Sails...I'm going THERE again...

Rob B

Well-Known Member
Thread starter #41
The Hyde has radial cut panels that seem to address the leech problems better. The North looks NO different from the current sail.

However, the Hyde does still have the wrinkle in the middle of the sail from where the mast sections meet. I like the Hyde window better too.
I'm no expert on sails and it surprises me how much can be identified from two small pics. Any chance of explaining to me what in the pics gives away that the North offering is not much of an improvement compared to the Hyde offering.

An inexperienced eye (e.g. mine) can see very little from the Hyde pic and it would help me learn what to look out for if somebody could highlight the factors involved in the comparison. Maybe it is that one sail is under load (two blocked and with somebody sailing the boat) whilst the other is just sitting there no loading, no stresses that makes it harder for me.

Many thanks
Ian if you look really closely at the North sail, there is some tension on the leach. It's not two blocked but there is tension. Now look at the leach from top to bottom and in to the inboard edge of the batten pockets. You see the "stretch marks"? Looks the same as the current sail when tension is put on. The sail is still cross cut, meaning the panels run in straight lines from the leach to the luff. They have increased the number of panels by reducing the size of each panel but it seems that it still doesn't address the problem very well.

Now look at the Hyde. It's a radial cut meaning the panels are running from clew to luff in a diagonal pattern. What this does is better address the massive amounts of tension we put on the leach. You will notice the leach isn't fluttering like current, no "stretch marks", the only bad thing with the Hyde is the diagonal wrinkle from the mast partner to the clew. That, however, is unavoidable due to the mast sections being different sizes and the luff sleeve not fitting the mast perfectly. It does however still look better than the current sail in this regard. I believe Tracy or someone said the size of the luff sleeve was increased to address this issue.
I think the Hyde will address the problems much better.

But that window is damn ugly.

Interesting thought, if the Standard Rig becomes radial cut, we'll have two sizes of Laser Radial...


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
Lasers are the result of Bruce Kirby's effort to build a very nice plastic toy. He worked hard to come up with what he thought was the perfect shape. He tested that shape, tweaked it a bit, tested more and finally created a toy that was so wonderful he decided to make a mold.

With a mold, others could make more sailboats whose shape was just the same and just as good as Kirby's original.

Thirty years later, the photos above show one very clear thing:

No one involved in the Laser sail construction process at either North or Hyde seems to be capable of building proper sails for our boats. The sails in those photos are not worthy of replication.

I am not in charge and have no power to make anybody listen.

if I were in charge, I would look at the sails offered in the photos above. Consider the willingness of the management of the two companies to build and sell a product of that quality and ..

Call another sailmaker.


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
The previous post made some assumption which couold unfairly place blame on Hyde and North rather than the builders of the Laser.

Maybe the sails in the photos are EXACTLY what the builders ordered.

1. Perhaps the builders enjoy being able to spend the profits from selling replacement sails and worry about selling sails that are too durable. They may have a very legitimate fear of losing business and the resulting profit.

2. Perhaps the builders placed price limitations on the sailmakers and the sails shown are the very best sails the sailmakers were willing to build for such a low price. Perhaps there is a discussion going on between the sailmakers and the buiilders where the sailmakers are saying, "If you guys refuse to allow us to make money we have no reason to invest time and energy in making a decent product."

3. The sails could be the result of the sailmakers attempt to jump past the builders and into the market to find allies. Perhaps the sailmakers schemed and decided while the process is still continuing to present such crap the customers (US) would be infuriated and demand the builders sell us decent product. (My favorite conspiracy theory is this one)

The post above said "if I were in charge" .... "I would call another sailmaker."

I added this note so I could modify that claim and perhaps defend North and Hyde in the process:

If I were in charge the current sailmakers would most certainly be offered the very first opportunity to design and produce a new better and more durable sail. I would certainly make every effort to keep my relationship with my long term valued suppliers.
My discussions with North and Hyde would begin with my making it very clear that I expect those sailmakers to use THEIR expertise to develop the very best possible product. My expertise is the hull and deck construction of the small boat. I defer to the sailmakers to be experts in sail design.

Brief Hijack: As in my boat business history I have made every effort to produce the most durable and identical one design hulls and decks, I expect the same from ALL the suppliers who contribute their parts to the finished sailing craft. I would EXPECT my extrusion supplier to provide the best alloy and thickness to accomplish the job. I would EXPECT the most appropriate set of lines from my lines supplier. end Hijack

If I had solicited the new sail designs some or all of the following would absolutely have been discussed.:

1. Original purchase price of sails would be a consideration but a higher initial price would not be grounds for disqualification.
2. Durability of the sail would be VERY important. Any new sail design soliced by me would be solicited with the clear understanding that the proposed sail would have a longer competitive lifespan
3. I would want any new sail to meet the goal such that I could make the following sales pitch. "Over the next ten years, the Laser fleet will have higher quality sails; the sails will last longer; and the total dollars spent by competitive sailors to compete with reasonably competitive sails will be lower than if we had kept the old design."
4. When sails are used for the first time in winds ranging from 8 to 20 mph, the brand new sail should set up at full speed with no stretch marks, troughs, or fluttering leeches.
5. I want to hear EXACTLY how the sailmaker will present the next 1,000,000 sails such that very few or no sailors can tell any difference in the cloth thickness, shape, durablility or performance between any two of those million sails.

So...As I wrote above,

Perhaps the sailmakers provided exactly what the builders ordered.

Honestly: I have raced with North Sails on dozens of other boats and I have always considered North's stuff to be the racing man's standard, no excuses, top of the line, you know you can win with these product.

The "here is what we can make for you" North sail in the photo could not possibly have been presented as North's best effort.

There must be an explanation. I know Noreth can make a perfect Finn sail for little guys with flexible Finn masts and on the same day make a perfect Finn sail for a guant athlete who hikes hard and uses discarded telephomne -poles for his masts.

What do I think??
North wouldn't build crap unless the builders asked for it...

Although I would prefer that North would tell anybody who asks for crap to "Go somewhere else. We don't build anything but good stuff."..

I suppose the sailmaking world would still be in balance if North is working on conspiracy number 3 above.
My own experience with North is very much as above – excellent design and quality (although not for dinghies but Offshore One Designs).

Gouvernail’s post does raise some interesting questions though. To my mind, in these days where web sites can be updated by non-technical people in no time, why is the brief given to the sail makers not published on the Laser Class Association’s web site ? In fact, why are there not loads of info – “we are looking into xxx, tell your local rep what you think ?”, “initial thoughts are, give us feedback ?”, etc. Why the secrecy ? I cannot believe that a decently organised web site can use the excuse of “nobody to do it” (though I appreciate the work put in by volunteers, a publishing a bit more info is hardly a big drain on resources – not when you see the money and efforts put into e.g. international regattas, etc.).


Added later: I appreciate that Tracy (SFBayLaser) does post similar questions on this forum but, given the limited participation here I would have hoped the ILCA web site would have taken on some responsibility for “communications with members”.