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Racing sail life?

Ticktack

Member
Just curious what to look for & how to determine when a "Race" sail is losing its competitive shape & when to go with a new one?
Any thoughts?
Thanks!
 

Alan Glos

Active Member
In the sage words of Indiana Jones, "It's not the years, its the mileage." If you sail/race a lot (say weekly, all season) your race sail will break down faster
than it will if you sail/race less. Sun and wind (not water) are the major risk factors. I get about three seasons out of a $350+ class legal race sail, and I know it is time time to get a new one when the boat just feels, well, slow, which is usually in the third season. The all white, Class legal sail is very well made but not that much better than the far less expensive Intensity race cut sail. Some people use an Intensity for informal club racing and practice and save the Class legal sail for Class sanctioned regattas.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

Ticktack

Member
In the sage words of Indiana Jones, "It's not the years, its the mileage." If you sail/race a lot (say weekly, all season) your race sail will break down faster
than it will if you sail/race less. Sun and wind (not water) are the major risk factors. I get about three seasons out of a $350+ class legal race sail, and I know it is time time to get a new one when the boat just feels, well, slow, which is usually in the third season. The all white, Class legal sail is very well made but not that much better than the far less expensive Intensity race cut sail. Some people use an Intensity for informal club racing and practice and save the Class legal sail for Class sanctioned regattas.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
Alan, Thank you for your reply & input.
When a sail starts feeling slower, are you able to see any changes in shape of the sail like draft position, fullness, how hooked the leach is etc.?
Also, do you think since the introduction of the North Racing sail in early 90's, has there been any changes to shape or are the current racing sails the same design shape?
Thanks again, Tom
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
SunfishBlousedMainsail.jpg

FWIW, my old racing sail—later ripped along each spar by a "cell"—appeared to have a "blouse".

By hand, and with no wind pressure, I could pull it down maybe a ½-inch below the boom.
 

Alan Glos

Active Member
As sails age, the resin that is impregnated into the sailcloth, breaks down, the cloth looks and feels softer and the max draft tends to move aft. The leach may also loosen up a little. It won't point as high and off the wind it lacks the "punch" of a newer sail. You will feel the difference more than see it.

Alan Glos
 

Alan Glos

Active Member
.....added: To be honest, I don't know if the Sunfish Class legal race sail has changed much since North came up with the basic design. Maybe somebody else here on the Forum knows more about any changes and can comment.

Alan Glos
 

Ticktack

Member
As sails age, the resin that is impregnated into the sailcloth, breaks down, the cloth looks and feels softer and the max draft tends to move aft. The leach may also loosen up a little. It won't point as high and off the wind it lacks the "punch" of a newer sail. You will feel the difference more than see it.

Alan Glos
Alan,
Sounds good, I appreciate your input.
I bought a '91 Pearson Sunfish early last summer for local weekly racing.
The boat was in storage for about 20 years, it is light, in Excellent condition & seems to show little use. It has the original North racing sail & is competitive when I dont make dumb mistakes! Iwas trying to determine if it was time to replace the sail.
Thanks again,
Tom
 

chris williams

Active Member
As sails age, the resin that is impregnated into the sailcloth, breaks down, the cloth looks and feels softer and the max draft tends to move aft. The leach may also loosen up a little. It won't point as high and off the wind it lacks the "punch" of a newer sail. You will feel the difference more than see it.

Alan Glos
I have been racing with the racing sail since it came out in 1990 or so. Alan is correct, and the way you can tell what he is talking about is sailing against others and they are pointing higher or going faster vs you than they used to.

That said, a good sailor can do better with an old sail than a poorer sailor can do with a new sail. Two cases in point. I got fairly well whomped at the 2019 Midwinters and the fall 2019 Massapoag regatta with my “good” sail, which has been in service since 2013 but mostly only used at regionals, NAs, etc. I of course thought “can’t be me, must be the sail.” So I started looking around, and at the top of the fleet at each regatta were a mix of new and definitely not-new sails. So you can go fast if you are good and have spent a lot of time in the boat regardless of your sail. But I have decided it’s time to break a new one out. Mine is getting soft and I think it’s time.

In regard to changes in the cut, there haven’t been any (with 2 exceptions.). Laser Performance unexpectedly provided non-North Racing sails for the Colombia Worlds a few years back and the US Sailing Championship of Champions. They were flat and slow vs North sails. The racing sails today are North even tho the label says LP.

However,the sailcloth has varied some. The current sails seem to either have more resin or are of a bit heavier cloth. That seems good as the draft stays in place in gusts better.
 

Ticktack

Member
I have been racing with the racing sail since it came out in 1990 or so. Alan is correct, and the way you can tell what he is talking about is sailing against others and they are pointing higher or going faster vs you than they used to.

That said, a good sailor can do better with an old sail than a poorer sailor can do with a new sail. Two cases in point. I got fairly well whomped at the 2019 Midwinters and the fall 2019 Massapoag regatta with my “good” sail, which has been in service since 2013 but mostly only used at regionals, NAs, etc. I of course thought “can’t be me, must be the sail.” So I started looking around, and at the top of the fleet at each regatta were a mix of new and definitely not-new sails. So you can go fast if you are good and have spent a lot of time in the boat regardless of your sail. But I have decided it’s time to break a new one out. Mine is getting soft and I think it’s time.

In regard to changes in the cut, there haven’t been any (with 2 exceptions.). Laser Performance unexpectedly provided non-North Racing sails for the Colombia Worlds a few years back and the US Sailing Championship of Champions. They were flat and slow vs North sails. The racing sails today are North even tho the label says LP.

However,the sailcloth has varied some. The current sails seem to either have more resin or are of a bit heavier cloth. That seems good as the draft stays in place in gusts better.
Alan & Chris, Thank ya`ll So much for your input & help, that helps a lot!

Can you tell me what wind indicators top sunfish sailors rely on to maintain ideal sail trim, pointing & VMG while sailing the weather leg?
Are there any better locations for telltale locations on sail that have changed over time instead of locations indicated in the Tuning guide by Scott White?

What about the V shaped wires with telltales mounted on gaff a few feet above the tack, are those better than telltales on the sail, maybe because of the sails asymmetrical shape?

Again, Thanks, I`m really looking forward to the upcoming racing season!
 

Alan Glos

Active Member
The "V" shaped wire struts attached to the upper boom/gaff are very handy. I use a 10" piece of old cassette tape (*) taped to the ends of the wires to show where the wind is coming from. Keep in mind that you are seeing the apparent wind, not the true wind, the sum of the true wind and the speed of the boat. I am not wild about the solid arrow shaped wind indicators that attach to the spars as they are not as sensitive in very light wind conditions. You can also rig a similar wind indicator at the top of the gaff that is most helpful when running down wind. Others swear by telltales attached to both sides of the sail, and they are helpful in showing the flow of the wind over the surface of the sail. In theory, the telltales should stream straight aft and not up or down when the sail is properly trimmed.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY

* Not just any tape, mind you! Mine comes off a vintage Grateful Dead cassette.
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
Thanks Tag, my problem is that I don't know what the tells should be doing when the sail is trimmed properly. Alan, in his last sentence, wrote that the telltales should be streaming straight aft when the sail has proper trim and this gave me a lot of insight. Should that have been obvious? LOL...
Andy will get me up to speed when we get back on the water. Our group out here hasn't sailed since about Thanksgiving and we are really ready to get back on Tomales!
 

Ticktack

Member
I have been racing with the racing sail since it came out in 1990 or so. Alan is correct, and the way you can tell what he is talking about is sailing against others and they are pointing higher or going faster vs you than they used to.

That said, a good sailor can do better with an old sail than a poorer sailor can do with a new sail. Two cases in point. I got fairly well whomped at the 2019 Midwinters and the fall 2019 Massapoag regatta with my “good” sail, which has been in service since 2013 but mostly only used at regionals, NAs, etc. I of course thought “can’t be me, must be the sail.” So I started looking around, and at the top of the fleet at each regatta were a mix of new and definitely not-new sails. So you can go fast if you are good and have spent a lot of time in the boat regardless of your sail. But I have decided it’s time to break a new one out. Mine is getting soft and I think it’s time.

In regard to changes in the cut, there haven’t been any (with 2 exceptions.). Laser Performance unexpectedly provided non-North Racing sails for the Colombia Worlds a few years back and the US Sailing Championship of Champions. They were flat and slow vs North sails. The racing sails today are North even tho the label says LP.

However,the sailcloth has varied some. The current sails seem to either have more resin or are of a bit heavier cloth. That seems good as the draft stays in place in gusts better.
Thanks so much for everyone’s input.
when choosing location for telltales on the sail, how far aft of the mast is best? I have usually put telltales just above mast so mast doesn’t affect air flow. I am wondering if that location might be misleading in regards to air attachment with mast in the air equation in a lower, larger & potentially more powerful area of sail?
Thanks again, I really appreciate everyone’s input!!
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Because of the mast, tell tales aren't as useful on a Sunfish as, for instance, on a Laser.
Also, I hate to look up and run into another fish while racing.

Here is an image from the most recent Worlds. Note that none of these sailors put tell tales on their sails, although that was allowed.
 

Attachments

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Interesting, that at least one racer is reclined inside the cockpit! :oops:

BTW, to keep my best secrets when I'm racing, I use transparent tell-tales. ;)
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Interesting, that at least one racer is reclined inside the cockpit! :oops:

BTW, to keep my best secrets when I'm racing, I use transparent tell-tales. ;)
They were on their way home after a day of racing; lusting for that first beer.
I do agree that transparent tell tales are the best, but let's keep this a secret...
:)
 

andyatos

Well-Known Member
View attachment 36150

Champion Doug Kaukeinen, so you can be pretty sure he has the telltales in useful locations.
What I would like to know is does he use them when he's on port tack instead of starboard tack like in this photo. Meaning, does he have them placed far enough back from the luff so that they are clear of the turbulence caused by the mast pressed against the sail when he's on port tack?

- Andy
 

Ticktack

Member
View attachment 36150

Both the picture posted by Tag and this one are good references. This picture is of former Sunfish NA Champion Doug Kaukeinen, so you can be pretty sure he has the telltales in useful locations. Looks like he is sailing on his home waters of Irondequoit Bay, NY.
Thanks so much for everyone’s input on this. Yes, Based on Mr. Kaukeinen’s performance, his telltale placement must work for him very well!
Looks like they are placed for enough aft of mast to enable airflow to reattach. From what can tell, it looks like he is not using the V- shaped wire, tales usually mounted low on the gaff, is that right?
Thanks Again!!
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
In the sage words of Indiana Jones, "It's not the years, its the mileage." If you sail/race a lot (say weekly, all season) your race sail will break down faster
than it will if you sail/race less. Sun and wind (not water) are the major risk factors. I get about three seasons out of a $350+ class legal race sail, and I know it is time time to get a new one when the boat just feels, well, slow, which is usually in the third season. The all white, Class legal sail is very well made but not that much better than the far less expensive Intensity race cut sail. Some people use an Intensity for informal club racing and practice and save the Class legal sail for Class sanctioned regattas.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
Would it help to use spray-starch to extend a new sail's life?
 

Charles Howard

Active Member
Ticktack

The tell tale on the front boom is important to see the apparent wind direction to help adjust the sail. If you sail in light wind this indicator will pick up the shifting wind. The telltales on the sail help maintain the proper flow over the sail.
 

Ticktack

Member
Ticktack

The tell tale on the front boom is important to see the apparent wind direction to help adjust the sail. If you sail in light wind this indicator will pick up the shifting wind. The telltales on the sail help maintain the proper flow over the sail.
Thanks, I really appreciate your input, I’m going to make some of the wire, gaff mounted tales for this upcoming racing season & start figuring out how to use them!
 

tag

my2fish
my solution (I vaguely recall it mentioned here on the Sunfish Forum, so I won’t take credit for the idea) was to take a small piece of 1 1/2″ diameter PVC pipe, maybe 3″ or 4″ long, and cut it into a C-shape. it took a little trial-and-error to get it just right, but now this C-shaped length of pipe would slip onto the upper spar of my Sunfish sail, and fit snugly enough to not slide up and down the spar, or twist side-to-side… but it is still easy to pull off at the end of a sailing session. I then drilled a hole to fit the bent section of coat hanger, and screwed the hanger in place (and filed down the tip of the screw that went through the PVC). so this is a view of the back of my home-made indicator, looking at the C-shaped piece of PVC that will “clamp” to the upper spar.



works really well, especially in lighter air conditions.
 

ReneEvM

New Member
Mine is more/less the same a Tag's but I added a crossbar to keep the arms equal. Don't have a pic. Let's say top view from the front will look like a A not a Ʌ
 

wjejr

Active Member
Hi Ticktack. You could have a look at my thread entitled “making a sunfish wind indicator”. I’ve been using this for the last three or four years, and it works well.
 

tag

my2fish
link here for wjejr's version:
 

Ticktack

Member
link here for wjejr's version:
I actually had seen that in here before, Great design!
Thanks,
Ticktack
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
That design is pretty close to a contraption known as a Feathermate. The latter one didn't have the third arm (the one pointing forward) though and isn't available commercially anymore, AFAIK.
 
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