Monday, September 14, 2009

Hand Sewn Mainsail Rings

Some readers have asked recently about Mistral's new custom mainsail. I just got a quick update from my sailmaker with a couple photos of the head, clew and reef-point rings she is sewing by hand (when she gets a chance from her busy schedule).

The first photo is the head ring with a reinforcing blot rope. This how the halyard was attached to a sail before the advent of metal head boards. An aluminum headboard can chafe the sail and many cruising sailors prefer an old fashioned sewn ring instead.

A piece of rope is sewn into a cringle for each ring, then a brass ring is hammered into the cringle for protection against chafe. The skill for this work is in the experience and the tools necessary are very simple. A cruising sailor can do the work on-board if repairs are necessary, which is the main advantage to having this kind of finish work.

In the second photo we see the tack, downhaul and reef point cringles on the luff of the sail. Click on the images to enlarge them for a closer view.

Sails are rarely made with this kind of attention to detail, in today's busy culture.

By no means secondary to the practicality of this system is the old time beauty of hand work done well. Look closely at the precision of the hand stitching. Lynne is incredible, isn't she? This sail is going to be a real beauty.

More on Mistral's new sails soon.

For an informative discussion on sail design and the multiplicities of the center of effort verses the lateral plane, visit Arpex. Peter Mirow is designing and building a proa in Rio and has much to say about life and the sea and the life of the sea. Multihulls are a topic we have not covered here, but we will, I promise.

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