Buying a new mainsail

It towers 18 metres into the blue and is ten percent bigger than the previous mainsail by Swiss sailmaker VM Sails, which came with a short foot luff in the nineties. Five battens, two of them continuous at the top, stabilise the cloth.

In fall before, sailmaker Arnd Deutsch and I had discussed a special sailcloth and other details. It was to be finished like the previous VM Sails main, which lasted long due to good craftsmanship: in terms of cloth weight, workmanship and equipment, with extra-large reinforcements at the reefing eyelets.

Sailcloth considerations

Regardless of today’s trend towards handy, light but not quite lasting foil sails, again made of durable Dacron. This time made of a special fabric with tensile Vectran threads. The disadvantages of the polyester fibre and the conventional horizontal cut dictated by this material are compensated for with more cloth weight, targeted reinforcement of the leech and doublings over the reefing eyelets.

When the sailmaker and I bring the almost 5-metre-long roll a board, I am shocked by the weight. Also, the sail is rigid and thick as cardboard at the reinforcements of the reefing eyes. “You wanted it that way,” Arnd Deutsch reminds me on my insistence on a durable sail in autumn.

Noticeable more drive

Initial problems with the two sluggish mast sliders of the continuous battens are quickly solved by Deutsch with special sliders suitable for pushing back the battens. The power of the new drive is noticeable with a much greater pull on the sheet. With this new sail, a dream cherished for many years comes true. I sailed Gamle Swede quite a while against the handicap of the increasingly bulbous profile, which grew from year to year.

With the new jib and this main in the intended size, the boat is now adequately and universally canvassed. Universal means that I take the genoa out of the sail inventory. With 74 square metres, the boat is already moving in light air. From three bft Swede 55 goes a lot better. The disadvantage of the heavy and correspondingly stiff cloth is that it is difficult to lay. The use of the sail will make it more handy.

  • Cloth Dacron with yellow Vectran threads in weft direction by Dimension-Polyant, brand name Vectron, type VEC084
  • Area 44 sqm
  • Reef sizes first reef 36 sqm (80 %), second reef 28 sqm (63 %), third reef 19 sqm (43 %)
  • Cloth weight 8,3 ounces = 370 gr/sqm (heavy choice)
  • Sail design conventional panels arranged at right angles to the leech
  • Boom nock slightly raised by 10 cm shortend leech
  • Luff line double wrapped in graduated cloth strips. Rings for the three reefs sewn to both sides of the luff and thus always to be hung up to windward.
  • Leech aft quarter of the sail doubled up to over the third reef with 7 ounces of cloth. Reefs reinforced with a layer of 8.3 ounce Vectron cloth with the threads in the main tension direction. Above this, fanned doubles for the reefing eyes.
  • Sail battens at the top two times continuous, 1.50 and 2.60 m long. Below, three battens 1.50 to 1.90 m long
  • Rutgerson pressure mast cars for the two continuous battens. New Seldén switch to accommodate the sliders in the mast track and smooth up and down.
  • Sailmaker Arnd Deutsch, Teerhofsinsel, Bad Schwartau near Lübeck

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