Split in the mainsail - new or used sail

Discussion in 'Main Morgan 38 Sailboat Forum' started by Jay Gholami, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Jay Gholami

    Jay Gholami New Member

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    Hey all,

    Was out sailing last weekend and put a long spit down Vixen's mainsail. Unfortunately, the boat was way overpowered due to being hard on the wind, not spotting a squall and then not letting the main out fast enough. The sail is pretty tatty, bagged out and looks weak at some of the other seems. There's also a few tears / a few different splits that need patching so I think it's time to replace it.

    Does anyone have any advice for replacing the mainsail? Although a used sail will be much cheaper than a new sail, I fear that the modifications / repairs would outweigh most of the cost benefit (especially as I'm based in Bermuda). Has anyone purchased a custom set from an Asian based company?

    In the meantime, I'm intending to stitch / tape the current sail, avoid heavy winds and keep it reefed - any advice on repairing it myself would be appreciated too.

    Cheers
    Jay
     
  2. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    Jay
    I'm a believer in shopping locally for things such as sails. Shop around any sailmakers on Bermuda before you go to a mail-order loft. You may be surprised at what you might find for your bucks. With sails, service after the purchase is a very big thing.

    I don't know what size your blown out sail is. Our boat originally came with a 150% main. When it died we replaced it, on the recommendation of our local loft, with a 130% with three sets of reef points. The boat sailed like a new boat.

    Jim
     
  3. Jay Gholami

    Jay Gholami New Member

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    Jim, thanks for the advice and quick reply.

    I'm popping to our local sailmaker tomorrow and will definitely be getting his advice / utilising his expertise! My understanding (from chatting to people from Bermuda) is that the local sailmakers here outsource the fabrication of new sails. I've yet to confirm where my local sailmaker outsources to, but I suspect Asia / South Africa.

    I don't really know where to start with sizes of mains, I understand what the difference when considering % headsail, but what does 130%/150% mainsail mean?

    Also, when you say service after the purchase, do you mean fittings / modifications or do you mean maintenance?

    I suspect its the original sail, it fits perfectly to the top of the mast and end of the boom, it's got the plastic internal track slides along the the boom and metal external track slides up the mast. I don't have a sail cover so it's fiddly having to put on and take off every time I sail, but that's a project for another day...

    Thanks
    Jay

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  4. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    Jay
    I'm sorry. I had the headsail in mind when I wrote that. A very senior moment. Your mainsail will be dictated by your mast & boom lengths. For the main I would recommend at least two reef points if the boat is set up for jiffy reefing. If you are going to venture offshore from the Island, a third reef would be nice. The sailmaker would be best to recommend the weight of the cloth for your conditions.

    The world's largest sail loft is now in Thailand. They make sails for multiple sailmakers and sew on whichever label is appropriate. If you mail-order a sail from halfway around the world and the luff is 1" too long, where do you go? If you deal with a local guy, you have recourse if thing need attention.

    I would also highly recommend having a sail cover built. The sun is the sails worst enemy.

    Other things to discuss with a sailmaker are lazyjacks, full battens, and a Tides Marine Strong Track.

    Jim
     
  5. stnick

    stnick lee nicholas

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    I just love my Tides Marine Strong Track . My full batten main drops like a rock now !!
     
  6. terry_thatcher

    terry_thatcher Terence Thatcher

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    sails are not cheap, but they are essential. So, repairing a sail that blew out is false economy. Its fabric and stitching is too far gone. On my long trip, we used the third reef constantly; cruising you regularly sail off the wind and the Morgan can be a little squirrelly with the full main up as wind rises. Our constant sail complement was 135% genoa, often unreefed, with main reefed once, twice, or thrice; the reefs allowed the Monitor easily to steer the vessel. I have full battens, but am not sure of their value. I might suggest you investigate having some full and some partial battens. That is becoming more common.
     
  7. Jay Gholami

    Jay Gholami New Member

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    Agree with your comments Terry. Although it is a bit of a false economy, I'm going to repair as the new sail was quoted 5k+ excluding a sail cover. Decided that once I'm a more competent sailor / want to explore sailing offshore - I'll investigate a new main with a few reefs (as you've suggested). I've only started sailing last summer, and I there's too many other live-aboard improvements that need to come before the sail.

    The quote from a local loft to repair, restitch all seems and tidy up a few other areas was pretty much equal to the cost of shipping a Morgan 38 sail from the US (described as fair/good in condition) - c$500. He spoke very highly of Tides Marine Strong Track, so going to install these, especially as we raise / lower at the base of the mast.

    Thanks for the advice.
    Jay
     

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  8. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    Jay
    What a beautiful setting for your mooring.

    Jim
     
  9. rickdowe2

    rickdowe2 Richard Dowe

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    Hi Jay, My sail was so old it finally blew out on me the first year I had the boat. I had it repaired to get me through the season and even had to repair it myself with sail tape. Before the next year I had a local sailmaker construct a new one for me, about $2500. The old sail always gave me problems rising and lowering at certain points. With the new sail and different construction techniques the sailmaker was able to reduce the number of slides in half, using the old slides, and now i have very little issues with the sail on the track.
     
  10. Jay Gholami

    Jay Gholami New Member

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    Thanks Jim!

    Rick, sounds like you were in an identical position to me. I’ll repair to get us through the season, then go for something new when the repair starts giving us problems.

    Sounds cheap for a sail, good to know - thanks.
     
  11. williwaw

    williwaw Tom Kluberton

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    Jay,

    There's an easy fix for a broken sail. Just before a good friend came to FL for a sailing adventure, our old Genoa started to blow seams due to old UV-damaged thread and no used sails worth the $ were apparent.

    We managed to salvage the Genoa using a 6" wide roll of 8oz Dacron tape and 5200 sealant.

    I laid out the whole sail on the floor, masked-off where the tape edges would fall and spread a film of 5200 ahead for rolling out the Dacron tape - I gave the tape a lot of pressure from squeegees and a roller. Not having a room big enough for the whole sail, I worked a section at a time and let each dry overnight. Took a few days but the product was outstanding!

    I repaired every seam in the sail and with a gusset done the same way repaired a split leech edge too.

    It rolled onto the furler just fine. Got our friend out sailing and lasted a few years until we got around to getting a new Genoa made.

    I have photos of the process and the sail in action, just ask if you have questions.

    Good luck - Tom
     

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