Thread: Sail design and home sail making
23rd Sep 2008, 07:44 PM #1
Sail design and home sail making
I really want to make my own lug rig mainsail over this coming winter for my planned Storer build.
Although few dinghy builders seem to want to make their own sails, here we have a group who already do for the PDR's. Perhaps we can build on that.
If we developed the panel layouts together to make a good generic lug mainsail, we could then adapt the sizing to Beth, Goat, PDR and RAID41.
There are just such a lot of "words" to understand, such as broadseaming, luff round, cord ratios etc etc.
I have recently been recommended a book which has begun to de-mistify all these words for me. The book is "The Sailmaker's Apprentice" by Emiliano Marino. Here in the UK it costs retail just over £20, but buying on-line I have just paid about £9 including delivery and it is the best £9 I have spent for a long time. There may be other good books people can recommend, but this one is really good.
If members all read the same book, then we could clarify any page entry together.
The other on-line resource we could use is the free software
We could actually design the lug main on this software and build it. We have to learn to understand, and choose as inputs to the software
Top depth %
Mid depth %
Foot depth %
Sheeting angle degrees
as well as the actual sail dimensions and panel layout.
With MIK's help we could all learnt a lot about lug mainsail design and save loads of money!
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23rd Sep 2008, 08:41 PM #2
I have been playing with Sailcut and Sailform the problem is I have no idea what I'm doing need to do some study, so appreciate the tip re the book.
I'm yet to come across anything online that provides info for the novice I also suspect sails are a bit like hulls one needs to examine the ideas of others and tweak.
Experimenting with sail cuts could become as addictive as boat building.
23rd Sep 2008, 09:22 PM #3
Howdy ... could do.
Be aware that the OZ PDRacer rules do not allow panel shaping/broadseaming or any other cloth than polytarp.
After seeing how nicely Gyula and Dan's lugs looked i would have no hesitation to suggest a much simpler sail. Then it is a matter of just defining the boom and yard round.
So while polytarp is all that is allowed for the PDRacer, why not just glue or sew up a flat dacron sheet and cut it out with the right round.
Save a bundle and 250000 lasers can't be wrong ... they use only edge round too.
Makes designing a sail very simple. For those who think that they may not work very well ... look at the videos.
My idea is to have stock sail designs available to purchasers of the plan much like we do with the OZ. If you intend to do something more eleborate and look into design we could have three variations of homemade sails for the RAID41.
1/ Flat polytarp sails like the above - they take one evening to stick together then an hour or two on a sewing machine making them permanent.
2/ Same design but proper sail cloth - a bit of easy labour making up a big flat panel out of regular sailcloth to use the same method as the polytarp sail.
3/ A full fledged, properly designed sail with edge shaping and broadseaming.
The first option would probably allow sails to be made of the good quality polytarp for about $60
Second option maybe $250-300
Third option $300 to 350.
This is the biggest single cost saving for the boat.
Last edited by Boatmik; 26th Feb 2009 at 04:42 PM.
23rd Sep 2008, 10:01 PM #4
Thanks Michael, I had no idea that the Laser only used edge rounding. I guess it does have the length of the mast to "edge" with. So we can create a simple shaped dacron lug mainsail which we should all be just about able to make.
The Laser uses a luff sleeve, could our Lug Main have a gaff yard sleeve and the boom be in a sleeve. I have wondered about this for a while. Would be a very clean look. Much nicer than all those grommets and string.
Leave openings for halyard, mainsheet and kicker attachments.
The other thing is my local lug sails are very full as shown in my Flicr pictures. I will be racing Raid41 locally. Will a simple sail such as this be able to hold it's own against the local very developed lug sails. I really want to show her off against the other local boats ( that's the racer in me).
It will be best for the class I guess, to keep the sail easy to make and low cost. Sort of one design- ish like the PDR but accepting dacron and edge rounding.
23rd Sep 2008, 10:51 PM #5
I think a standard sail with edge rounding only and if someone wants to go to a specialist lug rig sailmaker ... I am not about to stop them.
24th Sep 2008, 01:07 AM #6
How about a standard sail and a home build racing sail too. After making the standard sail, with the increased confidence in sail making and sailing, then have a go at the racing sail. Using the same spec Dacron and sizing, adding broad seaming would not add to the cost in anyway, so keeping to the spirit of low cost fun. Going to a local sailmaker would probably cost more than the whole boat will cost.
I am sure only a few builders would go this route, and people supplying sails for your designs would still have almost as many orders. Possibly more in the long run.
I just thought it would be fun to explore shaping and thus learn even more about my favourite lug rig. Brian
24th Sep 2008, 08:13 AM #7
I would agree with that completely. I can do the simple edge shaped sail design, but someone else will have to work out the multipanel seam shaped (broadseamed) patterns using a program as you describe. I can give you the parameters for fullness and twist if you want to have a fool around with the program.
25th Sep 2008, 07:57 PM #8
A nice small, simple, edge shaped sail to cut our teeth on and learn the techniques would be the mizzen sail on RAID41? Makes sense to risk the least amount of material on a first attempt. Happy to wait until dimensions of sail finalised and will keep reading up until then. Brian.
25th Sep 2008, 08:27 PM #9
Focus on the construction Brian, The design is pretty straightforward and I can provide the whys and wherefores in this thread if you like .. when we get to that point.
The PDRacer lug is bigger than the one on the RAID by the way!
25th Sep 2008, 08:44 PM #10
RAID41 has a mizzen as well, and possibly a mizzen staysail and a genniker!
Have to make her go in the very light wind strong ebbtide somehow. Getting flushed out through Hurst Narrows is always a worry!
25th Sep 2008, 09:30 PM #11
I have notorised the drawing to remind myself to think of jibs/gennekers. Might slip the mast back behind the bulkhead instead of in front to give a bit more J.
or maybe look at a tiny stub bowsprit so there is no staying required..
Will look .. ok?
25th Sep 2008, 09:54 PM #12
Not sure about jibs though. Perhaps a self tacking blade jib to avoid the constant catching on the front of the lug's boom and also increase visibility.
A nice flatish lightweight genneker could be useful. Adds a turbo charger for local racing, and more importantly a way of making over the tide in very light winds.
After all, it makes a lot of sense to have a lot more sail area off and down wind, than what was the right amount going up to the windward mark. A three sail singlehander!
Short bowsprit sounds good.
25th Sep 2008, 10:07 PM #13
It will firm up one way or another, but I am thinking of something that you pull up only when you think you can use it and are not planning to spend a lot of time changing tacks with it up. Turbo when reaching or shy reaching or needing that extra half knot against the tide.
25th Sep 2008, 10:45 PM #14
Absolutely spot on!
5th Oct 2008, 01:33 AM #15
Although I have been reading about sail making - as usual struggling to get the concepts into my head. It's just amazing how seeing a sail made on video makes understanding so much easier. Here are sail making videos on YouTube. Not sure what the wife is going to say about sticking "picks" in the lounge floor!
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