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Thread: Designing singlehander around available sails?

  1. #1
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    Default Designing singlehander around available sails?

    One of the sticking points about building a fun wooden for me is cost, and from what I've found sails seem to be the single most expensive purchase for a homebuilt boat. Hardcore DIY'er that I am though, I have no interest in doing the polytarp or kit sail, so I've been shopping. Shopped a lot of used stuff but the very few suitably sized sails I found seemed way overpriced for probably baggy stretched out sails. I really thought I could find some stuff out there. What do all the racing folks do with their old sails anyway? Burn them? Lol. Oh well, now I have discovered Intensity Sails and it looks like they have very reasonable pricing on several different sails in the roughly 90-100 sq ft range that I want. But which one to choose??

    Hobie 14 - $300 without battens. I don't know why exactly but this looks like a favorite option for me at the moment. It also is in all white, which is what I'd prefer. Maybe too much sail for a 14' dinghy, but then again? I was reading about Laser turbo rigs at something like 125 sq ft? Seems like a lot of sail for that hull. H14 might be good as no doubt it's powerful and I can certainly include a trapeze on my homebrew frankenboat.

    Others that may be interesting?


    29er - 400 without battens

    420 - 230 with battens
    Albacore- 250 with battens
    JY15- 225 with battens
    DaySailer- 280 with battens


    The hull isn't decided yet, but likely it'll be a 14' scaled-up Moth design. Also possible Paperjet, Challenger, Farr 3.7, Stealth, Quetzal... There are probably 100's but I already have the moth in my CAD program so that makes it easy (and free!!)

    I've actually built a couple of balsa models just to get a feel for some hull shapes. Here are the Quetzal and Moth (Moth on the right). I know, they're super crude, don't laugh. I didn't put a lot of effort into them since they're just for looking at shapes and seeing how the wood behaves. Turns out my balsa wood wasn't too happy to form the bow of the Quetzal, but that may be due to the very rough, very tiny drawing that I ran across and scaled up. Also I built the Moth on top of bulkheads that I had laid out vs the Quetzal, which was assembled in the air, which was quite a pain. Hard to tell from the pic, but the stern waterline is very flat on Quetzal, not concave. Moth has a fair amount of vee.

    IMG_1482[1].jpg

    Also I found a solid model of a Laser hull online and did a little comparison in my Cad program. The models represent the Laser and scaled up Moth both at 360 pounds displacement.
    Max beam waterline Laser 40.28", Moth 44.23". Wetted area Laser 31.09 sq ft, Moth 30.05 sq ft. Moth has a funny looking waterline at the stern but once she heels over a degree or two, has a moving person inside, or encounters any kind of wave that's all out the window anyway...

    Displacement.png

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Odd way to choose a boat.. But I happen to have found the main and mizzen for my little cat yawl cruiser for 50 for the main, but needs to be recut, and the mizzen for free, if I give a donation to a charity. Mizzen is within an inch or so of the dimensions. I was going to make the sails, as I did for my last boat, but since this boat is a bit of fun, I thought to save a lot of effort and some loot by looking for used.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Odd? Did you just call me... or wait, was that a compliment? 'Cause I've noticed there are a few odd birds around here. Kind of makes me feel at home actually. Something about wood dust and epoxy or something... AHEM!

    Now anyway, yes. I've been searching for sails and coming up empty. Craiglist has had a very few, very overpriced offerings and outside of Craig's, I've only found a couple of ugly ones and nothing so far resembling a good deal. Ebay Shipping WHAT?! Ebay Craig's


    So yes, I'm working backward. Taylor the boat to the sail since I won't be tailoring the sail and I'm not about to lay out $1000 for whatever my chosen design says is the "correct" one.

    Given the choices above, or any similar in size and price that might be available, what would you pick for a reasonably exciting 14' singlehander?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    How much do the battens cost?

    The JY 15 main is built for a somewhat bendy mast, so it might be better than some of the others. The Intensity sails for the Daysailer and 420 are for fairly stiff untapered masts.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Great info, thanks much!

    H14 batten sets I have found are over $200, or for around $125 I could get a used Nacra, H16 or H18 set and cut them down.

    Funny thing, looking at the Intensity site again I'm not seeing the H14 sail but I am seeing one for the Hobie Wave. I think I like the Wave sail shape a little better actually, and at 95 sq ft feels like a nice size for me. Also, the the Wave batten set is much more reasonably priced at $112 from West Coast Sailing. And the Wave is boomless? That might be a big deal for a homebrew. Sounds pretty interesting assuming I can set up the main sheet to control it properly. I'm going to have to study up on this thing a bit more...

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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    After doing some reading, I'll definitely use a boom, and I'll probably go with the Wave sail. It may not make the boat any faster than the JY15 sail but I've been attracted to a full batten main ever since I first saw a Tasar. I'll want to go for the rotating mast too. It's probably all a big waste of time and money but that stuff is sexy to me and I work in a machine shop where I can make my own bits and pieces for close to nothing.

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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Hi Serta
    Didn't mean to imply that you were an idiot in search of a village should have said 'original thinking' ;o)

    I bought The Sailmakers Apprentice and made my own sails for about a tenth of the quote from a known loft in UK. Worth thinking about. A couple of friends have borrowed it (and my machine..) to make theirs, with good results.

    I like the Paperjet.
    Last edited by Andrew2; 08-16-2019 at 01:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    All good Mr 2!

    I hadn't really though seriously about making my own sails, figured that would be super hard. But then I read a little and it seems with reasonable care and not too much equipment you can actually produce decent sails at home. So I ordered the book!

    So assuming I'm going to make my own sails, I'm back to doing things in a more conventional way. Pick the boat, then make the SAILS to fit, lol. However, I'm thinking I actually want to work sort of backwards compared to what most guys do and make the sail(s) first, then the rigging, and THEN I will actually need that hull. Prevents the possibility of building a hull then getting stuck.

    I like the Paperjet too. As well as a whole bunch of others, augh.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Bacon sails dot com has pretty much set the standard on used a sails. they have thousands in stock and they also have a great rating system for used sails, I've never regretted buying a used sails from them but my boat was 30ft.

    I don't know if they have sizes that you're looking for, but you can look at what they have online, by dimensions or a boat by name an size.


    Build a boat for the sails? That goes along with building a boat to learn to sail right?
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serta View Post
    All good Mr 2!

    I hadn't really though seriously about making my own sails, figured that would be super hard. But then I read a little and it seems with reasonable care and not too much equipment you can actually produce decent sails at home. So I ordered the book!

    So assuming I'm going to make my own sails, I'm back to doing things in a more conventional way. Pick the boat, then make the SAILS to fit, lol. However, I'm thinking I actually want to work sort of backwards compared to what most guys do and make the sail(s) first, then the rigging, and THEN I will actually need that hull. Prevents the possibility of building a hull then getting stuck.

    I like the Paperjet too. As well as a whole bunch of others, augh.
    My understanding is that the Paperjet delivers everything one could want in a high-performance dinghy except the high performance. There's some good information here:

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...valent-in-wood

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Have you checked Rooster Sails? Laser Sails but better quality for half the price you pay for original Laser Sails.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Like making an axe handle and then forging the head to fit it :P

    /Mats

    Elected Swedish Yourneyman of the Year 2019

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    With the amount of time and money involved in designing building a new boat, I prefer to not degrade the result by using second hand sails. I prefer to design to suit standard sails, like those from RSS sails which you can get through Duckworksmagazine.com https://reallysimplesails.com/ "practice" sails from someone such as Intensity sailshttp://www.intensitysails.com/

    I use RSS sails for the lug rigged traditionally styled boats, and Intensity sails, mainly in the mid teen ft length sloop rigged class boats but have used laser sails from them. Both give extremely good value for money and the quality is very consistent.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Alright, I've pretty well made up my mind at this point that I'll make my own sail(s) which really opens things up. The boat that really catches my eye and I keep coming back to is the Farr 3.7. Full batten main and rotating mast with trapeze is pretty jazzy stuff, I can really get into that. I can even make it class legal but there's apparently no class existing in the US so I may bastardize it a little. I'd like a bit more of an actual cockpit that I can sit in instead of on top of, and I'd like a place under the deck to stow a small cooler, so a bit of deck redesigning may be in order. Plans are relatively inexpensive and seem to be fairly extensive so I won't have to guess about mast or foil location, or about much of anything, really.

    Thanks much for the suggestion Andrew2! Now I gotta shop for a sewing machine...

  15. #15
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    Well it certainly seems you're interested in sailboat racing why don't you build a boat that's more popular for racing in your area? I just looked up this they use 420s and lasers

    http://www.pontyc.org/wp-content/upl...hshoreCup.html
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeniseO30 View Post
    Well it certainly seems you're interested in sailboat racing why don't you build a boat that's more popular for racing in your area? I just looked up this they use 420s and lasers

    http://www.pontyc.org/wp-content/upl...hshoreCup.html
    Hey that's cool, maybe I'll check them out. I have a crapped-out 45 year old Laser I just got for 150 bucks, so you know it's a winner, lol. But hey, at least it came home dry after a couple hours on the lake so I'm happy with it for the moment. I certainly wouldn't get serious about racing, but it might be nice to go chase the boats around the lake and have a couple beers.

    The whole thing about building my own is about the woodwork, the experience of building a boat, which is not among the many things I that I've built, and having fun with a cool boat that I've made.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serta View Post
    Hey that's cool, maybe I'll check them out. I have a crapped-out 45 year old Laser I just got for 150 bucks, so you know it's a winner, lol. But hey, at least it came home dry after a couple hours on the lake so I'm happy with it for the moment. I certainly wouldn't get serious about racing, but it might be nice to go chase the boats around the lake and have a couple beers.

    The whole thing about building my own is about the woodwork, the experience of building a boat, which is not among the many things I that I've built, and having fun with a cool boat that I've made.
    That's pretty much what racing is for most people.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Hello Serta,

    I feel with you as I have a strong feeling for recycling second hand materials to save some bucks.

    H14 sails are not the best quality sailcloth, so you have to find a good one to have fun for some years. The same is for the laser sails. Mast has to be right too. Better to get a complete rig (mast) from an existing class.

    For a 14 foot singlehander a windsurfer rig could be the solution. You have a very powerful and compact unit, aerodynamical very effective and all components are balenced to each other if you buy it all together. The light wind sails are normally lightly used and carbon masts and boomy are standard. You could have different sized sails for the rig.

    If you are interested ... I have a scow moth design on my drawing board, adapted for a bigger sailor with an all up displacement of ~150kg (boat and crew). Boat is longer at 350cm and it is meant to be a fun boat, early planing and fast on the reach. But it sacrifises some performance upwinds, so race winning will not be possible. Therefore you will save some work during building, only a three panel hull has to be assembled.

    Have fun, Michel

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by luckystrike118 View Post
    Hello Serta,

    I feel with you as I have a strong feeling for recycling second hand materials to save some bucks.

    H14 sails are not the best quality sailcloth, so you have to find a good one to have fun for some years. The same is for the laser sails. Mast has to be right too. Better to get a complete rig (mast) from an existing class.

    For a 14 foot singlehander a windsurfer rig could be the solution. You have a very powerful and compact unit, aerodynamical very effective and all components are balenced to each other if you buy it all together. The light wind sails are normally lightly used and carbon masts and boomy are standard. You could have different sized sails for the rig.

    If you are interested ... I have a scow moth design on my drawing board, adapted for a bigger sailor with an all up displacement of ~150kg (boat and crew). Boat is longer at 350cm and it is meant to be a fun boat, early planing and fast on the reach. But it sacrifises some performance upwinds, so race winning will not be possible. Therefore you will save some work during building, only a three panel hull has to be assembled.

    Have fun, Michel
    That scow Moth sounds interesting. It certainly wouldn't be anywhere near as fast as a modern Moth but could still win races against reasonable competition if it's done well - the later scow Moths were faster than a Laser overall.

    As a windsurfer sailor, I'd have to say that the typical windsurfer rig is certainly not powerful; the emphasis is on a stable centre of effort (which is largely irrelevant for a boat) and on very low drag. The power the typical windsurfer rig produces is actually quite low for their size, and they don't work very well on a boat hull that has higher drag, more stability, and where you often sail in lighter winds, point higher, and can't pump in the same way. They almost always seem to under-perform on a boat; in fact the typical windsurfer rig under-performs even on a long Raceboard windsurfer when asked to drive a longer hull at different angles.

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    Default Re: Designing singlehander around available sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serta View Post
    Alright, I've pretty well made up my mind at this point that I'll make my own sail(s) which really opens things up. The boat that really catches my eye and I keep coming back to is the Farr 3.7. Full batten main and rotating mast with trapeze is pretty jazzy stuff, I can really get into that. I can even make it class legal but there's apparently no class existing in the US so I may bastardize it a little. I'd like a bit more of an actual cockpit that I can sit in instead of on top of, and I'd like a place under the deck to stow a small cooler, so a bit of deck redesigning may be in order. Plans are relatively inexpensive and seem to be fairly extensive so I won't have to guess about mast or foil location, or about much of anything, really.

    Thanks much for the suggestion Andrew2! Now I gotta shop for a sewing machine...
    The 3.7 is not a boat I've ever sailed but it's a sweet little machine from a brilliant designer who actually knows how to build and sail a fast dinghy, and you can see his knowledge in the 3.7's shape. It's not super quick in light to moderate winds due to its small size; slower than a Laser if I recall correctly. Lovely in a breeze, though.

    You're on the right track in dumping the Hobie main - they are designed for very different boats, use telegraph poles for masts, and have lousy gust response.

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