Tape Drive or North Tri? What's a poor boy to do?

Thorvald

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Puget Sound
I know this is CA but we're talking GOB's and club/beer can racing too right? I've done remarkably well in our local club races with my old pinched fanny US 30 but it's becoming apparent that the old crosscut dacron genoa of unknown age is a limiting factor. I see a couple of sails on the used sail websites that are an almost perfect fit as far as size. One is listed as a North tri radial mylar good+ condition good to 20 knots apparent and the other for $200 less ($395) as a medium UK Tape Drive. I get the impression that the Tape Drive sails hold up well. the good to 20 makes me a litttle nervous. I don't have any experience with either. Opinions?

 

Bob Perry

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Thorvald:

My tape drive sails are about 8 years old and they are like new. I love them.

 

chester

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I'm going to get some quotes for the Mirage 25 main. I'm going to see how much laminates and other "above economy" sails cost. I've bought two mains in the past. one was a used "racing" main for my sanjuan 21 built by Kerr Sails in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kerr at the time made a lot of sj21 sails as there was/is strong fleets of the boat in the midwest. the sail had a ripstop type of material and was wonderful, i fucking near cried the first time i set it. the next was either a north or quantum (can't remember now) for a CS22 in basic dacron. i hated that sail, the material was hard and came down the mast in a sheet that was impossible to handle. I can't have that type of sail on the Mirage. loose footed, one reef. two top battens full and regular length on the bottom, i think and maybe go for a little more roach as the current main doesn't overlap the backstay.

 

Bob Perry

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Chester:

That is almost exactly what I have.

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chester

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the tape drives do look very cool!

Bob, how do they handle when you are flaking? do you use lazy jacks? the mirage has jacks and the main is thoriginal sobstad dacron that the PO altered to full battens.

 

Bob Perry

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Chester:

They are quite stiff so a bit of a challenge to flake but my boat is only 26' LOA so it's not really an issue.

I don't need no stinkin' lazy jacks!

 

warbird

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lake michigan
/monthly_11_2011/post-7963-011746900%201321639946_thumb.jpgI have a tape drive from 2000. Shape is still fabulous. It is getting brittle now at 11 or 12 years old which is way beyond the expected life of a racing sail. A hand went through it at the tack area mid season. Spin tape held it together for the rest of the season and that area of the sail seems more fragile (aged) than the bulk of the sail which I said still has great shape. We will use it for beercan racing next until it is total toast, saving the new main for weekend series and distance races( oh CA, sorry).

What I have seen on used sail websights (not universally) is a fly it once and send it back if you feel the need policy. You are only out shipping for the return. Get 'em both, then decide and return one or keep 'em both.

 

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Tucky

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As a cruiser racer, I've spent some time trying to understand modern sails and some money buying them. A few thoughts-

The need for advanced technology is very dependent on sail size. The material and cut needed to meet the needs of a 40 footer will be way overkill for a 25 footer- don't try and learn from the experience of people buying sails for a very different sized boat. Think of it this way. You know what horsepower your auxiliary requires to drive your boat at hull speed. If you were shopping for a 10 horse motor, you wouldn't try and read too much into someones experience with a 50 horse.

The failure mode for modern sails is very different. Woven fabrics tend to fail first in shape- they stretch away from a powerful shape but will still fly without risk of catastrophic failure. Modern sails hold their shape much longer, but the initial failure is frequently catastrophic- a clew lets go or the sail delaminates, etc. As well, the fancier the engineering, the harder and more expensive the repair.

Sail handling for modern sails is different. They don't like being scrunched and routinely folded, and take up more space. UV light is a significant issue for many modern materials.

It took me a while to climb the learning curve, especially moving to a multihull. I use awfully fancy sails compared to most on my 31 footer, but I guess that at 20 knots, my sails must be generating well over 100 horsepower (my guess is based on picturing what size motor I'd need to bolt to the back of my boat to drive it 20 knots with the mast up and the sails up), so I figure I need the sail strength of a monohull that needs 100 horsepower to go hull speed.

Bob, how would I calculate horsepower requirements for my boat?

 

Dan33

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Love my Tapedrive sails...they even made our heavy CS27 a contender in beer can racing. I have two for our Mirage. One cruising 140 and a Tapedrive 155.

I love them both.

 
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Schnick

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I'd go with the tri radial. I have a '90ish vintage North Mylar Tri-radial #1 on my catalina 36 that is still surprisingly good and more importantly is easily serviced by my sailmaker for recuts or repairs. I have a similar vintage kevlar tape drive mainsail on the same boat, there is NO UV protection on the kevlar tapes and they are less than useless. I jibed in about 15 knots of breeze in June and the sail ripped from luff to leech above the spreaders, nowhere near any chafe points, right through all the kevlar tapes. I thought it was dumpster bound but my (good) sail repair guy stuck it back together, nonetheless it's days are numbered and it will be made into gear bags long before I stop using the Mylar Tri-radial sail. I have also had one failure of the glue joints in the substrate of the Tape Drive sail.

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Bryanjb

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Various
We like our tape drive sails and like the North spectra tri radial main but the North has become a mess from mildew. The tape drives don't seeem to have that issue.

 

Thorvald

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Puget Sound
Thanks all for the good feedback. Forgot to mention the Tapedrive sail is cheaper because its rated good-/fair+. Seems like all these sails use mylar film and it has a given lifespan before it starts to get brittle. Same goes for kevlar if I'm not mistaken. Have to call the guys who have the North sail and ask if it's mylar/kevlar, mylar/spectra, pentex, w/scrim or what? The Tape Drive is sure cheap enough and it holds out for a couple seasons I'd be pretty happy.

I'm not really poor poor, just boat poor.

 

Bob Perry

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Tucky:

Tell me about your boat. I'll tell you what I think the corect hp is.

I don't have a formula. I just rely on my experience and the very wide seat of my pants.

 

Tucky

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Maine
Tucky:

Tell me about your boat. I'll tell you what I think the corect hp is.

I don't have a formula. I just rely on my experience and the very wide seat of my pants.
F-31 trimaran- in full cruising weight (weighed it this summer- mast, sails gear, a bit of fuel, no water, little food) 4,500 lbs. Main hull must be 30 on the waterline. Mast 42.5' tall, deck stepped. Doesn't get the main hull out of the water, but it will plane that hull on the aft surface.

Here she is doing about 18 knots in a gust, but she is starting to press the float, and I'm about to go for the mainsheet.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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estarzinger

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Here she is doing about 18 knots in a gust,

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Wow, can I have some sailing lessons?

That looks like a CCA burgee - I did not think we really allowed multi-hull thingies in public in the club :)

 
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