'Instant' lug sails from Marconi sails ... ?

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by SAE140, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. SAE140
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    Location: Boston, UK

    SAE140 Junior Member

    I'm becoming more and more intrigued by sails from yesteryear and am currently making-up a mast suitable for the flying of a lug sail during next season.

    Over the years I've accumulated second-hand jibs, genoas and Bermudan mainsails from a variety of craft, large and small - all with plenty of life left in 'em - and I had intended unseaming a couple to recover the cloth and making my own lug sails. Partly an exercise in recycling, but also I have a passion for making my own stuff.

    However, it's crossed my mind during the last few days that rather than starting from scratch, as it were - if I were to cut the head off a suitable genoa at an angle, the length of the cut being that of the length of a yard ... bingo - I've got a more-or-less instant lugsail. Would only need roping at the new head and reefing points added.

    But before getting too excited about this - thought I'd take a reality-check. Is this a crazy idea - or what ?
  2. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Sails are 3 dimensional...there is the added component of draft built into the sail. Depending on what the sail is for...the sail maker designed the draft into the sail at a specific point for a purpose. If you just cut the top off of a triangular sail you will a) move the draft of the sail radically higher in the overall and b) will probably destroy some if not all of the draft in the sail basically rendering it into a blown out rag. Better to get a pre-cut sail kit and do the proper sewing yourself if you want to make a square sail that will work properly...or at a minimum undoing the seaming and resewing it with the proper draft in the proper spot.
  3. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I've done that myself several times. Go for it.
  4. troy2000
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    What the heck; the price is right. If you don't like the way the reconfigured sail drafts, you can cut a few seams and modify it.

    You aren't planning to do racing sails, where every second to the buoy counts....
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    What everyone is missing is the way a lug sail is cut, which has a straight luff, while the Bermudian will have rounding incorporated into the luff. You could re-cut the luff straight and hem it.
  6. keith66
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    keith66 Senior Member

    This summer me & my son did up an 11ft sailing dinghy, she had been a rowboat on a boating lake so was somewhat battered, i was given an old bermudan mizzen of a Seadog ketch & simply sliced the top of hemmed it & a friend stitched it up for a few beers, i re re roped the luff & head & put eyelets in. She sails really well & the best bit is i spent less than £100 on the whole boat.

  7. SAE140
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    Location: Boston, UK

    SAE140 Junior Member

    Thanks for the comments - appreciated. I'll now proceed, with due caution ...
    First attempt will be a balanced lug with a peaked-up yard - similar to the mainsail of a S.F.Pelican, and I'm hoping to retain the existing camber - but we'll see - I plan to check how the sail sets by hoisting it up a flag pole on the front lawn (to avoid embarassment at the slipway) and have a seam-stripper and sewing machine ready if I screw up badly. Cheers.
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