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So the news of the passing of the inventor of Kevlar has sparked a bit of a trip down memory lane for many of you:


Back in the late '80's I got a spot on a One Tonner that was to be a training mule for an upcoming full-blown UK Admirals Cup campaign. For one of the RORC overnight races out of The Solent, the sailmaker bought down a set of brand new sails made from this wonder-stuff Kevlar. The crew duly loaded the inventory down below, and then received instruction on how to handle the sails. We were told that it was vital that they be rolled, not folded, as folding would break the fibers.



After a few sail changes it became apparent that the sails that had been tightly packaged on the loft floor could not be so neatly rolled on a wet, heaving deck, and in that state there was absolutely no way to get them down below through the miniscule hatch. So we endured an arduous race with an assortment of headsails strapped to the windward rail, tacking them when neccessary, and then surviving threats of protest for having very visible moveable ballast. Happy days .... - Anarchist Rob



We know you've got Kevlar sails horror stories, so let's hear them! Title thanks to

.


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i put the story up last night. kevlar stories, anyone?

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I spent a ton on a new set of Kevlar sails for my 37 footer in the mid 80's. Treated them like bridal dress lace for the season then rolled and stored them in my attic until next spring. But we had a string of warm days in early May and when the sails were brought to the boat and hoisted they proceeded to fall apart because the glue heated in the hot attic and delaminated the Kevlar scrim from the Mylar substrate. What was left became bags for the crew.

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The first Kevlar number 3 on Condor was so rigid, especially the 20+ plies in top 30 feet, that we had a couple of baseball bats in the forepeak so we could beat it into a semblance of a fold. Bloody sail.

 

On another occasion (Jamaica Race?) the clew ring, made of one inch stainless, came right off the sail when a big puff hit. A dozen heavy webbing straps had all failed or shredded their stitching. No fun getting that flogging beast down, but several happy hours below finding half a dozen 1" wide and 4 foot long stainless steel strips, bending and drilling, then through-bolting them right through the clew patch to re-attach the ring.

 

Burned out every 3/8" drill bit, but it all worked just fine, despite looking rather nasty. You didn't want to get anywhere those clews when sailing, let alone tacking, anyway.

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The first Kevlar number 3 on Condor was so rigid, especially the 20+ plies in top 30 feet, that we had a couple of baseball bats in the forepeak so we could beat it into a semblance of a fold. Bloody sail.

 

On another occasion (Jamaica Race?) the clew ring, made of one inch stainless, came right off the sail when a big puff hit. A dozen heavy webbing straps had all failed or shredded their stitching. No fun getting that flogging beast down, but several happy hours below finding half a dozen 1" wide and 4 foot long stainless steel strips, bending and drilling, then through-bolting them right through the clew patch to re-attach the ring.

 

Burned out every 3/8" drill bit, but it all worked just fine, despite looking rather nasty. You didn't want to get anywhere those clews when sailing, let alone tacking, anyway.

Good thing it was a alloy mast,Would have been brutal on a carbon mast!

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.

.....I'sa first to market hiking pants in NA in the 80's....''Lay-Z-bouy Rockers'',,,until I got a letter from lawyers of th'chair company!

 

...the original loft that was making these had some strange gold fabric,'kevlar' which they used to make some of my first order,,,but cheaped-out with cordura on the rest-----still see the original kevlar's on occaison,,,not so much the other ones!

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Someone gave me a Kevlar genoa. Haven't had time to try it yet.

I think I know why they gave it to me now...

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Wondrous stuff on sailmaker's scissors..........

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Kevlar rope. Fine in a straight line. Less good around corners. Like what you find in knots, halyard sheaves etc. "Bang" Oh, the main halyard's gone. On a Laser2.

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As a kid, my dad and I raced model airplanes - various classes existed, we did something called FAI Pylon, which used a 0.40cu 2-stroke running 28,000 RPM with a tuned pipe. 48" wingspan, 4 lb planes would hit 120 to 150mph.

 

Propellers from the store were just some kind of thermoplastic, which was bendy and would deform or throw blades under load - so we started making our own using bondo molds off the plastic plugs and glass/epoxy. Then came carbon fiber.

 

At some point we found some kevlar and decided to try that. Unfortunately, the mold finish was lousy and so we needed to sand the prop down. The kevlar abraded slower than the epoxy, which left us with a furry prop, which was consigned as a failure and dropped in the paint stirrer bucket. One day I decided to try it as a laugh - it was FAST. No idea why, but it rev'ed like crap, sounded like crap but the aircraft went like the clappers. Unfortunately I broke it on landing. We were never able to make another one with a consistent furry leading edge and we eventually gave up on it, but I bet we were on to some kind of deep truth about aerodynamics.

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As a kid, my dad and I raced model airplanes - various classes existed, we did something called FAI Pylon, which used a 0.40cu 2-stroke running 28,000 RPM with a tuned pipe. 48" wingspan, 4 lb planes would hit 120 to 150mph.

 

Propellers from the store were just some kind of thermoplastic, which was bendy and would deform or throw blades under load - so we started making our own using bondo molds off the plastic plugs and glass/epoxy. Then came carbon fiber.

 

At some point we found some kevlar and decided to try that. Unfortunately, the mold finish was lousy and so we needed to sand the prop down. The kevlar abraded slower than the epoxy, which left us with a furry prop, which was consigned as a failure and dropped in the paint stirrer bucket. One day I decided to try it as a laugh - it was FAST. No idea why, but it rev'ed like crap, sounded like crap but the aircraft went like the clappers. Unfortunately I broke it on landing. We were never able to make another one with a consistent furry leading edge and we eventually gave up on it, but I bet we were on to some kind of deep truth about aerodynamics.

There is counter-intuitive truth to furry foils... like why golf balls have dimples... it's almost spooky. Something about drag and laminar flow <insert favourite t.s. elliot quote.>

 

Anyway, I had a set of Kevlar sails. Those things were like old duct tape in the hot sun. I gave them to a buddy for shades at Burning Man. They ripped.

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Major props to techie chick Kwolek. She did at 38 what most of us will never do.

 

There is no bad material; it's all in how you use it.

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There is no bad material; it's all in how you use it.

 

The Movie Flying High is a perfect example

 

Rumack:Can you fly this plane, and land it?Ted Striker:Surely you can’t be serious.Rumack:I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.

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