View Full Version : Sail for a Skerry
08-14-2004, 02:05 PM
I am thinking of buying a sail from sailright,
but I know nothing of sails or sailing (nor of
sewing, but my mother will do that smile.gif ) should
I upgrade anything from the standard kit?
It comes with taped grommets edges, would rope
be worth a small additional charge? (about $2.50 a side) It does not come with battens but offers
them as a option, my guess is that I don't need them what do you all think? no reef points either
options one or 2 rows. hmm probably do not need them either? I am thinking of springing for the tankbark color, should I spring for the tanbark
colored tape as well, is it visable in the completed sail? thanks alot sorry for the long post
08-14-2004, 02:29 PM
Chris; you can get batten material from any BoatUS or West Marine-type of place. You need battens, my friend. Battens do two things: they give shape to the trailing edge of the sail (the leech), and they keep the sailcloth from flogging itself to death by adding some stability to the sail. So, battens serve to give the sail it's proper shape, and add to the longevity of the sail. Not a bad investment. Get the battens.
As far as reef points go, I don't know what kind of boat and sail you are talking about, but it's a lot better to have them than to get caught without them when you need them. I own six sailboats. Only on my Beetle Cat do I have reef points. It's an unballasted dinghy with a fairly large sailplan. I am glad that I have reef points on the sail for the Beetle. My other boats, with the exception of the schooner, are ballasted keel boats, and I feel comfortable not having reef points on them.
In other words, get the options on the sail. You are not talking about that much more money, and without the options the sail will not really be worth having.
Just my personal opinion. You will probably get many others.
08-14-2004, 05:17 PM
You know, I looked at the Skerry but just didn't like the look of it with the sail. Seemed way to high up there and too small to boot. Consider having Todd Bradshaw weigh in as to what type of sail would look more proper. Perhaps the sprit sail is the one but certainly of a more flattering shape than the one shown on their website.
08-14-2004, 10:38 PM
Actually, you don't need battens and about all they will add to the Skerry sail is a constant source of chafe, extra work and extra expense. Almost any sailmaker will tell you that any time you can get away without putting battens in a sail - do it! Leech battens (as opposed to full-width, catamaran-style battens) serve a specific purpose and that is to support a roached (outwardly rounded) leech edge, which won't support itself without them. The sail for that boat would not normally be cut with any roach (or battens) as the small amount of extra area it would provide isn't enough to make any noticable difference in the boat's performance. Instead, the leech would be cut slightly hollowed (about 1" of hollow per 6' of leech length with the deepest point about 45% of the way up the leech) and this hollow keeps the leech edge from flapping in use with no battens needed.
Shape-wise, battens add nothing to such a sail and may even detract as they can cause hard spots in an otherwise smooth chord shape unless they are flex-tapered and carefully matched to the sail with softer battens up top and stiffer ones down low. As far as preventing flogging, leech battens are neither intended to prevent flogging or very good at it. If you let your sail flog, it is eventually going to get damaged, battens or not. The battens do nothing but create a specific place where it's going to fail. About 35%-40% of the sail repairs that I've done over the last 25 years were related to batten pockets and the fact that they concentrate stress and chafe on the sail. The sail is going to last just as long without battens and may actually need less repair down the road.
That one is way too small to benefit from edge roping. It will never get enough strain along it's edges to really pull the rope tight enough to be taking any of the strain off of the fabric. It could be roped for decorative reasons, which is something I do for folks who want really fancy canoe and dinghy sails, but it's done with the understanding that it is basically just a cosmetic upgrade. The sail is perfectly strong without the roping and with simple taped, grommeted edges. Real roping is also quite labor-intensive, tricky and not beginner's work. It takes a lot of practice to do it well and it's not something you really want to commit your poor unsuspecting mom to. The only other variety would be rope sewn inside a tube of fabric along the sail's edges, and that wouldn't be appropriate for that boat's sail type.
Unless you're planning some sort of extreme-sport sailing adventure in the Skerry, two reefs would be a waste of money and time. Even one reef may be. Chances are that you will sail the boat in good conditions and do something else on days when the winds are blowing like crazy. The Skerry isn't really designed to be a high-wind, wild ride sailboat and is not overpowered with sail area. If you get into conditions where you can't use body balance or hiking to keep it upright under full sail, it's going to be one hell of a wind. A single reef is a possibility, but spritsail reefing often isn't a quick, on-the-water procedure and I doubt you'll ever get much use out of the reef line. ON the other hand, I would add a brailing eyelet. This is a grommet set into a reinforced patch about as far down the leech edge as the sail's head edge is long. It allows you to collapse the sprit and sail against the mast in a bundle almost instantly and deploy it again just as quickly, all by pulling one extra line. They're quite handy when launching and landing.
Tanbark is good. It looks nice right off the bat and ten years from now it will look much nicer than old white Dacron. The tapes do show and are the strips of Dacron fabric folded and sewn over the edges. To be "proper" they really should match the rest of the sail. Real barked sails (which is what Tanbark Dacron is supposed to imitate) were dunked in a brew of dark-colored preservative stuff and the entire sail was thus colored. A few modern sailmakers use white tape on the edges (mostly because they can buy it pre-cut to width) but to those who know, it looks awfully fake.
Unless mom can sew two perfectly parallel lines of zig-zag stitching for the panel seams (which is difficult on slippery Dacron without some sort of roller-puller on the machine) it's worth springing for a couple one-ounce spools of matching thread, instead of using the white stuff that's normally included. Any irregularity in the stitch spacing stands out like a sore thumb if white thread is used. The official name for the closest thread color to Tanbark is "Chestnut". It will make the finished sail look neater. It is also more correct for a sail that's supposed to look like it was dunked in preservative, seams and all.
This is a Tanbark spritsail, hung-up for inspection. You can see the matching tapes along the edges, held on by the two widely spaced rows of stitching. This one also has the cosmetic roping and chestnut thread for all the stitching.
We hashed-over the Skerry when it first came out and the profile of the sailplan bugged me. Whether rigged with a spritsail or something different, like a lugsail, I think you could come up with a better looking sail. I thought it looked best with an Oughtred-style balanced lug.
The forum thread is here:
Sailrite kits are an excellent product with a long reputation for success and the vast majority of their customers turn out sails that work just fine and look pretty respectable as well. Don't hesitate to post any other questions you might have or to contact me directly if you need help.
08-15-2004, 05:42 AM
Whoo. Sorry about that Chris. I didn't know what a Skerry was and should not have chimed in. My experience is not with that kind of rig. I'm glad these other guys could give you better information.
08-15-2004, 07:47 AM
Thank you Todd and Mickey and the Captain.
08-15-2004, 07:45 PM
Look under page seven, Misc. Boat Related "Livin' up to my name" for my experience without reefs. Todd mentioned to me that with a 49 sf sail it is not really necessary, "in anything short of a hurricane you should be able to hike out." Naturally he was right. As you will read it was quite a blow that day and even then I didn't really need reefs. Let me assure you that my skiff was creaking and groaning from the strain of the wind. I had my hands full and yet was still under control - well most of the time... :D
Skip the reefs and go with the lug - you will find that looks count for a lot if you are building it yourself. Best of luck and keep us posted. Oh by the way, if you want sails done right call Todd.
[ 08-15-2004, 08:47 PM: Message edited by: Captain Pre-Capsize ]
02-20-2005, 09:31 AM
I know this a fairly old and probably dead topic, but I thought would post a picture of my Skerry sail modification here in case anyone is still lurking here.
There is a Skerry builders/owners discussion group here:
[ 02-20-2005, 10:34 AM: Message edited by: David Bixby ]
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