Westsail Owners Alliance - Post: "New Sails"
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Post: "New Sails"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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- Archived Message from Inactive Forum -

Dave King

Ahoy C&G,
I see I'm not getting much past you. Yes, the Kevlar has been replaced. Though very strong, the Kevlar is also relatively brittle. It began breaking, so in about 93 I had all of it removed and those sections rebuilt in the traditional fashion with Dacron by Kern Sails.
This is a subject that I usually stay away from because I differ too much in my assesment of the W-32's weather helm. I do not feel that my boat has excessive weather helm. However, I have changed things a bit. My mainsail is bigger than other W-32 Mains, all of the extra area in the roach/leech. Knowing I was doing this I re-raked my mast just slightly to compensate. During a haul-out I made up a tapered spacer to fit under the mast step. The taper equals 1/8" in 18 inches. Or about a 1/16" rise to the aft edge of the mast foot. This equals about 2 1/2" at the mast head, which I compensated for with rigging adjustments. The net result is that I am happy with my helm. As a delivery skipper, I will attest to the fact that Many boats are much worse than a W-32 when it comes to weather helm.
The Main that helped win the Pacific Cup was a battenless Main made by Kern's Sails sometime long ago. It was on the boat when I bought it and do not actually know if it was original or supplied by the second owner. I am the 3rd owner. Kern does not like to supply these sails anymore as he feels there is too much loss of performance. Yes, there is a loss but how much in the whole scheme of things is hard to quantify. Look at the picture of Saraband that is floating around. She is doing 6 1/2 knots to weather with a reefed battenless Main. How much faster could a W-32 go to weather in those conditions with ANY different sails? The helm felt great with that main. Also, for cruising , the battenless Main makes a lot of sense as it is very easy to man-handle and is not prone to as much wear and tear. Going to weather the performance loss in the ocean is very minimal. When off the wind then a little more sail area forward can make up the difference.
Note that both Mains only have 2 reef rows. This is a personal choice that I am happy with. The 2nd reef is in the normal location that a 3rd reef would be in if a Main had 3 reef points.
All things considered, Saraband from 90 on is a micro-hair faster than the 88 winner. besides the Main there were a few other changes made to account for the difference.
Let us know what you decide on

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