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Thread: Polytarp Sailmaking

  1. #71
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by Wedge9 View Post
    Go back and read the postings here. They range from sympathetic to the OP's points all the way to outright derogatory. Surely you see that and know it of the folks who populate this list. Sometimes the derogatory is manifest as sly tone references within a post and others are just outright hostile.
    Please provide the post #'s of the derogatory and hostile posts. To say that builders who advocate dacron over poly are elitist and discriminatory is laughable and just flat out wrong. This forum isn't exactly the blue blazer and scrambled eggs crowd. Neophyte boatbuiders are getting valuable, hard won experience that is dispensed with generosity and camaraderie just for the reading or asking. I can't imagine why you have such a negative attitude. You really, really, really need to go back and re-read this thread and comprehend the tones of the posts.

    Let me try one last argument in the great poly vs. dacron cage match. Can anyone name a professional sailmaker who offers poly as an option for their sails? Let's not count Dave Gray, who is not a fulltime sailmaker. Sailmakers are always on the lookout for the most profitable and best material for their sails. If poly were a perfectly fine material then at least some sailmakers would take advantage of the lower raw material costs and gain a price advantage in a highly competetive field. The iron laws of supply and demand guarantee this. Problem is that any sailmaker who routinely provides poly sails will find he has no credibilty and soon no customers once information about non-durable sails circulates in the market. Again, the discipline of the marketplace will guarantee this. Why doesn't Sailrite, whose main customer is the home builder, offer poly as an option for their kits? I suspect it's because they know a thing or two about the realities of sailmaking.

    The posters who are saying that the dacronistas are mean spirited and divisive are really missing the gist of the story. Yes, you can build a sail out of whatever you'd like. Shower curtains, car covers, knitted wool afgans, whatever you'd like and for any reason you like. It genuinely doesn't concern me. And yes, I'd still enjoy a beer with you. But please don't post on a public bulletin board that shower curtains, car covers, knitted wool afgans are equally valid material for sailmaking. They aren't. There is a whole spectrum of building materials for sails. Dacron occupies the sweet spot in the spectrum for the home builder when it comes to return on labor and investment. Poly is sub-optimal and that's all there is to it. To advise anything else does a disservice to anyone reading the advice, especially neophytes who wouldn't know better. That's all the dacronistas are saying. In no way are they being elitist or divisive. I wish I had the arguments laid out for me before I wasted a quite a few hours of labor on two tattering sails.

    BTW, an open question and one I'm really curious about. How many home sail builders who have built and used both poly and dacron go back to building with poly?
    Last edited by Dusty Yevsky; 05-13-2013 at 11:54 PM.

  2. #72
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by heavyweather View Post
    Is Tyvek also a Polytarp material or something different? I plan to use cheap Tyvek for my sails.
    Quote Originally Posted by BBSebens View Post
    In my experience, Tyvek is not actually woven as much as it is a mess of fibers that are coated. This may cause some stretch problems. Also, I don't think it will tolerate the stresses of being a sail as well, due to the layout of the fibers not transferring the load out properly. I think a quality tarp is probably a better bet than Tyvek. I'm not saying it won't catch wind, but I think it'll "blow out" quite rapidly, like maybe in a single good blow or a seasons consistent use.
    Tyvek will work.

    Todd has somewhat better instructions than http://www.boat-links.com/Tyvek/ , but I can't remember how to find them.

    Strength is not an issue except at the clew. The clew grommet was pulling out until I added a 4" triangle of aluminum flashing in the corner. I have a 59 sq ft leg-o-mutton tyvek sail for a Bolger Gypsy that is disintegrating after 3 years. Looks like another $20 down the drain. The snotter rope straightened out a 3/8" hardware store eye bolt in 25- 30 mph wind. They do make a godawful racket when they luff. some short battens help there. Business has been slow, and it was Tyvek or nothing. You can have a lot of fun for next to nothing.

    James,
    "And I sorta resent how much extra time it took because of the time and money I wasted going down blind alleys and false leads." You must have suffered horribly learning so much from all those mistakes. Probably not more than a few hundred fond memories.
    Last edited by MN Dave; 05-13-2013 at 11:48 PM.

  3. #73
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Yevsky View Post
    Please provide the post #'s of the derogatory and hostile posts. To say that builders who advocate dacron over poly are elitist and discriminatory is laughable and just flat out wrong. This forum isn't exactly the blue blazer and scrambled eggs crowd. Neophyte boatbuiders are getting valuable, hard won experience that is dispensed with generosity and camaraderie just for the reading or asking. I can't imagine why you have such a negative attitude. You really, really, really need to go back and re-read this thread and comprehend the tones of the posts.

    Let me try one last argument in the great poly vs. dacron cage match. Can anyone name a professional sailmaker who offers poly as an option for their sails? Let's not count Dave Gray, who is not a fulltime sailmaker. Sailmakers are always on the lookout for the most profitable and best material for their sails. If poly were a perfectly fine material then at least some sailmakers would take advantage of the lower raw material costs and gain a price advantage in a highly competetive field. The iron laws of supply and demand guarantee this. Problem is that any sailmaker who routinely provides poly sails will find he has no credibilty and soon no customers once information about non-durable sails circulates in the market. Again, the discipline of the marketplace will guarantee this. Why doesn't Sailrite, whose main customer is the home builder, offer poly as an option for their kits? I suspect it's because they know a thing or two about the realities of sailmaking.

    The posters who are saying that the dacronistas are mean spirited and divisive are really missing the gist of the story. Yes, you can build a sail out of whatever you'd like. Shower curtains, car covers, knitted wool afgans, whatever you'd like and for any reason you like. It genuinely doesn't concern me. And yes, I'd still enjoy a beer with you. But please don't post on a public bulletin board that shower curtains, car covers, knitted wool afgans are equally valid material for sailmaking. They aren't. There is a whole spectrum of building materials for sails. Dacron occupies the sweet spot in the spectrum for the home builder when it comes to return on labor and investment. Poly is sub-optimal and that's all there is to it. To advise anything else does a disservice to anyone reading the advice, especially neophytes who wouldn't know better. That's all the dacronistas are saying. In no way are they being elitist or divisive. I wish I had the arguments laid out for me before I wasted a quite a few hours of labor on two tattering sails.

    BTW, an open question and one I'm really curious about. How many home sail builders who have built and used both poly and dacron go back to building with poly?
    I suspect very few, but I think if you go at it knowing the limitations, polytarp can be an easy way to experiment with rigs.

  4. #74
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    No MN Dave, I do genuinely regret and resent the number of mistakes I made getting where I am today. I could have gone on many more and better trips, ranged farther, and accomplished greater feats if I hadn't wasted so much of my youth and vigor on crappy, over-simplified boats. Now that I finally know better, I'm also much older, and not nearly as strong or healthy as I once was. Maybe with better guidance earlier in my life I could have coupled vigorous youth and excellent health with a great boat and really gotten after it. Now I'm in my mid 40's, basically one foot in the grave, and can barely row for 10-15 miles without feeling it in my wrists and shoulders, dammit.

    I've only built so many damn boats because I had such a hard time figuring out how to get it right. If I ever run across a genie bottle, the first thing I'd wish is that I'd built Rowan twenty years ago.

  5. #75
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Dave is right, Tyvek will work - though it probably has even less stitch-holding power than polytarp, so adhesive bonding or woven cloth seam tape would be the best answers for seams. You can also build up your corners gradually using something like 3M spray adhesive and multiple patches for decent strength.

    3DL sails, by the way, are beautiful, but aside from not looking right on most of our boats, they would clearly be a very bad choice and a waste of money. With 3DL you essentially get the shape you mold into it and that's pretty much it, so unless you want to buy a whole bunch of them for various conditions, you're going to be sailing with the wrong sailshape a good deal of the time - and I doubt I'd ask them to make you one with reef points.

    This whole discussion is getting pretty stupid. What I find most frustrating is that I can't seem to convince anybody that no matter what your sails are made from, the most important thing of all is that they are designed and constructed properly - and that takes some time and some research or skill. The one-hour polytarp sail is a piece of crap, not because it is made from polytarp, but because it is made by someone with no training or skills. The material itself is what it is and its weaknesses will eventually be quite evident. It seems like I spend most of my time here on this previously high-quality forum just trying to convince folks that it is worth the extra effort to prepare yourself properly before starting a job, and to take the extra time needed to do your best work. It's getting really tiring and really isn't much fun any more.
    Last edited by Todd Bradshaw; 05-14-2013 at 02:53 PM.

  6. #76
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Oderint dum metuant, Todd.

    Besides, I wouldn't worry about what a few vocal critics have to say. The majority of people who visit and read these threads are lurkers and infrequent participators who soak in and process these arguments and standpoints without seeing the need to challenge or comment. When you've got the clear evidence on your side, you really don't need to worry about convincing those last few autodidacts and gadflies--your influence will be broadly helpful regardless.

  7. #77
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    google latin time

  8. #78
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    I have been sailing with my first PolyTarp sail for the last year and I can say I am very happy with the results.

    What do I base that statement on?

    I started sailing some 40 years ago, worked for Bludworth, North and Banks sail lofts, sailed with Smyth, Taylor, Cameron sails, owned boats from 14 to 36 long, 3 Olympic campaigns and built my latest 2 boats within the last 3 years, a Goat Island Skiff and Hapscut. The GIS has a Sailrite kit and Hapscut has a PolySail kit.

    I had problems with both kits and each manufacture was helpful in suggesting corrections or pointing out that I missed something in the instructions. Correcting the Sailrite kit cost more than the kit, while correcting the PolySail kit cost my less than $10 and some of my time. Which one am I most satisfied with when it comes to cost and my time involved? Well, it is the PolySail kit.

    I have seen some of the newest cutting edge sail making materials degrade in one season or with horror on the owners face watch a brand new sail vaporize in a cloud of threads streaming for the mast head however; both of my sails have provided hundreds of miles of carefree sailing. The GIS now has over 800 sailing miles and Hapscut has some 400+ miles. I have no doubt I can get more miles out of each sail and while I am sailing, it doesn’t matter what material the sail is made of because I am out on the water doing what I like best, sailing.


    I selected a PolySail kit for Hapscut in order to try out a different sail making material. It fit my budget easily and the time invested was well worth the savings. The sail can drag a fully loaded Hapscut, 1500 lbs., anywhere I want to go upwind or downwind. This was only my second balanced lug sail to build and I know I can do better next time, but I can also grab my seam ripper and modify the sail until I get it right while I sit at my home sewing machine. I will build another sail for Hapscut one day and yes I’ll stick to a PolySail kit.

    Texas GIS

    The best materials, brightest minds and highly skilled labor will not guarantee success. Just read the latest sailing news.

  9. #79
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    That's all fine, but some folks don't seem to be able to tell the difference between a sail (or boat) made for cutting edge competition and one made for regular folks, cruising and sailing recreationally. Trying to draw comparisons using them as examples of the durability of modern sails is extremely inaccurate and misleading. There simply is no question that Dacron is substantially more durable than polytarp, so don't even try to make that one fly. I was talking to a hot-shot Melges 24 sailor a couple years ago and he was telling me that he was really pleased with his new mainsail, which he paid the builders about $2K for. He boasted that so far, they had gotten 18 weather legs out of it and it was still doing OK. That's the kind of race mentality that is out at the fringes, and it really doesn't have much to do with the rest of us normal folk.

  10. #80

    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Todd is right to emphasize the difference between composite racing sails and well-built dacron cruising sails, etc. But I think there's certainly a problem with holding that Dacron is the only "real" sail building material, as some folks have implied. In taking the conversation in this direction, the members of this forum have missed the opportunity to learn more from Dave about strategies for making serviceable sails out of alternative, economical materials. We've also not paid much attention to the distinction in polytarp grades.

    I'm not sure about the economy of paying a professional sailmaker to construct sails for me out of polytarp. But having built leg-o-mutton and a balanced lug out of tyvek and heavy-gauge white poly, I want to insist there are some good points to this material and method. This might be particularly relevant for home-built boats because of their affinity for traditional sail cuts.

    It does seem silly to compare the durability. I just sold a 1967 FJ with original sails that still held their shape quite well. I sailed approximately 500 hours on them myself, in light to moderate winds. A Tyvek leg-o-mutton with taped seams on my puddle duck began to lose its shape after 100 hours under similar conditions. My sewn, white polytarp lug sail (Dave Gray's heavy grade) saw 150 hours of sailing last year and has become supple but has not noticeably bagged out. For a cruising sail, this is obviously not a brilliant testament to durability. But look at the scum at the waterline of some of the boats in your local marina -- do those boats see 15 hours of use a year? A well-built polytarp sail might last a decade under those conditions! I sailed with it on my Michalak Piccup Pram in 25 knot winds at Champlain and Cape Cod without a failure, though I am now wishing I had followed Dave Gray's reinforcement advice more carefully at several grommet points.

    Which brings me back to my real point. When I'm thinking about a new sail, I consult books by David Nichols, Todd Bradshaw, and Emiliano Marino -- then I pop on over to Dave's website or send him an email. He has some very useful strategies for reinforcing polytarp at high stress points. This economy of his method allows for a kind of experimentation that amateurs like myself can't otherwise afford. I've now "upgraded" to a custom-built dacron lug. The reason was primarily aesthetic. I also paid for increased durability, but I can't really say there's a marked difference in performance.

    When I get around to playing with a batwing design or a chinese lug, you can bet it will be made of polytarp. And this, frankly, is the spirit with which I approach wooden boats -- not with the aspiration, budget, or ability to build a gleaming, teak-trimmed classic but with an enthusiasm to mess around in sail boats.

    Ken

  11. #81
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    The majority of people who visit and read these threads are lurkers and infrequent participators who soak in and process these arguments and standpoints without seeing the need to challenge or comment.
    ... so I've been discovered!
    “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go -- so long as you do not stop.”
    -Confucius

  12. #82
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    My examples are direct comparisons of poly material and leading edge material. Some of the best leading edge material only lasted long enough on the market for consumers and sail makers to figure out it was bad for the pocket book and bad for business. There is nothing inaccurate about that claim because it’s true. Materials were introduced to the market that failed miserably and hurt the bottom line of local sail lofts and pissed off consumers. There is no durability in a product that a customer is unhappy with because a customer’s satisfaction is far more durable that any material.

    Let me regress here a moment. I have another hobby that involves building ultra-light weight camping gear. Some of it is from kits and some from scratch. I use some of it on my boats to save weight and space. The company I get my camping gear kits from has been under attack for years by distractors. Some of these distractors are individuals and some are international corporations, but they were very vocal for years. Not so much anymore. The owner has wisely ignored the distractors and continued to develop products for his client base. That company has been in business for close to 25 years now and their website has over 8 million hits. I wish PolySail International the same success.

    The price for professional built sails is well worth the money only if you have the money. I however like building my own sails, boats and gear because it gives me great satisfaction. A budget will dictate which materials or professionals you choose but I enjoy sewing and saving my money so I can go adventuring.

    Let’s look at the price of a few sails and materials and compare.
    Melges 24: Laminate main pro built $3500 or $13.35 per square foot
    Melges 24: Dacron main pro built $3000 or $11.50 per square foot
    Hapscut: Dacron main & mizzen pro built $ 866 or $6.30 per square foot
    Hapscut: PolySail pro built $414 or $3 per square foot
    Hapscut: PolySail Kit: sewn at home $145 or $1 per square foot (rounded up)

    My budget for building Hapscut was modest. I elected to save $721 on sails and build mine from a PolySail Kit. That $721 savings went into the construction of the boat and allowed me to select good marine grade plywood, fir and epoxy for building. I did the sail layout on our church’s gym floor and the sewing in my living room. These sails fit my budget and time line just fine. For $145 it was well worth it.

    In my first post I mentioned I had missed a small detail in the instructions at the clew and tack which allowed the grommets to start pulling out on the first sail. After sending a picture and description to PolySail, I learned I missed an important detail in the construction of the high stress areas of the sail and quickly corrected the sail before the Texas 200. I did not have a single problem with the sail during or since the Texas 200.

    So what would I change? I would raise the reef point clews up 3”. This will provide a little more head room under the boom and allow for cranking down on the mainsheet and downhaul to tighten up the luff for better sail control in high winds. I would move a few reef grommets up by the mast. A few of them are useless since that fall directly behind the mast. Removing some of the fullness from the mizzen would help in high wind conditions. I would also change the angle of the purple trim tape at the head since it’s not parallel to the water. None of these changes is because of the poly material but because I want to tweak the sail to make it easier to use. If I had spent $866 on a pro built Dacron sail I might send it back to the loft for modifications.

    My PolySail sails have done pretty darn well over the first 400 sailing miles. When will I have to replace them? Don’t know, but in the meantime I am going sailing and enjoy them.

    By the way, there are 2 sets of new poly material sails on 2 new homebuilt boats sailing in the Florida 120 right now. It looks like they are having fun and I guess that might mean they are satisfied with their decision to use a product other than Dacron. I know I am.
    -----------------------------------------------------

    Wander over to YouTube and look for Texas GIS or type in Hapscut and you can see a PolySail kit in action.
    ---------------------------------------------------

    From the not normal guy with a lime green boat and the mardi gras yawl
    Texas GIS

  13. #83
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    I just read the description on Hapscut over on Duckworks.

    . . . .There was almost no sailing to windward. Only when making ports did one have to do that. And maybe while running up the Aransas ship channel. So I thought a really refined hull shape was not required. A simple scow might do it, at least in 2010 winds.


    Are you sure you've really got a basis for making a genuine comparison when you're talking about a bare-bones, simplified boat like that versus a more versatile all-weather cruising boat? I submit to you that going downwind for 200 miles in plenty of wind is not any particular challenge compared to making distance good upwind across the full spectrum of conditions.

  14. #84
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    And a Sailrite kit would have been about $400, just for comparison.

  15. #85
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    It may have been mentioned... but not lately. There's polytarp... and then there's polytarp. I've seen sails made of the cheap (often blue or green) tarps that are sold at every hardware store and Walmart. They have a low thread count, and coatings with little or not UV resistance. Then there is a range of better material... all the way up to the sort of high-end polytarp that Dave over at Polysails works with. The difference between the worst and the best is quite marked. My impression, seeing both in action is that the best is a reasonable medium-term (and in some cases, long-term) substitute for the lighter weights of dacron when used in small sails. The cheap blue stuff is only good - in my opinion - for prototyping by us neophyte sailmakers, who want to just see how it works, and don't mind sewing one or two more to hone our skills until we get to the Real Deal.

    Yes... James is a snob. Sometimes he's an obnoxious snob <G>.... but from an economic and performance standpoint, he has the right of it. If you know what you want, and aren't scrimping for every last penny, then dacron is the best value.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  16. #86
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    To be fair, I only seem obnoxious when you're busy disagreeing with me with your wrong-headed and faulty opinions. If you'd just get with the program, I am clearly a fundamental bastion of goodness and light.

  17. #87
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas GIS View Post
    My examples are direct comparisons of poly material and leading edge material. Some of the best leading edge material only lasted long enough on the market for consumers and sail makers to figure out it was bad for the pocket book and bad for business. There is nothing inaccurate about that claim because it’s true. Materials were introduced to the market that failed miserably and hurt the bottom line of local sail lofts and pissed off consumers. There is no durability in a product that a customer is unhappy with because a customer’s satisfaction is far more durable that any material.

    Let me regress here a moment. I have another hobby that involves building ultra-light weight camping gear. Some of it is from kits and some from scratch. I use some of it on my boats to save weight and space. The company I get my camping gear kits from has been under attack for years by distractors. Some of these distractors are individuals and some are international corporations, but they were very vocal for years. Not so much anymore. The owner has wisely ignored the distractors and continued to develop products for his client base. That company has been in business for close to 25 years now and their website has over 8 million hits. I wish PolySail International the same success.

    The price for professional built sails is well worth the money only if you have the money. I however like building my own sails, boats and gear because it gives me great satisfaction. A budget will dictate which materials or professionals you choose but I enjoy sewing and saving my money so I can go adventuring.

    Let’s look at the price of a few sails and materials and compare.
    Melges 24: Laminate main pro built $3500 or $13.35 per square foot
    Melges 24: Dacron main pro built $3000 or $11.50 per square foot
    Hapscut: Dacron main & mizzen pro built $ 866 or $6.30 per square foot
    Hapscut: PolySail pro built $414 or $3 per square foot
    Hapscut: PolySail Kit: sewn at home $145 or $1 per square foot (rounded up)

    My budget for building Hapscut was modest. I elected to save $721 on sails and build mine from a PolySail Kit. That $721 savings went into the construction of the boat and allowed me to select good marine grade plywood, fir and epoxy for building. I did the sail layout on our church’s gym floor and the sewing in my living room. These sails fit my budget and time line just fine. For $145 it was well worth it.

    In my first post I mentioned I had missed a small detail in the instructions at the clew and tack which allowed the grommets to start pulling out on the first sail. After sending a picture and description to PolySail, I learned I missed an important detail in the construction of the high stress areas of the sail and quickly corrected the sail before the Texas 200. I did not have a single problem with the sail during or since the Texas 200.

    So what would I change? I would raise the reef point clews up 3”. This will provide a little more head room under the boom and allow for cranking down on the mainsheet and downhaul to tighten up the luff for better sail control in high winds. I would move a few reef grommets up by the mast. A few of them are useless since that fall directly behind the mast. Removing some of the fullness from the mizzen would help in high wind conditions. I would also change the angle of the purple trim tape at the head since it’s not parallel to the water. None of these changes is because of the poly material but because I want to tweak the sail to make it easier to use. If I had spent $866 on a pro built Dacron sail I might send it back to the loft for modifications.

    My PolySail sails have done pretty darn well over the first 400 sailing miles. When will I have to replace them? Don’t know, but in the meantime I am going sailing and enjoy them.

    By the way, there are 2 sets of new poly material sails on 2 new homebuilt boats sailing in the Florida 120 right now. It looks like they are having fun and I guess that might mean they are satisfied with their decision to use a product other than Dacron. I know I am.
    -----------------------------------------------------

    Wander over to YouTube and look for Texas GIS or type in Hapscut and you can see a PolySail kit in action.
    ---------------------------------------------------

    From the not normal guy with a lime green boat and the mardi gras yawl
    Texas GIS
    I have to say, that makes the difference between polytarp and Dacron look a lot less than I expected. Last summer, I won a regatta with a 45-year-old dacron sail. I'd say if you intend to put years and lots of hours on a sail, this comparison makes dacron look pretty good. For a little more than twice the price, I'd get sails that are good for far more and twice the use.

    I'm happy playing with the polytarp sail I made, but when my finances are a little better, I think I'll go with Dacron.

  18. #88
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    To be fair, I only seem obnoxious when you're busy disagreeing with me with your wrong-headed and faulty opinions. If you'd just get with the program, I am clearly a fundamental bastion of goodness and light.
    Although, of course, you are tragically wrong about sharpies, possessing an opinion shaped mainly by Bolger boxes.


  19. #89
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    To be fair, I only seem obnoxious when you're busy disagreeing with me with your wrong-headed and faulty opinions. If you'd just get with the program, I am clearly a fundamental bastion of goodness and light.
    I thought that went without saying. The fact that you feel compelled to state the obvious is what makes all the difference... ];^)
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  20. #90

    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Okay, all you sailmaking hot-shots: I want my next sail to look like this. What material was used, and how was the coloration achieved?

    http://vivierboats.com/albumsen/Sail%20and%20oar/laita/index.html#laita%2008.jpg


    Same sail, but different light reveals the vertical cut construction:

    http://vivierboats.com/albumsen/Sail...laita%2010.jpg
    Last edited by Anders Bjorklund; 06-12-2013 at 04:02 PM.

  21. #91
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    It's natural fiber, probably cotton, traditional construction and some sort of home-tanbarking job. There are enough different barking formulas that it's impossible to say what they used, but something similar wouldn't be very hard to do (or do more evenly if desired) if you want that rustic look. It does have a certain amount of charm.

  22. #92

    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    It's natural fiber, probably cotton, traditional construction and some sort of home-tanbarking job. There are enough different barking formulas that it's impossible to say what they used, but something similar wouldn't be very hard to do (or do more evenly if desired) if you want that rustic look. It does have a certain amount of charm.
    The entire sail was essentially dyed, then, after it was all assembled? Would anything like that be possible with Dacron, or some other commercially available sailcloth? A certain amount of charm, you say? I think it is gorgeous, and wouldn't want to aim for a more uniform color. Can you point me toward any helpful references? Thanks.
    Last edited by Anders Bjorklund; 06-13-2013 at 12:16 AM.

  23. #93
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Have you thought about tie-dying? Or batik. I think some beautiful things could be done with sails that way.

  24. #94

    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    Have you thought about tie-dying? Or batik. I think some beautiful things could be done with sails that way.
    I find the vibrant soft warm blotchy sail colors and the rustic antique workboat look the most appealing. The question, I guess is what kinds of dyes are compatible with what kinds of sailcloth, to create a beautiful looking sail that performs well and is reasonably easy to live with.

  25. #95
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    I figure if you want to make your sail out of poly tarp then go ahead. However if you are going to go to that much trouble I'd pick something a bit more durable. I used Odyssey III for mine but it's a 326 square foot junk rig and I don't need high tech.
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  26. #96
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Yes, the dye, bark or whatever they used was applied after the sail was sewn. Dacron sailcloth is extremely difficult to dye, even for the manufacturers. Not only are the polyester fibers themselves resistant, but the resin coatings will prevent the dye from even getting down to them. The times I experimented with it using conventional fabric dyes about all I could get was a dirty white that wasn't at all pleasing. You might do better with aniline dye or something like the Transtint dyes made for tinting clearcoat finishes, but at $15-$20 for a 2 oz. bottle you would go broke trying to cover a sail with the stuff. It would also make sail handling very interesting, as anything that comes off on your hands (and it likely will) is going to be there for a couple of weeks. I think your only good options are probably commercially available pre-dyed Dacron sailcloth or home-dyed natural fiber cloth that will actually take dye quite well, but comes with its own set of limitations, just as natural fiber sailcloth has always had.

    Color choices in Dacron are very limited in the bark-like and "natural" shades. The sail on the left is a mixture of Challenge Sailcloth's Egyptian Cream, Tanbark and Gold. The middle sail is the same, with the addition of some Contender Sailcloth Tanbark for the very dark color, The sail on the right is Challenge Sailcloth in red. Dimension Polyant's Tanbark is about the same as that from Challenge and Hayward is essentially out of the sailcloth business. Obviously with any of these you wouldn't get that old, mottled look and any color variation has to be pieced.


  27. #97
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders Bjorklund View Post
    I find the vibrant soft warm blotchy sail colors and the rustic antique workboat look the most appealing. The question, I guess is what kinds of dyes are compatible with what kinds of sailcloth, to create a beautiful looking sail that performs well and is reasonably easy to live with.
    Workboats tended to have a better dye job. The tanbark treatment was intended to preserve the sail cloth, and not getting the whole thing dyed was a way to have parts of the sail not protected. But I certainly see the attraction of a color that seems to radiate out from the center.

  28. #98
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    Yes, the dye, bark or whatever they used was applied after the sail was sewn. Dacron sailcloth is extremely difficult to dye, even for the manufacturers. Not only are the polyester fibers themselves resistant, but the resin coatings will prevent the dye from even getting down to them. The times I experimented with it using conventional fabric dyes about all I could get was a dirty white that wasn't at all pleasing. You might do better with aniline dye or something like the Transtint dyes made for tinting clearcoat finishes, but at $15-$20 for a 2 oz. bottle you would go broke trying to cover a sail with the stuff. It would also make sail handling very interesting, as anything that comes off on your hands (and it likely will) is going to be there for a couple of weeks. I think your only good options are probably commercially available pre-dyed Dacron sailcloth or home-dyed natural fiber cloth that will actually take dye quite well, but comes with its own set of limitations, just as natural fiber sailcloth has always had.

    Color choices in Dacron are very limited in the bark-like and "natural" shades. The sail on the left is a mixture of Challenge Sailcloth's Egyptian Cream, Tanbark and Gold. The middle sail is the same, with the addition of some Contender Sailcloth Tanbark for the very dark color, The sail on the right is Challenge Sailcloth in red. Dimension Polyant's Tanbark is about the same as that from Challenge and Hayward is essentially out of the sailcloth business. Obviously with any of these you wouldn't get that old, mottled look and any color variation has to be pieced.

    Did you make those Todd? If so very nice. I would suggest 6% to 8% camber at about 47% of chord built into the panels. The windward ability will markedly improve.
    Ah, I take it they are not JRs but fully battened Lugs?
    Last edited by WX; 06-13-2013 at 07:04 PM. Reason: added text
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  29. #99
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    They're battened balanced lugs. I had a run on them at one point last year for canoes. Two went to typical recreational sailors and the red one was specifically built for a guy running the Everglades Challenge. "Normal" sailmakers don't measure draft the way the Junk-rig homebuilders do. We usually use a percentage of chord added to the straight luff reference and forming luff round on sails that have it. A sail with 2.7% draft (2.7% of chord added up front for round) will have 1' of draft for every 10' of chord, which would be fairly typical for a cruising sail on most boats. On small lugs, luff round is a very ineffective means of creating draft due to the high luff tension needed to straighten that round out and force the extra cloth toward the middle of the sail. Shaping is done by cutting the luff straight and broadseaming at the head and foot edges instead and since our fabric is much more stable, what we sew in is pretty much what we get.

    About as close as I get to traditional junk sails is something like this, which could be rigged that way but most people just rig them with western-style single mainsheets as flat balanced lugs to keep the number of strings down.

  30. #100

    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Thank you Todd. If Dacron can't be dyed by the user, do you think some kind of bleach could be applied to give a mottled look to a solid color, without significantly damaging the sailcloth?
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    Yes, the dye, bark or whatever they used was applied after the sail was sewn. Dacron sailcloth is extremely difficult to dye, even for the manufacturers. Not only are the polyester fibers themselves resistant, but the resin coatings will prevent the dye from even getting down to them. The times I experimented with it using conventional fabric dyes about all I could get was a dirty white that wasn't at all pleasing. You might do better with aniline dye or something like the Transtint dyes made for tinting clearcoat finishes, but at $15-$20 for a 2 oz. bottle you would go broke trying to cover a sail with the stuff. It would also make sail handling very interesting, as anything that comes off on your hands (and it likely will) is going to be there for a couple of weeks. I think your only good options are probably commercially available pre-dyed Dacron sailcloth or home-dyed natural fiber cloth that will actually take dye quite well, but comes with its own set of limitations, just as natural fiber sailcloth has always had.

    Color choices in Dacron are very limited in the bark-like and "natural" shades. The sail on the left is a mixture of Challenge Sailcloth's Egyptian Cream, Tanbark and Gold. The middle sail is the same, with the addition of some Contender Sailcloth Tanbark for the very dark color, The sail on the right is Challenge Sailcloth in red. Dimension Polyant's Tanbark is about the same as that from Challenge and Hayward is essentially out of the sailcloth business. Obviously with any of these you wouldn't get that old, mottled look and any color variation has to be pieced.


  31. #101
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Probably not. If you use more than a fairly mild bleach mix on sails (for tasks like removing mildew) you may mess up the coatings and UV inhibitors. I'll go pour some on a piece of colored Dacron and see what happens though.

  32. #102
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Well, I poured a pool of straight bleach on a hunk of Challenge Tanbark Dacron and let it sit for a few minutes. Then I wiped it around with a white paper towel to see if any color was coming off. Nothing at all, and all I got was a bleach-soaked paper towel. The coloring state is pretty obviously done before the coating and calendaring processes and you aren't likely to get down to it without burning off the resin first - which would pretty much destroy the cloth's ability to function well as sailcloth.

    Yesterday, I tried brushing Dark Mahogany Transtint dye onto a scrap of white Dacron. I let it sit for a while and then washed off the excess to the point where the dye wouldn't come off and get all over your hands every time you handled the sail. Today, it' dry and all it yielded was a light pink stain. These are very powerful (and very expensive) dyes. To do an entire sail would be really expensive and I doubt you would get much more color than it just looking a bit dirty.

    Realistically, spray paint might be a better option. Some of the new formulas made to stick to plastic lawn chairs might be able to withstand the wear and tear without cracking if they were applied thinly. Some sailmakers are using stencils and hardware store spray paint for putting their loft logos on completed sails, and as long as it isn't too thick, they hold up reasonably well.

  33. #103

    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Spray paint on sails could be interesting. I might try it first on something like polytarp instead of Dacron, if there is some type of paint that will stick to that.

    Many years ago I used a dark blue permanent magic marker for the numbers on an official Laser sail, and after several seasons of weekly racing they looked as good as new (which was surprisingly good). Has anybody tried felt tip markers on polytarp?
    Last edited by Anders Bjorklund; 06-14-2013 at 05:45 PM.

  34. #104
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    Default Re: Polytarp Sailmaking

    Hello all. Resurrecting an old thread and trying to gather some information. I plan to build an Argie 15 in the future, and currently have a 17' O'day Daysailer II. The Daysailer came with a 150% genoa that is in good shape and I use for less windy days, but many times I have had to not go out because of too much wind for the big genoa and my sailing skill level. For this reason I am needing a smaller jib sail. I am looking to make one from the heavy duty polytarp. I have read a lot about them and I have no thoughts that the sail I will make from this material will be anywhere as good or long lived as a sail made from dacron. I love to make stuff and am intrigued by the use of a tarp for sail making, which is the only reason for not going with dacron at the onset. Truthfully, if I were to go with dacron, I would probably just buy a ready made sail as they are not too much money. This is more of a playful adventure for me. Having said that, I do want to make a sail that is shaped correctly, well at least to a certain degree. I have researched and found this website and a thread about shaping the luff. I can't seem to find that exact thread anymore, but what I have done for the luff shape is as follows. I am using a CAD program to aid in this:

    1. Generate basic straight line triangle for the sail shape with the luff drawn at the angle it will be hoisted at (approximately)
    2. Create horizontal chord lines at 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 of the luff length.
    3. Measure (CAD) each chord length and extended the chord line at the forward end by 2% (Is this appropriate for a jib?)
    4. The luff length is 15', so I then shortened the chord at the 1/2 luff position by 1.5" and the 1/4 and 3/4 positions by 1.125" (1" hollow for each 10' of luff)

    The above gave me a gentle S-curve for the luff.

    I then rounded the foot by 3" which is just a tad shy of 3x the round at the lower part of the luff with the maximum round about 1/3 from the tack end. I also put a 3" hollow on the leech edge of the sail with the max hollow at 1/2 of the leech length.

    I'm thinking that in addition to the above, I need to also add a dart to give the sail some belly, but am not sure how to calculate this.

    I happen to have a good amount of 1/8" dyneema that I plan to use in the luff for hoisting the sail. Oh, by the way, I have dyneema halyards and was going to try this as a flying sail initially. If needed I will add some hanks and hank it to the forestay.

    As to the foot and the leech, I'm not sure if I should add any kind of a reinforcement rope in them. I have enough of the dyneema to do so, but would this make the edges too stiff? Would a different kind of rope/line, or none be better? I have read that many people use the line, whatever it is, that forms the perimeter of the tarp edge as an edge reinforcement rope for these polytarp sails. What is better I don't know and any advice would be great.

    Also, in general, I am wondering if I should make a 100% jib, or since I already have the 150% genoa, if I should maybe go for a 85% jib? I'm kind of thinking of trying the 85% because if I buy a ready made jib, that one will be a 100% sail.

    Any help or suggestions to the above would be greatly appreciated?

    Thanks in advance,

    John Brannen

  35. #105
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