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Any of you guy ever put a 55sf sail on a sea snark?


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I recently acquired a sea snark and it's in need of a new sail. It currently has the 45sf but I was thinking about upgrading it to the 55ft by adding a spare extension. Any pros or cons to doing this? Should I go for the 55 or stay with the 45?

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If all you are changing is the sail area and the way that it is changing is by extending the effective mast higher to fit a larger sail, you are increasing the power of the sail while moving the power higher above the water.  I would guess that will make you less stable in heavy winds unless you've also made changes below the waterline. 

You might be faster in light to moderate winds though and I would expect that you'll find some adjustments to the response of the rudder too, but I'm not certain.

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Sounds like fun.

The problem with putting on a bigger sail is that it will put more stress on the mast step and the attachment for the main sheet. You'll need to hike a little harder. The boat will go faster which will put more stress on the rudder, etc etc.

At some point, stuff is going to start breaking. But you could consider that part of the fun, as long as there aren't any sharks around.

FB- Doug

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Yea she's an old boat that I picked up for a little bit of nothing, but that come with it's own issue she needs a new sail and a new dagger board. It came with a sunflower mast and sea snark spares. I was worried about putting a 55sf on it because I was worried about adding stress to the mast seat. But if I'm not mistaken isn't the sunflower built the same? I know their the same length and I know that the sunflower is only a bit wider. Shouldn't the sea snark handle a 55sf if a sunflower can?

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I've done it.  I designed a 55 ft^2 sail using Sailcut CAD and made it from 4oz Dacron.  I'd also upgraded the mast and spars to something that would not bend so easily.  Here was its last sail:

It was great fun while it lasted. It may have been fine but is an old boat. We replaced it with a Sunflower and that's a much better boat if you are into the foam dinghy thing.

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Well after watching your video it may be a good idea to go with the smaller 45sf lol. The sea snark I have is indeed solid styrofoam except for the top abs plastic. The last thing I want is to spend more money on the spare extension and 55sf sail and the added stress from the 55sf snap the old boat in half lol.

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I actually recommend the 55 ft^2 sail.  Especially if you sail in lighter conditions.  When the boat broke, it was gusting well over 20.  We like to take the foam boats out when the winds are up, lots of fun and not a big deal if you capsize. 

We may glue the Sea Snark back together and glass it.  That would add a little weight but make it a lot stronger.  The weak point is probably at the junction of the wooden mast support and the hull - there is a change in cross section area there.  The split line is pretty much determined by that junction and the area where my son was leaning out. 

I made two of these sails, one for a Formex boat we have.  That is an even better high wind boat as there is not much to bail.  Unfortunately my kid killed that one too, windy day, and two up.  His buddy had found a $30 Formex boat but the boom busted, which is why they were two up. 

If you are sailing in 15kts or less, then I don't think there is a big risk to going up to the 55 ft^2 sail.  As you say, it is the same construction as a Sunflower but 4" less beam.

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Yes the sunflowers only difference is 4in but that does add material that can help prevent twisting of the hull. How much help I dont know. I do believe if the wind was up enough with the 45sf it would snap as well, it would just snap a bit sooner with the 55sf. But I would be able to sail in lower wind speeds with a 55sf like you said and as long as I keep it out of high winds it should be fine. When your son broke the snark you said it was in wind speeds above 20 is that in knots or mph? I probably wont ever take mine out in anything above 10knots I live by a river and when the winds up it gets really ruff and white caps alot, so if i did take it out it would be in the bays off the main channel . They are alot smoother.  How long did use the 55sf sail before it broke? Also do you truly believe the add benefits of the 55sf out way the 45sf and that it should last if not pushed suped hard? What do you think it wind speed limit is so I can avoid it if i deside to get the 55sf?(15ish?)

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Usually the sailing wind forecast I get is in MPH.  I speak kts as well, sometimes I will use aviation weather.  So I'm guessing my 20 is MPH, but it was a while ago so I don't really remember.

When the hull snapped my 200 lb kid was leaning as far out of the boat as he could.  If you aren't doing those gymnastics then you won't be straining the hull.  It was a noticeable difference including in light winds - it really transformed the boat.  I also think my sail was better than a stock Snark sail.  The stock sail doesn't seem to have a lot of shape, whereas for my sail I used Sailcut CAD and designed it with a 10% depth.  New crisp dacron as well.  I haven't sailed with the old, tired, stock 55 ft^2 Sunflower sail.  Here were my sail parameters:

2042858728_Snarksaildesignparameters.png.e6e6874df9b6e6368089d8454ae7d9af.png

1327561808_bluesail.thumb.jpg.006f26c21badb04d2cd49ce0ff13a3d0.jpg

We only used the new sail a handful of times before we snapped the snark.  We have used it a few more times since we got the Sunflower.  If you are only going out in 10kts, definitely get the 55 ft^2 sail.  I truly believe it was worth it.

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