4th Dec 2010, 11:12 PM #1
Sailcloth Choices for Storerboats with homemade sails
Having just bought the plans I have been having a good read through before purchasing the materials to start the build. I'll be sure to post some pics of the build once underway.
One thought I had was around sail material, I imagine that all Goats have been build with dacron/polyester sails and I wondered if there was much to be gained from using a more modern laminate sail material.
I would think that a Dacron sail will be more tolerant of abuse but is also going to stretch more than a laminate where you get more stability of shape. Perhaps there is little to be gained on a sail of this size.
Any thoughts on this....?
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5th Dec 2010, 09:44 AM #2
I'm no authority on sailing, sail making, or anything really. But I have worked with the US defense industry for the last decade and your question reminds me of one I've heard often before. When is good enough REALLY good enough? Or put another way, when is better not really any better at all?
I'm also not an engineer, but a systems engineering approach might be to determine if the Goat is being "held back" by the use of Dacron. We all know a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If the Goat's weakest link is not the sail material, there's a good chance that using a high tech fabric will only expose the weak link faster or more frequently or both.
That said, half the beauty of the design and the process is how nicely it lends itself to experimentation. I have read numerous threads where M. Storer has cautioned that he will rarely discourage deviation, but will usually ask "why?" Sometimes the answer is, "because I feel like it!" and I think that usually wins the day.
I've had to defend work I've done to my car in those terms to my driving buddy/mechanical engineer. "Why install an oil cooler? Do you suffer from overheated oil? Is it costing you time on the track?" "No, I just want one because I can and they're cool, so shut up math geek."
So I look forward to following your build and can't wait to see the cool laminate Lug (radial cut I hope) that drives her!
5th Dec 2010, 12:32 PM #3
(Edit - The story about George's GIS build - it has been moved here
Excellent comments by Dave above.
George asked me the question by email, but it is easily interesting enough question to have here.
Originally Posted by Gizzle
The other aspect is that it can be quite possible that you will sail reefed a fair bit of the time. A medium finish dacron will respond pretty well to that treatment, whereas a hard finish dacron or the exotic sailcloths might be weakened.
With the PDRacer sails, we continue to recommend polytarp. It provides a level but extremely low cost playing field. Brad Hickman who has done a lot of the recent development in making the OzRacer/PDRacer sail fast was worried that he wasn’t pointing well with a polytarp sail so was thinking of a dacron one - I talked him out of it. However he continued to develop the other bits of his rig including outhaul and downhaul adjustment of his lug. At the recent Oklahoma messabout he was the fastest PDR by far and faster than several of the bigger boats - this doesn’t show the superiority of the PDR Concept - it shows the superiority of better finished foils, spars and sails and a clever sailor.
The other side of the polytarp sails is that they are empowering! Sailmaking is a bit of a black art and seems out of reach for normal people, but here we have a class (Ducks) where very good performance can come from a sub $50 sail.
For the Goat I still recommend a dacron sail because of the higher loads and that it is a classy intermediate to high performance boat compared to the entry (and amusement) level of the OZRacer/PDR. I do have a sail design for the Goat available for plan purchasers that gives the same type of simple sail that works well, but out of a big dacron panel made up out of regular sail cloth. The sails below are made by the same method.
More pics at Brian’s photostream
7th Dec 2010, 02:35 AM #4
Hi George, great to hear there will be another Goat in the UK. Where about's are you - I am south coast based.
A laminate lug sail would be a lot of fun to try, if you can obtain the laminate at reasonable cost. I would use Sailcut4 to design a broadseamed sail, then glue the panels together, using 3M 5200. It would be great to be able to see where you are going and that no one is going to starboard tack you when racing.
Our local Hood loft tried making laminate lug sails for our local Scows. They were cut quite flat so lacked power compared to the Sanders sails. The other thing people mentioned that the stiffer cloth was much harder to "read" when sailing. The luff no resonding to lift the same as a soft dacron sail.
When I have used laminate dinghy sails, they do set superbly but they are horrible when dropped into the boat. Just completely fill the hull. where as a dacron sail bundles up easily.
I found that finding suppliers who would deal with you was the hardest issue. They all deal company to company and not individuals. After searching for months and getting all the bits by driving miles, I found an e-bay supplier who sells cover materials on his site but does supply all you need of the proper items.
That's the correct sewing thread, correct sailmakers double sided tape, star grommets and the closing tools. he can also supply any sailcloth you need.
Good luck with it if you do make your own sail.
Let me know if you would like contact details with my ebay supplier.
7th Dec 2010, 11:40 AM #5
I agree that a mylar scrim "regatta sail" might be a great stir!!
Peter Hyndman (Biting midge here) was told about the product pictured below by a school that is building a bunch of OzRacers.
The guy teaching is a high grade sailor of A-class cats. He built his own, which is a great background in light wooden boat building because the class has no minimum weight. He is one of the converts to the PDRs, having sailed them and finding they are a sailing boat that deserves respect.
This "fabric" was located at Bunnings and we think it is polyester with glass tow.
Just back from visiting the two new ducks the boys have built in Toowoomba. (Photos taken in their school manual arts studio). Sometime during the week there will be a fleet of four yellow ducks on a lake near there!The sails are a bit interesting, some sort of clear plastic with glass reinforcing, used for blinds or side curtains or something, available from Bunnings for $35 for a 4 x 5 metre sheet! Won't stretch in any direction! Check it out one day when you are visiting a hardware store near you. I don't have a name for it, but it seems to sew and stick better than polyprop too. Grommets are plastic Coleman ones, which are very efficient and these days quite cheap.
The main question is whether it is a good weight for a sailcloth too - and remember Brian's comments about it being hard to "read" and that you need broadseaming to get shape into it - it is too stiff for edge rounding to move to where it is needed to create the depth of the sail. Normal sailcloth does this through bias stretch.
7th Dec 2010, 11:56 AM #6
Hi George, this is such a great resource about sailmaking, do you mind if I relabel it and the GIS buildling thread can be a new one. We can put a link to your new thread at the bottom of this one so people can still follow your story.
(which the sail cloth is now part of!)
7th Dec 2010, 01:53 PM #7
I wonder if we in the States get a similar product at big box stores. How does that $35 price compare to the cost of polytarp for you?
My "big vision" involves building OzRacer(s) for/with my son after my highly successful and fully rewarding GIS build that has yet to start. I will confess to having laid out the OzRacer sprit sail in Sailcut, including messing around with radial designs.
(That reminds me MIK; I need the supplements for the OzRacer's alternate rigs.)
7th Dec 2010, 03:47 PM #8
Email me and I will send them.
Not so easy from here - I am set up for email request.
And remember this "fabric" may have some downsides as Brian suggests. $30 is about what we would pay for a polytarp of this size.
7th Dec 2010, 07:07 PM #9
This is the link to the UK eBay seller who can supply all the correct sailmaking items you might need,
Acorncanvas Boat Fabric Specialists items - Get great deals on Zips Zipping, Snap Fastenings items on eBay.co.uk Shops!
and Point North can hire you the closing tools for the grommets. They also supply all the sail materials and fittings you might need.
pointnorth.co.uk – Outdoor fabrics, accessories and zips. Mail Order Specialist for waterproof breathable nylons, fleece, Cordura, acrylic canvas.
MIK, it might be worth putting up a thread to keep all the best suppliers for each country.
7th Dec 2010, 08:02 PM #10
I was only looking at this Bunnings stuff on the weekend! I would use reinforcing at the eyes though. I also reckon it will stretch a bit if used for a large sail, but I think up to GIS size will be fine, certainly no probs for the OzRacer.
It should make for a pretty robust sail that i think will outlast the polytarp.
8th Dec 2010, 10:33 PM #11
Quick responce as I am pushed for time....
Like you I am Solent based for sailing and live just north of Portsmouth.
Having put some more thought into the material I suspect I will go for a dacron over a laminate just because it is going to be much more tolerant of abuse, that said I often change my mind.
Interesting to hear your thoughts on the scow sails from Hood and Sanders, I already buy sails (for my bigger boat) from Sanders so was planning to have a chat with Peter at some point about the project. He also made the sail for my last build, see here (Tales of a Weekend Wood-Butcher: April 2010)
Once built I suspect I will have a lot to learn to get the most out of the boat and would welcome the opportunity to meet up and do a bit of boat-on-boat tuning.
Just got a quote from Robins Timber for all the wood so need to hide that from the wife and then crack on...
Last edited by Gizzle; 9th Dec 2010 at 07:28 PM. Reason: typo
8th Dec 2010, 10:35 PM #12
9th Dec 2010, 10:06 AM #13
I have done that - I don't make a big habit of it, but the discussion was heading in such a generally useful direction.
Thanks for that!
I can change the title of that thread to anything that you like.
The story about George's GIS build - it has been moved here
Another UK GIS (Gizzle in Hants)
28th Dec 2010, 09:17 PM #14
30th Dec 2010, 09:14 AM #15
Thanks for this Bruce - I mentioned it in a thread a few weeks ago.
It will be interesting to see how it goes in practice. It depends a bit on the weight and stiffness of it too.
One cool thing might be that if one side is perfectly flat (the glass fibres on the other) then the super sticky double sided tape used by sailmakers for exotic (ie high tech) sails might work to hold the sail together. There will still probably need to be some sewing around the edge, but the body might be able to be taped together.
With that double sided tape, there is the good and expensive one but also a cheaper one that doesn't work so well in Australia's hot days - but is probably Ok in Europe. I will contact my sailmaker friend and find out which brands
We looked at this with the polytarp sails - but polytarp has a plastic coating that just peels off and the load is never transferred to the fibres underneath.
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