View Full Version : Figuring out a sail

09-16-2018, 11:23 PM
I was given a spare headsail today, and in going through the contents of its bag, there was also a sail that looks to be a little heavy weight storm jobber of some type. There are features on this little sail that confuse me. There is one big-ass cringle and nearby "van der Sneppen" tag, with retro sewn on arrow insignia. I surmise this is the tack. There are two webbing loops that I think are along the luff, grommets along what I think is the foot for lacing to a jib boom or otherwise, and a bunch of small, closely spaced grommets along the remaining edge, which I surmise is the leech, which makes no sense to me. The head looks to use a web loop, and the foot cringle looks wimpy compared to the aforementioned tack. There are a couple of reinforced cringles in a line across the middle of the sail, which I can assume are reefing points, though these are not aligned with any loops or cringles along the luff. In this orientation, the label is upright, and the van der Sneppen arrow logo points upward, which I think is correct.

What do I have? Do I have this orientation screwed up? If my understanding is correct, why grommets along the leech, and how is this hanked on?


(Sorry, no pictures)

09-17-2018, 01:12 AM
Guessing, with imagination, a storm trysail? The clew is lower than tack, the luff would be the edge with lots of grommets...

Peerie Maa
09-17-2018, 02:31 AM


09-17-2018, 11:37 AM
I'll vote for the guess of storm trysail, as Boatsbgood describes and Nick illustrates.

Any chance you could post a photo?


09-17-2018, 11:45 AM
Agree about a storm trysail. What are the dimensions along each side?

09-17-2018, 12:22 PM
Are you sure its not an awning of some type?

wizbang 13
09-17-2018, 06:07 PM
or a drogue?

09-17-2018, 09:05 PM
Here you go...have at it.
Approx 6' per side, heavy weight



John B
09-17-2018, 09:16 PM
Its not like any trysail I've seen , my thought from your description was perhaps a riding sail ,and that could still be the case.

09-17-2018, 09:17 PM
OK, I withdraw my trysail suggestion...looks like a piece of a once large sail cut and rigged as a cover for something, or laced up as a small shade cover, or?...dont think that in that configuration is meant as a sail.

09-17-2018, 09:33 PM
That's... Weird.

No, not a trysail.

The webbing loops sewn along what had been the luff (judging by the loft's tag, and assuming those are reef points in the center), look newer than the rest, and the edge with the enormous number of grommets seems to be just a rolled hem (judging by the turned over ends of the sail panel seams visible). That "V" of webbing at the level of the reef points seems to me to be where the hardware for a reefing cringle was cut away --maybe? That lends credibility to Boatsbgood's suggestion of an old sail repurposed to a new, non-sail task.


09-17-2018, 10:00 PM
Repurposed for non-sail is my guess now - thanks. The grommetted edge has a reinforced reefing point folded over as part of that rolled hem. The rolled hem is also a straight stitch with no boltrope or anything. I have no idea what it would be used for. It's too small for a canopy. Maybe I'll make my wife a bag or backpack.

Todd Bradshaw
09-18-2018, 12:28 AM
As suspected, it was once part of a large sail, but is no longer a sail. Judging from the size of the tack patches and the tack broadseam, the original sail was much larger. That "leech" would also flap like crazy if you tried to use it as a sail, so it was apparently modified to be laced to some sort of pole or structure.