How long does a race sail last?

Thread starter #1
I am a masters Laser sailer who is actively sailing/racing but not super competitive. I participated Masters World for the past three years, and finished about in the middle. My question is: how often people renew the race sail for these major events? I guess it all depends on who the "people" are, but my definition would be the people who want to sail the regatta with reasonably optimum sail (and wishing to finish the major regatta within 1/3 of the fleet). For example, my current race sail for the major events was used for a week in the Croatia world where the wind was mostly light and another week in the Ireland world where the wind was very strong (I needed massive de-powering). So, I wonder if a week use in the very strong wind could already stretch the sail so that it can make the noticeable performance difference.

Also, I feel that old (stretched) vs new sail would affect more in strong wind as it makes the de-powering more difficult, while it affects less in higher wind. Would this be true?
 
#2
Most of the top junior radial sailors get a new sail after 6-10 sailing days for a race sail. If it is in light wind and you take good care of the sail using is for 15 or so racing days is ok. But you can totally ruin a race sail over a 4 days windy regatta. Using a blown out sail is pretty brutal. In light air you lose height and have to pull on downhall to get the draft in the right spot and in the breeze you run out of downhall when the grommit hits the boom. So all in all get a new sail for each big regatta when money allows and take good care of them. Store them rolled between regattas and don’t let the flap themselves to death in the boat park.
 
Thread starter #3
Most of the top junior radial sailors get a new sail after 6-10 sailing days for a race sail. If it is in light wind and you take good care of the sail using is for 15 or so racing days is ok. But you can totally ruin a race sail over a 4 days windy regatta. Using a blown out sail is pretty brutal. In light air you lose height and have to pull on downhall to get the draft in the right spot and in the breeze you run out of downhall when the grommit hits the boom. So all in all get a new sail for each big regatta when money allows and take good care of them. Store them rolled between regattas and don’t let the flap themselves to death in the boat park.
Thank you very much for the explanation!
 

thieuster

Active Member
#4
The MK2 sail is believed to be stronger. Up to 25 - 30 days. Dutch top Standard sailors sell their ‘old’ sails on a Dutch auction site after 20 - 25 days.

Fwiw: sailors (or parents) here fund the sails. No sponsoring. A Radial sail that lasts appr. 10 days would set me back at least 8x € 625 /year... no way that I will fork out 5000 euros for sails alone.

Menno
 
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Thread starter #5
The MK2 sail is believed to be stronger. Up to 25 - 30 days. Dutch top Standard sailors sell their ‘old’ sails on a Dutch auction site after 20 - 25 days.

Fwiw: sailors (or parents) here fund the sails. No sponsoring. A Radial sail that lasts appr. 10 days would set me back at least 8x € 625 /year... no way that I will fork out 5000 euros for sails alone.

Menno
I see. That is quite costly for radial sailers who compete at the top edge... (I am also a radial sailer.) Thank you very much!
 

thieuster

Active Member
#6
I wrote my initial posting around 8 AM this morning. That was before heading off to Workum. More than the infamous Medemblik location, Workum is 'the place to be' among Dutch sailors*). So I sat there with a few like-minded parents (read: sponsors...) and there was a unanimous opinion about 8 sails/year being too costly. "Checkbook Championship" was the reply of one of the parents. We agreed with that.

Speaking about this sail-subject, we did a short 'survey' amongst parents. In general: two sails per season, three if there has been a lot of wind ( e.g. a sail got 'hammered' by 40 knots). Most used sails serve another half season as training sail. Mind you, a lot of lakes here are rather shallow and have a muddy soil. When going upside down, the top of the mast and sail get covered in black/blue clay. You won't get the stuff of your sail, how much you try...).

All sailors and parents have an 'optimist history' and we all follow the optimist rule of 'breaking in a sail': Try to sail 8 - 10 hrs with a new sail under light -> moderate conditions. We believe that the stitching needs to 'set'. Perhaps it's a fable, but it won't hurt trying to be gentle with a new sail.

*) As my son called it when we drove home this afternoon: "Workum feels like a holiday, Medemblik feels like working." I agree with him. The Workum conditions are often very difficult.

Next Ascension Day weekend (Thursday - Sunday), Workum will be the epicentre of youth sailing: 500 optimists from all over the world, 45 nacra 15s, flocks of Lasers, 29ers etc., will race the Dutch Youth Regatta. About 1000 sailors on a large camping site, a large white beach, a few beach bars (important for us parents), Champions League Final on a big screen on Saturday night. And.... forecasts talk about different wind every day. from 6 to 25 knots and 15 - 26 degrees. It's going to be great!

Dutch Youth Regatta
 
#7
Most of the top junior radial sailors get a new sail after 6-10 sailing days for a race sail. If it is in light wind and you take good care of the sail using is for 15 or so racing days is ok. But you can totally ruin a race sail over a 4 days windy regatta. Using a blown out sail is pretty brutal. In light air you lose height and have to pull on downhall to get the draft in the right spot and in the breeze you run out of downhall when the grommit hits the boom. So all in all get a new sail for each big regatta when money allows and take good care of them. Store them rolled between regattas and don’t let the flap themselves to death in the boat park.
Just to edit my response a bit. The number of 10 days is racing days so each sail actually lasts about 6 months. With 3-5 regattas, most 2 day and 1 or 2 four day regattas.
 
#8
My experience is with the standard rig - with both the mk1 and new mk2 sails my general policy for many years was to buy one new sail a year for the masters worlds then use that sail as my "big event" sail for the rest of the year and relegate the previous years sail for "small" events. I think for masters sailing this works fine. The last few years I've bought more sails as I've been to more "big" events but, at masters level I don't think its critical.

Croatia was a special case - given the light winds the sail I used there still seems brand new!!

Like you I'm heading to Spain next week for the europeans - I'm taking two sails, a brand new one and, as a spare, the standard mk2 sail I used in Ireland. I also used the Ireland sail for the Australia and New Zealand nationals in January and, if needed, I would be fine using it for the Europeans. I think at the masters level, its nice to have a new sail for a big event but it won't make much difference to your results (good starts, down wind ability and fitness are the key difference makers, not the age of the sail)

Cheers! Mike
 
Thread starter #9
Thank you very much, thieuster, Lasersailor166131and Mike, for the very useful information! I now have a better idea of how I would want to plan the sail usage. I understood how the top sailers do it to perform their best, but as a masters sailer the way Mike described seems better suited. So, my plan would be:
  • Purchase one new sail per year to be used for a major international event (~7 days) and major domestic events (3 x 3d = ~9 days)
  • This sail is used in the 2nd year for small events (8 x 2d = ~16 days)
  • Then this sail is used 3rd year for training events and own practices (~17 days)
  • This means one class-legal sail is used for about 50 days over 3 years before finishing its life
  • Separately, perhaps purchase one practice sail (like the one from IntensitySail) every two years. This is used for the training events and own practice for ~25 days per year. In two years, it is also sailed for about 50 days.
  • I also sailed about 3 light-wind regattas per year with standard mk-2 sail: ~6 days. I would only renew standard sail once in several years, as it is only used less than 10 days per year in the light wind.
  • This adds up 50 + 25 + 6 = 81 days of sailing per year. Sounds reasonable.
Thank you very much!
Toshi
 

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thieuster

Active Member
#10
Wow, I haven't seen a nice sheet like this! I think you've cracked the sail's 'usefulness code' with this one. And I fully agree with your planning. Be advised though that there's always something unpredictable around the corner: very strong winds during a period thus taking more 'life' from the sail in a shorter amount of time etc.

About buying sails: despite the more-or-less fixed prices of sails (cartel??), it's possible to negotiate a price when you buy more than one sail. A group buy perhaps with other members of your club?

Last question: are you coming over to the Masters Worlds here in The Netherlands in September?

Menno
 
#11
I have no experience with the radial but I am pleasantly surprised by the lifetime of the standard MK2 sail. I got mine halfway the 2016 season and will replace it this summer before the master worlds. Most of my sailing is on inland lakes but it is only now that i think it needs to be demoted to a training sail. Used it for about 250 hours in that period.

But it all depends on you sailing level. I'm at the level that avoiding mistakes is more important than the quality of the sail...
 
#12
...just one comment on training sails - I think its important to train with good equipment - year 3 sail is fine but I personally would not buy a cheaper sail to train with - if you train with good equipment you know for sure that any (successful) changes to technique or settings can be replicated on the race course - if you use different equipment you are less sure. This is especially true if you train in windy conditions when its tempting to use an old "blown out" sail to save your new ones for the race - but when its windy the old sail will be very different to set up and sail with which is not good practice for the real events ( I did 10 days training mostly with breeze in cabarete in April and used my Croatia worlds sail, effectively a "year 2" sail)
 
Thread starter #13
Wow, I haven't seen a nice sheet like this! I think you've cracked the sail's 'usefulness code' with this one. And I fully agree with your planning. Be advised though that there's always something unpredictable around the corner: very strong winds during a period thus taking more 'life' from the sail in a shorter amount of time etc.

About buying sails: despite the more-or-less fixed prices of sails (cartel??), it's possible to negotiate a price when you buy more than one sail. A group buy perhaps with other members of your club?

Last question: are you coming over to the Masters Worlds here in The Netherlands in September?

Menno
Thank you very much, Menno! A group purchase of the sail seems a good idea. I will consult with other sailers in my area.

Unfortunately I am not coming to the Masters Worlds in the Netherland this year, as I chose to go to the European Masters in Spain this June for this year; One international championship per year would be appropriate for me. But I do plan to go to the Masters World in Australia this March.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
#14
My first MKII standard lasted just under 2 years, (about 50 sailing days of either racing or frostbiting combined) and it was tired.... It was my first MKII and I've kept it for practice and frostbiting. It was a North. I purchased my first Hyde this spring and so far have about 5 light air, (10 and under) sailing days on it and I love it! Will be interesting to see how long it lasts now that I have a practice sail to use.

I also believe you have to use the same type of sail between practice and racing. There's too much other stuff going on to have to remember which sail you have up and how to trim it. Laser sailing is all about getting your gear consistent so your adjustments become muscle memory. This allows you to keep your head out of the boat for tactics.
 
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