Topic : Sail cloth, loose footed or not

Just about to order my brand new sail from Mr. Batt for 3374 NSM4, i have been given a couple of cloth choices and have no idea which to go for, having decide that with my hog stepped tin rig mylar/kevlar is an unnessary exspense i have been offered Dacron or mylar laminate. Which one do i choose? also do i go for a loose foot ? so come on guys give me some words of wisdom.

Posted: 14/01/2006 18:29:47
By: Russhopkins3374
Dacron will do you fine.

Loose footed sails have become more popular with carbon rigs as no track is needed on the boom. My preference would be lens footed sail (ie to slide into track on your boom) but at the end of the day, it comes down to fashion, I suspect rather than any true difference but I am sure that someone much more knowledgeable will correct me on this!

Posted: 14/01/2006 18:38:32
By: RichardT
what is the difference in sail cloths then ??

Posted: 14/01/2006 18:49:37
By: Russhopkins3374
Dacron will stretch from the word go and keeps the "feel good" crinklyness far longer than it keeps it's shape.

I have found polyester laminate (What Mr Batt is offering you) to be competetive for longer than both the Dacron and Kevlar laminates on offer from most sailmakers. It's lighter than Dacron but heavier than kevlar.

We've won open events in the midlands with a three year old polyester sail.

As with any laminate sail ypu have to accept that work hardening does set in after a while and the cloth does start to disintegrate after a number of years use while the dacron alternative is still in one peice. However the dacron will have stretched badly by then anyway so there is nothing lost.

I think that polyester laminate offers the best value for money, it's a pity more sailmakers don't offer it.

Posted: 14/01/2006 19:19:52
By: Chris M
Thanks chris yet again you have given me some great info

Posted: 14/01/2006 19:30:54
By: Russhopkins3374
Re the foot, i see no reason not to go for a loose one.

Richard is right in that they have become universal with carbon booms, but in reality they were becoming popular long before and all the guy at the front have been using them for around 10 years now.

Having used both in relatively recent years i don't really have a preferance either way, but sailmakers and national champions probably know better than i do!!

Posted: 14/01/2006 20:07:42
By: Chris
I had loose foot on my phantom which worked well, think i'll go with that, thanks fo advise guys

Posted: 14/01/2006 20:43:54
By: Russhopkins3374
Hi Russ Loose footed has to be the way to go just make sure Dick fits a 'clew slug' as I suspect you have a metal boom.They give a true undistorted shape in that area, you should realise the that fitting of foot ropes & lense foot panels only developed as sailors/sailmakers of that time tried to gain the best out of the rules of that time which generally stated that all sails should be fixed (bolt rope or laced) to there spars.I'm not sure whether the Merlin rules were written (40/50yrs back) in that manner or whether they simply followed the trend, after all the then new alloy spars came with a groove in them!  
You might ask Dick about a 'Pentax' laminate (often refered to as PEN or APEN) the load bearing fibres in this laminate being Pentax which are far superior in strength than Polyester. The latest products look really good, the base material is only marginaly heavier than a Kevlar laminate & is 30% cheaper on a par with Polyester Laminates. I've just built one for my Merlin and a friends Moth so far so good.I trialed it last season in a jib which lasted well all season, try that in Kevlar/Poly! I think not.
I hope this doesent confuse your choice regards Barry (x pro sailmaker 75-99) now just for fun!

Posted: 15/01/2006 07:57:09
By: Barry Watkin


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