View Full Version : My first sail
07-09-2009, 03:27 AM
I finally finished my first real sail. I'd like to thank Todd Bradshaw for the design and invaluable assistance. I used 4 oz dacron. It's not perfect by any means and I had to cheat a few times to get my sewing machine to do the job. So I was pleasantly surprised it sailed at all. I broadseamed by overlapping the dacron per Todd's instructions.
But it did sail and actually outperformed my Skerry Sprit rig I purchased.
So I have a few questions. How do most people put it up/down in the boat? Do they remove it from the mast? How do they fold or roll it up?
More pics for all you photo sluts.
These photos were taken on Kodiak Island at Isthmus Bay (Roslyn Beach).
07-09-2009, 08:06 AM
Very nice. I don't know whether moving the halyard or perhaps simply adjusting how the boom tensions the luff will get that throat to clew crease out - so much easier in a gaff - but Brad no doubt can help. It's probably the latter so you can adjust for wind.
07-09-2009, 08:23 AM
Congratulations! That looks ever so much prettier than the original Skerry rig.
How I store my rig: I leave the sail lashed to the yard and boom, but I ease off on the outhauls at bothe peak and clew so that the sail is not stored under tension. The yard and boom with the sail rolled up into itself makes a very tidy little bundle. I use the 'traditional 'nylon webbing with quick-connect Fastex buckles sort of ties.
This bundle, when unhooked from the halliard and the downhaul, goes into a sewn tubular sailcover sock made from Sunbrella.
I hope that's helpful!
07-09-2009, 12:12 PM
Yeah, that was the other question I had. How to get that crease out. Perhaps it's just a product of imperfect construction. At any rate I learned allot.
07-09-2009, 12:38 PM
CLC should sell that rig with their boat. Looks like a grand improvement, in usability and in aesthetics.
07-09-2009, 02:07 PM
Congratulations, it looks great! It's kind of fun to be out in a boat where you built the hull, the sail and the spars that it hangs on and cheat death, isn't it?
It also looks very familiar, as I built a similar one for a Skerry last week - only not having proper spars for it's maiden voyage around the back yard, I had to settle for hanging a bamboo garden "yard" from the branch of a maple tree and using a hunk of closet pole for the boom with old screwdrivers stuck in the ground for the downhaul and mainsheet cleats. Your excursion was probably a lot more interesting.
With the rather big difference in the angles of the yard and boom, these sails tend to roll up into a long and rather impractical bundle if you just start at one end and roll it around a spar until you get to the other end. I generally lay the sail on the ground, fold it over on itself, laying the yard on top of the boom, then go to the fold and start rolling the cloth toward the spar pile. It helps keep the finished bundle shorter so that the bag doesn't need to be much longer than the spars. In general, anything that works is fair-game.
As far as in-use wrinkles, you will notice the first time that you tie one of these to the yard and boom that in reality, it is a pretty stiff hunk of cloth that is literally suspended between the spars by a bunch of strings. Even four-ounce Dacron, the lightest commonly available weight for such sails, is somewhat stiffer and more stable than would be ideal for most traditional sails. With all these strings pulling from different directions on the cloth, any spot where the string tension is not perfect at any particular instant can form a wrinkle. A few seconds later, the wind pressure and spar bend or mainsheet tension may change and that wrinkle might disappear and another one form somewhere else. Wrinkles are simply lines where the tension across the sail happens to be slightly higher than that of the surrounding areas (and it doesn't usually take a particularly big difference to form one). Unlike the old cotton sailcloth, modern Dacron does not stretch or move on itself (paralellograming the weave a bit) to ease these tensions, so it is more prone to forming stubborn creases (especially when new and at its maximum stiffness).
You can drive yourself crazy trying to track down wrinkles and eliminate them by adjusting the tension on all the various strings and lines supporting the sail. The key is to go after the wrinkles that seem to persist through a wide variety of conditions. These are the ones which tend to indicate that you truly may have more tension on a particular spot (or in a particular direction) than is needed. The fact that a loose-footed sail is only attached at the ends of the boom, and your mainsheet and downhaul tensions (which are pulling somewhere between the boom's ends) reach the cloth itself through somewhat indirect paths tend to complicate things even more. With a laced foot, it's much easier, for example, to ease the clew wrinkles because you have a means of putting some direct downward tension between the boom and the aft section of the foot above it (usually at the expense of some draft adjustment ability and draft amount in the lower part of the sail - everything is a compromise).
Your options for adjustment are rather limited to the four corners of the sail, the small grommets along the head, the halyard attachment point on the yard and the mainsheet and downhaul attachment points on the boom. I usually like to use individual robands (small tied loops) for the small head grommets, instead of continuous lacing (like spiral-lacing) along the yard. It prevents any slack in the system from being able to migrate from grommet to grommet and pretty effectively eliminates the small grommets from the whole "variable tension" equation. Other people feel that continuous lacing allows the head to set itself and even out the stress on its own. Both are worth trying.
The diagonal line from the clew to the throat is the one place on the sail where wrinkles will probably be biggest and most common - especially on a loose-footed sail. These are the wrinkles that take the least amount of in-use tension to form and they are the hardest to get rid of. While it is certainly worth the time to experiment with your suspension system to minimize them, it's not worth losing sleep over unless they're truly huge and awful-looking. One of the main goals of sprit and lugsails has always been to hoist as much sail area as possible with the smallest amount of wood, rope and hardware. This minimalist approach brings some complications and compromises with it, and a certain amount of moderate wrinkling is one of them. In many cases, it has little or nothing to do with the construction of the sail itself and a lot more to do with the very limited suspension system and/or the flex in the spars. The next step up the ladder in getting "perfect" lugsail shape is usually exotic stuff like carbon spars to eliminate bend, sleeved sail edges and high-tech, no-stretch lines to suspend the whole works. That's a whole new ball game, for those who seriously have the need for speed, and almost everything traditional or "classic" about the whole package is pretty much tossed out the window in the process.
In general Grasshopper, you have done quite well and can use your creation with pride.
07-09-2009, 08:25 PM
Your new sail looks fabulous! How big is the area.
Does it feel very different from the sprit you tried before?
07-10-2009, 03:39 PM
Hey Christine, Nice to hear from you again.
The new sail is 59 sq ft and the original sprit is 56. I did a slight modification and cut off about 2" from the bottom near the clew so the boom would clear my head when I am sitting on the floor.
The performance is slightly better than the Sprit rig I think. It sails into the wind a little better. I love that fact that I can reef it easily.
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