happy. Amazingly, even if I overtrim the jib (sheets and inhauler), I don't backwind the luff of the main. In other words, the wind coming off the back of the jib flows smoothly over the main. The "slot" is very manageable and I can immediately feel the effects of proper inhauling (more power in the main). Loving it!

Snakes in Paradise (and these are all my own fault, not MHB):

-Somewhat regretting getting the mainsail with slugs, thinking I should have just gone with a boltrope. The new slugs are wonderful, made of HDPE, slide easily, and with a very flexible mount-point on the sail. This last means the sail can set even better, the luff is able to conform to the curve of the sail instead of being forced into the mast slot. But also means that the slugs flop around as I'm trying to get them into the slot and hoist the main, so it's a real bear to do single-handed while underway. I'm going to have to think up some way to pre-feed my main onshore, right now the wide opening at the bottom of the mast slot prevents me from pre-feeding. Maybe I rig the boat onshore with the gooseneck ABOVE the opening, then pull it down? Or get a "mast-gate." Well, more tinkering ahead!

-Speaking of tinkering, I had to do quite a bit of work to set up my slab-reefing (aka Jiffy-Reefing). I have two sets of reef points and wanted to set everything up so one can set the reefs while standing between the thwart and the aft side of the cuddy lip - basically straddling the CB handle, safest place on the boat. I'm also using dual-line slab reefing, since single-line is a real pain and unnecessary for such a small boat. Anway, without going into the gory details, I now have two more cleats on the boom near the gooseneck, reefing lines leading down the length of the boom to two more cheek blocks, some extra straps to keep all that line manageable, etc, etc. Measured three times, drilled once, but still got it somewhat wrong. Works fine but the ergonomics are less than ideal. Well, too late now, will have to get used to it.

-About those reeflines, I used some spare 1/4" Dyneema line for the run from gooseneck cleats to cheek block to leech cringle and back to boom. But only for the first (bottom) reef, I didn't have enough for my second (top) reef. So I used some old no-name polyester line. But it's heavier (in weight/foot) than the Dyneema and there's a longer length of it up in the air at the leech. In light to moderate air it deforms the leech's shape at the second reef point with it's own weight. The leech gets "hooked" over and it screws up the entire set of the bottom third of the sail. For now, I've just unrigged the second reef, but I need to get more Dyneema. It's not bringing me joy, as Marie Kondo would say.

-This is my first brand-new dacron sail, ever (I've had new canvas sails before, but that was overseas and years ago). Stupid me, I've treated the main like I'd treat my old beat-up sails... Yes, I know enough to keep it in a roll on the boom (thank you, GreenLake), no I didn't have enough sense to get it off the boat when I'm not using it. Instead I just shoved the fore end of the boom into the cuddy like I've always done and left the aft end out in the elements, loosely tied to the ratchet strap which holds my boat onto the trailer. Result? 4 days of rain followed by a hot windless weekend left some sort of slime all over the place (not mildew, just slime), same rain left a lake of water under the cuddy (boat was uncovered, slightly bow down), leaving more crap on the sail, and the buckle on the ratchet-strap left black rust/crud in several spots. I forgot that a new white sail is like a new white shirt at an Italian Restaurant - a magnet for stains! It doesn't affect the sailing qualities one bit, but my beautiful new sail now looks like an old sail, not even 1/2 way into the season. SH*T. Again, just my pride is affected, it's like when you have a new car up until you put the first ding in it, but still....

I've washed the sail as best possible. Mild detergent, handscrubbing, Allpurpose cleaner powder for the ground-in dirt, vinegar for the slime mold, Barkeeper's friend for the rust stains. The stains are now less bad, but will never come out 100%. Lesson learned, take better care of my sails :( Maybe even get a mainsail cover, but in the meantime the boom + sail goes in the garage when I'm not using it. Sigh.

Anyway, that's it, my new sail experience. Except for my own stupidity, I'm very happy with the purchase and the process of getting my sails custom-made. I can't recommend MHB Sails highly enough! Was great working with Mike and the price was very reasonable.
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby GreenLake » Fri Jul 02, 2021 11:57 am

Nice report! It's always amazing how powerful small corrections in trim can be. I learned a while ago that sailors in Germany even have a word for that tiny increment in sheeting.

I've kept my main on the boom, and boom in the boat for many seasons now - the elements are kept out by a white tarp. (20'x10' works fine if draped over the mast).

One of my sails had a series of bloody hand prints on it from when I had to take it down to get off the water because of an injury. I still have the scar from the seventeen stitches a friendly emergency room doctor (from an avid sailing family) put in, while regaling me with tales of worse medical emergencies aboard among her relatives.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby tomodda » Fri Jul 02, 2021 2:27 pm

GreenLake wrote: I learned a while ago that sailors in Germany even have a word for that tiny increment in sheeting..


Probably some nice compound tongue-twister like: "Segelwinzigesein-und-ausziehen." German is full of those monster-words! And yes, point taken, sails WILL get dirty, deal with it. Still, I need to be more careful. I usually throw an old tent fly over the cockpit, I didn't last week, shame on me!

Tom
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby GreenLake » Fri Jul 02, 2021 5:30 pm

No, for once it's that rarity of a one syllable word unique to the purpose. Not found in standard dictionaries, so you have to track down nautical dictionaries or hear it used by someone who speaks the sailors lingo.
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby rhm » Fri Mar 15, 2024 4:42 pm

Hi Tom,

This thread isn't active but hopefully you see this. I have a couple of DS seasons under my belt and have also been learning seamanship and sail trim on a 44 footer. I am definitely ready to replace the colorful 1987 original sails with something that responds when I trim!

I'm weighing options including the path of least resistance through D&R. Rudy says the quality of the Neil Pryde sails has improved over time but he doesn't have measurements for me to assess anything about how they will sail. I guess I should just assume that they are manufactured to DS class specifications.

I know of Mike Bartles through another Maine connection and have already reached out to him (you'll be happy to know he's busy!) and then came across the NewSailaPalooza thread looking for ideas on the Forum. Not surprisingly, prices have gone up a lot although I'm sure it's value for money, looking at the photos you posted.

Now that you're several years into your sails, I'm wondering how they are holding up and whether you have any new observations to update your July 02, 2021 report?

Does anyone have anything to say about the Neil Pryde option? It's a DS3 so I'm not racing, but I have gotten the curse of caring how she handles!

Thanks as always to you, GreenLake, and other members for the great insights on the Forum. What a resource!
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby tomodda » Sat Mar 16, 2024 5:43 pm

Hi RHM!

Glad you reach out to Mike Bartle and he's doing well. I can't even imagine his prices nowadays, yeah everything's gone up.

Answering you question - my MHB Sails are holding up great, still have a lot of life in them and some 'new sail crinkle.' That being said, I didn't sail at all last year - combination of busy, sick, and travelling - so I really only have two seasons on the sails. I'm still over the moon with how much I've enjoyed the sails that Mike made for me, they do exactly what I want. And they survived the Great Tabernacle Failure, which I wrote up as "Rappahannock Rhapsody:"

viewtopic.php?f=42&t=6627

So my one new observation from that incident is that mast slugs are the way to go! My mainsail came down in a hurry when I most needed it too, much faster than would have happened with a boltrope. Either way, I always keep my sail track lubricated with silicon spray, so sure that helped on Tabernacle Disaster Day. Also, I shoulda reefed :( I have jiffy/slab reefing set up exactly to make it easy to make or shake out a reef, I shoulda used what I built. Live and learn.... Last small point - about slugs - I keep them on the mast when I'm setting/dousing the sail with a simple line tied around the mast right above the wider part of the sail slot (where you slid the sail onto the main). Much simpler, not to mention cheaper, than mast gates. See here for more discussion:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=6917 (meh, the dude ignored me and GL and is getting himself mast gates. A waste of perfectly spendable beer-money if you ask me...)

Now, if I may, I think the question in your mind is if it's worth splashing out for a custom sail or get an off-the-shelf sail. Ultimately, only you can answer that. I see it much like getting a custom men's suit. If you understand suits enough to know exactly what your preferences are - button stance, rise, half or full-canvas, pleats, darts, pick-stitching, pant breaks, etc, etc... then you can appreciate what the extra $$ is buying you in a custom suit. If it doesn't matter, or it doesn't matter ENOUGH to splash out the extra cash, then go with off-the-rack. Likewise sails! If I may make another analogy, it's also like buying a high-end stereo - up to a certain point, they all sound the same - but after that, the next 1% of hi-fidelity is going to cost you double, and the next, next 0.1% another double, etc. And in all probability, only YOU can hear and appreciate that extra 1% - your wife, your kids think you are crazy. But it satisfies YOU, you actually go crazy if you only have 99% of the sound you want and will do most anything to get that perfect sound. Besides, a high-end stereo has all those knobs and buttons to play with! You just love tuning it to the very best sound for each piece of music you play.... See what I'm getting at? If that level of "tuning the sails" scratches an itch, then it's worth it. On the other hand, you can fool around just as much with a Panasonic and still sound good. Or a Neil Pryde :)

Honestly, for me when I bought my MBH Sails, it was an emotional thing - in my mind, being the son and grandson of avid sailors, you're not "Grown Up" till you are ordering your own custom sails. My dad's and granddad's boats were a reflection of them, right down to the last keelbolt. The Sail is a big part of that personality - my Dad's were cut flat, just like his hard-driving personality. Grandad's were more like mine, fuller and easily adjusted... Anyway, I'm philosophizing too much. Custom Sails are great when YOU are ready for them. Only you know when that is, and just having NEW sails is more than good enough, you'll get years of fun out of them whatever you do.

Speaking of Off-the-rack sails, have you looked at Rolly Tasker? Yes, made in Hong Kong, but reputable. Not the cheapest, but not total crap either (looking at you Precision Sails). Intensity Sails gets a lot of mention as well, both good an bad. They've cheap enough, but seem suspicious. That being said, I bought my Selden Spin Pole from them with no problem (dunno if that's relevant?). Of course, depending on your budget and how much Mike Bartles is charging nowadays, there's always North Sails. Guaranteed good fast sails, on the other hand last time I looked Mike actually came in a few hundred bucks cheaper for my custom sails. That may have changed? Worth taking a look at North's pricesheets anyhow. Be warned, North is like IBM (I'm a computer guy by trade) - once you show an interest they send an ARMY of salespeople and solutions architects (in this case loft specialists) after you till you close a deal. Love their sails though!
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby GreenLake » Sat Mar 16, 2024 7:02 pm

I'd love to be able to recommend a source, but my sailmaker (I'm currently on the second set) has since retired. I can offer or more likely reiterate some general observations.

First, it's shocking how much of the value of our boats is in the sails, given how that is a "consumable" resource. However, they affect your experience sailing the boat to such a degree that sails are generally worth spending money on.

You should see an improvement just from the sails being new. I suspect that is true, no matter who made them. This makes it difficult to evaluate testimonials. Anyone upgrading from an old tired set will tell you the new ones are better. Durability and details in construction are much harder to evaluate.

I used one set about 150 times for something under 500 hours. By that time, the jib had started to show a definite issue with flutter at the leech (which I "fixed" temporarily while waiting for a new set by adding my own leech line). The main probably had issues, but they were more subtle.

Getting a sail made by someone who also tries to sell to those who race their DS may seem overkill, but you get a sail that should exhibit superior shape and superior ability to be flattened. The latter is something you'll enjoy even as a casual sailor, as it should give you better control in gusts.

I would personally stay away from any offerings that have fewer battens or non-standard lengths, or that use fewer panels in constructing the sail than others. Such sails will have different sailing quality, and these differences are among the few that you can determine from published specs.

I would also look for info on the sail fabric. Mine where made from a fabric that had little squares, because every quarter inch there were some stronger threads in the weave. These reduce stretch without adding too much weight. Even at the end of life that fabric still "crinkled".

As for slugs, I don't miss them. I do sail on (larger) boats that have them, so I'm quite familiar with them, but I've never considered them as an upgrade for the DS.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby tomodda » Mon Mar 18, 2024 10:35 am

I love me some sail slugs! :) But to each their own....

As for off-the-rack DaySailer sails, yes - the bare minimum is that they have to be class legal. If the sailmaker doesnt care enough to look up the specs and follow them, then how good can the sail be? The other thing to look at is the re-enforcements at the stress points (Tack, head, clew, reef holes, etc), I'd expect triple patches at the least. Sewn-on tape (looks like sail ties), even better. Anyway, caveat emptor definitely applies - do your homework, and ask plenty of questions.
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Re: NewSailaPalooza

Postby GreenLake » Tue Mar 19, 2024 11:29 pm

To slug or not to slug. Not worth slugging it out over that question. 8)

Possibly depends on use case, like so much. And knowing how yours is impacting your choices is key here, not which forum maven you agree with.

My sail comes off the mast every time, getting slugs fed seems more labor intensive, and my sail has never given me any issues coming down. That's my use case.
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