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Restore Sail Performance With a Precision Recut From Quantum Sails Ireland

20th December 2021

Mark Mansfield from Quantum Sails Ireland gives some suggestions for improving both racing and cruising sails that are no longer performing as well as expected. With a full-size loft in Galway, we have the space and the expertise to achieve these improvements.

SAIL PERFORMANCE IS SHAPE-DEPENDENT

Sail shape and minimizing stretch are two key variables in delivering optimum upwind performance and reducing heel and weather helm. Shape and stretch also extend a sail's wind range before a sail change is required or reefing or furling become necessary. They also have a significant impact on the functionality of sail handling systems.

Dacron® sails - even those made with the highest quality sailcloth - are most vulnerable to stretch. Membrane sails are more stretch resistant, which improves long-term shape retention. In both cases, however, shape changes will occur over time, affecting sail performance.

The condition of the sailcloth is key; it must not be too worn and stretchy, or the adjustments will not produce the desired results. With good fabric, reshaping can generally be done once or twice during the life of the sail.

Quantum's Precision Recuts give new life to an older cruising or racing sail by restoring the sail up to about 90% of its original shape. Reshaping techniques can be applied to both Dacron® and membrane sails to yield a sail that will allow you to point higher, sail faster, and is easier to trim.

With Quantum's Precision Recuts, club and weekend racers can enjoy the same performance benefits and competitive advantage of top teams like Quantum Racing. Sailmakers work behind the scenes for top-level race programs that continuously tweak and recut sails to maximize boat speed and sail performance while working within sail limitations. 

Following are three of the most common ways to help increase performance and enjoyment for racing and cruising sails.


BROAD SEAM RESHAPE

PROBLEM: DEEP DRAFT. FULL SAIL. CAN'T POINT VERY HIGH

The sail depth becomes fuller and more rounded. The draft moves aft. You're no longer able to point as high as when the sail was new. The boat becomes harder to steer, heels more and responsiveness is slowed. For racing boats, the inability to hold a lane or position close to other boats can really destroy a tactical game plan.

SOLUTION: SEAM RESHAPE

Seams are reshaped and extra fabric is removed. This procedure flattens the sail and helps return the draft to its original and optimal location. Generally, three to five seams are remade to achieve desired shape.

RESULT: FASTER SAIL. POINTS HIGHER!

With the flatter sail you can now point higher than before! Your sail is flatter, faster and more efficient. Your boat sails more upright and is far more responsive.


BROAD SEAM RESHAPE

LUFF CURVE RESHAPE

PROBLEM: REDUCED ENTRY. SAIL IS HARD TO STEER

As sails age, their entry is reduced due to a variety of factors. Stretch, as well as over-tensioning the halyard can reduce entry. Reduced entry will make the sail harder to trim, less efficient and make steering more difficult (and less fun!)

SOLUTION: LUFF CURVE CHANGE
Luff curve can be restored to help return the sail to its original entry shape. Sometimes a luff curve change is made to remove entry and flatten the sail.

RESULT: FASTER, EASIER TO STEER SAILS.

Returning entry gives you a bigger range to steer inside of that is still ultra-fast. Steering will be easier and you'll be able to go faster.


LUFF CURVE RESHAPE

LEECH TAKEUP

PROBLEM: LEECH FALLS AWAY. SAIL ISN'T DELIVERING POWER

On cruising Dacron® mainsails and genoas, the leech can stretch and fall away, making the sail more difficult to trim and reducing boat speed. This is especially prevalent on larger cruising mainsails and mainsails with large roaches. Leech stretch can also hamper the use of furling systems.

SOLUTION: LEECH TAKEUP

By removing extra fabric at a seam or elsewhere on the sail, the leech can be shortened and straightened to its original dimensions and shape.

RESULT: SMOOTH LEECH WITH PROPER POWER AND EXIT. MORE POWERFUL SAIL.

By bringing the leech back to its in-line design shape, the sail is once a gain a proper foil and will deliver efficient power.


LEECH TAKEUP

NEW SAIL PERFORMANCE AT A FRACTION OF THE COST

Older sails in good condition can be reshaped to return the sail to peak performance at a cost far less than the price of a new sail. Generally speaking, a recut will cost less than 20% of the cost of a new sail. Speak with your local Quantum sail consultant for more detailed pricing.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY SAIL IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR RESHAPING?
If you are experiencing any of the problems noted above, contact Quantum Sails and we will happily perform a sail shape analysis and provide you with the results and an estimate at no charge.
The analysis requires an on-the-boat photo of the flying sail. You can do this yourself following the tips below. Submit the image to a Quantum sail consultant and ask for a sail shape analysis. We'll digitize the image, measure the shape, determine which techniques are required to address problem areas and provide you with a detailed recut solution that's perfect for you.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Sometimes a new sail is not the answer. A Precision Recut can help you extend the lifespan of your sail and maximize the return on your investment. Our knowledgeable sail consultants and service technicians are available to help you find the best solution for your boat. Contact Mark Mansfield or Yannick Lemonnier at Quantum sails Ireland for advice.


WE HAVE BEEN USING QUANTUM SAILS SERVICE FOR MANY YEARS TO MAKE SURE OUR FLEET IS MAINTAINED TO THE HIGHEST STANDARD. OVER THE YEARS, THEY HAVE PERFORMED PRECISION RECUTS ON ALL OF THE IN-MAST FURLING MAINSAILS IN THE FLEET. THE SAILS ARE EASIER TO FURL AND OUR CUSTOMERS ARE PLEASED WITH THE INCREASED PERFORMANCE. WE ARE HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS THAT WE CONSISTENTLY RECEIVE FROM QUANTUM.
—Erin Houpt, Dream Yacht Charter

QUANTUM SAILS HAS BEEN WORKING WITH MY TEAM AND MY SAILING INVENTORY FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS. THROUGH ACCESS TO THEIR TOP DESIGNERS AND SAILMAKERS, WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO CONTINUALLY ADJUST AND REFINE SAIL SHAPE THROUGH RECUTS TO KEEP MY SAILS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. I CERTAINLY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN AS SUCCESSFUL ON THE RACE COURSE IF NOT FOR THEIR COMMITMENT AND EXPERTISE.
—Dan Cheresh, C&C 30 Extreme 2

TIPS FOR TAKING PHOTOS OF YOUR SAIL FOR RECUT ASSESSMENT

  1. The sail must be full, on a close-hauled course, trimmed correctly.
  2. Photos should be taken from the mid-foot of the sail with the lens aimed at the head if the sail.
  3. Rotate the camera to capture the full length of the lowest draft stripe.
  4. Take a variety of photos from his location, as well as photos of any specific problem area of the sail.
  5. Where practical, take a few photos from the stern of the yacht, with the lens pointed forward toward the bow, and up toward the head of each sail.
  6. It is very important to note the conditions when the photographs were taken: time, date, wind speed, point of sail, halyard and sheet tensions, control line settings, backstay pressure, sea state - anything and everything related to the sailing conditions at the time of photography.
  7. We recommend keeping a digital photograph library of your sails across their lifespan. This data will help you become more adept at understanding sail shape, and will assist your sailmaker in their evaluation and recommendation for recut.

NEW SAIL

It's a good practice to photograph your sails when they are new. In a few years, the photos will serve as a valuable reference when evaluating sail shape for a recut. This is a new Melges 32 sail. The same process and procedures for recuts apply to both racing and cruising sails.

AFTER RECUT

This photo of the same Melges 32 sail was taken a year later following a recut. This image illustrates the output of the sail scan process, which digitizes the sail shape and provides measurement data for the recut. From this "after" image, the designer can evaluate the effect of the recut and verify results.

PHOTO QUESTIONS?

Call Quantum Sails Ireland below for more information.

Published in Quantum Sails

Quantum Ireland is very happy to discuss individual requirements with owners.

We offer a full-service loft at Oranmore in County Galway to look after all our new and existing clients.

Please contact us for advice and quotes

Mark Mansfield: [email protected] Tel  087 2506838

Yannick Lemonnier: [email protected] Tel: 087 628 9854

About Quantum Sails & West Sails Ireland 

The sail loft is owned and managed by Yannick Lemonnier, a former professional sailor. Opened since Jan 2011, West Sails joined forces with Quantum Sails in 2013.

Prior to coming to Ireland, Yannick worked in La Rochelle with a leading French sailmaker and he is trained in the most modern high tech CAD-based systems and software. Yannick understands sail design and has the experience and expertise to advise you on all of your needs.

In 2020, Irish Olympic helmsman, professional sailor and coach Mark Mansfield joined the loft as a sales agent.

Website: Quantum Sails and FaceBook page

 

Mark Mansfield

About The Author

Mark Mansfield

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Four-time Olympian Mark Mansfield is a Professional Sailor. He is Irish Agent for Key Yachting Ltd, the sole U.K. and Irish agent for J Boats, Grand Soleil, Nautitech Catamarans and the Tofinou range of boats. More on Mark here

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