Contender Fibercon Pro Hybrid vs. Hydranet Radial?

DDW

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I'm thinking harder about a new mainsail as the old laminate one has become more or less a pond liner. 

Some sailmakers are suggesting Fibercon Pro Hybrid as "just as good as Hydranet" at substantially less cost, Hydranet prices have apparently skyrocketed recently. Does anyone have good or bad experience with this material? Seems relatively new. Something not clear from their marketing propaganda is whether this is a true radial material.

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
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Canada
It's awesome. Very high numbers. Of a scale with no real meaning.

image.png

But weird weave to my eye. Exactly equal fibers in warp and fill direction? Maybe warp is 800 Dyneema/300 dacron and fill is opposite?

image.png

 

DDW

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Yes, I saw the same propaganda and weave construction, and have the same questions. It is only in the heaviest cloth that there is any difference between warp and fill.

 

Zonker

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Sailcloth manufacturing is a weird business. They seem to never want to disclose the stretch/strain/bias etc etc data to the layman/woman.

What is so secret about what you are selling that you can't tell me how stretchy it is?

 

DDW

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You'd think though, if you are the newcomer trying to unseat the reigning champion, that you would provide more. Just going on that, it's hard to want to take the risk on a 5 figure sail. 

 

Max Rockatansky

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I am honestly asking:

If y’all don’t trust your sailmaker’s advice, then what makes you trust a random Internet forum more? I can’t grok how someone is willing to send four (or five) digits of money to a craftsman who you won’t believe in regards the material. How, then, do you trust the fabrication? I’m flummoxed

 

DDW

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Good question. Most of the local sailmakers have become sale makers, they take an order and send it on to China or Sri Lanka, so you are trusting them only to get the dimensions right, and are trusting unknown and unknowable people to get the design and construction right. If it is wrong the people responsible are half a world away. There are very few that have much (or any) experience with building a tri-radial Hydranet square head for a flexible rig. And almost none have any experience with the Contender material. So far I have found only one loft in the greater Bay Area that might actually build the sail here. All others "outsource". 

So I am bottom fishing for more information. The internet has a wealth of information, the difficulty is that these nuggets are buried in a vast universe of bullshit. Sometimes you find the rare gem of someone who has recently built 10 of these and has made all the mistakes. You aren't likely to find them locally in the yellow pages. 

I ask a lot of questions on the internet, and get a lot of answers, most of which can be readily discounted. Vetting them is the issue, but I've gotten pretty good at that. In this case, it appears there isn't much information good or bad. Which itself is useful information: if there is very little experience with a new material, maybe best to give it wide berth. 

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
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90% of customers will probably be decently served by a sails salesman's recommendation on the cloth.

But engineering types like me do like to see the data on the fabric to see if mr. salesman is blowing smoke up my ass or if the new wonder fabric really has better properties. If its better then prove it.

How many North Sails products have been the latest next greatest thing, heavily advertised in full page ads in sailing magazines? Only to die a quiet death when they don't quite work as advertised and something better comes along.

 

Alex W

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Seattle, WA
Doesn’t Pineapple still build there?

It might be worth checking in with Ballard Sails or another PNW builder since there are so many Nonsuchs up here.  

I’ve seen a few Ballard sails on Nonsuchs.  They will build here or outsource to their design.  

I trust Alex (one of the owners) when it comes to sail cloth, he hasn’t steered me wrong.  He also has told me when he thinks they should build it vs outsource. 

 

DDW

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I'm in contact with Ullman in SC, they are the only loft that might actually build it there (and also the one suggesting Fibercon). As of recently, Pineapple no longer builds in house, if at all. If I have to go further afield, Seattle or LA area is next I guess. 

If it was a $2K sail with a few years life, probably just take a chance on something. This is likely to be somewhere in the $15 - $20K range. The original Stratis sail a bit north of that even. And there are a lot of little details to get right, unique to the boat so local is highly desirable. The most local is the Quantum loft which is right at the head of the dock - but I don't think their floor is even big enough to lay this sail out and they seem to be partial to their own materials. 

 

IStream

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I'll second Alex W's recommendation of Ballard Sails. They'll quote in-house made or outsourced as you prefer. I had him quote a main and jib for a friend's Ensign both ways and the difference in price was surprisingly small. I also had them make an asym for my 50'er in house and I felt like it was a very reasonable price (and a quality sail). 

 

Cats Rule

Anarchist
Hybrid is not 'just as good' as Hydranet. It's different. 

Hybrid has a lower amount of dyneema v polyester than hydranet. So it is more stretchy (i've got the graphs for both at the loft so I can look them up tomorrow.) 

If your a sub 40 footer hybrid can be a good alternative to Hydranet. As boats get bigger and the loads get higher than Hydranet becomes a more compelling option.

 

DDW

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Love to see the graphs. This is a 45' boat, but cat rigged so the sail is more like a 65' boat. Big sail (~95 sq m) but low aspect ratio.

 

Max Rockatansky

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Don’t know where you are, but give Schurr Sails in Pensacola a shout. Hunter Riddle is the maker. Even if he outsources the fabrication, he inspects the sail and will back the product locally if necessary.

 

DDW

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Thanks for the recommendation, but wrong side of the continent.

My reluctance to have a sail outsourced to the far east is due to my experience manufacturing there (and buying products manufactured there). That area is capable of great quality, provided it is demanded and constantly audited. For example, does the local loft in Penascola have on-site representatives at the loft in Sri Lanka that check to make sure the thread used is bought from, and delivered by, the approved vendor? If not it is possible or even likely that the thread is a less expensive substitute. You won't know until year 6 when it decays to dust. Big concerns like North no doubt do have on-site quality personnel, they cannot afford not to. 

 
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