New Main! Like getting used to new shoes.
28 October 2016
We started out our cruise with two mains, both over 15 years old. We had a composite (mylar/kevlar) racing main but the boom hung so low it would have been a foot below the bimini top we desperately need in the tropical sun.
I have been receiving Brian Hancock's blogs on sail power and asked him to quote on new main. I was very specific in my request for a quote, two top battens, only two reefs but deeper than normal. I wanted good shape and pointing ability. Brian came back with a recommendation for a membrane sail. This is a sophisticated molded sail, made on a special floor that shapes like a Transformer to the actual size and shape of the main. Mylar is shrunk to fit the mold and kevlar and carbon fiber threads are woven along the lines of highest stress. Another layer of mylar is glued and shrunk on the mold and a thin layer of dacron is bonded for strength.
We had used 3DL sails of similar construction from North Sails on Veloce and they worked great. I was skeptical of the longevity of a membrane sail. Brian showed me a picture of Skip Novac's main of this construction. The sail had covered 50,000 miles and twice to Antartica. Sold!
Brian and I never met or talked on the phone. I gave him detailed measurements and received a sail that fit perfectly. It looked kinda flat to me but I was used to some pretty blown out rags!
The first time I sailed with the new main in decent wind I thought, "This thing doesn't have much power." Uproar didn't heal much in the puffs. What it did do is just go forward and fast! I had the exact same feeling when putting up a new main on Veloce for the first time.
One gets so in tune with the way a boat sails, a change just doesn't feel right. No blisters but there is a break-in period. We have sailed enough with this sail to know it is a winner. Energy is transferred efficiently into forward thrust, not sideways heeling. Thanks Brian, I love my boat even more.
The sails we had would certainly get us where we were going but sailing is a lot more to me. The feel of a boat digging in and driving through the seas is a thrill for me. Guess that's why I bought a performance boat in the first place.
We had a great sail through a turbulent pass with Keith and Linda on Euan Mara. Linda took this picture. We were sailing on the north side of Tobago near Pointed Rock toward Pirate's Bay, Charlotteville. Believe me, we were enjoying this sail in spite of what the seas look like. It's that feel thing!