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Ken Hall
07-27-2001, 10:34 AM
Does anyone on the forum have direct or hearsay experience with DuPont's Oceanus? I'd be interested to know relative cost, durability, aesthetics, workability, etc.

Thanks,
Ken

Ian McColgin
07-27-2001, 10:57 AM
I built two sails, so far, for Grana and really like it. Getting the seam tension and thread tension just right is a little different that hard cloths as it has a bit of stretch on the bias.

The pix of Grana's sails that I think have now dropped off show some wrinkles that vanished once I got the slide allignment and batten tension correct.

G'luck

Mike Field
07-27-2001, 12:05 PM
There was a bit of chit-chat here a while ago about it, Ken. A search should throw something up.

I haven't used it myself (yet,) but I expect to eventually. What I've heard makes it sound pretty damn' good, both looks-wise and feel-wise (if you take my meaning.)

Nicholas Carey
07-27-2001, 01:30 PM
Originally posted by SelfSinkingFlatiron:
Does anyone on the forum have direct or hearsay experience with DuPont's Oceanus? I'd be interested to know relative cost, durability, aesthetics, workability, etc.


Here in Seattle, at the Center For Wooden Boats (http://www.cwb.org), we've got two boats with Oceanus Sails. One boat is a Bristol Bay Gillnetter and the other is a Ralph Munroe sharpie EGRET.

Ellen Falconer of Sound Sails in Port Townsend works with Oceanus and made the sails for us. You can reach Sound Sails at:




The trick, as I understand it, with Oceanus, is that the warp is long fiber dacron and the weft is short-fiber. This means that its rather stretchy on one axis and, like cotton sails, it has to be seamed in narrow panels to control the stretch and the shape. Luckily they sell Oceanus in narrow pannels.

As far as aesthetics go, it's great. Looks like canvas, feels a lot like canvas. It's soft, it's quiet. And on a classic boat, it looks very proper with the narrow panelled sails.

It's a pity the pictures on the web site suck. I'll have to beat up on them about that.

Cheers,

N.
--

Todd Bradshaw
07-27-2001, 03:10 PM
While Dacron is Dupont's name for polyester, Oceanus is a product of the cloth division of North Sails, built from Dacron. Last time I checked, it was about the same price as a comperable weight of premium quality, regular Dacron sailcloth - wholesale around $11-$14 per yard, 54" wide in the weights (7-10 ounce) that most of us might use. There is also a similar fabric from Richard Hayward in England called "Clipper Canvas" (13 & 17 oz.) with a lighter (7.2 oz.) version called "Clipper Light" that comes 65" wide @ $16.52 per yard which, like the 7 oz Oceanus, would be about right for small to medium sized cruising boats.

Neither company makes anything lighter than 7 oz. cloth, so the dinghy market really can't take advantage of either of these wonderful fabrics.

If you switch, you will lose some fabric stability (it stretches more than regular, resin-coated Dac), and some smoothness (seams are a bit lumpier and may have more needle puckering, most of which will go away in a decent breeze, but not all). The sail may be somewhat heavier due to narrow paneling and the fact that the cloth weight used may be raised a bit for better stability or due to the limited selection of weights and weaves available compared to regular Dacron.

You may also be quite limited in the number of sailmakers that you can deal with. Don't expect to buy an Oceanus sail from one of those super mechanized offshore lofts, as it isn't going to happen (which is a good thing as these fabrics don't lend themselves to mass production and cutting corners on construction.) You want to deal with somebody who has a fair amount of experience using this type of fabric as it behaves differently from resin-coated Dacron. You also want somebody who can trim-out the sail properly. This takes hand-sewing skills that are seldom, if ever, needed or present in the typical, modern sail loft. Corner patches should be traditional shapes and rings should be hand sewn. It would seem obvious that modern, radial corners and stainless and plastic rings, stamped-in with a 30 ton press aren't right on a sail made to be as traditional as possible, but it happens all too often.

Durability and workability are excellent. Stitches bury further down in the fabric, more like they do on cotton canvas, rather than just sitting on top as they do on Dacron. This exposes them to less abrasion. The fabric itself is also pretty abrasion resistant. Fuzzy fabrics resist abrasion better than smooth ones (Cordura nylon came into use when rock climbers noticed that fuzzy old canvas haul sacks resisted abrasion much better than the theoretically stronger nylon ducks and pack cloths that had taken over most of their equipment).

Lifespan is still a somewhat unanswered question but U.V. life should be pretty good and since the fabrics don't rely upon resin coating to hold their shape a 15 year-old Oceanus sail may be closer to it's original shape than a similarly old sail made from regular Dacron.

If you dislike the slick, stiff, noisy nature and plastic look of modern Dacron and aren't always trying to eek every tenth of a knot of speed out of your boat - and if your boat falls into a size range where the weights of these new fabrics are right for the sailplan, you will probably really like them.

Interesting side point - These fabrics were invented for big square-riggers. When it's 120' up in the air, it's hard to tell much visually about a hunk of sailcloth. From what I've heard, one of the main criteria in the design of these fabrics was noise - even at the expense of dimensional stability. They wanted to lower the stress levels of the crew when aloft and furling sail in a blow. You can imagine the amount of noise that a 300 sq. ft. chunk of regular, resin-coated 12 oz. Dacron would make and why something softer and quieter would be a welcome change.

Nicholas Carey
07-31-2001, 06:42 PM
Originally posted by Todd Bradshaw:
You may also be quite limited in the number of sailmakers that you can deal with ... You want to deal with somebody who has a fair amount of experience using this type of fabric as it behaves differently from resin-coated Dacron. You also want somebody who can trim-out the sail properly. This takes hand-sewing skills that are seldom, if ever, needed or present in the typical, modern sail loft. Corner patches should be traditional shapes and rings should be hand sewn.

It's not that hard to find them here in the Glorious Pacific Northwest. Sailmakers who do superb handwork include, in no particular order:

<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI> Carol Hasse




Carol is a bluewater veteran (more than 45,000 bluewater miles under her belt in all sort of vessel, up to and including large schooners). In addition to making and designing sails, she holds a 100-ton license, teaches sailing and is widely considered to be one of, if not the, best maker of crusing boat sails in the world.

Carol learned her trade from Franz Schattauer, German-trained
master sailmaker and the father of...
<LI>Frank Schattauer

who runs Schattauer Sails.




They also do superb work
<LI>Ellen Falconer

Sound Sails was previously mentioned in an earlier post.
<LI>Nora Petrich

Used to be Carol Hasse's partner and now works out of her own loft. I don't have contact information for her, but a call to the NW School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Townsend -- http://www.nwboatschool.org -- should put you in touch with her (she's on their board of directors.)

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[This message has been edited by nicholasc (edited 07-31-2001).]