This is a very interesring discussion. I'll throw a few additional thoughts, in no particular order, into the mix. While I'm not necessarily speaking for other owners, this does reflect what I've see out here from out here from my corner of the world (Seattle) as both an owner and active crew for many years:
- To get a OD start, no one here really complains about sail material as long as the OD dimensions are adhered to. And, I've see J/30s win with a wide variety of sail technology. One boat I drove did quite well despite a recut main that would be worthy of a photo caption contest on Sailing Anarchy
- It's my opinion that a higher tech sail will provide better performance in a wider range of conditions. It will also hold shape (not necessarily construction...) longer. And, if used properly, it *may* provide a better return on investment over a dacron sail.
- While it's entertaining to read, unless you are a sailmaker or CAT 1 with a dacron main, I would strongly argue that on identically configured and sailed boats, a newer technology sail will perform better.
- On the other hand, I would also comfortably state that even with the best carbon string sails vs. dacron, if you botch a few tacks/gybes, get a bad start, or miss a shift benefitting a gybeset here or there, the dacron boat will probably win.
- I'll likely be in the market for a new suit of sails next year. When I buy, I'll likely buy carbon/aramid because the benefit/cost ratio is simply higher. High-tech materials and construction cost have come way down. Further, since about 60%+ of my racing will be PHRF with pervasive use of advanced sails, it simply makes sense to bring a gun to a gunfight. ;-)
- I used to sail a OD dinghy that went from all dacron to 49er style, reinforced mylar sails. The new look/performance potential GREW the fleet because it effectively moved the fleet forward. Sail cost remained the same. So - here's a thought: IF the restriction (and I'm honestly not saying it should be) were removed, it *might* draw more boats out of their slips (or owners away from other classes) to join a dynamic, high bang-for-buck class that gives flexibility to the owner to tweak a little.
It's my opinion that high-end sails are faster but not so much so that they would ruin a OD J/30 fleet. You have to sail well (boathandling and tactics) to do well and in my experience, that plays a more significant role in the overall results dynamic.
Just my $.02.