Displaying items by tag: UK Sailmakers Ireland
Dear customers, I want to let you know it’s really urgent if you need your sails washed and laundered to get them into us ASAP. The issue is Brexit, and specifically tariffs that will apply in the New Year without a trade deal in place.
If you need your sails washed, they need to go to Tiptop in England who are the only people who wash sails properly to UK Sailmakers’ standards. To get them washed and cleaned and back to Ireland before the Brexit tariffs will be applied after 1 January, time is now running out.
I know the season has been short and your sails haven’t been used much. But the service team at UK Sailmakers Ireland have the space and knowledge to get them serviced correctly and at the right price. Our team at the loft check every detail of your sail, making sure it’s ready for the new season.
Being mindful of the delayed season start with COVID-19 and associated restrictions, now as we get to the end of the season it’s more urgent than ever to get your sails in for service. Doing so now gives you the best option to be in early for the next season and make the most of 2021.
We are the most experienced people in the business at servicing your sails and have been doing so for more than 50 years, getting your every detail right so you can enjoy your coming season sailing. We have the space to stretch out your sail, fully hang it up to repair and replace a full UV cover, giving your sail the greatest longevity possible.
Contact UK Sails service manager [email protected]
Barry Hayes from UK Sailmakers Ireland with tips on the dos and don'ts of reefing a sail for racing and cruising
Times have changed, and this season we have moved to more ISORA short course, offshore sailing. This trend will probably continue into next season. With these shorter courses, having the optimal sail set-up at all times is critical. Knowing when to reef your mainsail to achieve the right balance for the boat is key to your upwind, heavy air performance. This is particularly the case as we head into winter club racing when the colder air is denser.
When to reef: racing
It is always a challenge to decide if you are better off depowering the boat with a reefed mainsail (and going through the "process" of reefing/unreefing") or waiting for the wind to lighten when your full main would be more effective. One determining factor is the size and abilities of your crew (can they quickly throw in a reef and release it when necessary) and how much weight you have on the rail (effecting how overpowered you are). The decision of when to reef is more complex than that.
If your sailing doublehanded or shorthanded, you will want to reef early. A good benchmark is reefing at 20 kts; the boat will still be relatively easy to handle and it reefing at a lower wind strength dramatically reduces the workload. If your fully crewed, your benchmark is more in the 25 kts range.
With those benchmarks in mind, every boat is a little different and when to reef has to do with the balance of the boat and how light it is. A First 34.7, for example, will go faster upwind with a reef in the main and full headsail in 20+ kts then with a full main because the s a light boat and quite tippy so you may want to reef sooner than later. For a high stability boat, like and XP 44, it's going to be into the 28 kts range before you put in a reef.
If you get a 20 – 25 kts day and you're out sailing, it's worth practising with and without a reef and seeing the difference in boat handling and boat speed. You might find it's easier to get around the course not being loaded-up and being fully under control at the marks. But again, each boat and team is different, so practice makes perfect.
How to do a racing reef quickly
When you are putting in a reef, prepare the main halyard so it's ready to go and then hoisted quickly and cleanly. It's all in the pit person's hands, so it's critical to have enough halyard ready to ease (figure a minimum of four metres for the first reef or four long arms full of slack). Usually, there is a snap shackle at the gooseneck of the mast that you clip into a soft shackle (see the photo (C) below - we use these to save weight on the sail) or ring on the luff of the sail. Then, get the halyard back up tight before you start trimming the line to get the clew locked in. We mainly use thimbles on racing sails which are lightweight and don't put excessive loads the sail's reefing line.
Most racing boats don't bone the foot of the sail when reefing, this keeps a little shape in the foot and avoids stretching out the foot of the sail. Leaving a few inches of camber in the foot really makes a difference to the longevity of the sail.
Most racing mainsails designed for reefing come with webbing between the normal clew and the reefing clew (see the attached photos (D) below. This webbing creates a natural fold in the leach when you reef, helping protect the sail material. This also lifts the "skirt" of the main up onto the boom so it is out of the way. Additionally, this webbing massively helps reduce the amount of water that collects in the sail in heavy seas. With this webbing, you rarely need to use the reef diamonds along the reef line to tidy the sail away, making it easier set and release a reef while racing.
When to reef: cruising
If the breeze is up, a white sail cruising reef is typically set well in advance of the passage. Making sure it's set up right in calm waters is dramatically more manageable and safer than trying to do it at sea. For slab reefing, follow the same steps as a racing reef. Get the reef tack on and then raise the halyard slightly more than snug to allow for some movement in the halyard. Then tighten the clew reef line, so it's close to the boom without crushing the sail.
I don't use the eyes under the boom to attach the reefing line as they are never in the right positions. Every time you reef, the tension is different, so the sheeting angle on the clew is always wrong with the eyes under the boom. Just take the line around the boom and back onto the reef line itself with a bowline or a timber hitch. This will give you a good clean reef every time, and a knot that can be "broken" after the pressure is taken off it.
If you're using single line reefing, then make sure all the lines are working correctly and are free to move. Setting the reefing line and marking it is key to clean single line reefing. It also lets you know your reef is set at the correct point before you raise the halyard. If you aren't sure where to mark your setting, remember that it's better to have them a little looser then tighter.
I normally have the single line reefs about 3 inches above the boom to allow space. This prevents point loading the reefing lines or causing chafe. Having a lazy cradle makes it much harder to see where your reefing lines are, so having marks on the line and the mast is recommended. Most of today's lazy cradles will roll away onto the boom and not cause any issue when reefing.
In conclusion, if you believe your boat will be overpowered, out of balance, and harder to sail with a full main, you are better reefing. Practice this evolution, then, when it's time to do it for real, talk through what each person's role will be, what potential problems to anticipate (knots in the lines?), and confirm everyone on board is ready to execute their job before saying "go." Remember, if you're reefing it's because the boat is healing excessively, so make sure your crewmembers scurrying around the deck are wearing their PFDs and/or are tethered to the boat.
Next Thursday week (September 8th) is the last evening race in the 2020 Dublin Bay Sailing Club season writes Barry Hayes of UK Sailmakers Ireland.
As the summer season draws to a close, it is time to consider what we can do to improve your 2021 season.
Take advantage of the autumn sailing season to assess your sail wardrobe needs and where you can improve.
Bolster your sail wardrobe for maximum performance
New sails make a big difference to your boat's performance both on and off the race track. Getting the right sail for your boat is key to planning your new season on the right foot.
And there is no better time to buy than during the autumn period with up to 15% off retail pricing. Make the most of your autumn sailing.
It's also a great time to take advantage of the new VAT rate of 21% on top of your winter discount.
Contact any of us for advice, guidance, and a quote today. See contact details below.
We've been working hard this weekend to keep the 1720 sportsboat boys in the game at the AIB Southern Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club.
When you rip it, UK Sailmakers Ireland can fix it in time for the next race!
That has certainly been the case this weekend after a very breezy start to the championships on Friday leading to lots of sail repairs required at short notice.
See some examples of the overnight work at the loft below that included some tricky torn spinnaker luffs!
Cork Harbour sailors Mel and Kieran Collins from Crosshaven describe how they transformed Coracle VI, their vintage Olson 30, into an 'IRC weapon'
Prior to buying the boat, we did extensive research on which boat to buy and why. The Olson 30 designed by George Olson of Santa Cruz, CA, around 1978 was built around the same time as the Half Tonners; but the boat was a strict one-design class in the U.S. and was a predecessor of the sports boats that came 15 years later. For its day, the Olson 30 is a highly unusual boat in that it planes downwind in about 20 knots. To put it another way, it needs about two knots more wind to plane than a 20-year newer design like the 1720. Loads of useful background info on the Olsson can be found here
Going in, we wanted a boat that was both enjoyable to sail and competitive for club racing. It turned out better than we hoped. Working out whether it would be competitive in IRC rating, however, was the difficult thing.
A few Olsson 30s had raced IRC in the states, but IRC just really is not the dominant rating rule there. So, while we had an idea what the handicap would be with the 155% overlapping genoa, we did not know how competitive that would be on IRC here. The only thing we could do was use a spreadsheet to convert PHRF handicaps to IRC and compare boats that we know raced in Europe, too. The J/109 and J/24 were the most obvious contenders, but there were a few others. We also had access to quite a few good ORC handicap calculations and the Olson 30 compared favourably to boats we knew.
After buying the boat, we started off trying out the 155% #1 genoa, the 130% #2 genoa, and 100% #3 headsail. The feeling was the 155% needed eight crew and really had the boat overpowered over 10 knots. It was also quite difficult to handle a bigger crew as the cockpit in the Olson is quite small. The Olson was designed as an offshore boat.
With that information, we contacted UK Sailmakers Ireland about a large new spinnaker so that we might be able to plane a bit earlier and an overlapping genoa, 140% genoa designed to fit the to the max area.
This proved a competitive setup for the Olson 30. We were unbeatable if we got over 20 knots of breeze in planning conditions with the genoa and larger kite.
In light conditions, we could keep up with, and race very closely with the Half Tonners, if not quite beat them; we could beat pretty much most other boats in these conditions in our class as well.
Getting the design of the sails and area right took a fair bit of thought and design. We were lucky enough to work with UK Sailmakers Ireland who were able to 3D model the sail design so we could see what we were getting before we ordered. As such, we knew we were going in the right direction.
Breezes of 10-15 knots is about ideal condition against most boats except Half Tonners; we were fast downwind and get the most out of the 140% overlapping genoa upwind. Still, we only start to beat the Half Tonners over 12 knots. Unfortunately, at 13 knots the larger boats, like a J/109, would come into their own and we would struggle. Regardless, this left us in a good position in that if we got mixed conditions, we would be competitive.
There really was no weakness, but to be sure of a win we needed 20 knots plus, which is rare in our racing area. We were not happy to just leave it at that. We looked at a few other enhancements at his point: an asymmetric spinnaker and adding weight to the boat (as it is exceptionally light – 1,600 kg) Neither made any real difference to the IRC rating on trial certs.
In 2020, we decided to look to optimize the boat further. We focused on optimising the sail plan and the hull displacement, we looked at reducing the spinnaker area a little as we felt we didn't get the benefits in light air from the very large spinnaker unless we were reaching. Dead downwind it was hard to fly. While a real weapon in the 10-20 knots wind range, we felt the larger chute did not help much under 10 knots.
The second thing we did was move to a 100% non-overlapping headsail. We worked with UK Sailmakers to design a headsail that would fit the foretriangle to the max plus a new, slightly smaller optimised S2 symmetrical spinnaker. The sails were designed in 3D, so it fit the rig perfectly with the max area. We worked out the headsail area from that and ran a trial cert.
By moving from a 140 % to a 100 % headsail and the smaller spinnaker, we received a 12-point drop in our rating.
Our feeling was that, in light air under 10 knots, we may still struggle with Half Tonners, but we should be still competitive against all other boats. We do not expect much difference from the smaller optimised spinnaker but would expect to see some drop-off upwind in the lighter air. A change of 12-points is a big gain rating wise, so we will have to see how it all works out.
In 10-20 knots. we still should go quite well if a little slower than before, but the 12-point handicap difference should easily make up for this. It also allows us to sail with one or two fewer crew; the boat is generally pretty cramped anyway.
We will now rate close to Half Tonners so should still be competitive against them and, as the wind goes up to 10 to 20 knots, we should be much more competitive against the big boats like J/109 also.
Really, the big risk is in sub 10 knots but over 10 we believe it will be a net gain.
Barry Hayes of UK Sailmakers Ireland has been showing off a new 'Code D' gennaker that's been designed for simple and easy use.
The Cork Harbour sailmakers say the cruising sail furls easily every time as he demonstrates in the vid below.
Hayes also says the new sail design can also be hoisted before leaving the dock. And, as it’s on a ratchet lock, it can be opened whenever is required.
The Code D is top-down furling sail so, says Hayes, 'it’s a perfect furl every time'.
Now that’s a wrap!
In this article, Barry Hayes (UK Sailmakers Ireland) and Pat Considine (UK Sailmakers Chicago) explain headsail vertical camber and why it’s so important to boat speed and performance of the boat. In reality, understanding headsail vertical camber is the modern headsail trimmer’s main tool to getting optimum speed and power out of the sail.
Headsail horizontal camber is always spoken about regarding how the sail needs to develop the right shape, but vertical camber is also critical to the performance of the sail.
UK Sailmakers’ sail designers use vertical camber tools in their design programme to optimise a sail’s horizontal camber. The superior shape-holding characteristics of today’s moulded sails require proper setting of the car, halyard, and inhauler to get the horizontal and vertical camber correct.
In the photo above, the red line indicates the sail’s vertical camber. The trimmer’s goal is to get the vertical camber line smooth and straight (as a plane’s wing), while keeping the twist in the leech of the headsail and getting the top of the headsail to open up and match the main sail slot (green line).
"you want to visualise a straight line down the back of the sail to the deck"
Looking at the back side of the headsail on the horizon will help you see the vertical camber and see how deep the sail is. When you’re looking for max power for the pressure you’re in, you want to visualise a straight line down the back of the sail to the deck.
Setting-up a headsail to achieve correct vertical and horizontal camber is the key to power-generating headsail trim. There is nothing wrong by having the foot full in the headsail in light air, it’s like having the flaps down on a plane's wing when taking off to generate lift and power. In a headsail, a full foot provides power and pushes the bow down in light airs helping to balance the boat. It’s only when the boat reaches hull speed does this effect start to change whereby you need to flatten the horizontal camber in the sail, taking more foot round out of the headsail, and flattening the overall shape of the sail. To achieve this shape, you’ll probably want a tighter halyard, tighter sheet, and an eased inhauler. This is normally about 8 – 10 knots depending on your hull shape and stability.
In the photo above, you can see the sail is twisting open, much like the ailerons on a plane’s wing, allowing the air flow to accelerate into the slot. This is the perfect amount of twist-to-vertical camber relationship in the sail. Having too little twist in the head will choke the slot and not allow the air flow to accelerate. To build boat speed, open the slot a little more as this will increase the air flow. When you’re up to speed, reduce the twist again so you’re making the most efficient use of the slot. Actively opening and closing the slot as speed and wind pressure vary, while minding vertical and horizontal camber, will allow you to get the maximum power out of your headsail.
As you can see in the above photo, the First 50 MERMAID has excellent vertical camber. The headsail is almost touching the lifelines in 8 knots of wind. The leech is nicely twisted open which creates max power and aerodynamic performance.
As you get up past hull speed in heavier airs, you need to shift your focus with your headsail trim. Creating the least amount of drag possible and with the most efficient drive and leeway.
As you can see in the photo of a J 3 headsail below, the foot still has shape to match the vertical camber. The sail is not over inhauled so the boat is balanced and easy to steer upwind. Having the foot too flat and not match the vertical camber in the sail will not give the helm enough power to push the boat through waves and also increases the heeling effect. Remember, you need some power in the foot of the headsail to balance the vertical airflow in the headsail. If the sail is too flat in the foot, the airflow will separate too early creating a vacuum and slowing the boat down.
Pat Considine, UK Sailmakers’ lead sail designer, added, “From an aerodynamic point-of-view, your objective is to have the foot of the headsail full in light airs and having the top of the leech twist open nicely (see photo below). This allows the headsail to deliver the most power without causing too much drag. You also can see in the photo how the air flow exits the top of the slot and flows quickly around the mainsail. At the same time, the lower portion of the sail’s air flow is moving at half the speed, generating power with smooth vertical camber in the headsail.”
Having too little foot round in the headsail is sub-optimal because it reduces the overall vertical camber in the headsail and reduces the power generated by the airflow moving over the headsail. Conversely, in 12 knots, having too much foot found not enough leech twist will give you lift but at the expense of speed.
The ratio of vertical camber to leech twist is critical. Having a straight line down to the deck is a really good visual key to help you get the headsail trim right. While watching the twist in the top of the leech.
To learn more about both vertical and horizontal camber in a headsail, contact UK Sailmakers below.
Keith Miller from Wexford transformed his Yamaha 36 from a slow cruising boat into a well-balanced and finely tuned IRC racer
Keith’s Yamaha 36 was doing a race to the Fastnet and back when his backstay parted bending the mast beyond repair. Considering this challenge as an opportunity, and working in partnership with www.visitwexford.ie he had a look into improving his Yamaha 36 by creating a better mast and rig set-up. Having read a lot of articles on Afloat about boat “balance” and what can be done to improve a boat’s performance, Keith contacted UK Sailmakers Ireland to see what improvements could be made to his boat.
Getting the Balance & Boat Speed
Keith and UK Sailmakers’ Barry Hayes then reviewed what his previous rig set-up had been and what Keith was willing to do to improve the boat. Given we had to find a mast that would suit what Keith goals were, we got in contact with New Zealand yacht designer Kevin Dibley of Dibley Marine to help us work out the best mast and IRC optimisation design considering the stability and lead (balance) of the boat.
Keith found a second-hand mast form an Oyster 395 which fitted the job perfectly. We then set about analysing the performance and rating that we could get out of the boat with that mast. Working closely with Kevin and crunching a lot of data we came up with a few options.
Some of the options were: A) a fractional with an overlapping headsail with a smaller main, B) a masthead max non-overlapping headsail with an IRC main, and C) non-overlapping headsail with an oversized main. After scratching our heads and reviewing the data multiple times, we agreed the best plan for giving Keith optimal stability and performance was option B.
Working from there, we did detailed measurements of the boat and rig. Then we built a 3D module of the boat so we could see the aerodynamic drag calculations allowing us to develop the most efficient, aerodynamic sails package possible. All the time we kept in mind the objective of maintaining the stability and lead (balance)in the boat.
Keith was focussed on offshore and IRC racing, so we went with X-Drive® Endure sails for offshore performance and reliability. The sails would also have taffeta and enough structural loading for durability with two reefs in his IRC roached main. The headsail was design to be furling with a horizontal battens and an IRC roach. The sail design modelling we did showed that this combination would result in the best durability and performance offshore.
As Covid-19 lifted, and Keith was able to get out sailing, he was itching to see how his plan had come together and see the performance first hand.
Keith updated by email:
Just a quick word to say I was out on Andante at the weekend for the first time with the new rig and sails. We were out in around 10 kts of breeze Saturday and Sunday.
I believe the boat behaved beautifully and was very well balanced. On a reach with the new assym, she was very easy to steer; even when the helm was distracted and went too far upwind, she responded easily to the wheel to get back in control.
Going upwind we had the jib sheet on an inhauler at an angle I didn't think possible. We could steer with slight adjustments to the mainsheet and only about 2 degrees of rudder. I am absolutely delighted and can't wait to be up against some competition. I think we have given this old bus a new lease of life.
I only paid Kevin and UK Sailmakers Ireland €500 for this analysation work to give a new lease of life in this Yamaha 36. She is a totally different boat with excellent performance and stability. I am looking forward to getting out racing.
Now that we are back open making and repairing sail, getting back into sailing will be foremost on everyone’s mind.
Proper application of the various controls on your boat is critical if you’re looking to get the best performance out of your boat whether sailing doublehanded or fully crewed. The backstay is one of the most important controls on a boat and can be the go-to control to quickly and easily shift from power-on or power-off modes.
Here’s what to do:
UK Sailmakers Ireland Top Backstay Tips
1. Make sure your mast is in column side-to-side in base settings. Next, having the right amount of luff curve/mast prebend is critical for properly setting-up your mainsail. To check this base setting on the dock, fully tighten your backstay and see how flat your mainsail gets. You’re looking for a flat main sail that still has power (camber) as seen in the photo below (A). You can then use the backstay as needed to bend the mast and depower the boat or straighten the mast to power up. When checking at the dock, the mast should not be over bending. Consider this your base setting with max mast bend in 8-10 kts. To add a little more camber in the main sail, tighten your diagonal (lower) shrouds and D’s. Remember, a single turn on the D’s does a lot, so go easy.
2. Your boat should be fully powered up and at hull speed using your base settings in 8-12 kts. At any higher wind range, your backstay is the tool that will help you control heel and power. In this photo 'B' below, see how the leech twists open with the backstay applied. Also notice how the tip of the mast starts to sag to leeward. This happens when the middle of the mast pushes forward letting the tip fall off and there isn’t enough leech tension on the mainsail leech to pull the mast back into column. This is a common issue that diminishes performance
3. In winds from 12 to 18, working your traveller up and down the track and putting the backstay on hard. This should give you the correct rig tune for this wind range. Be careful not to over bend the mast as it will make the mainsail too flat. The boat should be fast, pointing, with a straight forestay. You can put marks on the spreaders to see how much forestay sag you have relative to the mast bend. These marks should be viewable from the mainsheet trimmer’s seat.
4. Use the backstay to help you “shift gears” in the 12 -18 wind range, tightening it to power off and easing it to power up the mainsail. If you need to balance the boat, adjust the backstay first, the traveller second, and the mainsheet third. The reason the mainsheet is the last adjustment is that you need a tight main leech to help balance the boat and keep it pointing.
5. Over 18 kts, its backstay on hard and leave it. To control the balance of the boat in heavier winds, you can control the amount of mainsail twist with the mainsheet and traveller. You will know you have enough backstay tension when there is almost zero forestay sag. This is critical to get the boat pointing while also maintaining power. Only ease the backstay going downwind.
6. Over 20 - 30 kts., the backstay is full-on all the time regardless of whether you’re reefed of not...upwind and down. It’s of little use easing it as it only takes time to get it back on at mark roundings. Keeping it on also stops your mast from pumping on a reach and down wind.
7. Below 8 kts. the backstay is hardly used. Only use the backstay to control forestay sag. Reduce the amount of luff curve as the boat speeds up and gets to hull speed. It’s like changing from 3rd to 4th gear in the car; adding backstay controls the sail shape and resultant speed. In this photo below, with the boat in less than 8 kts., you can see the first 50 of is fully powered up and has sufficient backstay to control the forestay sag.
Knowing when to use the backstay controlling boat speed, heel angle and main sail shape takes experience; but these simple tips will keep your boat up to speed with the perfect sail shape and pointing angle.
When the story of the Covid-19 pandemic in Ireland finally comes to be written, there’ll be many individuals - both voluntary and professional - who will be recognised as having contributed way beyond the call of duty in helping to fight the scourge. In choosing Claire Morgan of UK Sailmakers of Crosshaven, who worked night and day to change and operate the company’s production line to meet the unprecedented demand for PPE gowns, we are honouring one in order to honour the many to whom we all owe our heartfelt thanks.