View Full Version : sailcloath for small lugger

Lech Komendant
11-12-2010, 04:57 PM
I'm going to order sail for my peapod. I decided it to be standing lug (and there is no going back since I made spars for it). Some 86 sqf. The problem I have is choice of cloths for classic sails my sailmaker offer. They have only Richard hayward's Clipper with it's 7oz+ weight range. And Dimension Polyant classic which is rather "classic" - stiff and without natural feel even in 4.4 oz cloth. So i have to choose laser evil. I don't have much experience with good and bad sails. I think 7oz hayward can make a lifeless sail but on the other hand loath the thought of sheet metal dacron feel... What would You chose?


Todd Bradshaw
11-12-2010, 05:55 PM
The 7 oz Clipper is wonderful stuff - easy to handle, pretty soft and very tough, but as you've noted, it's on the heavy side for a sail that size. I used to use a lot of Dimension Polyant fabrics, both racing Dacron and mylar/Technora laminates back when I built modern sails for multihulls, but at that time they didn't offer anything in the classic style for traditional boats, so I haven't seen them. All of the colored Dacrons - (Bainbridge Classic Cream, Challenge Egyptian and Tanbark, Contender Cream, Hayward Sunwing and DP Classic) are going to be advertised as somewhat softer than their main line white fabrics, but they're still Dacron sailcloth and will pretty much feel like it (though they won't be quite as stiff as some Dacrons that you've probably seen).

The cotton-like fabrics (Clipper Canvas and North Oceanus) are much softer, but apparently lose too much stability in weights lighter than about 7 ounces to work very well, so they aren't made any lighter. It may also be a supply and demand thing with too little sales potential to be worth making lighter versions, because small boat sails don't use much fabric. Ideally, if I was building that sail, I'd use 5.7 oz. Hayward Sunwing UV Dacron in tanbark or cream color. That sail is big enough that you could use the increased strength (compared to 4 oz. fabric) and the Hayward Egyptian Cream and Tanbark fabrics tend to be the least plastic looking of those available. They also have a UV absorber built into them, which many don't have. For good performance at 86 sq. ft. it's hard to justify anything heavier. That sail would take around 15 yards of 36" Sunwing. Over here, we can buy a small quantity like that for a single sail from the US Hayward distributor without a problem. Perhaps they don't sell it in small quantities over there, but for the kind of money you're going to spend, I'd make sure to get the fabric you want.

The 7 oz. Clipper Canvas would certainly be a bit nicer to work with when raising sail, lowering the sail and furling it, but not as much when actually sailing - which has to be a big factor in the selection. The spars of the lug rig will hold it up, so it doesn't need to fly, but you can expect less performance in light and light-to-medium winds in particular than you will get with Dacron in a more proper, lighter weight. The Clipper also has curious, fuzzy woven edges (looks like 3/8" fringe) down both sides of the roll). These will either need to be cut off (hot cut) or rolled inside a lap-feld seem (if not cut off) for all your panel seams. That makes for a rather bulky seam on such a small-ish sail.

Lech Komendant
11-15-2010, 04:24 PM
Tank You Todd. It's exactly kind of answer I was looking for. I will ask my sailmaker about Sunwing. By the way, would you change your recommendation if you know this sail is loose footed?

Todd Bradshaw
11-15-2010, 06:56 PM
No, it won't make a difference.