Good sailcloth for JR

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  • 10 Dec 2013 02:43
    Reply # 1455042 on 1206989
    After seeing the damage on Annie's sail I did a bit of research and discovered (as David Thatcher has also mentioned) that cloth that is coated on only one side is indeed only UV resistant on the coated side. Logical when you think about it I suppose but certainly not a widely advertised fact (there seems to be no mention of this on the Marlen Textiles website). So if you are using Odyssey III or any other single coated fabric, (Surlast comes to mind) then you need to use a sail cover.

    The alternative is then to use a fabric that is coated on both sides. Of these fabrics I have used Marlen Textiles Mustang (La Chica's sails) which is a little heavier that Odyssey III and Top Gun (Aphrodite's sails) which is much much heavier. There is also now Top Notch Elite which which is the same cloth
    weight (8oz per American square yard) as Mustang.

    I have used Mustang for LC's sails and so far I am very satisfied with it. It's easier to sew than Odyssey III and is a very pleasant fabric to work with. When the time comes to replace LC's sails I'll be taking a close look at
    Top Notch Elite which Marlen Textiles touts as the ultimate development of the Mustang type fabrics.

  • 10 Dec 2013 01:27
    Reply # 1455019 on 1455002
    Deleted user
    Kurt, on mehitabel has sails made from Top Gun, which he never covers.  Top Gun is not only considerably heavier than Odyssey, it is coated on both sides.  Does the coating protect the fabric from the sun, I wonder?


    I found out recently when buying fabric for my sail cover that coated fabrics only have the UV protection on the coated side and I was warned with the fabric i did purchase that if the uncoated side was exposed to the sun I could expect rapid degradation of the fabric.

    I imagine a very diappointing discovery Annie when you consider not just the cost of new fabric but also the many hours required to make a new sail. 

  • 10 Dec 2013 01:11
    Reply # 1455002 on 1206989
    I had a highly unpleasant surprise when I lowered my sail the other day: there was a tear, near the leach, below the yard which hadn't been there before I let go of the halliard.  When I examined the material - Rochford's Odyssey III - my heart sank.  The fabric was rotten, as though it had been sun-damaged.  I could easily tear it at 90 degrees to the split.  The extent of the tear can be seen here and the little tears I made at right angles, are shown here.

    The sail is less than 3 years old.  I kept it covered, when I lived in Nelson, but since moving to a cleaner location have not bothered to do so: having to remove a sail cover discourages me from going sailing.  While our rivers and lakes are far from clean, no-one questions the cleanliness of the air of NZ - outside the cities.  And we are not far from the hole in the ozone layer.  It looks like this combination of circumstances has led to the cloth degrading very rapidly.  I needed to get sailing and sewed on a quick-and-dirty patch.  At least the material, damaged or otherwise, is easy to sew by hand.

    My sail is a light colour; conceivably the black sails of Arion and Zebedee will be more resistant to the UV.  However, it would appear that those of us who live in the Antipodes, or cruise in the Tropics need to protect sails made of Odyssey.

    Kurt, on mehitabel has sails made from Top Gun, which he never covers.  Top Gun is not only considerably heavier than Odyssey, it is coated on both sides.  Does the coating protect the fabric from the sun, I wonder?

    Whatever, it looks like my sail is not long for this world and I may be getting my purple sail rather sooner than I anticipated.  That will see off my savings, intended for other purposes.  The question now, is what cloth should I use next time?
    Last modified: 10 Dec 2013 01:13 | Anonymous member
  • 29 Nov 2013 08:47
    Reply # 1448241 on 1206989
    Deleted user
    Our current suit of sails is made from Top Notch. After six years (no sail covers), they look brand new. Water beads up and collects in bunts for days. The fabric really does have a very nice 'hand' and was easy to work. It's not as stable as hi-modulus polyester sailcloth, but has not shown any tendency to take on permenant stretch.

    Here's their blurb:

    The bar has truly been raised on marine cover fabric. Top notch is the first fabric to provide all the strength and durability of high end exterior polyester fabrics such as Top Gun, along with the colorfastness breathability, water repellent and soil resistant properties of solution-dyed acrylics such as Sunbrella. Top Notch is a 60” wide, 11oz, 840 Denier solution dyed woven polyester marine and awning fabric. Top Notch is fluorocarbon finished to provide effective water, soil and oil repellency. Top Notch is dimensionally stable unlike solution dyed acrylic fabrics which tend to stretch out, or poly-cotton materials which are prone to shrink. Top Notch also has a very luxurious hand and fabric appearance. Top Notch is truly Top Notch! This has a 5 year warranty on it!

    I've got to say, this one appears to live up to its ad copy. It should be said that we sail in boreal rainforest zones... so we haven't seen much of test RE UV.

    Available from Rochford Supply at 866-681-7401 (USA), it runs from US$12 to $14 (reds) per yard, with volume discounts.

    For some reason, a royal blue has been going cheap for many years. The current batch, however, has poor coating, so they don't recommend it for outdoor. Worth checking in occasionally.
  • 04 Mar 2013 15:04
    Reply # 1233143 on 1232862
    Deleted user
    Annie Hill wrote:
    Daniel Collins wrote:... gray is not a good color for UV reasons.

    As well as being boring and probably nearly invisible in drizzle.  Oh for a purple sail!!

    Yes, I think I'm going to go with a harbor blue with a very bright red next-to-top panel on each, much like our logo now that I think of it.  

    Purple sounds great - maybe just paint the one you have?  
  • 04 Mar 2013 06:22
    Reply # 1232862 on 1212673
    Daniel Collins wrote:... gray is not a good color for UV reasons.

    As well as being boring and probably nearly invisible in drizzle.  Oh for a purple sail!!
  • 20 Feb 2013 00:49
    Reply # 1212673 on 1206989
    Deleted user
    Thank you both for the good info.

    I think I'll go with the Odyssey III fabric, then, as the only Sur-Last I found that was cheaper was in gray - and I'm told on good authority that gray is not a good color for UV reasons.

  • 14 Feb 2013 20:11
    Reply # 1208822 on 1206989
    I can't speak for how it sets under sail or for durability yet, but I can recommend the affordability of used dacron/terylene polyester. I bought two used genoas for about $50 each and cut them up to make my panels total 30sqm. It's not very elastic (yet probably a lot more so than new), so it might be better for flat panels or boom-shelf camber, I sewed in a barrell camber so I'm expecting a lot of wrinkles. We'll see. I think the original sails were 1980s vintage, so I'm not sure how durable they will be but I can't tear them that easily. I'm sure they will be good for my experiment, I am not going offshore.

    They aren't fancy coloured but they're not white anymore either, kind of stained grey ivory. I'm curious to try some colouring options in the future. Maybe some pattern design impressions with a rusty chain, and I've heard that diluted wash of outdoor latex paint can work on dacron. Again, we'll see.

  • 13 Feb 2013 04:21
    Reply # 1207290 on 1206989
    I just had a look at the specification for Sur-last, and as far as I can see, it's interchangeable with Odyssey III. They are both coated one side, which is not ideal, but apart from that, the Sur-last should make good junk sails, as Odyssey III is doing.
  • 12 Feb 2013 20:26
    Message # 1206989
    Deleted user
    Hello all,

    Starting to plan the sail construction for my JR conversion on the Allied Princess.

    Looking for quality, affordable sailcloth.  A friend mentioned Odyssey III as a good cloth making a lot of people happy.  I found a special sale on Sur-Last 600 which was an extremely happy-making price, but I'm not familiar with the cloth.

    How would you say Sur-last 600 compares as a sailcloth, and in the $5-8/yard price, what seems to be the consensus for good cloth for the JR - not just the two I listed but others are welcome as well.  Trying to save money and still end up with a quality long lasting sail!

    Thanks very much,

     -- Daniel
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