After reviewing some of the 14 pages of posts on this issue I feel obliged to add my views. I have owned a J30 for 22 years and served as National Class Measurer for about 8 years. One of the main reasons for buying and staying with a J30 is the one design nature of the boat.
• Basically the PHRF guys want the OD guys to spend more money for Kevlar main sails for the oft chance that a couple of PHRF guys might attend a OD design event or NA's. Not really worth the money.
• Surveying the major sailmakers, it appears that the cost difference is about $800 to $2,000 or more for Kevlar. For years the sailmakers in Annapolis have told us that switching to a Kevlar or string main is not worth the additional cost. For OD sailing I am fairly sure they still feel that way.
• Not only will dacron mains cost less, but they are durable enough to be used for Wednesday night racing or cruising after 2 or 3 years. A Kevlar or string sail after the same use might be useful as a drop cloth for painting. I sell my old dacron mains and not being able to sell a string main in effect adds additional cost to making the change.
• Perhaps some local sailmakers may not be able to provide string sails so some owners may be forced to change sailmakers.
• From some of the comments posted on the forum it appears we are talking about a total difference of 5 lbs in weight. I am sure the PHRF guys will claim they can tell the difference. But I am not so sure. One bad tack or being on the wrong side of a small shift and there will be no advantage.
• To put it another way if you take the top skipper and crew in the fleet who sail with a string main and switch them with the skipper and crew of a boat in the back of the fleet with a dacron main who do think will win the regatta.
• Perhaps the most important issue may involve PHRF ratings. For Chesapeake Bay PHRF ratings, changing the main sail cloth would add 6 sec to the rating. However, in other parts of the country the PHRF handicappers do not take sailcloth in-to consideration. I wonder if Mr. Atkinson would be sailing with a string main if he had to pay 6 sec a mile for it. Perhaps this would be too "expensive."
So it comes down to cost and is it worth it? I do not think so. How many PHRF guys would be so supportive of the change if their rating decreased by 6 seconds.