cuttinng down a skiff main

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by ned, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. ned
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    ned Junior Member

    i have a 14 foot windrush surf cat and would like to know if any one knows the sail sizes and mast hights for 12 and 18 foot skiffs. if i got an old 18 rig it would probably be the smallest one/
     
  2. Munter
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Munter Amateur

    Making the changes you would need to make to a skiff main would cost more than it would be worth. Notice that your Windrush mast is essentially straight while skiff masts use a stack of prebend? This means that the luff curces would be completely different and require a big re-cut. Then you would need to change all the battens as well. Depending on what you're trying to achieve I would suggest trying to find a second hand windrush main if you are trying to cheaply replace a worn out sail.
     
  3. ned
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    ned Junior Member

    what i want is to give me more sail area by making it a square top the other option is to get a pin head main that has the same boom leigth but a taller mast then cut off the top of it and then sew on some battion pockets i have seen it done on a box rule 850 trimaran for its cruising main.
     
  4. Munter
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Munter Amateur

    Hi Ned. Your other posts indicate that you're quite young and your enthusiasm for sailing is a great thing. Keep looking at your options but understand that sailmaking is a complicated process that is more than just drawing nice looking outlines.
    Sailmakers need to think about the depth of the sail, the draft position, the reinforcement to take loads applied and how these factors will match up with the mast. You may not get a result that matches the expense if you don't think about these things in your plans. Don't take this as a negative post - by all means keep looking at the idea, just realise that there is a lot more to sail performance than the outline of a sail. After all - you could achieve a square top outline by taping some cardboard onto the top of a pin head sail if you wanted - it might not perform any better though.
     
  5. tamas
    Joined: May 2009
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    tamas Junior Member

    Hi Ned, You are on the right track. I am not a sail maker but have made and modified several. It is a secretive society and like that so they can charge a lot of money in my opinion. Sail making is an over rated art form that is not to hard to get right. You will have to re-cut the luff to suit your mast, measure your bend under max load and add about 150mm 50% up the mast, that will be close if your mast bends on an even arc. You may have to put a batten on a 45deg angle at the head to get the leach to stand up. Look at a lot of other sails, read as much as you can and have a go. You may not get it first go but you will learn and get very close the second go.
    Good luck.
     
  6. ned
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    ned Junior Member

    i work in a sail loft once a week and there is a lot that goes into building a sail and the 850 box rule tris main worked well
     
  7. tamas
    Joined: May 2009
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    tamas Junior Member

    Not sure what you mean about box rule as the question had nothing to do with that did it. Hard to follow what you mean. Why not just ask your mates at work how to build your sails, they must know.
     
  8. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    messabout Senior Member

    Tamas; I respectfully dis agree with your assesment of the sail making art. Top flight sails are not easy to get right unless you understand some very elusive nuances. I operate a very competant machine shop and we could make organ pipes quite nicely. Absent knowledge and training about organs, our pipes are not likely to make beautiful music. So be it with sailmaking.
     
  9. ned
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    ned Junior Member

    im not using the main for racing all i need is a main with reefing points as im taking it down 120nm of nz coasts.
     
  10. Typhoon
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Typhoon Senior Member

    I love people like you, no idea what is actually involved in making a sail that will last and perform well, season after season.
    You've suggested two, 30-40 year old techniques on how to completely botch a sail to the point of it being useless.
    I AM a sailmaker and know how much time and effort goes into a sail, you sound like a typical non tradesman who has no concept of labour, skill and accrued knowledge and what it costs to pay for those things.......
    Ned, you are after a fairly specialised sail, I suggest contacting a couple of local sailmakers, if you don't want an out and out performance sail, it won't cost that much to do what you want to do, maybe, $500-750 AU.
    By the time you buy an old skiff/dinghy main, try to cut it so the shape stays in the right spot and keep the leech cloth properly orientated, then redo the luff and inboard ends of the batten pocket and add reef points, you may as well have started with new cloth.

    Regards, Andrew.
     
  11. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    gggGuest ...

    Its also worth noting that the cloth that would be picked by a competent sailmaker for your sort of use would be quite different from that used for the skiff sails. The material for the skiff sails is intended to stay in optimum shape for a good while used carefully, but then it completely disintegrates.

    A sail built with the right materials for your use wouldn't stay in tip top racing condition as long but would stay in usable condition long after the other material had disintegrated and be far better at coping with the sort of rougher handling that your sort of coastal cruising with reefing and so on inevitably demands. Even if I had no choice but to start with a second hand sail and **** the lifetime I would not pick an ex high end dinghy race sail just because the materials would be unsuitable.
     
  12. tamas
    Joined: May 2009
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    tamas Junior Member

    Yep as I said, sail makers making plenty of noise to substantiate the high cost to make sails. Typhoon for one. They spend half their time out sailing and not working, who do you think pays for that, the client. I have used tradesmen made sails that were crap sails and I have made better and faster sails than some and in the newer laminates. See $500 - $750 for a few hours work and to supply a bit of tread, over priced. Messabout, have you ever tried to make sails?
     
  13. Typhoon
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Typhoon Senior Member


    You are an ill informed fool.
    The cost of materials in a sail is around half in a small sail, and probably two thirds of the cost of the sail in a large cruising main with full battens etc. A large cruising main, with leather corners, lots of hand sewing can take up to three days from start to finish, that's 24 hours of labour. So it's hardly a couple hour's work. Maybe if you're a half assed backyard hero you can make something roughly triangular in a few hours.
    A small main with two reefs and full battens, like ned is after, would be the better part of a day's work. Because he's after something cruisey rather than performance, his materials will be a lot cheaper, maybe $150-200 in materials.
    Do you know how much time and effort it takes to get a one design sail to come out to EXACT measurements once stretched and still have the correct shape and luff curve? No? How much work goes into making a bulletproof yankee headsail for a 45ft steel ketch that will use that sail up to 35kts, do 15,000 sea miles with it up and have nothing more than the head ring liner wear through? A sail that MUST be absolutely reliable and retain it's shape in any wind, so the boat will be able to claw off a lee shore if necessary? No? Well, shut the hell up.
    I spent maybe an hour a MONTH out on boats checking problem sails, ones we couldn't get right in the loft. It was a case of have the customer turn up in the boat, ready to go sailing, or find them when they were out in the water in the workboat, get on, have a look and get off. Time on the water is wasted production time......
    All of the sailing I did on customers boats was after hours, in my spare time, at the invite of the customer as a social outing.
    You also have some sort of issue with tradesmen making a living, charging out $88/hr for labour, when your weekly waterfront loft rental is $1500, half that again in utilities and insurances, is hardly living the high life....in fact, it's so lucrative, I got out of the marine industry de to low wages and deadbeat customers who thought just because they were in debt to their eyeballs, they didn't have to pay anyone until they got their third "reminder" notice from a solicitor's office.......
    What do you do for a living? Let me know so I can ridicule that with ill informed BS.:rolleyes:

    Regards, Andrew.
     
  14. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    gggGuest ...

    Typhoon: do you know why you shouldn't mud wrestle with a pig?

    I don't know what it is about this forum, but its the only one on the net where I feel uncomfortable about using my name because of the obsessive nature of some posters...
     

  15. DennisRB
    Joined: Sep 2004
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    DennisRB Senior Member

    I once stuck half a paddle into the mast hole on my two man kayak. I put the hood of my raincoat over the end of paddle and a stick across the arms then held the bottom corners out with my hands. The 35k gale sped the kayak well above hull speed DDW and that is the fastest I have ever seen that kayak go. I hereby conclude my sail-making skills are second to none :p
     
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