View Full Version : cream colored spinnaker cloth?

02-21-2007, 01:07 PM
We have been designing a balloon jib for our gaff boat. We haven't been able to find any spinnaker fabric in Cream or egyptian cotton color. Our back up plan has been to by some white ripstop nylon at the fabric store and dye it. or buy some white impregnated stuff from a sailcloth company and wish we could dye it. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-21-2007, 01:14 PM
Odd; I've got a cream coloured spinnaker cloth ghoster on my gaff boat, so the stuff does exist.

02-21-2007, 01:30 PM
That's encouraging Andrew. I just can't see putting florescent cloth up on an old brightwork hull gaff boat. It's important to us to have it look right. Right color and right cut. If it was just to go faster we would buy a bright pink asymmetric. Any pictures or yours?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-21-2007, 01:45 PM
It was a present from my sister - originally a mizzen staysail on her (gaff) ketch, made during her sailmaking days with Wilkinson Sails (she's gone back to IT; it pays better:) )

Oddly enough it is a precise fit as a ghoster staylsail (the chances of this must be very remote!) and it gets a lot of use in F1conditions when the "proper" reaching staysail (6oz Dacron) won't fill! It has its own light single sheet.

02-21-2007, 04:34 PM
Richard.....google "Rolly Tasker" on Phuket.....talk to Mike, the son, the old man retired.....he gets his cloth from the U.K., and he can probably get it, cut and sew it, and ship it to you cheaper than you can get it here.....

02-22-2007, 01:54 AM
Thanks Paladin. We may have to go that route. We have already made a mitre cut jib and topsail and would like to make the balloon jib as well. For us, it's kind of like the first time I tied my own flies for fly fishing and caught a fish with them. It really is a joy to fly sails of our own design and manufacture.

Todd Bradshaw
02-22-2007, 04:31 AM
I don't think you'll find anybody with cream-colored spinnaker fabric. I have catalogs from all the major sailcloth suppliers here and in Europe and none of them list it in their color selections. "White" spinnaker fabric is actually "natural" and is sold as such (as is Dacron sailcloth). Unlike the other colors, it is undyed and the little yarns are the raw color that they come out of the machine that makes them. The dye process actually weakens the fabric a little bit, which is why most racing spinnakers are natural, rather than some bright color. Remember those lime green chutes on Paul Cayard's A-Cup boat that kept splitting in half during the races a few years ago? There are some color variations from one natural colored spinnaker fabric to the next, mostly due to variations in weight, weave and the amount of opacity they generate, but the fiber itself is the same, slightly off-white color.

Real spinnaker cloth has enough resin on it that I doubt you would be able to dye it and get the color to stay on. Some outerwear ripstop nylon will take dye, other types already have too much factory water repellent on them to do so evenly and somewhat permanently. In any case, it tends to be awfully unstable and mushy to make a particularly good chute. It might work for a traditional balloon jib, shaped similarly to the original Egyptian cotton ones, rather than the modern, "big-shouldered" kind that can fly higher due to lighter fabrics, but you would probably need to plan-in a pretty huge allowance for bias stretch and sag as they're likely to be a big factor.

A true Egyptian-Nylon chute would be pretty cool on a traditional boat if it turned out opaque enough that it didn't just look like a dirty natural one (which I'm not sure of), but once again, traditional sailmaking and traditional boats get the short end of the stick when it comes to materials due to lack of demand. I suppose you could always check with Challenge Sailcloth or Bainbridge International to see if they would custom-dye a roll for you. Sometimes they will do custom colors on certain fabrics if you don't mind buying an entire 70-100 yard roll.

Maybe build a natural chute and get a can of pine tar????? Naaaaaaaaaaa

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-22-2007, 05:19 AM
Well, I've certainly got a ghoster made from cream coloured spinnaker cloth...maybe I should treat it with greater respect, it being such a rarity?

Todd Bradshaw
02-22-2007, 11:24 AM
I would, because with the current offerings by the sailcloth companies you're not likely to be able to replace it.

02-22-2007, 12:12 PM
Hey Todd, My son said that you had mentioned in another thread that you had dyed some poly line with wood stain. Would it work with impregnated cloth? Still maybe worth it even if it had to be done once a year?

02-22-2007, 12:33 PM
This probably doesn't apply to the sail in question, but I'd like to broadcast a general request from the trimmer's perspective:

I HATE WHITE SPINNAKERS. The trimmer might as well spend the downwind leg staring directly into the sun, and the welder's helmet gets uncomfortable after a while.
Please, at least at the luffs, use some less translucent material. [/rant]

Todd Bradshaw
02-22-2007, 06:30 PM
Gee, give a guy a free ride on the boat where all he has to do is hold a rope and tweak it in and out a bit and all he does is complain....

Richard, I tried staining Dacron sailcloth samples a while back and they turned out really bad. They only held enough color to look really dirty, like a very old and abused sail. I didn't try spinnaker cloth, but suspect that it wouldn't be much better since most has a lot of resin on it.

03-09-2007, 12:40 PM
Well here is the bad news. Since we made sails with Challange Sailcloth and have liked the results, I asked them if they would supply the spinnaker cloth in the cream color. They replied that they would be happy to with an order of 4,000 yards. Not being the owner of a 150' cutter like Lulworth. Whaaa! I'm out of luck. Plan B. 30 years of rust stain distributed evenly on white cloth.:o