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How to know when a main sail has had it

Started by jonathan_twite, 10 Oct 2011, 02:07

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Hi all

I have recently bought a Paper Dart (2709) with which the previous owner had been using a set of newer sails from a different N12.

How do I tell if the old sail is worn out beyond usefulness?  I hope to compete at some local opens meetings, not necessarily win the nationals (yet).

Also the newer main sail is loose-footed, where as the original main runs along the boom.  Having most recently been sailing a Laser, I am somewhat more accustomed to loose-footed mains, but I have found, due to my N12's square (older Enterprise style) boom, we have to pull the foot down behind the boom every time we tack.  Is there a difference in performance between loose-footed and fixed-footed mains?

N.B. using the newer main will require the bands on the mast to be re-measured and we appear to have to apply downhaul (Cunningham) to remove a sag in the lower luff of the sail in light winds, which is why I am considering using the older sails at the moment.

Thank you for any information / advice

Jon Twite
N3162 (Baggy Trousers) "Bicycle Clips"
N2709 (Paper Dart) "Goose Hunter"


Even a very old sail will work - though not as well as something newer that has not lost its shape.  Twelves went loose-footed about 35 years ago so I think it's fair to say your original main is probably past its best by now.  Don't worry about which side of the boom the loose foot is on when you are close-hauled and tacking.  Just pull it in tight to the black band and leave it. 
It's only when you let it off downwind that it works best on the leeward side of the boom.  As for the cunningham in light winds, creases aren't necessarily slow but many people pull their cunningham down very gently in the light stuff - just enough to remove the creases, but be sparing!  
You'll often see decent second hand sails for sale on this site if you want to upgrade at modest cost.
Mike D

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