sail cloth, sail fibers, sail making

 

I am presenting a lecture seminar on the subject topic this Thursday, tomorrow, 16 Feb 2017 at Newport Yacht Club, Long Wharf in Newport. All are welcome.

This is the presentation overview and the things I will be discussing.

Fiber, fabric, film and fabrication

  • What does a sail have to do?
  • What is required to do this?
  • Background on fibers and their properties
  • Weaving 101
  • Mylar properties
  • Laminates
  • Laminated method
  • “String sails”
  • What’s next?
  • What does the weekend sailor make of this?

And thanks to Hood Sailmakers and Dimension Polyant for the cloth samples.

Hood Sailmakers is paving the way by sponsoring the drinks to the tune of the first $150 of drinks served.

This is the email flier that Roy Guay, my host for the evening and the Chairman of the Bermuda 1-2 distributed to the club’s membership.

On 16 February at 1830 the Newport Yacht Club is trying to start a Winter Lecture Series. Our own Joe Cooper will be giving a talk on Sailcloth and Sails: “Separating marketing from facts to get to Value: A discussion of Sailcloth and things to look for and why for various types of sailing. What does “Premium Dacron” really mean? Why every sail maker has “The world’s best sails” What’s the difference? Woven, Laminates, fibers, molded, not molded, a glossary and guide to sail-maker speak.”

If you are in the neighborhood drop on by. All are welcome.

Roy Guay
Offshore Chairman

Cooper in action at a seminar in California last year.

Cooper in action at a seminar in California last year.

Hope to see you there.

Cheers

Coop

 

12 meters and 6.5 meters

Moving boats, always at night.

Maybe it’s just me but I seem to spend a disproportinate amount of time moving, going to or leaving with boats, at night. Wednesday night was a classic of the genre. I moved the Mini up to the Hinckley Yacht Services yard in Portsmouth preparatory to erecting the shed around her and the Ranger so I can continue The Quest to get the Mini sailing again. The night was drizzly wet, misty, dank and generally raw. It was the kind of night to sit by the fire with a good who-dunnit and a glass of Shiraz. The dankness and the weak yellow flood lamps reminded me of the first time I saw the rebuilt 12-meter Australia, in July 1979.

Mini nad Ranger at Hinckley Yacht Services

The fellow who had recruited me to be the boat captain, Lee Killingworth and I drove into the industrial area in which the refit had been done. The shed was your basic industrial put-it-up-in-a-day steel shed. It and a few clones were inside a 10-foot tall wire mesh fence in a neighborhood populated with similar homages to the rigors of small business manufacturing

Mini at Hinckley Yacht Services

July is mid-winter in Australia and Perth is on the water. The prevailing weather is from the west and southwest and so brings the harsh storms blowing up from the Southern Ocean bringing lots of moisture with them. And it is cold, raw moisture.

There was no sign on our shed. Warren Jones the Man Who Made It All Happen, in 1980 and particularly in 1983, had wanted to keep the boat invisible where possible. The dark/fog/mist/drizzle atmosphere was winning the battle of light versus dark against the yellowish lamps purportedly illuminating the parking lot.

IMG_2831

I opened the gate and we idled up to the side door of our building. I can remember that scene as though it was yesterday. Just the two of us, long disciples of the Aussie Battle to win the America’s Cup, the atmosphere was full of expectation. It felt like the beginning of something no one had ever done, beat the yanks in the America’s Cup.

Tonight, at Hinckley it was the same kind of wet, chill, dank, bleak night, something out of Dickens perhaps. I towed the Mini up the Burma Rd. to Hinckley and pulled in along side one of the huge sheds they have. These storage sheds are the larger brothers of the ones in Perth all those years ago. I wonder what it is with the lighting that goes with these sheds? It is always this pale anemic yellow. Weak enough that you feel if you looked at it too hard the light would just dribble away, mingling with the runnels of water covering the ground and and simply extinguish itself.

Again as in Perth, the whole scene reminded one of a 1930’s Raymond Chandler gangster novel. You know, something like…..

Mini at HYS

There were no headlights on the black shape as it inched closer. It looked like a Caddie, but with street lamps few and far between here, it was that kind of neighborhood, it was hard to be sure. Then again, at this time of the early morning who else was it gonna be? The President?

 In the dark it was hard to make out any particulars of the guy in the car. The one street lamp between him and the tenement was that sickly, anemic yellow color that the lamps down on the ship docks show. The car had stopped just outside the circle of yellow light drifting down from this lone lamp. The drizzle let up for a moment, but that really made no difference. The cloud cover was at about 3 feet anyway, so rain or not, everything was wet and the late fall air was chill. The entire scene was dank and depressing. At length he got out of the car.

He stood there, big and bulky, dense really, 250 lbs and 200 of it was not anywhere near his belt buckle. His hat was pulled down low over the eyebrows and the collar of his long black over coat turned up. The black of the coat matched the darkness of the street, as though they came from the same bin of blackness. So dressed, he was almost invisible outside that weak circle of yellow pinch-hitting for light. For fully a minute he stood quite motionless. He not so much looked around, but rather as if he was sniffing the air, taking in the mojo of the scene. If he were a cat, his whiskers would be twitching. At length who, or what ever, was at Twitch Control must have given him the all clear. He started walking, slowly with steady steps towards the decrepit and dim tenement.

There was no other human on the street but that was not a surprise. 2637 Broadview was the last, more or less inhabited, tenement on the block. It was so well known to the cops, they never did need the number. Just “Disturbance on Broadview”, said it all.

He stopped some feet from the door. Twitch, twitch. Slowly, very, very, slowly he unbuttoned his overcoat and pulled the lapels apart, just a smidge. He reached inside the overcoat and unbuttoned the three buttons on his suit coat. Very slowly, twitching all the while.

He raised his right hand up under his left armpit, and I don’t think he was reaching for his Lucky Strikes.

Mini in yellow light at HYS

It was that kind of night.

Mini at HYSSo here we go again. This time I have the Ranger AND the Mini going into the Vince’s Bush Boatyard Plastic Hoop Shed, albeit with 12 feet of extensions on it to accommodate the Ranger. Maybe after I get her done and sailing I will be able to move boat boats around in daylight, sunny, warm, you know, a normal kind of day for sailing…

Back in "The Day". On a moorinmg in Newport Harbour after the New ENgland Solo Twin, 2003

Back in “The Day”. On the mooring in Newport Harbour after the New England Solo Twin, 2003

 

Sailing Seminars for this winter

Seminars on sailing are a great way to keep the juices flowing in the winter. The menu below is a summary of the seminars I have already prepared. I can also develop custom seminars for dedicated audiences. Interested? Need to learn more?

Drop me a note joe@joecoopersailing.com and let’s discuss what can be done to keep your group fired up in February.

PASSAGE MAKING

Preparing for your next “long passage”: This seminar discusses Seamanship and 8 things to think about before you undertake any voyage so we don’t read about you in WindCheck. Regardless of the size of boat and the intended passage, whether it is to Block Is. Nantucket, Maine or Bermuda and beyond. The thinking needed is the same regardless of the destination. This seminar discusses key elements of the boat to be reviewed before leaving the dock.

Steering cables on a 40 footer mis-aligned. This will ultimately damege both the cables and the quadrant

The teering cables on this 40 footer are mis-aligned. This will ultimately damage both the cables and the quadrant.

Mis-aligned cables will wear on anything they touch.

Mis-aligned cables will wear on anything they touch.

FULL LENGTH BATTENS

Separating the hype from reality: Just what is the VALUE in a FB SYSTEM? This seminar discusses the aerodynamics behind the FB phenomenon, the realities for most sailors with “normal” boats, the hardware, its use, cost and the relative value for sailors.

Full Length battens CAN provide los of roach, but in this case there is not backstay. BUT this is a custom built boat intended to have no backstay.

Full Length battens CAN provide los of roach, but in this case there is no backstay. BUT this is a custom built boat intended to have no backstay but rather runners.

 

But in order to REALLY slide up and down easily demands a comprehensive look at the sail, mast and the sailing plans plus how YOU like or want to sail

In order for a FULLY BATTENED sail to REALLY slide up and down easily demands a comprehensive look at the sail, mast, the sailing plans plus how YOU like or want to sail.

SAILCLOTH AND SAILS

Separating marketing from facts to get to Value: A discussion of sail cloth, details to look for and why for various types of sailing. What does “Premium Dacron” really mean? Why every sail maker has “The world’s best sails” What’s the difference? Why the price spread? Woven, Laminates, fibers, molded, not molded, a glossary and guide to sail-maker speak.

Laminated staysail on a 30 footer.

Do you need a “high tech” sail fabric such as this laminated staysail on a 30 footer?

Or a woven material. What gives YOU the best VALUE for your sailing?

Or a woven material? In this case a full battened mainsail made from woven Vektron on a Beneteau 40.7. What gives YOU the best VALUE for your sailing?

CRUISING SAILS & RIGGING:

Options for sail inventory: How to set up your boat for your cruising goals, now and 5 years out. What you need, why and how to maximize Value without a boat full of sails.

A cruising kite is, after you get co mfortable with it a great value when sailing in medium air. The condition most passages are made in.

A cruising kite is  really an easy sail to get comfortable with and it is a great VALUE when sailing in medium air, the condition most passages are made in.

 A "solent" stay is a good way to have a small sail without having to "change" headsails.

A “Solent” stay is a good way to have a small sail without having to “change” headsails when the roller headsail is too much sail. They are easy to install and can greatly expand the wind speed you feel comfortable sailing, pretty quickly.

PREPARING FOR SUCCESSFUL RACING:

It’s not just wet sanding the bottom: A review of the steps the good guys take to give themselves the best shot at being successful.

 

Even for low key racing, the hard work is before you leave the dock

Even for low key racing, the hard work is before you leave the dock. © Don Miller Photography. Bermuda 1-2 start. 2007

Even for single-handed events a team is an integeral component of the program.

Even for single-handed events a team is an integeral component of the program. Spreading the passion for sailing to my son, as my dad for me.

THE AMERICA’S CUP:

How a 7-year old kid ended up in two America’s cups. A look back thru the history of the Australian challenges for the America’s Cup beginning in 1958. How Australia got into the act, how a 7 year old kid was infected with the disease and what it was really like sailing a 12 meter in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Cooper was the youngest crew in 1977 and the boat keeper on Australia in 1980-working for the syndicate for 18 months and sailing as Grinder/Sewer man.

One of the signature images that lured me to the America's Cup. The 12 meter Dame Pattie pricticing in Sydney Harbor in 1967. I was 12 years old.

One of the signature images that lured me to the America’s Cup. The 12 meter Dame Pattie practicing on Sydney Harbor in 1967. I was 12 years old.

13 years later: Crew members from the Australian teams were popular and coveted guests ar Newport summer parties.

13 years later: Crew members from the Australian teams were popular and coveted guests at Newport’s summer parties. The Australie Challenge, July 1980. The beginning of the end…..

A PASSION FOR SAILING: (NEW- First presentation at Black Rock YC, second to be at Stamford Yacht Club 28 Jan 2016)

A life spent sailing & reflections on key areas of sailing that have shaped my life: Family, community, independence, experiences & personal philosophy.

Early exposure to sailing set me on a course for a life time in boats.

Early exposure to sailing with my dad set me on a course for a life in boats.

nComing full circle--Coaching The Prout School,  high school sailing team in Newport RI

Coming full circle–Coaching The Prout School, high school sailing team in Newport RI.

Coaching the next generation of young sailors is one of the most rewarding activities I do today

Coaching the next generation of young sailors is one of the most rewarding activities I do today

Family fun sailing

For the past few months I have been coaching a fellow, Don Dwyer, in Branford CT (USA) in order that he and his very green crew could participate in Block Island Race Week. It has been a fascinating prices with lots of great moments.

He sent a team email letter out on Monday, which I reproduce here.

BEGINS

Team,

And I mean Team in every sense of the word, Amber Waves flew home under spinnaker Saturday ending a 6 month journey that by all accounts was a resounding success.  In our third season of sailing we accomplished something that quite a few people questioned was possible.  We met or exceeded every goal I set out, to be safe, to be inclusive, to have a ball, and to be as competitive as we could be.  Of the many highlights that will feed our dinner table discussions for years two stood out for me.

Tuesday’s race in 20-30 knots of wind was described by others as “brutal”, “carnage” and “epic”.  Ken Read, one of America’s most accomplished and famous sailors congratulated the Storm Trysail Club’s Race Committee for having the courage to hold the Round the Island Race in such difficult conditions.  He said racing in those conditions would provide memories for a lifetime.  I felt we sailed extremely well and I never felt we were outmatched by the conditions.  I was concerned that after 5 hours of sailing we would be met by thunderstorms near the finish and that we didn’t have the experience to deal with a major equipment malfunction.  But we were still sailing for the same amount of time as the leaders in the race in the toughest conditions of the day.  I will remember that day of sailing forever.  If you haven’t seen the article Joe Cooper wrote about us check out the WindCheck post on us.

Winning the start on Friday was one of the greatest thrills in my sporting life.  We knew we couldn’t compete with the bigger, faster yachts or the more experienced crews over the course of the race.  But nobody told us we couldn’t beat them to the line.  We hit the line hard on the wind, going as fast as Amber Waves will go with a lot of yachts half a boat length behind us.  What made this even more incredible that 20 minutes before the race I wasn’t sure we were going to make it to the race.  The seamanship displayed by Sherb and Pat was off the charts.  When the sheath of the main halyard gave way  they re-rigged our running rigging and got us back to the starting area with 10 minutes to spare which allowed us to mix it up with our competitors.  That was the kind of cool, calm, quick behavior we will need when we move up to blue water ocean racing.

On the competitive side, I think we did great.  We beat at least one other boat on 3 of the 4 days we raced and we were ahead of some when we retired on Tuesday.  The one day we came in last can be attributed mostly to splitting from the fleet.  My bad.  But all in all I think we sailed up to our ability every day and never stopped searching for more speed.  We will continue to improve.

I want to thank all of you for your commitment to the project.  On the sailing side, the core of sailors that showed up for practices, drilled, tacked and gybed till they were exhausted made it possible for us to take anyone that showed up out racing.  On the non-sailing side, everyone pitched in.  We ate incredibly well, had a clean home every day, everyone got shuttled where they needed to be and no one was never not on time.  That effort made life so much better for Jan and me.  So thank you everyone.  In particular I want to thank:

Joe Cooper.  It is the understatement of all time to say we could not have accomplished this without your leadership and guidance.  The only way I will ever be able to adequately repay you is to spread the word that other sailors with limited experience seek out the kind of instruction we got.  Thank you.

Wills and Zach.  They sailed every day, did both deliveries and basically never stopped working.  And did all that without being asked.  We had no idea when these two fine young men came on the boat they would play such an integral part in our success or have such an impact on our enjoyment of the week.  If I ever hear anyone bitch about the next generation I will point to these two.

My darling wife, Jan.  The Boat Mom took care of everyone from the initial idea to the last drive home.  There was nothing we did that Jan didn’t touch, run, or organize.  I adore you.

So what’s next?  Golf.  For a little while.  Amber Waves is likely down for a week or more.  The old girl took a beating out there.  We will resume Wednesday night Around the Buoys racing as soon as able and there may be a couple more shorter regattas but we will let this one sink one for a while before making any decisions.  Don’t worry I will be in touch……

 

Don

Don Dwyer

http://www.guardianjet.com

 

 

Safety at Sea seminar

On Saturday 07 Feb 2015 at the Safety at Sea seminar, produced by LandfallNavigation, I will be presenting a section on sails & sail fibers. This nearshore Safety at Sea seminar is being held at the Mystic Seaport in Ct. from 0800-1630

The following is a table of the basic properties, sailmakers are interested in, of the fibers currently used in making sails. In an earlier day, this information would be distributed at the event, but today, well it is here.

The information is from the North Sails website attributed to research by their cloth people

Polyester (Dacron)
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
80 – 120 5 – 8 6 mo. 0% $2 Racing & Cruising Sailing
Pros: Tough, durable, inexpensive, many weights and finishes.
Cons: Relatively stretchy compared to aramids.
PEN (Pentex)
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
250 10 5 mo. 5% $7 Club Racers & Cruisers
Pros: Fits between Polyester and Aramid in performance and cost.
Cons: Cannot be woven tightly, best used in laminates.
Kevlar 29 Twaron SM
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
600 23 3 mo. 25% $15 Regatta Racing Sails
Pros: Light weight, low stretch.
Cons: Low flex and UV resistance.
Kevlar 49 Twaron HM
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
940 24 3 mo. 28% $18+ Grand Prix Racing Sails
Pros: Light weight, very low stretch.
Cons: Low flex and UV resistance. Expensive.
Carbon
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
1200 – 2500 20 – 40 No effect 30 – 100% $15 – $100 Grand Prix Racing Sails
Pros: Very light, extremely low stretch, good UV resistance.
Cons: Brittle, low flex resistance.
PBO (Zylon)
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
1600 36 1.5 mo. 30% $60 Grand Prix Racing Sails
Pros: Extremely low stretch and light weight.
Cons: Low flex and very low UV resistance. Expensive.
Spectra / Dyneema
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
1100 34 7 mo. No effect $25 – $35 Premium Cruisers
Pros: Very strong and durable.
Cons: Creep limits racing applications.
LCP (Vectran)
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
580 28 1.5 mo. No effect without UV $25 Premium Cruisers
Pros: Good flex when protected for UV.
Cons: Requires complete UV protections.
Modulus: Stretch resistance per weight. Higher is better for upwind sails.
Tenacity: Breaking strength per weight. Higher is better for sails.
UV Resistance: Strength loss in a standardized exposure test.
Flex Loss: Percent breaking strength lost in an industry standard 50 fold test.