Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "New Sails"
Westsail Westsail Owners Affiliation
 Important information about this site! 

Thread: "New Sails"

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


Text Strings  

Full Phrase  


All Words  

Any Word  


Message Text

Text & Author  


New Sails

Gerald Astrella and Cathy Calisch

O.K. it is time. So, I would like some input and testimonials as to sailmakers if you would. We thought we would prefer a no roach/no-batten main. However, this shortened main by Kern has us curious, if only for the 18 inches of bare boom aft. I am not aware of any other sail makers who prescribes this. Do I understand correctly that it is fully battened? Next, is the jib. Glorious now carries a high clewed Yankee on roller. Seems a bit small at less than 64% of LP (about 245 sq. ft.). Seems like several boats run about 300 sq. footers? If we go for a larger headsail will we need a larger drum on the Profurl for more furling line? The 3/8" line pretty much takes all the room up now. We live in the Northwest (Oregon) and have some good lofts nearby. We also seem to have some pretty good winds along the coast (usually I think on the nose). That could help explain why we want to be south of the boarder next winter with new sails.
All input greatly appreciated,
Cathy and Gerald

Norm Rhines

Good day Cathy and Gerald

My post is not on sail makers but ref to what I am using in light and regular airs

I use a Kern Yankie cut jib of about 215 +/- she pulls great down to about 8Kts combined with the stay. And for that always desired deep broad reach I use a recut 300 sq Ft unit on my profurl 42nc works great. but for the real light stuff I have a 440 ft free flying drifter which works great although I have to use a turning block at the gallows and had to install a spiniker block on the mast head.

As for the loss of 18" on the foot of the main oh man did that help Imagine balance correctly (I am using a recut battenless main with hollow)

Gerald Astrella and Cathy Calisch

Norm, thanks for the input. Tell me about changeing head sails and storage of the larger sail. David King, I read an earlier string where you talked about Saraband's main. A few years ago we had a 25 foot sloop. When it came time, we replaced the main with one with the top 2 battens full lenght the bottom 2 regular, the performance increase was quite noticable. We really just stumbled into that decision and had not thought it applicable to larger boats such as ours. We would be very greatful for details regarding Saraband's sail and who made it.
Thanks all,

Norm Rhines


The head sail thing for me is usally an all day thing (i.e. start small 215 stay that way 8hr min to be worth a sail change to the 300 on a foil you know) The exception is the drifter which is flown free and in light airs I use it if there looks to be more than 45 Min of dead air. As for reefing of course the jib rolls and unrolls easly, the stay sail is the second most active sail on my boat as it drops then is hoisted as the wind builds (the main is droping one notch for every reef so almost as active.) Agian I am showing my slothy behavior but if I am not going to see a steady drop in wind I will keep the reef in for at least 20min longer than I should for the boat performance.

As for storage (I use the space under the front bunk forward " the fiberglass well") I put the drifter in the head compartment over where people normaly have cabinets behind their sink. Lastly they just go in the forward berth on the ocean voyages no one is up there anyway. and all sails go through the forward hatch old style.

I am interested in the batten arangement you are thinking of and if you do it, I would be most interested in your results compaired to X.

I do add If you go unbattened on the main then the hollow is very important to kep the drive in the sail.

Dave King

Ahoy Gerald & Cathy,
Kern Ferguson made Saraband's Main. Actually Jodene did the making, as Kern sat around eating popcorn. It has full length battens for the upper two and 1/2 length, horizontal battens for the lower two. The biggest advantage of this type main, when used on a cutter, is that it allows proper back-winding of the Main by the staysail, when the staysail is over sheeted. With a full battened Main, you can not see when the sails are not trimmed well. In addition to this, when new, the head, tack, clew and reef points were reinforced with Kevlar. This allowed for a substantial weight savings. The roach and foot length are to the max. The leach clears the backstay by 1/4".
The sail has held up extremely well. Since 90 it has made 4 round trips to Hawaii, plus trips to Mexico, New Zealand, and Alaska, plus 8 round trips between Oregon and Canada. The leach area is now just starting to fall off a bit but that can be corrected.
Good luck with your choices, Dave

Gerald Astrella and Cathy Calisch

Thanks for the info. You said, when new, the corners and reef points were reinforced with Kevlar. Were these areas redone in Dacron later? How is the weather helm on this main compared to the one that took the Pacific Cup? Was that one constructed as an original?

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

Dave Kall

Dave, is the foot on your main free or attached. I was thinking of removing the slugs from the foot of mine. Any thought? Thanks.

Gerald Astrella and Cathy Calisch

As always a wealth of information. It may take a bit of time before we make the leap (if we were fast we would own a motor boat).
Thanks again
Cathy & Gerald

Gary and Charlotte Burton

Gerald and Cathy....did you end up getting a new main? Interested to know how things turned out as we are getting ready to order some sails.
Thanks for any feedback

Frank and Melanie Scalfano

I was just quoted a price on a new staysail, and the loft suggested small battens and a single reef. Does anyone else have battens or reefs in their staysail? Also, I was wondering if anyone had ever considered lengthening the bowsprit as a way of reducing the weather helm of the boat.

Aaron Norlund


I have a reef in my stays'l and have used it. I suggest it - also, make sure it's good, strong material as it's the last thing you take down before a storm jib. 9.5oz+

If the sail is made well, there is no reason for battens. It's small, and made of such dense material, it should hold its shape for a long time.

As for the bowsprit - I think adding more sail area is just sidestepping the problem of too much sail aft. A short main is much more effective. If you do look into extending the sprit, have a naval architect run the numbers for the load on your bobstay. A longer bowsprit will decrease the angle to your bobstay tang and increase it's load, perhaps dramatically.

Fair leads!
Aaron N.

Ahoy Gang,
Just my $.02 depreciated cents.
Satori's old saiils are in the hands of the sailmaker who actually built the sails for Ray Leonard in the late '80's. Hunter and Gambrell Sailmakers in Maine, Brad Hunter has Ray's old orders and Satori's sails. He is adding and repairing the old sails at this time. The main, I am quite sure is shortened about 12" or so at the foot. It is an attached foot, not loose footed. Brad told me that he and Ray spent a lot of time "tweeking" Satori's sails. So, he has my business for the new order. They are battenless. Satori had two reefs in the main and one in the stays'l. The new sails will be 3 reefs in main, 2 in stays'l. Let me say this: I don't have a lot of experience, but I could not believe how well the sails set in our little forty mile coastal excursion against a 25 knot headwind. Spent the night out hove to, no problem. Don't get me wrong, a lot of engine time.
Good luck on your search.
Randy K.

  Forum Archive Home    Back to Previous Page   Show Posts w/ Images   Windbag Newsletter 
This site is provided as service to Westsail Owners by Jack Webb on Westsail 32, Hull #438, at http://HighSeasDrifter.net,
This site is provided as service to Westsail Owners by  Jack Webb (s/v Drifter, Westsail 32, Hull #438)