Dinghy sail fabric: how low can you go?

  • 06 Jan 2023 00:25
    Reply # 13046357 on 13043254
    Anonymous wrote:

    I don't know how much Sailrite would know about junk sails (which don't take the stresses that conventional sails are subjected to). Anyway, I used an old light weight spinnaker and made a 15 sq m junk sail from it - it has proved adequate in strength.

    From experience, Sailrite won’t touch Junk Rig sails.

  • 05 Jan 2023 01:57
    Reply # 13045142 on 13043673
    Anonymous wrote:

    I use .75oz ripstop spinnaker cloth for small dinghy sails (< 50 Sq.Ft) and 1.5oz ripstop spinnaker cloth for bigger sails. If you reinforce them properly, the sail will be more than strong enough.


    Thanks everyone, I will look for rip stop in the 1.5-2 Oz weight.

    It seems to sometimes be on clearance in unpopular colors around $5/yard and I estimate that I can fit the pieces on 10 yards of material.

  • 04 Jan 2023 01:01
    Reply # 13043673 on 13042735

    I use .75oz ripstop spinnaker cloth for small dinghy sails (< 50 Sq.Ft) and 1.5oz ripstop spinnaker cloth for bigger sails. If you reinforce them properly, the sail will be more than strong enough.

  • 03 Jan 2023 20:15
    Reply # 13043254 on 13042735
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I don't know how much Sailrite would know about junk sails (which don't take the stresses that conventional sails are subjected to). Anyway, I used an old light weight spinnaker and made a 15 sq m junk sail from it - it has proved adequate in strength.

    Last modified: 05 Jan 2023 02:05 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 03 Jan 2023 19:57
    Reply # 13043204 on 13042735

    Not sure if the material you're looking at will hold up. I pulled up a sail kit at random from the Sailrite site and they're using 4 oz dacron for a 44 sq-ft sail:

    https://www.sailrite.com/Eastport-Pram-Lug-Tanbark-Main-Sail-Kit

    You may need an account there, but they offer expert advice on custom sails; it's what they built their business on. Their search box doesn't return anything relevant for 'junk sail'.

  • 03 Jan 2023 16:32
    Reply # 13042890 on 13042735
    I used this fabric for my little Puddle Duck sail. The spec says it is 64 gsm. I made a number of other mistakes with this sail, but the fabric was no problem. It was light and easy to sew and worked fine.

    My guess is that the only way you could go 'too light' for a dinghy sail is if you get something so thin that it chafes through quickly when the sail is reefed. Even in a small sail you will have the battens, sail cloth and topping lifts rubbing together while you are sailing.

    I don't know if it is useful, but I took a number of photos of different fabrics here.

    I think I remember looking at the 'HyperD' fabric. If I recall correctly the diamond pattern allowed it to stretch diagonally more than the regular square ripstop materials.

    Last modified: 03 Jan 2023 16:35 | Anonymous member
  • 03 Jan 2023 14:38
    Message # 13042735

    Greetings experienced junk enthusiasts!

     I am planning a junk rig conversion for my 16’ plywood sailing skiff. It is currently lateen rigged and I am looking for something reefable and with more manageable spars. The current rig is 76 square feet (7 sq m) and I am thinking of taking advantage of the junk rig’s easy reefing to go up slightly to 8.5 or 9 square meters. I am planning on cambered panels on the Johanna platform with webbing boltropes and ash battens to the PJR scantlings.

    But I have no clue what fabric to choose, so I am seeking the voice of experience here. Many junk sails that I read about in the magazine are for cruising boats and are much, much larger in area and are made with 8-10 Oz marine fabric like Odyssey III or Top Gun. But that seems like overkill for a sail of this size. On a day sailer and camp cruiser, if there is a gale you stay on shore and if a panel rips you head back home, and most of the time everything is stored in the garage.

    I would like to have a light sail bundle to handle on a car topped boat. On the lightest end are nylon spinnaker fabrics under 1 Oz, e.g. https://www.sailmakerssupply.com/product/75-ounce-nylon-spinnaker-cloth/sailcloth  which seems like it might be pushing the envelope the other way, plus it is fairly expensive.

    Outside of the marine world are huge varieties of nylon and polyester coated fabrics from the outdoor world, e.g. https://ripstopbytheroll.com/products/1-6-oz-hyperd-1  in weights from 1-2 Oz.

    If you were making a small sail that needs to be lightweight, how light would you be willing to go on fabrics?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can offer,

    -Neil


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