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New Sails Aren't Always the Best Answer

September 28, 2016

Sadly there is no such thing as a sail that lasts forever. However, when your sails become stretched out and lose their shape, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need new ones. Learn about Precision Recuts to help extend the life of your sails and save you money.

It’s never a fun moment when you realize your trusty sail won’t let you point to the mark or when the wind picks up and you can’t control the heel and your glass of wine takes a trip down your shirt. Thankfully buying a new sail isn’t your only option.

Precision Recuts bring almost 90% of your sail’s original shape back to life. Both membrane and woven sails are candidates for reshaping and a recut will often cost less than 20% of a new sail. The condition of the sailcloth is key; it must not be too worn and stretchy or the adjustments will not produce the desired results. With good fabric, reshaping can generally be done once or twice during the life of a sail.

C&C 30 Extreme 2 owner Dan Cheresh says “I have been able to continually adjust and refine sail shape through recuts to keep my sails as fast as possible.” Erin Houpt from Dream Yacht Charter has trusted recuts for all of the in-mast furling mainsails in his fleet. “The sails are easier to furl and our customers are pleased with the increased performance.”

Our National Service Director Charlie Saville outlines the three main options to help increase performance and enjoyment for racing and cruising sails.

BROAD SEAM RESHAPE

PROBLEM: Deep draft. Full sail. Can't point very high.
The sail depth becomes fuller and more rounded. The draft moves aft. You're no longer able to point as high as when the sail was new. The boat becomes harder to steer, heels more and responsiveness is slowed. For racing boats, the inability to hold a lane or position close to other boats can really destroy a tactical game plan.

SOLUTION: Seam reshape.
Seams are reshaped and extra fabric is removed. This procedure flattens the sail and helps return the draft to the original and optimal location. Generally, three to five seams are remade to achieve desired shape.

RESULT: Faster sail. Points higher!
With the flatter sail you can now point higher than before! Your sail is flatter, faster and more efficient. Your boat sails more upright, and is far more responsive.
 



LUFF CURVE RESHAPE

PROBLEM: Reduced entry. Sail is hard to steer.
As sails age, their entry is reduced due to a variety of factors. Stretch, as well as over-tensioning the halyard can reduce entry. Reduced entry will make the sail harder to trim, less efficient and make steering more difficult (and less fun!)

SOLUTION: Luff curve change.
Luff curve can be restored to help return the sail to its original entry shape. Sometimes a luff curve change is made to remove entry and flatten the sail.

RESULT: Faster. Easier to steer sails.
Returning entry gives you a bigger range to steer inside of that is still ultra-fast. Steering will be easier and you'll be able to go faster.
 



LEECH TAKEUP

PROBLEM: Leech falls away. Sail isn't delivering power.
On cruising Dacron® mainsails and genoas, the leech can stretch and fall away, making the sail more difficult to trim and reducing boat speed. This is especially prevalent on larger cruising mainsails and mainsails with large roaches. Leech stretch can also hamper the use of furling systems.

SOLUTION: Leech takeup.
By removing extra fabric at a seam or elsewhere on the sail, the leech can be shortened and straightened to its original dimensions and shape.

RESULT: Smooth leech with proper power and exit. More powerful sail.
By bringing the leech back to its in-line design shape, the sail is once a gain a proper foil and will deliver efficient power.

Click here to learn more about Precision Recuts and how to find out if your sail is a candidate. You can also contact your local loft for more information.

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