cutting a second hand sail down to fit?

trowell

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my mainsail appears to be unfit for the job so i need a cheap replacement. is it feasable to buy a second hand slightly oversized sail and have it reworked to suit my boat. what are the potential pitfalls in such an endevour?

thanks in anticipation and best wishes from north wales
Trowell
 

VicS

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It is probably possible. Only your sailmaker can really advise you.
It'll only be worth doing if the sail is in good condition. If not it would be more sensible to buy a brand new one.
 

rob2

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Yes, it can be done. We once had a main delivered from Hong Kong that was too big, so a local loft cut it down. Of course, it was worth doing as the sail was otherwise well made and the material was new. As VicS said, only worth doing if the sail is in really good condition, otherwise it will stretch and become unusable before you've got your money's worth!

If a really good sail was available that was slightly undersize it would still be a good option.

Rob.
 

misterg

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Hi,

As a suggestion, have a word with Jonathan at JKA in Pwllheli 01758 613266 about the problems with your current sail, and what he might know is possible / available 2nd hand (with or without modification). No connections, l but I consider him to be knowledgeable & honest in these things :)

JKA

Andy
 

oldharry

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Arun sails modified a second hand Swallow main to fit my Trident 24, and I ended up with a first class sail for less than half the price of a new one. It needed a new luff rope, the foot re-cutting, and slab reefing eyes and points. Well worth it!
 

fishermantwo

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Particularly easy to do yourself if the "new" sail is to be loose footed and is full battened. Many yachtsmen updating to new plastic sails will be selling off their old sails they used for racing. In most cases these are far better quality cloth than what most sail makers will use for new cruising sails.

If you have an agent selling secondhand sails they will often have instructions and sell the required stuff from their web pages.
 

Lakesailor

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selling off their old sails they used for racing. In most cases these are far better quality cloth than what most sail makers will use for new cruising sails.
I thought that racing sails were often made of high performance materials that drop off the scale as soon as they deteriorate, whereas cruising sails may degrade but remain useable.
 

William_H

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Cutting down a mainsail

I was given a mainsail that was just a bit too long in the luff for my mast.
It was a fairly easy job to cut it down at the top.
This sail had a fibre board head riveted on to the multi layers of cloth. I removed the fibre head board and cut the sail off square to length. The bolt rope was cut a bit shorter to allow for a slug to be fitted in line with the bolt rope. The leach was then cut back to make a reasonable line from head board to the top baton. I cut this carefully so that a flap of leach could be sewn back over the rest of the sail to make a hemmed leach. I bolted the head board on again and fitted the slug on a strap of stainless steel (or you can use webbing ) in between the headboards using a 4mm bolt.
If the foot is too long you can again cut it down. It is difficult to replace the eyelet without the mandrels and you must fit the eyelet through many layers of reinforcing cloth. An alternative is to hand sew webbing into either side of the leach and foot along the edges for about 40cms the two loops being joined together with a shackle for attachment of the outhaul. Sew with whipping twine and use a small drill to make a hole if necessary.
In my case the whole mod was quite successful I now have a spare main sail that is quite OK except the numbers are wrong. Now there is a job to get rid of the glue from old numbers.
Give it a try or at least consider it once you have the sail. A small reduction is not difficult. good luck olewill
 

fishermantwo

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I thought that racing sails were often made of high performance materials that drop off the scale as soon as they deteriorate, whereas cruising sails may degrade but remain useable.

I was referring to high quality Dacron. Quality Dacron will last for a long time compared to various laminates. These quality racing sails that have suddenly have become unfashionable are better constructed, better shaped and have all the good features especially if they are fully battened.

In my case for my old yacht which has just been sold, 26 foot quarter tonner, I bought a racing main off a 34 footer. I was fortunate that the first reef point turned out to be my new foot so I already had the eyelet for the clew. It was already a loose footed sail so it was an easy cut down and I simply sewed the new foot. Cunningham eye and reef points I sewed on small webbing straps and blocks.

Just the feel of this material screams quality and the original owner must have paid heaps. Its the newer style of sail and initially looks flatter but the performance increase is staggering. I have an excellent heavy duty zig zag machine which helps of course.
 

Ubergeekian

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my mainsail appears to be unfit for the job so i need a cheap replacement. is it feasable to buy a second hand slightly oversized sail and have it reworked to suit my boat. what are the potential pitfalls in such an endevour?

It depends where it needs cut down, and how it is cut. I plan to have a V26 cutter main cut down very slightly to use as a spare for my V26 sloop, which means taking about 10cm off the foot. One sailmaker is happy to do it; another gave me the full teeth-sucking "Even if we can do it it'll cost you" treatment.
 
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