The vote was not unanimous, and the door was left open. The minutes in 18 Sept 2008 BOG meeting
recorded the following (note highlighted text):
2. Main Sail Material:
It was determined by a 90% consensus of the governors present that there was no need to change the restriction on main sail material. This was driven by the lack of any conclusive cost effective performance/longevity benefit. Shawn Ivie presented sample material that was Dacron with high tech material woven in a grid pattern for additional strength. This material is no longer available. It was determined that over the next year, the class will investigate what potential sail cloth material could be used for a cost effective alternatives to those currently allowed.
I am personally interested in investigating alternative sail material that provides longevity and is cost effective. I've obtained sample materials and specifications from sail cloth manufacturers and spoken to 4 different sail makers. A friend of mine has a C&C-35 with a main that seems to hold its shape well after 5 years. He races and cruises, and the sail is stored flaked over the boom. The material is Hood Vectron
made from Vectran, and it looks like Dacron with a woven gauze. I asked on the forum
if it was a class legal fabric (it is not). It is a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) and the chemical makeup is not the same as Dacron. Read more about the fabric at this link
on the Hood Sails website.
I looked at laminates, and while they may provide some better performance, the sails tend to disintegrate, rather than gracefully age like Dacron.
I am having a new main built with Vectron. The cost is about 10% more than class legal Dacron. The sail will be built to class specs in all respects, except for the material. I also plan on having the luff built with slugs since it is my intention to use this sail everyday, and for PHRF racing. I am going to take pictures of the sail to show its aging characteristics. Once I have sufficient data, I will present the information to the class to see if Vectran is a cost effective, viable alternative to Dacron that will provide longer life. I checked with PHRF-NB
, and they do not change ratings based on sail material, only changes in dimensions.
I'm not giving up on OD racing. On the contrary, I have a 2008 North Main that stays rolled on a shelf in in my basement when stored, and only used for one design events. It's the sail I'll be using at the 2010 NAs.
So - my recommendation is to come forward with parameters for a cost benefit analysis to show a comparison with the sail cloths you propose. Post the results on the forum, and let people in the class discuss it. The Board of Governors listen to the feedback of the people they represent.