Re-cutting Old Dacron Sails

My 30′ Woods catamaran is rigged with a fully-battened roachy mainsail and a roller-furling genoa with a padded luff. The sails are probably seven to ten years old. I can’t get either sail flat, or to set well close-hauled. This is affecting my ability to point, and because much of my sailing is there-and-back weekending, I can’t avoid upwind sailing. Is re-cutting worth considering? The basic cloth seems to be fine, with little evidence of chafe. Thanks for your help, Tim Barnes

Hi Tim, If the sails are 7-10 years old, and have been used the whole time, they have lost most of the finish that keeps them from stretching in the bias direction. You can make them somewhat flatter in the sail loft but the expense of recutting them may be too high compared to the improvement in the sails. The simplest alterations would be to remove some luff curve from the front of the headsail, and to try stiffer battens in the mainsail. You could also look at your standing rigging and try to tighten up the rig, although an older catamaran is not the best platform for carrying rig tension.

As always, tighter halyards will bring the draft forward in the sails and help open the leeches. When in doubt, crank the halyards harder.

Dan Neri
North Sails

Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)

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