"One design sail" - poor quality control for Hyde

Thread starter #1
I bought a Hyde sail last year and only used it for one regatta as I was constantly overpowered and the sail did not perform well compared to my 17year old well worn (out) sail

I decided to take the sail out once again and it still did not perform well, constantly over powered, could not hold the boat down at all. The cunningham had no effect because as soon as I even put in a little tension the gromet was at the boom.

This is what I figured out:

When the new sail is laid over my old sail, the luff on the new sail is 2 1/2" longer than my old stretched sail. When I fan the luff (i.e. the correct method of measuring) it turns out that it is a full 3" longer. Thought that one of the reasons we are overcharged for this piece of Dacron is that it is a one design sail and all sails are supposed to be equal with strict quality control and tight dimensions. Turns out that my 76sqft sail is actually larger, could be an advantage if my top section is 3" longer.

My cheap Intensity practice sail (made in China) at a less than half the cost actually resemble the dimensions of what a Laser sail is supposed to be.

NOT IMPRESSED by Hyde sail lack of quality control, one word - JUNK

Stict one design sail - what a farce


Active Member
Please do not take this as a defense for what happened sometime back around when your old sail was made. This is simply one man's best understanding of what happened back then.

From the beginning of Laser production until sometime around 1990, all Laser sails were soft pieces of crap that lost what little race value they had in their first good blow. The sails wee made from something called 3.2 ounce cloth. There were colored sails, white sails and the sails were made by Fogh and Elvstrom, and North's loft in Canada and all sorts of stuff I really don't know.
The sails all seemed to suck about equally. The game was good. No, It was great. We had as many as 7000 North American Laser Class members with about half as many Lasers as we have today floating around. Something was working perfectly.
Then we were told that 3.2 ounce cloth was hard to find. Nobody made it anymore and the sails would be much more expensive if we kept insisting on obsolete cloth. We were told 3.8 oz cloth was readily available and that we should switch so the sailmakers could buy from huge supplies of 3.8 oz cloth which were available all over the planet for huge discount prices. We were told our sails would be really goo-d and super cheap if we just followed the obvious path to 3.8 oz.

So the ILCA decided a switch to 3.8 cloth would be OK.

Haarstick built the sails for a few years. The sails were 3.8 OZ and, with the exception of the ocasional human error problems, the sails were so wonderfully identical we were beginning to have one design racing "post the switch to heavier cloth." In local fleets like my own, the Haarstick 3.8 ounce sail was good for a trip to the front of the fleet over the 3.2 ounce. Over that three year period virtually all our sailors bought new sails. One design suffered a short term inconvenience and we were reaping a long term gain. In fact, The Haarstick sails were so good we were using them for multiple seasons. I finished second in a Bruce Cup with a 2 year old Haarstick. That never would have happened in the 3.2 oz era. Pre haarstick 3.8 oz sails, serious racers knew to bring a brand new sail to any serious event. These new sails were durable, consistent and one design Laser sailing no longer included a new sail fer every regatta.

Then North took over production in North America. The North produced "one design Laser sails" were larger in every direction than the Haarsticks. The bad news was the cloth was not at all durable and the sails fluttered in the leech on the first ride. The good news, if there was any good news was that the North's had a bad shape and were only about the same speed as the Haarsticks. Some sailors even bought up extra Haarsticks...for a short period.
Then North got its act together and tweaked the shape a bit so that their sails worked. As of that day, for the purposes of racing, 100% of all sails produced previously were useless. The new sails were bigger and shaped as well as the old sails. \
Unfortunatly, I do not believe the North or Hyde sail of the late nineties had durability anywhere near as good as the Haarsticks of the early nineties. I do nknow that anybody who wanted to win, used a New North or Hyde. Nobody was winning in big events with two year old sails. That era of quality durable sails was over.
In the late nineties North had some quality control issues with its cloth. Remember we went to 3.8 ounce because the "supplirers of cloth" had to specially make cloth just for Lasers?? Wellllll, North decided to manufacture its own cloth and was having trouble with the concept that they had to throw out cloth that was not good enoiugh to make sails. North was using cloth that looked like it belonged at the Victoria's Secret underwear factory. The sailors whined. Some sailors switched to Hyde at whatver cost it took to get decent sails. North sails was being hammered for making lousy sails for the Laser and their reputation was at stake. North likes to be known for having the very best sails in racing fleets. North decided to make decent Laser stuff.

Since sometime around 2000 all the North and Hyde sails have been remarkably consistent. ( says me because I sure have not been able to detect any difference) I have not carefully compared sails this year but I have folded sails with people who have new ones and I didn't notice anything. Sailors with brand new sails are not leaping to the front of the fleet or anything...So I don't know that sails have changed size again.

I suspect you have an older sail from before all the above described stuff had run its course. I am curious whether you have compared your sail with others. My guess is, you have the same sail al the rest of us have been using since the mid nineties.

Cunningham: Old Laser sailors had to go through a transition. In the eighties and earlier, I thought of the cuningham line as a useless string that I never touched. It held the sail down too hard unless the line was super light and left loose.
Now the cunningham on the new rig has a mechanical advantage of 1.000.000 : 1 and it still needs more.
Your luff length and need for depowering complaints indicate you have made the switch from pre 1993 sails to the current design.

The total content of the above is more than I really know.



Upside down?
Staff member
Fred provided a lot of interesting history. But to sum up in one sentence, you really need to compare your new sail to other new sails, North or Hyde. Do tell us what you find out.
I do remember reading about a couple of other incidents like this with the new Hyde sails. There was a quality control issue, and I think the other people just sent their sails back to the factory under warranty and got new ones. Or maby it wasn't even under warranty, just a nasty email.

I have a Hyde Radial sail that was new last year, and it has no defects whatsoever. I've heard the Hyde sails are more durable than the North sails, but that's a myth based on information that I haven't actually seen.
Thread starter #5
When measured against a brand new North sail, the Hyde is STILL longer by the same dimensions.

By the way my old sail is of 3.8oz stock made in 1988 (it has been a very durable sail)
If there's such a difference between 2 brand new sails (3" in luff) I presume that only 1 of them is "correct", ie as per the specifications. The ILCA rules state that the Luff should be max 5130mm - but no tolerances are specified - I guess they think just specifying a max value is sufficient. How do the sails you have compare to this ? If the Hyde is out of spec I'd send it back.
Thread starter #7
My Hyde is the wrong size as it is bigger than my: Intensity sail, my 17yr old Laser sail and a brand new North sail at my club.

To recap if I put the Hyde on my mast the foot of the sail touches the gooseneck, the cunningham then can only be pulled so far as the rest of the sail has no where to go...it can only wrinkle up so much
I would check your top section length against another laser's section. My guess is that the rivit on the top sleve may be partially broken and the top section is getting shorter. Check it out and report back..
It definitly sounds as if the sail is "out of spec". I agree, so much for one design!
Another question. Is the Hyde sail better than the North sail. Just asking because it is $100 more? I have been out of the game for 20 years, just trying to catch up!
Thread starter #10
Re: sail4SC

The sail measures longer than any other sail, whether that be new, old, 3rd party sail. It is not the top section or I would have this problem with my other 2 sails. I measured the sail against a current spec North and it is longer, plain and simple
Take it back to your dealer and have them send it back to Vanguard who will measure it and send you a new one.....these are factory made mass produced sails shit happens sometimes but it is easy to remedy
ive gone through 3 new sails in the last three years and I've used hyde for the last two. I like the hyde's more because it seams to have better shape in breeze. Ive found that actually less cunningham is necessary to depower. Ive also noticed that it holds its shape in the leach and foot a little longer. I think the poster of this thread just got a bum sail frankly, ive never heard or seen a brand new sail with long luff.
I have the same problem with a brand new radial sail (North) versus my old cut sail (mk 4 maybe). The luff seems to be at leas 2 inches longer, and when i pull on enough cunningham the sleeve is usually mushed up by the gooseneck.