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Thread: Sail fabric choice?

  1. #1
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    Default Sail fabric choice?

    A sailmaker I spoke to said a good quality dacron doubled up in the right areas would work fine. And that it wont start delaminating and going mouldy like laminates for less price. He said laminates are pretty much dead after 7 years no matter what, where dacron has the ability to last longer.

    Now that is in contrast to what I have heard around the place. Many people say for a boat like mine a cruise lam is the only way to go.

    I dont have much experience with laminates other than the sails on my boat are 10 years old, but have not seen much use yet they are delaminating and look horrible with multi coloured mould. That seems to support the claim that laminates life is time limited not just use limited. But I am not up to speed on the various forms of laminates.

    What about other alternatives like Hydranet?

    What do you guys think?

    Cost does matter, but I am willing to pay more for quality, just not 2 or 3 times the price.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    I have a dacron main (Quantum), a hydranet genoa (Calvert), a laminate screecher (Ullman), and two traditional spinnaker cloth symmetrical spis (Incidences). I like all the materials in the service I have them.

    When I have to replace my main again, I may choose hydranet, depending on how well my genoa ages in the meantime, if I want to spend the extra money. My main is two seasons old, looks like new, and goes upwind like a banshee. My genoa is also only two seasons old and has a shape like new - well, better than new since the sailmaker screwed it up at first and had to rebuild it under warranty. My screecher is 5 years old, sails like an afterburner, and looks like new because I take it down after every use. My spis are old, some of the colors have run, but they work very well.

    Depending on your budget, I recommend you consider hydranet for a main and genoa vs dacron or laminate. Hydranet is in the middle expense range and may have longer life with better shape vs dacron if the cloth manufacturer's claims can be believed. I'll let you know in a few years. The cost differential for a hydranet vs dacron main will be higher than the same choice for a genoa, since the genoa is simpler and easier to build. This was the basis for my choice to stay with dacron on my main for now and "try out" a hydranet genoa.

    Light air reachers/screechers/code 0s really can benefit from laminates even on a cruising boat. But unless a cruising boat owner has a lot of money and a big ego to serve, laminates for mains and genoas seem a waste to me. I've beaten bigger boats with laminates upwind in races with my dacron main.

    2 Hulls Dave

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2hulls View Post
    I have a dacron main (Quantum), a hydranet genoa (Calvert), a laminate screecher (Ullman), and two traditional spinnaker cloth symmetrical spis (Incidences). I like all the materials in the service I have them.

    When I have to replace my main again, I may choose hydranet, depending on how well my genoa ages in the meantime, if I want to spend the extra money. My main is two seasons old, looks like new, and goes upwind like a banshee. My genoa is also only two seasons old and has a shape like new - well, better than new since the sailmaker screwed it up at first and had to rebuild it under warranty. My screecher is 5 years old, sails like an afterburner, and looks like new because I take it down after every use. My spis are old, some of the colors have run, but they work very well.

    Depending on your budget, I recommend you consider hydranet for a main and genoa vs dacron or laminate. Hydranet is in the middle expense range and may have longer life with better shape vs dacron if the cloth manufacturer's claims can be believed. I'll let you know in a few years. The cost differential for a hydranet vs dacron main will be higher than the same choice for a genoa, since the genoa is simpler and easier to build. This was the basis for my choice to stay with dacron on my main for now and "try out" a hydranet genoa.

    Light air reachers/screechers/code 0s really can benefit from laminates even on a cruising boat. But unless a cruising boat owner has a lot of money and a big ego to serve, laminates for mains and genoas seem a waste to me. I've beaten bigger boats with laminates upwind in races with my dacron main.

    2 Hulls Dave
    Thanks Dave.

    You know I was thinking along those lines myself. However I dont think many people would say an almost new dacron sail is much if any slower than a laminate unless you are one design racing or something. Its what happens after some time and abuse.

    I would almost certainly get a high quality fabric for the genoa. Reason is its much smaller area than the main so the cost difference over all wont be so big. Also the genoa will be asked to have a harder life than the main since it will be up on its own in strong winds. Also the main has many sail controls and battens to keep its shape. So when you add those up it appears to make sense that the main can be step down in fabric tech.

    I am getting quotes on a screecher. I just loved using the furling code zero on my mono. It really was a lot of fun (the whole point of sailing) and increased my speeds a lot. It was easy to pull up the furled sail on the halyard, clip in the furler then unfurl it. Just as easy to store. So I guess this sail does not have to be as resistant to mould etc, so could be a laminate. But its a large sail, and although the fabric would be much lighter than for the main, it might be too expensive. Budget does matter here!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    Here is a pic of my old setup. The sail was a little stretchy, but worked and stored well. It was a nylon.

    It was called a cruising "code 0". By definition that term is nonsense, since code zero is just rule beating sail and cruisers don't need to beat racing rules.




  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    I just ordered a Hydranet main and genoa. After some research and lots of conversation with sail makers on both coasts, it was almost a unanimous recommendation for cruisers who could afford more than Dacron.

    I'm sure they will be more than adequate until some newer tech material comes along.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1erCRU View Post
    I just ordered a Hydranet main and genoa. After some research and lots of conversation with sail makers on both coasts, it was almost a unanimous recommendation for cruisers who could afford more than Dacron.

    I'm sure they will be more than adequate until some newer tech material comes along.
    What was the price difference?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    Depended on the quality of the Dacron but 32-40%, is what I found, YMMV.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1erCRU View Post
    Depended on the quality of the Dacron but 32-40%, is what I found, YMMV.
    Thanks!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    I have been steered toward a high quality high aspect dacron called Fibercon Pro. This is not that much cheaper than a cheap laminate. The sail maker says that because the weave is high aspect (more strands run one way then the other) it lends itself well to radial cut high aspect sails such as a jib.

    Screecher would be a thin laminate. Waiting on prices between laminates and fibercon. I am thinking maybe a laminate for the jib, and high quality woven fabric for the main.

    He says hydranet is just about the most expensive thing he can get with the benefits not being worth the cost.
    Last edited by dennisail; 8th January 2015 at 01:33 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    Competition is a good thing. Contender Cloth's Fibercon range includes a couple with characteristics similar to Dimension Polyant's hydranet - comparing their web sites. Just poking around their sites is informative.

    All the sailmakers get their cloth from the same sources and that's where the competition is. And many of them use the same labor factories. A sailmaker's job anymore is just design and marketing and customer service - and maybe negotiating volume pricing with the cloth suppliers.

    Good luck, Dennis!

    2 Hulls Dave

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    I recently ordered a new main in High Performance Vectran. This is similar to Hood's Vektron but uses thicker Vectran yarns. It is about 40% more expensive than Marblehead, but I went with it for 2 reasons. The first is longevity, as I plan to keep my boat for a long time and it would be nice not to have to replace the main again. The second was weight. The sailmaker reckons about a 40 to 50% weight reduction over Dacron, mainly because the leech will not need to be doubled, but also because we could get away with a slightly lighter cloth.
    My sailmaker felt that Hydranet was better than Dacron in a radial cut, but that in a crosscut sail was not as good as Marblehead due to the orientation of the fibers. The main advantage to Hydranet being longevity. He prefers the HPV as it does not suffer from creep, is designed for crosscut construction which keeps cost down, and has longevity equivalent to Hydranet.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    The sailmaker I am talking to is not a fan of Hydranet, or any other similar weaves like the Contender version either. He says the Fibercon pro radial (high quality specialized dacron) combined with a radial cut will have better performance for longer but ultimately not last as long, and hydranet etc is just a good idea for people who don't care about performance but want a sail to be able to sail around the world twice. He says just get the fibercon pro radial, or laminate.

    Something about the fact the strands of high tensile fibers are woven and not uni directional like a laminate. This sounds like the "creep" your sailmaker is talking about. That would probably be the woven high tensile fibers tending to pull straight thought the weave?

    Mike what brand Vectran? Was it the Contender Fibercon Pro Vectran?

    Dave, the thing I like about the sailmaker I am talking to is his labour factory is HIM locally. Not outsourced to China. He is Switch Sails, also reccomended to me by someone else when I made this thread. I already knew him, he has done all my needed sail repairs. I am yet to get him to make a sail. I told a mate with a Edel 38 cat about him and he went with him for his jib, based on quotes from other lofts VS tech goodies on the sail. Switch had the least price with the highest specs, and he cant stop raving about it.

    $2320

    Roller Furling Headsail
    Material: 9.5oz Fibrecon Pro Radial
    Construction: Radial
    Inclusions: Stainless Furling Battens, Sunbrella UV, Clew Board
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by dennisail; 9th January 2015 at 01:57 AM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    Dennis - it's hard to go against a first hand recommendation and a warm fuzzy feeling!

    Good luck!

    2 Hulls Dave

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    I will probably also ask Gary Saxby. He only lives down the road from me too. A few guys on the forum have had their sails made by him I believe too. I am trying to make a decision based on facts, not just fuzzy feelings. But its quite confusing as multiple apparently reliable sources sometimes give conflicting information. Hard for the non expert end user to make a decision on just hearsay.

    What do you think of the price of the sail in my last post? Those furling battens are pretty cool eh? Say goodbye to leach hook.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    If you have Gary's number or know him, I would recommend talking to him. He's made sails for me in the past on acouple of different boats and they have all been spot on and the guy races cats, that can't hurt.
    L&N

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    I sure will ask him too!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by dennisail View Post
    What do you think of the price of the sail in my last post? Those furling battens are pretty cool eh? Say goodbye to leach hook.
    That price look very reasonable compared to what I paid for a hydranet genny, although your sail is smaller. And I've never heard of stainless, furling battens. Leech hook cure, huh?

    2 Hulls Dave

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    The sail pictured and price was for the Edel 38 and is a self tacker, so it is a fair bit smaller than it would be for my boat. You know when jibs and gennys get older the leech gets that hollow curve in it? It just makes a lot of drag especially upwind. With these battens it keeps the leech straight and prevents it from happening.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by dennisail View Post
    The sail pictured and price was for the Edel 38 and is a self tacker, so it is a fair bit smaller than it would be for my boat.
    Roger, I should have noticed that it wasn't your boat.

    You know when jibs and gennys get older the leech gets that hollow curve in it? It just makes a lot of drag especially upwind. With these battens it keeps the leech straight and prevents it from happening.
    Well, they don't have to be old for that, in my experience. I think a big culprit on even new furling gennys is the effect that the UV border has on them.

    2 Hulls Dave

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Sail fabric choice?

    True. Either way its not good for drag.

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