Dacron Vs Laminate

Habebty

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Now this might seem like a really stupid point, and kind of expect to be told so.....but, for cruising, I think I would rather rather go for the thickest Dacron the sailmaker could get his needle through and would still roll up round the foil.
After all, laminate is just a thick, stiff sheet (albeit with virtually no bias?) But Dacron lasts longer, doesn't it?
My original sails which came with the boat from new were a really thick/heavy Dacron and gave a superb shape and performance especially in f5-7for 10 years. The main is still very useable, and the Genoa just scruffy. My current sails from the the same loft are nowhere near as stiff/heavy and will probably go west a lot sooner than the old ones.
I appreciate that heavy sails will not perform so well in light airs so I have a cruising chute and will roll up the heavy Genoa.
Is there anything wrong with asking for the heaviest material available?
 

lw395

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....
Is there anything wrong with asking for the heaviest material available?

Weight is the thief of speed.
Weight aloft is the absolute very worst kind of weight.

Heavy fabric in itself does not guarantee a good shape or a stable shape. If the sail design is optimised for a lighter fabric, and the reinforcement is designed for normal fabric, the loads won't be in the right places.

Of course if you are ocean cruising the key thing is to have the sail in one piece after a high mileage and 2 solid years of tropical UV, so weight pays.
 

bbg

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My original sails which came with the boat from new were a really thick/heavy Dacron and gave a superb shape and performance especially in f5-7for 10 years.

That seems unlikely if they were out regularly in f5-7 for 10 years.

No one who wanted to do well in racing would choose dacron if they had a choice (some classes may require it). Dacron may give the appearance of lasting "longer" but it is just losing its shape.

IMHO laminates are the way to go for both cruising and racing. Different kind of laminates, but overall better than dacron in almost every respect.
 

Habebty

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That seems unlikely if they were out regularly in f5-7 for 10 years.

No one who wanted to do well in racing would choose dacron if they had a choice (some classes may require it). Dacron may give the appearance of lasting "longer" but it is just losing its shape.

IMHO laminates are the way to go for both cruising and racing. Different kind of laminates, but overall better than dacron in almost every respect.

Yes sorry that sentence does rather give the impression I was always out in f5-7, however they did keep their shape very well for a long time.

Most reports of laminate sails I have seen relate that laminate is very good then suddenly goes off rendering the sail useless rather than a gradual decline in shape giving a whole life usefulness of approximately half to three quarters of that which could be expected from Dacron?
 

RAI

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Elvstrom-Sobstad do laminate sails covered in Dacron Taffeta for UV protection. Best of both worlds.
 

Norman_E

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The old "wisdom" was that laminates were for racing, but did not last well. The technology has moved on. To decide what is best for your needs now requires up to date knowledge of the fabric types. There are now laminates designed for cruisers that offer decent life and the promise of retaining good shape. Dacron's days as the number one choice for cruising sails are numbered. A few years ago the best cost/performance balance for a cruising yacht was a Dacron mainsail and a cruising laminate genoa, and that is what I bought. If I was buying sails again this year I am sure that both would be laminate and the material would probably not be the same as the laminate I had for the genoa five or six years ago.
 

dom

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Anyone have hydranet sails they can comment on?

I have a hydranet inner jib (not roller furling) and a friend of mine sails a Dragonfly (doesn't like heeling so fairly high gust loads) with a full set of hydranet sails. For my an inner blade jib the hydranet is OK, no more, and very prone to flogging damage. However the hydranet genny on the tri has not fared so well and its shape has gradually distorted over time; apparently the material is not so good for reefed roller sails. That said yarns progress over time as do sail construction techniques, so prob best have a chat with a good sailmaker.
 

lpdsn

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Is there anything wrong with asking for the heaviest material available?

Discuss it with sailmakers who understand laminates for cruising. There's a lot that can be done with taffetas on the sail to increase life. You have to look after the sail too - don't ever leave the leech fluttering, so make sure the leech line arrangements are convenient to use in all conditions. Make sure you're not leaving it stowed with anything that will cause it to stretch,in any way, such as the outhaul left on tight.

The performance differences are significant if you're willing to put a bit of effort into trimming it. Not just going faster, but less heel.
 

bedouin

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For long term usability I would look at Vectran type fabrics. They will still be performing well when both laminates and dacron are well past their best.
 

michael_w

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I've recently bought a hydranet main for my cruising boat. Longevity and shape were the key requirements. Chatting to my sailmaker, he reckoned that they were good for 50,000 miles or a circumnavigation.

For an Atlantic Circuit, from another firm, I bought a furling genoa made from Bainbridge cruising laminate, which has taffeta on both sides. It was utterly shagged out after 8,000 miles.
 

wilkinsonsails

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In my experience making sails that need to last ,for example .Sailing schools that can trash a sail from another sailmaker in 18months.
Vectran and Fibrecon are outperforming and keeping our 5 year guarantee happily trouble free.
I don't think that would happen with some of the laminates available on the current market.
Our long distance sails are now all made from Fibrecon .
 

dom

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In my experience making sails that need to last ,for example .Sailing schools that can trash a sail from another sailmaker in 18months.
Vectran and Fibrecon are outperforming and keeping our 5 year guarantee happily trouble free.
I don't think that would happen with some of the laminates available on the current market.
Our long distance sails are now all made from Fibrecon .

Why not stick your website at the bottom of your page? Others do,and your business is likely to be of interest as people get to know you a bit. It's also nice that you're UK based as I recall.
 

John_Silver

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I replaced a 3 year old Elvstrom cruising laminate jib which had developed 'hernias' (splits in the laminate so that the sail was held together with the outer, low tech, skrim) with a Crusader Hydranet one (now 2 years old). The Hydranet jib is looking good as new and has held its shape perfectly. To me that's all the more remarkable because its a high aspect 115% sail, a shape prone to venting out of the top of the leach. Its still setting perfectly in 25 knots of breeze! Same couldn't be said for the laminate sail at a similar point in its life. Both sails have done some miles (South Brittany and SW Ireland plus south coast pottering) so far Hydranet looks to combine Dacron longevity with Laminate stability. Long may it last!
 

Boo2

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In my experience making sails that need to last ,for example .Sailing schools that can trash a sail from another sailmaker in 18months.
Vectran and Fibrecon are outperforming and keeping our 5 year guarantee happily trouble free.
I don't think that would happen with some of the laminates available on the current market.
Our long distance sails are now all made from Fibrecon .
Can you give me a brief rundown on the differences between Vectran and Fibrecon please ?

Boo2
 

bedouin

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Can you give me a brief rundown on the differences between Vectran and Fibrecon please ?

Boo2
I think Fibrecon is a polyester - so basically Dacron under a different name.

Vectran is higher performance fibre - it is used for woven sailcloth like Dacron by the performance of those is much better as they don't stretch (equivalent to using dyneema rather than polyester for sheets)
 

RobbieW

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This page, http://www.sanders-sails.co.uk/materials.htm, covers a range of materials including Vectran but not explicitly Fibrecon - of course it may be called something else. The only connection is that I have a Sanders Vektron main which I'm very happy with, its now 4+ years old and has been cruising all of those. I believe its made from the original Hood material. The shape is still very good but it hasnt often been used in over 25 kts
 

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