Prototype Standard Sail Print
Written by Tracy Usher   
Tuesday, 04 March 2008 17:24

ILCA is testing a prototype standard rig sail as a possible replacement for the current production sails...

 

Over the course of the past year, the ILCA has had several discussions with the builders over the possibility of improving the current standard sail. At a meeting of the ILCA Technical and Measurement Committee in Roses at the end of September 2007, a “challenge” was issued to the builders to produce a prototype of a new sail which would be of better quality and more durable than the current production sails, with no significant change in its performance, and which would not substantially increase the retail cost to the sailors. Takao Otani, from Performance Sailcraft – Japan, and a member of the ILCA Technical Committee, followed this up with representatives from Hyde Sails during last Fall’s ISAF meetings. 

The result is the sail in the pictures associated with this article. The sailmaker chose to stay with Dacron for the material (though this sail has a nice yarn tempered cloth) to prevent long term supply issues that might arise from using a more exotic material. However, the cut changes significantly, with the sail now sporting a radial head and clew with a long vertical panel along the luff. Further lifetime enhancing improvements include significantly beefing up the corner patches, adding patches to the batten pocket endpoints, realigning the battens in the sail, etc. Two other nice features: nice draft stripes and a huge new window which removes nearly all of the blind spots found in the current production sails.
 


As can be seen in the pictures, the sail sets up well on the standard Laser rig, with the draft centering nicely without the need to use too much cunningham (as with the standard production sails). Importantly, gone also are the stress wrinkles that form when two-blocking upwind, as well as the leech flutter between the battens. In fact, the only noticeable “bad thing” left over is the wrinkle associated with the mast joint!

In order to better illustrate some of the improvements of the prototype sail, included is a picture of a standard production sail taken close in time and location to those of the prototype sail. In the production sail its possible to clearly see the stress wrinkles and leech flutter described above, as well as the amount of cunningham necessary to get the draft right. The overlay picture tries to make it even easier to compare the two and, as well, contrast the openness of the leech of the prototype sail.

During the first test sail in Terrigal, just before the start of the Master Worlds, there was not time to do any careful speed testing. However, it was possible to line up with a few of the other masters sailors out practicing and, happily, verify that the sail, in 12-15 knots of wind, does not appear to be significantly faster or slower than the current production sail. This was in upwind sailing, there was no chance to try really compare offwind performance.


The sail is currently in California where it is hoped to try to log some hours of sailing in some good breeze to verify durability and get more opportunities to do speed comparisons (up and downwind). After a few months here it is planned to send to Europe in time for some of the big European events.

 

 

 
Standard Sail
Standard Sail (click for larger image)
 
Prototype sail comparison
Prototype sail (click for larger image)

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 September 2008 10:40