Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Mainsail

Mistral is getting a new sail. For the last couple years, since the mast was raised she's employed a handed down mainsail, which is smaller than the design size and quite ragged.

Doryman has been working on a sail plan (and saving his pennies) for a dory style Marconi main. The new sail will be sewn in a traditional cruising style with hand sewn rings, grommets and reef points. The clue, tack and head will be protected by leather chafe patches. A very salty sail, for an old salty dawg!

Lynne Fabricant of Sailmaker's Art is developing the sail to the specifications shown here, and Doryman will be completing the hand sewn details. (click on the image and it will come up a bit more clearly).

In a typical dory type mainsail the aspect is kept low, with a relatively short mast and long boom. In this case, the luff is 24-1/2 feet high and the foot 18 feet long. The idea is for the sail to provide power with a low righting moment, since the dory hull can be very tender. Too much weight (and power) aloft would be wasted and potentially dangerous in variable winds. The short sail allows excess wind and power to be spilled easily and quickly. With the dory's renowned reserve buoyancy, combined with a full ballasted keel, the boat will right itself immediately in a puff.

The low aspect rig was the first generation of the Bermudan style of sail, before the advent of modern materials in sails and hulls which allowed for the increased strain of higher aspect designs. For a working or cruising craft such as a skipjack or bugeye, the low aspect rig provided stability and ease of handling, reducing strain on craft and sailor. The designs of L.Francis Herreshoff also used the low aspect Bermudan to good effect, as in the the ketch Nereia.

The Sailmaker's Apprentice by Emiliano Marino was an indispensable reference in researching and developing the relevant details of a traditionally built sail. Since Doryman is trained as draftsman and architect, the plan is drawn in AutoCAD.

The details are being worked out for a new working jib as well, since all this sailing dory has at the moment is a storm jib. It's an exciting year for Doryman and his Mistral.

Stay tuned...

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