J/30 Class Association

Dacron Main

Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Dacron Main - 05/30/08 10:32 PM

Time to start the fireworks... I received the e-mail requesting me to update my Class association data and to become an active member by sending in $50.00 I responded with what is included below. I have since been contacted by Bill Kneller with a request that I present the issue to the forum. Here is my e-mail:
Thank you for the e-mail and for the tremendous web page that the organization has provided.
I have owned my J/30, Wildcat for 20+ years, having bought her new in 1986. While I have only praise for the boat, the web page, the forum, the work of the Association, etc., I will not be sending dues for active membership. It's neither the money nor the amount. Please know that it is my strong disagreement with the decision by the board to not allow current technology in main sail cloth that keeps me from active membership.
I live in Eastern Michigan and race PHRF on Lake Erie. This year we will sail with a new #1, new "A" sail, a 1 year old #2 and all purpose kite. The main is 3 years old and will be replaced at the end of this season. Aside from mainsail technology, the boat is otherwise raced in class configuration, is competitive and is a strong representative for showcasing J/30 performance. Given the reasonable cost of newer technology and our desire to race competitively, there will never be another Dacron sail on the boat.
As long as the board maintains its desire to live in the Stone Age, there is no incentive for me to pursue any participation in one design events, which is too bad because we really would like to come out to play.
Posted By: D. Bartley

Re: Dacron Main - 06/01/08 03:42 PM

Just some observations from sailing on Lake Michigan...

I race J/30 class when I can (maybe once a year), and PHRF most of the time. So far, I haven't found that the class main has hurt us against other boats.

Two years ago we sailed the NOOD here in Chicago with a 14 boat PHRF section. J/30s were the slowest rated boat racing, including a brand new J/92S with a very good sailmaker. J/30s placed 1st and 2nd in section.

Last year we were again condemned to racing PHRF. This time the wind was light, and the 30s placed 7th and 8th. No difference in sail technology could have changed that outcome.

Our toughest competitor here is an S2 9.1. When we sail well, we beat them. When we don't, they beat us. Again, from what I can tell, a change to a high tech main wouldn't change that.

When I have priced new mains, the difference between a kevlar and a dacron main has been about 25%. For me that's significant (with a kid in college anyway)... and for no real difference in race results seems like the wrong place to spend my $.

Ullman sailmakers has done well in lots of different classes. In the Melges 24 class, they choose to construct dacron mains when they could use laminated sails. Technology is a good thing (I'm in computing), but just for the sake of technology seems to be unwise.

I do understand that having to buy 2 mains to be competitive is really expensive. I suggest however that the class main is perfectly fine, and perhaps more adjustable than a kevlar.

Anyway, my $.02
Posted By: Rambunctious

Re: Dacron Main - 06/01/08 09:43 PM

Although, I am unopposed to retaining or changing the class rule, I understand your position. That said, I would still encourage you to contribute to the class. Your voice will speak louder as a member - if you believe that rule change is that important, then advocate for it.

It is important to keep in mind that the J/30 Class Association does more than simply make rules for One Design sailing. They keep the J/30 relevant as a class by organizing the annual Nationals, hosting this website (which is a tremendous resource for anyone that has an interest in the boat), encouraging local fleet activities, and providing a means to establish the class rules.

Without a National Class Association, there wouldn't be any rules to protest. If everyone abstains from membership because of a rule they (perhaps legitimately) disagree with, then there won't be a class or rules with which to disagree. We all benefit from the class whether we go to the Nationals or not; without it, we'll all have just another 25+ year old boat.

Surely that's reason enough to contribute?
Posted By: dbows

Re: Dacron Main - 06/02/08 03:37 PM

At the Marblehead NOODs the J/30s had our own start and were scored under PHRF. My boat won 4 of 5 races and second in the one we did not win with a dacron main. The second boat had a very nice "high-tech" PHRF main.

Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 06/02/08 10:06 PM

Thank you Dennis, David and Jason for your inputs. To those of you that have won with Dacron mains, congratulations. As Dennis indicated, winning a sailboat race is a function of a lot of variables including wind conditions, but also so is it a function of the level of competitors sailing skills, bottom condition, etc, etc along with sails and occcasionally some amount of luck.

When the class association changed the rules on head sails, did everyone run out and buy new high tech sails? Did everyone run out and buy a new carbon fiber tape drive, 3DL or some other wiz bang number 2 and number 3? I didn't! I still have my 22 year old original number 3 that we carry around on long distance races in the event that it blows hard enough that I need something small and reefable to put up - yes my #3 is reefable. I'll bet that if there are 200 boat owners in the association then there are at least 400 opinions on what head sails to buy. If there is such a strong opinion that a Dacron main is "good enough" or better, then why do you have a problem with me or others buying something besides Dacron. I learned long ago that products don't determine markets, markets dictate products. Won't the "market" determine what sails to buy? If I want to "blow" my money on a high tech main that apparently will bring no benifits, why should anyone care.
Posted By: dbows

Re: Dacron Main - 06/03/08 04:37 PM

I think with current sail technology in regards to the J/30 mainsail there is almost no advantage with exotic materials. So one could argue that we should ease the restriction. However what happens if next year there is a breakthrough on mainsail technology but they are 10k a piece and anyone that has it will smoke people that do not. We have ruined the one design class racing. The spirit of the rule on mainsail cloth restrictions is - no arms races - and currently a well designed main of any material is going to make the boat go well so currently I do not think we have an arms race in the class and that is a very good thing.

Numerous other very large classes restrict to Dacron because of this very reason (J/24, J/105, Etchells, Sonars, etc.). It protects the class from technology out pacing the rules in an unfair way.

That being said I really do not have a problem with protecting the "spirit of the rule" and allowing other material as long as it protects from the "killer sail" showing up right before the North Americans.

It is a reality that most of us race PHRF and the occasional OD and if slight modifications to the rules increased OD participation then I think that is a postitive thing for the class.

Posted By: Steve Buzbee

Re: Dacron Main - 06/03/08 05:47 PM

I really think the dacron mainrestriction is fine. I race in a very competitive PHRF fleet of J-29's, S-2 9.1's, Olson 911 and 30, Santana 30/30 as well as a few other J-30's. Most of the other boats have high tech sails all around, and I see no noticeable performance difference between us on that basis. Age of sails and boat weight vis a vis conditions are the key points (along w/ boat handling and tactics of course).

High tech jibs are much more useful because headsails have fewer possible adjustments to shape than mains-a jib that holds a proper foil through a broad range of wind conditions is very important. The main has multiple adjustments to tweak the shape in conjunction with pressure, so having low stretch material is far less critical.

I would encourage you to update headsails before worrying about a high tech main. And I know that I will do whatever I have to to keep in one design configuration-nothing is better than sailing at J-30 OD events!
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 06/23/08 01:35 AM

Steve, FYI
Number 1 is new high tech Quantum 2008
Number 2 is new high tech Doyle 2007
Number 3 is original 22 year old
All purpose kite is new 2007
The "A" sail is new 2008
Main is late 2004 UK/Doyle Kevler w/Carbon fiber tapes
We are investing in our sail invnetory.

3 of the 4 acitve racing J-30's on Western Lake Erie all have non class mains. I don't know what is on the fourth

Just raced one of the other active J/30's in a 54 mile race. We beat him boat for boat by about 3 minues but he corrected over me (he carries a smaller head sail and rates 3 second higher).
Winds blew 15-20 all night, winds 25+ at the start, neither carried a number 1. Both boats had non class mains.
So much for one design.

If you want to attractthe active PHRF sailors to One design racing, I would suggest a change in the rule on the main.
Posted By: Michael L

Re: Dacron Main - 06/23/08 08:49 PM

Originally posted by Steve Buzbee:
I'm with Russ. I'm a newcomer to the J/30 world and love the boat. I'll use it for family day sailing, Wednesday night club racing, and will (at first) bring up the rear in any OD events I can muster up a crew for. Most of my racing will be PHRF and it seems to me that the boat is hard to sail to its rating. Sure when Bengt gets into a groove with Fuzzy Wuzzy he'll win, but more often than not, the J/30s don't do so well in PHRF. If a better main could help nudge us up against the fleet - I say let's do it. Better PHRF results may attract more J/30s to the fleet, and maybe that would mean a OD class which seems to be what everyone wants...

I really think the dacron mainrestriction is fine. I race in a very competitive PHRF fleet of J-29's, S-2 9.1's, Olson 911 and 30, Santana 30/30 as well as a few other J-30's. Most of the other boats have high tech sails all around, and I see no noticeable performance difference between us on that basis. Age of sails and boat weight vis a vis conditions are the key points (along w/ boat handling and tactics of course).

High tech jibs are much more useful because headsails have fewer possible adjustments to shape than mains-a jib that holds a proper foil through a broad range of wind conditions is very important. The main has multiple adjustments to tweak the shape in conjunction with pressure, so having low stretch material is far less critical.

I would encourage you to update headsails before worrying about a high tech main. And I know that I will do whatever I have to to keep in one design configuration-nothing is better than sailing at J-30 OD events!
Posted By: Steve Buzbee

Re: Dacron Main - 06/23/08 09:39 PM

I have to disagree again with Mike and Russ. I have had no major problems being competitive in PHRF-and I have a cabinet full of silver to show for it! Certainly we suffer when the wind goes light, but a kevlar main isn't the problem in those conditions-it's the basic weight of the boat. And I don't really understand the 54 mile race result Russ cites-as I read it, he was sailing with a hi tech main? I suspect the more likely culprit was 1) in heavy air, the rating advantage of carrying a smaller jib is huge-because no one uses the large OD jib that causes the tougher rating that we sail with and 2) In 25 plus, I would imagine that the #3 is in use-which in Russ's case is 22 years old! The test of the rating versus a boat sailing with a smaller headsail would be in light air, when the 163% can be used.

The problem with the 30 is light air performance, particularly downwind. This is why I have argued for years that the OD configuration should allow for a 1/2 oz chute. Almost every boat in our PHRF fleet uses the 1/2 oz up to about 15 knots-and they get noticeably more lift and power, and can sail deeper than we can in very light conditions. Being able to carry a 1/2 oz would be a much more helpful performance changer than would having a hi tech main, in my opinion.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 06/23/08 11:44 PM

To answer a couple of questions about the 54 mile race. The first leg was a broad reach, wind 20-25, a little deep for an A sail but since the A is a code three and smaller we choose it over our all purpose kite. Second leg was a fetch we flew our #2. Third leg was a close reach, we sailed our #2 until the wind shifted and we put up the all purpose kite(we blew out the A sail at the start), last leg was a beat, we sailed our #2.
We give the other J/30 time because we have a class #1, his number 1 is a 150. The point isn't that I won or he won, he's a great sailor and wins his share of flags. The point is both boats have a "high tech" main and in discussions, both of us will continue to buy non dacron mains. The newest J/30 in the town just bought a Quantum fusion "something" main (non dacron).
And by the way, I also have a 1/2 ounce kite, 2004 vintage, I consider it part of my old sail inventory.
Gents, the buggy whip salesmen argued for years about the stupidity of automobiles.
I submit that Dacron is heavy, does not maintain it's shape, etc, etc, but it's cheap and durable.
I'll ask the question again, if there is no benifit to a "high tech" main, then why not change the rule to allow it? Won't market will dictate the product? If there is no benifit to the high tech main, then you shouldn't be bothered by me and others having one. And if you are worried about the next greatet thing that just might come along just before the next nationals, I might suggest not getting out of bed in the morning either, you never know what might happen-new technology just might happen that day.
Posted By: B Johansson

Re: Dacron Main - 06/23/08 11:59 PM

First of all in my humble opinion the J/30 has a very sweet rating in any velocity but 8-12 knots (any container would move then). We usually don't have a problem beating the J/29's, Olsons, S2's etc in less than 6-8 knots or +14 knots.
Basically I'm for changes in sailcloth even if I think it would only waste the owners money and may not help the boats that needs it the most, but if it brings more boats to the OD events it's a good thing.
As far as the 0.5 oz spinnaker a cheaper solution is to lift all "the stuff" out of the boat and put it on a scale and then leave several 100 # of stuff you don't need on the the dock. Bob Rutsch made an interesting comment about this a few years back.
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 06/24/08 10:36 PM

There is little doubt Russ chose a high tech main because he believes it makes his boat go faster. For that reason alone many (but not all) PHRF handicappers adjust the rating on modified J/30s compared to those sailed in the one-design configuration. There's little doubt his high tech main does make his boat go faster, though I'd be surprised if it is as much as the 6 seconds a mile typical rating adjustment.

The idea that we can 'attract PHRF sailors to one design racing' is oxymoronic. Russ could comply with the one-design restrictions. He could work to develop a fleet in his area or travel to one-design events. But he has chosen to play a different game with its own set of rules, while appealing for us to change our rules for his benefit.

Russ, pay dues to the class if you receive some benefit from being a part of it. With apologies to George Carlin, I'm sure the class will adopt high tech mains 'with all deliberate speed'.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 06/26/08 03:43 PM

A couple of comments; first, do I understand you to acknowledge that the non-dacron main is faster? Wow!
Second, I take no penalty for having a non-dacron main. Our local PHRF organization has no restrictions on sail cloth.
To your points that I could choose to race one design or work to develop a one design fleet in the area; Using our club as a center point, there are 5 J/30's in mid to western lake Erie/Lake St. Clair that race: one in Cleveland (70 miles away), one in Lorain, Oh(50-60 miles away), one in Detroit (40 miles away) and two at the our local club (mine and one other). There have been and contiues to be attempts to rally the J/30's to race one design. As recently as 3 weeks ago, (after the "54 mile race"), I spoke at lenght with the other J/30 owner about trying to do just one J/30 event either this year or next. I doubt that we will be successful. We've attempted to rally support for doing one design at the 2008 Detroit NOODS - there was not enough interest. If we were lucky enough to put together a Lake Erie one design event, we would have to exempt the main sail cloth rule as most if not all do not have dacron mains - let alone deal with boats that don't have class #1's and boats that years ago cut their pole or their kites.

We are racing the boat PHRF and perfoming quite well and using that performance to encourge others to buy J/30's (looks like we might get one other J/30 at our club next year- dependent on the sale of his O'Day 34). Three boats isn't a fleet but it's a start.

And BTY, so I could keep the boat close to class configuration, a few years ago I appealed and won a rating change for J/30's on Lake Erie to reduce the penaly for the oversized chute since we already take a 3 second penalty for the pole (a class boat now carries 6 seconds of penalty). But to the point, during that appeal process, in 2004 there were only 12 J/30's listed with our PHRF organization (on all of Lake Erie). Those 12 boats are scattered over 300 miles, race in different areas and sail with significantly different agendas. Of those 12 boats, I have only actually seen 4 of them! And per the input from the folks at PHRF, most were modified in an attempt to reduce some or all of the 9 seconds of penalty the class boats carried. If you have constructive input or want to come out and help us to organize one design sailing on Lake Erie, please, we welcome your assistance.

And to your point of me racing one design, I would have to buy a trailer ($3500-$4000), pay $800 every time I want to haul the boat (in and out fee charged by my local marina) and tow the boat 250 miles to Chicago or 750 miles to Boston @ $4.00 per gallon and 7 miles per gallon for the truck. Would I do it? Probably; considering I spent just under $7k to truck my boat to Key West and back in 2006 only to break the boom after two days of racing.
I'd love to race one design. I'm sure I would learn to make the boat sail faster by watching,getting beat and learning from the experienced one design sailors.

But I won't do it with a Dacron Main!

I got one call from someone in Chicago several years ago asking me about the rule change on the head sail material. In that conversation I mentioned the issue of the main. I was asked if I would participate in Western Lake Michigan one design events if they waved the main rule. I said yes. I have never heard from the gentleman again.

I campaign and promote the boat, I've worked with local PHRF to make the boat more competitive. I work with local J/30 owners to attempt 1 design sailing. And now I'm working to try to take away one more barrier for local sailors to be interested in J-30's. I think you are quite a bit off base to say that "I'm playing a different game with a different set or rules" I'm playing in the same game with the cards that I'm dealt!
Posted By: Ed Austin

Re: Dacron Main - 06/26/08 07:16 PM

As a previous J/30 owner for several years, I ran into the same issues with sail cloth. Since there was some one design to be had in Western Long Island Sound, I ended up with two sets of sails. I believe that the kevlar mains I had performed slightly better than the dacron mains. On of the benefits of the hi-tech sails is maintaining better shape over time. The last year I had the boat, I won our Wednesday night PHRF series with a 4 year old Kevlar main. One the other hand, I won BIRW in PHRF using a Dacron main with about 4 regattas on it.

Overall, if I still had my boat, I would prefer to have the flexiblity to choose mainsail material, but would not fight hard for it.

On a different note, the 0.5oz chute is essential for PHRF racing in light air venues. Someone said just unload all the crap off the boat. That doesn't really fix how the sail flies. In the light stuff the 0.75 may fill, but still sags while the 0.5 flies alot higher with better shape. On LIS you rate the same in PHRF with no sail limitations and a 1260lb weight limit as you rate in one-design with 1400lb weight limit, so it was easy for me to give up the weight for the spinnaker and other sails (especially for genoas before the rule change).

[This message has been edited by Ed Austin (edited 06-26-2008).]
Posted By: David Erwin

Re: Dacron Main - 06/26/08 09:25 PM

Benz, what is the price difference between Dakron and Kevlar or other advanced materials?
Posted By: D. Bartley

Re: Dacron Main - 06/27/08 02:15 PM


Come to Chicago in August for the Verve Cup. There will likely be enough boats for a One design start. We can probably do something to allow your main.
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 06/27/08 05:19 PM

I know Russ has been at it a long time having brought his J/30 halfway across the country. Like most of us he supports his club, the class and has made efforts to organize a fleet. I just don't think a 'throw down' is consistent with the compromises needed to encourage one-design racing.
Yes I do think a Kevlar/carbon mainsail is faster. Officially PHRF doesn't 'rate' sailcloth. But effectively they do through one-design ratings (ODR). Boats that do not comply with class rules usually do things to make their boats go faster. There are six ODR Hobie 33's racing in or near North Cape YC. I know you are going to tell me they all use Kevlar, but is there anything they doing differently that has made their fleet more successful?
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 06/27/08 09:25 PM

Finally, some constructive dialog!
Dennis, thanks for the invite but I can't make it. In August we are committed to the Trans-Erie Race and another Club counter in which we took overall last year; the crew wants to defend our status in that one.

Bob, you are right, a throw down is a rather harsh position to take. I could have said nothing and ignored the request for dues as others do. I sent my first e-mail in an attempt to get someone's attention. I did that rather than, as in the past, watch as the one-designers, it seems as if in a vacumn, discussed how main sail cloth doesn't matter. Just this year, the association spent more time arguing over a couple of pounds of stove weight.

What I gather from the J/30 sailors that I talk to around these parts is, that they are indifferent to the association's efforts towards one design. Here, most everyone seems to be focused on how to maximize their efforts in PHRF (in Western lake Erie there are only 2 boats that sail with a OD rating). And I sit at NCYC, one boat away from the beginning of a fleet asking myself what can be done to attract more to buy J/30's or to attract some more to one design racing.

I doubt that changing the main cloth will get you anymore boats for the nationals but it might get me and some others closer to one design racing in our local areas. It appears that the association is somewhat myopic as it looks inward rather than really considering what it takes to build enthusiasm in areas away from the traditional one design fleets. That may not be true but it is a perception I carry.

If I still lived in Boston where I started with this boat and raced every Wed. with 6-10 other J-30's, I wouldn't care what the sails were so long as everyone raced with same ones.

I won't ask how you know that NCYC has 6 active Hobie 33's, but I will speak to the owners and ask for their input.
I helmed a Hobie 33 two years ago in their national event, I raced on one last Tuesday and I'm doing the Port Huron to Macinac on one. Being familiar with the fleet and the boat, I have some opinions as to what they're doing to promote 1 design(Rather than the kevlar main it's probalby the 1/2 oz kite), but I will ask them first hand and report back to you with thier input.
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 07/07/08 10:45 PM

Originally posted by Russ Atkinson:
I won't ask how you know that NCYC has 6 active Hobie 33's

No magic. I looked at the results of races at your club and noticed a number with the same PHRF ratings. Then I looked at your local PHRF rating organization which allowed me to list boats by club, took the clubs near you and ratings. Viola, six Hobie 33s. I sailed the demo model years ago and found it to be an interesting boat.

Anyway not trying to beat you up Russ, but there comes a point where some of us choose critical mass over personal preference and sail the boat most likely to achieve it.
Posted By: JBro

Re: Dacron Main - 07/18/08 11:01 PM

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.

- Jeff
Posted By: Phil

Re: Dacron Main - 07/21/08 07:02 PM

It seems that the cloth restriction's main purpose is to keep the cost of sailing as a OD Fleet as affordable as possible, with two kids in College and two more enroliing in the next two years I wholly support.

So if that's the intent, what is the difference in price between a Dacron Main and a alternative fabric ?
Posted By: dbows

Re: Dacron Main - 07/23/08 02:27 PM

Originally posted by Phil:
It seems that the cloth restriction's main purpose is to keep the cost of sailing as a OD Fleet as affordable as possible, with two kids in College and two more enroliing in the next two years I wholly support.

So if that's the intent, what is the difference in price between a Dacron Main and a alternative fabric ?

I just had my North sailmaker quote me retail prices on Dacron vs their best 3DL main: Dacron 3k, Carbon ~5300

To me that is a huge difference for a sail that does not last twice as long nor is it twice as fast. Sexy factor is very high though (-:


[This message has been edited by dbows (edited 07-23-2008).]

[This message has been edited by dbows (edited 07-23-2008).]
Posted By: the redhead

Re: Dacron Main - 07/23/08 07:16 PM

Remember that North sails warrants Kevlar sails IN HOURS, not days, weeks, years.... and I can assure you the HOURS a Carbon sail stands up would be no more than a Kevlar. But yeah, they are good to look at.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 07/23/08 08:32 PM

I have a UK Kevlar with Carbon Tapes main that went on the boat in June of 2004. It has been raced hard and has been badly flogged during some pretty ugly storms. It still has great shape. After every race the sail comes off the boat, is rolled and stored below. I could probably get one more year out of it but will replace it for next season. There are more durable, high tech sails than my tape drive (Quantum's Fusion X for example would probalby be a bit more durable and less expensive)
Posted By: Mark Wolf

Re: Dacron Main - 07/25/08 04:20 PM

I bought Quantum Fusion X three years ago; both Main and a 155% #1. These sails are used every week and the main is left on board. Just last week one of my neighbors asked me old are those sails...3 years old...no way, they look almost brand new. I will say they are in incredible shape as there designers intended. The cost for a Dacron main was $3,000 and the Fusion X was $4,100. I specifically bought Fusion X due to it's ability to hold shape and the projected life of the sail.
Posted By: dbows

Re: Dacron Main - 07/25/08 05:29 PM

Well I know if the class OD did not resrict to Dacron I would not have even considered it.

Posted By: Mark Wolf

Re: Dacron Main - 07/25/08 05:49 PM

My opinion is not based on a recommendation to change the OD rules. I've owned #507 for 3.5 years. I think the class should do what is best to attract the greatest number of boats into OD racing. I tried to put my boat up for a loaner last year and ran into the infamous "stove" issue. I thank everyone for participating in the forum as it provides invaluable information to all of us (especially folks new to the J30).
Posted By: RobC222

Re: Dacron Main - 07/27/08 12:19 AM

Originally posted by dbows:
I just had my North sailmaker quote me retail prices on Dacron vs their best 3DL main: Dacron 3k, Carbon ~5300

To me that is a huge difference for a sail that does not last twice as long nor is it twice as fast. Sexy factor is very high though (-:


Originally posted by Mark Wolf:

I bought Quantum Fusion X three years ago; both Main and a 155% #1. These sails are used every week and the main is left on board. Just last week one of my neighbors asked me old are those sails...3 years old...no way, they look almost brand new. I will say they are in incredible shape as there designers intended. The cost for a Dacron main was $3,000 and the Fusion X was $4,100. I specifically bought Fusion X due to it's ability to hold shape and the projected life of the sail.

Don't know about prices above, but my Quantum Fusion X cost $3,688 one month ago. Only a 20% premium over the Dacron. Sounds like a good tradeoff to me. Expect it to hold its shape much longer than the Dacron for a longer EFFECTIVE life.

[This message has been edited by RobC222 (edited 07-26-2008).]
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 07/28/08 12:39 PM

I am confused. In your post dated 7-23-08 you stated, "To me that is a huge difference for a sail that does not last twice as long nor is it twice as fast. Sexy factor is very high though". In your post dated 7-25-08 you say "Well I know if the class OD did not resrict to Dacron I would not have even considered it". Those two seem to contridict. Could you elaborate?
Posted By: dbows

Re: Dacron Main - 07/28/08 04:21 PM

Without the class restriction I would never have considered a Dacron main because the prevailing thought is that they are not as good as the newer materials. However I did buy a Dacron main because of the class and I have found it to be as competitive as any other sail that is why I defend it.

Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 07/28/08 04:54 PM

Thanks Dave for the clarification.
On another note, last Thrusday, I had the Quantum folks out to look at my new number 1 (Fusion X). While with them I asked their input regarding the main. Their response was, if racing PHRF or if class rules allow, go with a laminated sail for the followinng reasons. 1) Weight aloft; 2) The sail will maintain it's shape better at the "extremes", better airfoil shape in light air, less streach in heavy air; 3) If you are seriously racing you will most likely replace sails every 3-5 years whether you buy Dacron (replace due to shape) or laminated (replace due to wear). The laminated will maintain it's shape over that life span far better than Dacron.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main - 09/14/08 11:45 PM

A recent quote and actual price history on mainsails that people have sent me email messages on. Quote reflects any discounts provided:

North Sails (New Orleans) class specification Dacron Main with battens, roll bag, etc.: $3000 (delivered Sept 2008)

Quantum (Annapolis) quotation Fusion X Aramid 16 Twaron Mainsail with battens, bag, etc. $3267 - valid through 9/27/2008
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 10/29/08 05:18 PM

No doubt, I am disappointed that the BOG chose not to change the rule on Dacron mains. I am saddened that it will be another year that I will not be doing Nationals. I was however pleased to learn that discussion was left open and that investigation of sail cloth alternatives will continue.

I will be purchasing a new non-Dacron mainsail this winter. The curent sail is now 5 years old; is a UK kevlar tape drive with carbon fiber tapes. It's been raced hard for the entire 5 years and has seen several severe floggings in 50+ knot squalls. It is well used. It has also performed well, winning it's share of silver up thru and including this year.

I have stated that I beleive that "hi-tech" sails will be cost positive or are cost equal to a less expense dacron main; as measured in terms of useful life. To test that theory I suggest that someone find a comparablly used Dacron sail among the many Dacron proponents out there and have Quantum, or another sail loft, do a shape analysis on it (Quantum will do it for free). In the spring when I put the sail back on the mast, I'll also have Quantun do a shape analysis on my old sail. We could then compare the numbers. As well, we could do the same with new sails - compare at the beginning of the year and at the end to see the impact of shape deterioration over time. Maybe then the decision making process on main sails could begin to be less subjective. Who knows, maybe you can convince me to buy Dacron.

Anyone interested?
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Main Sail Material - 10/29/09 11:32 PM

Given the unanimous vote from the 2008 Board of Governors, and the strong discourse from many, I doubt that my continued dialog about allowing "higher tech" main sails will be well received.

I really have given up on expecting the class to change its mind. I do understand unanimous. I've owned my J/30 for 23 or 24 years (new in April of1986- someone else can do the math); we've raced her hard and won more than our share of silver. Unfortunately, as I advance in age towards things other than racing I'm disappointed that I've not gotten and won't get to race against the best of the J/30 sailors. Regardless, I've been a J/30 owner longer than most and consider I've earned the right to continue with my unpopular position.

Since there is no apparent movement from the "Class" on changing the rule then I have a simple request. Please provide a logical and sensible answer as to why not to allow higher tech main sails.

So far, I've missed seeing the logic on past responses. Here are a few examples to make my point:
One argument offered was that a Dacron main is just as good as a high tech. OK then, what difference does it make to allow higher tech? My point is; what's the logic in not allowing higher tech sails if they don't make a difference - "a fool and his money"?
The other prevailing argument has been that higher tech sails do make a difference but that the "Class" wants to keep the one design racing affordable.
To that however, some sail makers argue that the premium cost of higher tech sails is offset by the fact that they hold their racing shape longer than Dacron and the cost of racing sails balances out. Get one more year more out of a high tech sail in terms of racing performance as compared to a Dacron sail and you've broken even on cost.
For a moment though, let's accept that not all will agree that the net cost is about equal. Ok then, please explain the logic of the argument of trying to rein in costs when the class had no problem changing the rules to allow carbon poles. From the very recent thread on carbon poles, I offer the following excerpts:
"Retail for the pole is $1098. Packaging and freight seem to run right at $150 just about anywhere in the US. My North loft made a nice cover for mine for $125".
I guess I miss on the congruency of the cost containment argument here.

If you want to argue that the reason is to protect the class from a "tech" war it would seem that the argument flies in the face of the Class desire to perpetuate the "Class". Since there is a lot more PHRF racing than one design racing, the current ruling on the main seems to stand in the way of advancing the flexibility of the boat.

I look forward to your response
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Main Sail Material - 10/30/09 12:10 AM


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.
Posted By: sonskyn

Re: Main Sail Material - 10/30/09 09:36 AM

I don't race so I don't have a dog in this fight but I have never understood the different rules for different sails? Observing the 2008 nationals from a far the J30 fleets' white main sails with assorted color headsails looked a mess!
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Main Sail Material - 10/30/09 03:55 PM

In an earlier post to this discussion I mentioned that I purchased a new main for this season. In that discussion I offered to photograh it at the end of the next few seasons and have a sail maker evaluate its shape degragation over time. My offer was to do that if someone else with a new Dacron main would be willing to do the same (it doesn't cost anything - the sail makers will do that at no charge). So far, no one has agreed to do the comparison.

Further, I offer this feedback from my local sail maker. While it is not cost specific it does offer some intesting technical points.

From the sailmaker:

For further analysis we asked our sail designer, how changing to Aramid would affect the performance, durability, and ease of use. Part of the process was also to analyze the flying shape of the sail design and how it would have to be changed to accommodate the stronger fiber. From earlier work, we know that there are critical changes that need to be made when changing to a stronger fiber. As part of that analysis, we utilize design programs that analyze flying shape in various wind conditions as sails stretch. One of the outputs of our program is "yarn strain". This indicates the amount of stress on the structural yarns in the sail as the sail is loaded. Areas of the output that appear in red are areas in which the sail is loaded to the point where excessive strain is being put on the yarns. As the sail is stressed to the red areas, the yarns and then eventually the Mylar film, are taking excessive load. When a sail is loaded excessively, the yarns can reach the point where they do not recover to their original length and the Mylar film becomes loaded. When Mylar film becomes loaded, it tries to fight the load by aligning itself against it. When this happen the film recoils permanently, which is what is commonly known as film shrinkage. Once yarns are overstretched and film has shrunken, the original design shape of the sail has been lost.
The image below shows the yarn strain analysis of an Aramid (right) and a Pentex sail (right) in 12 knots of true wind speed. Note the significant amount of red in the Pentex sail and the absence of it in the Aramid sail. This simply means that the Aramid yarns are not seeing nearly the strain as the Pentex yarns, meaning the shape distorts less under load. The end result is going to be that the Aramid sail is being less damaged with normal use. This simply translates into a more durable sail.

Figure 1 - Yarn Strain
I'm sorry, the diagram would not paste into this forum. Send your e-mail address if you would like it.

Common concerns that people have with Aramid sails when they have become used to polyester or Pentex sails are UV degradation and flex degradation. Frankly most of these concerns stem from the original Kevlar sails built back in the 1980's. The original Kevlar sails were woven like Dacron, with Mylar film on one side of the fabric. The size of the yarns in the weave was very small and nearly all of the fibers were exposed. Modern laminates use larger bundles of yarns that are unwoven. The yarns on the outside protect a large portion of the yarns in the bundles, so a very small percentage of the yarns are actually exposed to UV. When a racing sails reach the end of their performance life, it is the changed shape of the sail (primarily from film shrinkage) that is the reason, not that the fibers have lost strength. Aramid yarns do break down faster than Pentex yarns from flex degradation, but what you see from flex degradation is more a breakdown in breaking strength of the yarn, not stretch resistance. But as stated above, most racing sails are retired because they no longer have a fast shape, not because they have broken.
The bottom line is that Aramid sails provide the best value in performance racing sails. The only classes that use Pentex as a fiber are those that originally use polyester fiber in their sails because at the time polyester was considerably less expensive than Aramid. When a customer comes to a sailmaker looking for a top value laminate racing sail for boat under 40' without fabric restriction, sailmakers nearly always choose Aramid, but never Pentex. In fact, sailmakers are more likely to recommend a carbon Aramid blend than Pentex.
In addition to being more cost effective in the long run, trimmers will find the Aramid sails easier to set up properly. Because the sails will hold their shape better in heavy air, they will need less aggressive movement of the halyard and lead positions to get the proper flying shape. Having to use less halyard tension to get the proper flat shape in heavy air will also increase the sail's longevity.
Posted By: Rambunctious

Re: Main Sail Material - 10/30/09 04:41 PM

Since there is no apparent movement from the "Class" on changing the rule then I have a simple request. Please provide a logical and sensible answer as to why not to allow higher tech main sails.

Why the quotes around Class?

I don't think there's going to be much argument that a laminate sail is more durable and will retain optimal shape over a longer term. You've got one and have fun with it in PHRF. For a One Design class, a consideration has to be made for the effects rule changes will have on the affordability of the class and on getting boats out to the starting line.

While I understand that there is an argument to be had on the longevity of the sails, it sounds to me like there is strong class consensus not to change at this time because of the initial cost outlay. I would agree with that.

This issue is one for the BOG to review at their annual meeting. They've done so in that past and again at the meeting in September of 2008. As Bill points out, the door remains open to changes in the future.

Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Main Sail Material - 10/30/09 08:07 PM

You asked; Why the quotes around Class?
Answer: It seemed easier than writing J/30 Class Association and its Board of Governors.

Relative to making the sail material an issue of cost - I repeat from my earlier post:

"For a moment though, let's accept that not all will agree that the net cost is about equal. Ok then, please explain the logic of the argument of trying to rein in costs when the class had no problem changing the rules to allow carbon poles. From the very recent thread on carbon poles, I offer the following excerpts:
"Retail for the pole is $1098. Packaging and freight seem to run right at $150 just about anywhere in the US. My North loft made a nice cover for mine for $125".
I guess I miss on the congruency of the cost containment argument here"

As well, yes you and Bill point out that the door remains open to future changes. Sorry for being wrong in saying the vote was unanimous; it was only 90%. Either way, there is a tremendous and overwhelming resistance to change. I'm 62. If a vote to change were to take place next year, the earliest one can race with modern sails is 2011. Other than me, I don't see anyone else asking for a change. I truly doubt any change will occur in my racing "career".
As I said earlier: I really have given up on expecting the class to change its mind. i just would just appreciate a logical explanation. Just please don't use the cost arguement.
Bill Kneller is going to have two sails. How does that fit with the cost arguement? It'll cost over $1200 to have a carbon pole made - where's the cost containment arguement for that?
If one were concerned about, as you say, the affordability of getting boats to the starting line then change the rule with a stipulation that it doesn't go into effect for two years. That would give the serious racers time to change In my mind, anyone showing up at a national event with two year or older sails shouldn't have much of an arguement regarding what other boats are flying for sails - Dacron or high tech.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Main Sail Material - 10/30/09 09:55 PM

Originally Posted by Russ Atkinson
....Just please don't use the cost arguement.
Bill Kneller is going to have two sails. How does that fit with the cost arguement?

Russ - I'm not obligated to buy a sail with different material. I'm buying it with a goal of collecting data to support the argument for a potential rule change. I also was able to sell a "boat load" of old sails on this forum that helps defray the cost. Just because I can afford to buy another sail, doesn't mean I should impose the requirement on others. I still support the OD rules and plan to race in OD events using class legal sails I already own. If it turns out that Vectron is good material supported by cost and performance data, then I'll suggest the class consider it as an alternative to Dacron.

Rules changes should be based on a broad review of J/30 owners with transparency. That's why we post the information on this forum. The 2008 vote I believe was representative of the sentiment for most of the people expressing opinions on this board. If you go back and do a search for changes in head sail material, you'll see that it took a while for the people to reach consensus on this matter.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Main Sail Material - 10/30/09 11:38 PM

Please know that I accept majority rule. Too, Im aware that I'm doing a pretty good job of leaving the one design racers with the perception that I'm calling their baby ugly. To that I apologize as you don't know how badly I want to come play. I also realize that I could go out and buy a Class legal main, but I won't. And you are right, it takes time to build concensus for change.

Unfortunatley my frustration is showing. I know I poked pretty hard last year when I started this thread but I got little satisfaction from the majority of the reponses regarding change.. responses anywhere from the sail doesn't make a difference to go race a Hobie because there are 6 in your club.
It didn't help when just recently I saw the thread that included the cost of a carbon pole and then recalled the issues argued over 12 lbs of stove weight. I'm sorry, I don't get that the class can approve $1200 of cost to save a few lbs of bow weight or that the original stove that came with my 1986 vintage boat might not be class legal... and at the same time argue that main sail material requires a cost vs performance analysis.
In my mind, the class deserves a subtle poke
Posted By: Rob Van Name

Re: Dacron Main - 10/31/09 04:51 PM

I went with a non-dacron main for Nordic Star for longevity reasons. My current racing is PHRF in club races against another very well sailed J/30 with a dacron main.
Posted By: dbows

Re: Main Sail Material - 10/31/09 09:06 PM

The resistance comes when you are deciding what it is going to cost OTHER people to participate in the class. When you are a member of the BOG you have to think about EVERYONE who participates, not just your own situation. It IS about cost.

As for the carbon pole argument - it is not really the same since it does not need to be replaced every 3 years. When you buy it once you are done - kind of like the #3 (-:
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Main Sail Material - 11/02/09 09:23 PM

One of my favorite games: 'wack-a-mole' and look what popped up again!

A J/30 spinnaker pole should last a lifetime. Ours is 25+ years old and serviceable. Many are replaced after being accidentally lost overboard. You can save a few pounds using carbon and composite ends. A lighter pole may be easier to handle. Some class members can justify the higher cost. The rest decided they were at no disadvantage and came to a consensus to change the rules. There are similar stories for the solid vang and windward sheeting traveler. That's how classes work.

Every J/30 came with a stove or an oven. Ours likewise is 25+ years old and works just fine. Apparently some rust to dust and you can't buy a new one that fits. Somebody shows up at the NA's without one and the measurer has to decide what to do. Let everyone tear out a cruising amenity or find some accommodation. It has little to do with the 12 lbs. Classes have rules that members anticipate will be enforced fairly.

Sailcloth restrictions have been debated as early as J/30 Journal #2 in April 1981. It took four years for Class Rules to allow Mylar in the genoa and twenty-four to allow Kevlar laminates. Eighteen years to change to an unrestricted laminated jib. I recall mainsail material was a controversial topic at the 1987 NA's at Newport. It may be that one day most will determine that the benefit exceeds the cost. It will take a champion of the cause, as we seem to have here, plus facts, logic, maybe even an emotional appeal. It will be also take a consensus majority of class members.

If you wish to sail in a class you accept the compromises, as well as the slow, maybe even capricious way their one-design rules evolve.
Posted By: NaturalHigh

Re: Main Sail Material - 11/03/09 12:44 AM

I don't have much chance of racing one design out here, but I know after doing some shopping, there is no fricken way I could afford a high-tec racing main to be competitive. I am just new to this game and don't have deep pockets.

I am going to be saving for a new main, and while I would love to have an uber sexy 3DL or the like for PHRF racing, I don't know if the benefits would pay off. I am more keen on the big distance races where one might run into heavy weather, or need to play the big currents. When I am sailing in the dark scared crapless, I am not likely to be thinking about the performance advantages of a high tech main.

But, if there is a material out there that is near the same cost as a good Dacron, then I would consider it if its usefull life is similar.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Main Sail Material - 11/03/09 10:00 PM

I can certainly say I've given an emotional appeal. As well,I've attempted to argue for logic. Please see a portion of my e-mail string with my sail maker Skip Dieball (if you aren't familiar with who Skip is you can Google him for further reference). This string won't settle any arguements but will add additional "facts" to supplement those from my 10/30/09 posting on this forum topic.
I'm sure those that are in favor of staying with Dacron can find thier justification in Skip's comments.

From: Russ Atkinson [mailto:ratkinson@ellisontechnologies.com]
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2009 12:02 PM
To: Skip Dieball
Subject: Main sail material

Thanks for the input.
A few years back, in your work with the T10 fleet you were not in favor of allowing high tech mains.
Would you have that same view for the J/30. And if so, should I be going back to Dacron on wildcat?
Also, why is it more important in the head sail then in the main?

From: Skip Dieball [mailto:skip@dieballsailing.com]
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2009 1:05 PM
To: Russ Atkinson
Subject: FW:

I'm mixed on the "requirement" of specifying material. Clearly the J/30 enjoys the aramid sail. When the class looks at factors that impact participation they often look to sail inventory in keeping the costs down. The unfortunate thing is that Poly/Dacron/Pentex all have come up considerably in price. They still have a better ultimate life, but the performance life is about the same. At some point the T10s will go aramid in the mains strictly due to costs being close to the same, not to mention that string sails are coming down in price as that technology is further developed.

The little jibs in the T10 and J105s need to go through a large range. Both classes have A/P jibs, meaning they go from 0-30 knots. With that in mind, you have to have an extremely straight back end of the sail and low stretch through the range. That is primarily why the Aramid works so well in the jibs. The argument could be made for genoas and mainsails as well, but with longer, stiffer battens in the main, the Dacron does a good job and is relatively responsive to halyard and Cunningham to open the leech too.

Hope this helps. - Skip
Posted By: JBro

Re: Main Sail Material - 11/05/09 12:04 AM

This is an interesting discussion. Obviously, the debate revolves around:
- Material cost
- Production cost
- Longevity
- Performance impact
- Cost of ownership (initial as well as longterm)

However, I will offer another factor: the future of the class and it's marketability. Honestly, if I hadn't sailed a J/30 enough to know what a great boat it is, I would have likely looked at other options (in fact, I did initially).

J/30s see most of their action under PHRF racing. I know pretty well that sailors look at the boats between starts, drifting waiting for starts, etc. And, I cannot recall hearing any crewmate saying, "wow - look at the main. I love a dacron main. They look fast and fun." In fact, when I've heard comments that dacron is actually more desirable in some circumstances for it's controlability, it's a seriously hard sell for anyone. If it was, leading grand prix boats would use it.

The fact is, low cost or not (and we're seeing, actually, not), equal performance or not, dacron is the past. Unless someone is nostalgic and just likes that temporary feel of crisp dacron, dacron is something that many equate to outdated.

Whatever the case, I think it's prudent to ask whether simply mandating a dacron is good for the future of the platform. Stick with the past ('cause that's whaht we've done) or consider that a little innovation could help carry the boat forward in it's appeal to new buyers for the next 20 years. Saving current owners a few bucks won't matter if the fleet dwindles away as prospective buyers seek out more innovative, sexy options.

In fact, I've seen fleets where this type of rule change actually breathes new life into the fleet (excitement, new learning curve for some, etc.)

Someone said "emotional appeal" ;-) So, maybe this counts? I will, however, refrain from saying "it's for the children".

- Jeff
Posted By: Groovin

Re: Main Sail Material - 11/05/09 01:45 AM

I agree Jeff
Allow the fleet to grow and not stand still. I believe that it will increase the opportunity of the boat and make it even more fun. Plus i believe one sail we got with our boat is a radical main. I will have to dig it out.
Posted By: dbows

Re: Main Sail Material - 11/05/09 05:15 PM

Bottom line is that the BOG represents its members so if enough people want the change it should be considered for change. Maybe setup a poll?
Posted By: JBro

Re: Main Sail Material - 11/05/09 06:22 PM


I think that's a great idea. Is there a tool on the site here to produce a poll? If not, I have a fair bit of experience with them and could set one up.

Also - a couple thoughts:

- it would be great to send a tickler to the registered users to drive widespread participation.
- we're at an interesting time for this technology. The price of a leading, brandname loft's dacron main is reasonably comparable to a hi-tech (read: carbon/aramid) sail. I don't think most people know this. So, as part of a polling process, folks should at least know the facts. If we were polling for perceptions, that's one thing. For something like this, we're asking for guidance based on objective data vs. myth.

Didn't someone (sorry in advance if I missed this - asking before re-reading the entire thread) compile a list/spreadsheet of sail quotes/prices submitted by members?

- Jeff
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Setting up a poll: Main Sail Material - 11/05/09 08:03 PM

Jeff - A poll can be created in an initial post only, although I can log in with Admin rights and put the poll in a reply. It's probably best to keep the poll in its own thread, and keep the discussion in this thread - I can provide a cross reference link. The poll can be left in a sticky at the top of the forum so it is easy to find. It's best to define what you want in the poll first, because once the poll is created, it can't be changed.

So - decide what questions you want to ask, decide if the answers are yes/no, multiple choice, or vote for more than 1 item. Each question can have a separate type (e.g. yes/no, multiple choice, vote for x of y). We can also put a time limit so the poll closes at a certain time and date.

Either you can set this up in a new post, or I can. Probably best to throw out what questions to ask, get some feedback on the questions, and setup the poll.

Edit: I don't recall a spreadsheet with consolidated prices, but there were various posts in this thread where people contributed price information.
Posted By: dbows

Re: Setting up a poll: Main Sail Material - 11/06/09 03:01 PM

All I really care about is if people think the class should allow the sails. The cost is the cost. Since we do not have a large OD class, the cost is going to vary from sailmaker to sailmaker and region to region so I am not sure of the benefit of posting all the different cost. A dacron from one sail loft could be the same cost as a carbon from another - it just depends on so many factors ....

I think there other compelling reasons to allow non-woven mains vs the cost benefit argument.

Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Setting up a poll: Main Sail Material - 11/06/09 03:12 PM

The suggestion of a poll is a good one. Properly constructed it can indeed provide valuable information that can lend to any BOG discussion/decision on allowing Araimid mains.
As you move towards developing a list of questions for your poll, I offer some commentary.

First, I coach my employees that in business situations; never, never attempt to solve problems until you clearly identify the problem. So the question I ask is; what problem are you trying to solve? I'll put that stake in the ground and circle back to it in a minute.

Second, in medical and psychological tests as well as with polls, the results can be skewed or wrong conclusions can be drawn if the studies aren't constructed properly. Or, the inverse of that is that one can skew results to their desires by manipulating the test or the questions. Again, I'll leave that stake for a moment.

My third comment (stake in the ground) is relative to "majority rule" and the function of the BOG. I'll remind that this organization is not a democracy; it is, as with our own federal government, a representative democracy. There is a big difference in the two. As such, the individual members of the BOG have two responsibilities. The first is to represent the interests and desires of their constituents or individual regions and secondly, to make decisions that are in the best interest of the Class. Please know that those two responsibilities may not always be congruent. A point to this third commentary is to say that by allowing a poll to determine any decision, the BOG would be abdicating its responsibility.

As much as I want the Class to allow Aramid mains, I also recognize my bias. As with my bias, the BOG needs to sort out the other bias arguments. I question if a yes/no poll can do that.

Now back to my stakes. I offer that the question the BOG should be asking itself is not whether or not to allow Aramid mains. I believe the question to ask is whether Arimid mains are good for the class. There is a significant difference in those two questions. While both questions should be followed with a why, the first could be argued with a strong emphasis on cost. The second, is far more relative to the perpetuity of the class and not necessarily so impacted by cost.
Posted By: JBro

Re: Setting up a poll: Main Sail Material - 11/06/09 07:45 PM

@dbows: I couldn't agree more. I think there are many more dimensions to this than cost. Checking in with the community to get some perspective will help arrive at that. Cost is simply one aspect that could impact a decision on this.

@Russ Atkinson: Great points Russ. All well articulated and factors to keep in mind when trying to get some input from the community that could affect a BoG proposal/decision.

To be clear, it certainly wasn't my sentiment that a poll would make a decision. It's just a useful tool to take the temperature of owners feelings at a specific point in time.

Beyond the poll, I think some constructive, objective presentation of the issues/facts would be a good starting point. One that represents owners, sail industry experts, as well as other classes that have faced this decision. Once that knowledge is objectively presented for folks to analyze, then a poll will just help determine to relative importance and collective opinion of the community.

I think informed feedback is the best type of feedback. So, I believe learning should be part of the process.
Posted By: dbows

Re: Setting up a poll: Main Sail Material - 11/06/09 10:25 PM

@Russ your point about representation is correct.

I represent my fleet which has different issues than say one that has had a long established OD fleet. We are in the process of growing the fleet from a group of PHRF boats and new boats to the area. The challenge is to take an owner that has always used Araimid in PHRF and then tell them "in this sandbox we play with dacron". It is a leap to say they will go back to dacron just to participate in OD. With an established OD fleet they start from a OD mentality then work into PHRF - fleet building happens in reverse.
Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Setting up a poll: Main Sail Material - 11/06/09 11:04 PM

I vote "best we can for PHRF FIRST" ... after all we have to compete against PHRF boats more than ODers and the J30 Phrfs in light air are a double handicap.
Posted By: gmo

Re: Dacron Main - 12/07/09 04:08 AM


I'm planning on getting a new Dacron main in Jan, so I'll do the experiment with you.

My current main is a 10 year old dacron, which isn't worth a whole lot anymore. I'm buying dacron, because my crew and I are all pretty new to racing, and we still have plenty of "oops"s. I'm figuring a dacron main will put up with our learning better. Also, we aren't good enough to reap the benefit from the newer materials.

I fully intend to by a new laminate main in a few years, as at least half the other J30s in the Seattle area sail laminate mains already. When I do upgrade, I'll have a practice sail left over, which I wouldn't have for long if I bought a laminate now.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main - 12/07/09 05:13 AM

Check out Steve Buzbee's ad for a North Main from Benz Faget (New Orleans loft) only used at the 2009 NAs. I have the same Main 1 year older - it is a good sail.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 12/07/09 01:28 PM

Great, lets do it.
First, you may want to consider the main that Bill Kneller referenced, particularly if you are looking for something to get started with and as well, if you are planning on upgrading soon. Sounds as if that sail is in "almost new" condition.

As for testing, I would suggest a couple of things. First, put marks on your main halyard and put marks on the back of your boom so that you have reference points for halyard tention and outhaul settings. I would also suggest we test at the beginning of each season.
If you are buying a new sail, your sailmaker can tell you what pictures to take. If you need some guidance, let me know and I'll get the info to you. I don't think my sailmaker would have any issues with doing the comparisons for us. So in the spring, you can e-mail the photos to me.
Posted By: gmo

Re: Dacron Main - 12/18/09 06:56 AM


I ordered the new main today, so should get it in a month or so. I'll send you the photos, then. I'm going to go ahead and get a new sail. It's a little bit more, but I like the local quantum loft, and want to keep getting their service.

Also, I wonder if you noticed Steve's last post in the thread about his main. If the board is denying allowing laminate mains because they are concerned with the cost, it might be good to point out that most (overwhelmingly) J30s race predominately as part of PHRF fleets. In that post, Steve says his new plan is to have a Kevlar sail for most of his racing, and a dacron sail just for sanctioned OD racing. That sounds pretty cost IN-effective to me.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main - 12/18/09 02:30 PM

Originally Posted by gmo

I ordered the new main today, so should get it in a month or so. I'll send you the photos, then. I'm going to go ahead and get a new sail. It's a little bit more, but I like the local quantum loft, and want to keep getting their service.

Also, I wonder if you noticed Steve's last post in the thread about his main. If the board is denying allowing laminate mains because they are concerned with the cost, it might be good to point out that most (overwhelmingly) J30s race predominately as part of PHRF fleets. In that post, Steve says his new plan is to have a Kevlar sail for most of his racing, and a dacron sail just for sanctioned OD racing. That sounds pretty cost IN-effective to me.

Grady - what main did you order?

Here are some questions for all those who race only PHRF. If the class changed allowable materials for mainsails, how many would travel to a one design event, and how many would come to the J/30 NAs? I've structured a series of questions for everyone in a poll at the top of this forum. Please take the time to vote, but post all comments or questions in this thread. Hopefully this poll asks questions in a neutral manner, and doesn't sway the answers one way or the other.
Posted By: R II

Re: Dacron Main - 12/18/09 02:53 PM

Originally Posted by Rhapsody #348

Please take the time to vote,....

Question on voting in your poll;

Does one answer a question and press the 'submit' button for that question then go to the next?

Or, does one answer all questions and press 'submit' just one time?
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main - 12/18/09 03:06 PM

Al - I think you have to vote each question and submit individually. It's a limitation of the forum software.
Posted By: Groovin

Re: Dacron Main - 12/18/09 09:54 PM

I asked Jason about NA's and he does not have a class legal main nor do I so it will be interesting to see the answers of your poll. Yet to hear from Wendell
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 12/18/09 11:54 PM

I'm looking forward to meeting y'all in N'Orlins!!! Or am I being too optimistic?
Posted By: gmo

Re: Dacron Main - 12/19/09 04:12 AM


I ordered a class legal Quantum main. You can find my reasons for getting dacron a page or two back, but it had nothing to do with class regs.

In the Seattle area, we don't bother with the main restriction when we race OD. I don't know all the boats, but most of the regular J30s only have laminate mains.

Me and my crew have only been racing about a year, so NAs would be a big trip we're not ready for. If we were at a point where we'd consider NAs, I'd say we wouldn't come if we didn't feel our main was competitive and we wouldn't buy a new sail just for one regatta.

I didn't answer the poll question about NAs, because currently sail material has no impact.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 12/21/09 09:30 PM

Nice job on putting the survey together thank you.
In an earlier post you asked Grady, "Here are some questions for all those who race only PHRF. If the class changed allowable materials for mainsails, how many would travel to a one design event, and how many would come to the J/30 NAs?"

I'm wondering how many wouldn't come if you changed the rule? As well, I'm curious as to how many would feel compelled to buy a non-dacron main in order to race at the NA's as there were several who pushed back and said the dacron was just as good.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Looking for Data Collection Ideas: Dacron Main - 01/23/10 10:27 PM

For those interested (I know Russ is!), please contribute here and come up with a check list / data list on parameters we want gathered so that a meaningful evaluation of alternative main sail material can be presented for consideration. I'll start the list and ask that others contribute:

1. Assume other than the material, all other aspects of the main sail are per the J/30 Class Rules
2. Obtain quoted price for a complaint OD main and alternative material sail from the same supplier so there is an apples to apples comparison and show % cost delta. Provide rationale as to why the particular material was selected, and compare the material properties to Dacron.
3. Provide initial sail shape photographs, if possible under various wind conditions (need to determine parameters here).
4. Determine how often sail shape should be photographed to show aging characteristics
5. Document usage in sail log

Please add to or modify this as appropriate. I'm also going to speak with the sail maker in a few weeks to get suggestions. Our yacht club is having a demo at the sail loft on how sails are designed & fabricated and he's using my new main as an example.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Looking for Data Collection Ideas: Dacron Main - 01/24/10 04:26 PM

I'll take this to my sail maker and get some feedback.
As well, I'm pretty sure they have shape photo's of my main from last year when it was new. This spring we can get some additional photo's to compare after 1 year and about 25 races.
Posted By: cstoddard

Re: Dacron Main - 02/15/10 07:57 PM

I've started a discussion with Steve Thurston on this subject.We figure Race life on a darcon main if its rolled is about three years assuming about 30 races per year. Steve thinks that a carbon main would last about 5 years under the same conditions
The carbon main would be lighter so that would provide an advantage in higher winds.
He estimates cost to be about 25% more assuming a base list price of 3K for dacron
Now for the real kicker a new carbon main would be no faster than a new dacron main in one design racing (it would be up to the crew)

On chutes a 1/2 oz would hold its shape better in the real light stuff but the material is no were near as tought as the 3/4 oz stuff we currently use so a lot of care would have to be used by the crew in handling it(ie don't snag it or step on it!)

More to follow

Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 02/16/10 07:07 PM

My exerience with high tech mains matches Steve Thruston's input. I bought my first one in 1998. It was a kevlar main with kevlar tapes (UK). In 2004, my second was a kevlar main with carbon tapes; again (UK)- we won our club season overall with this sail in 2008. I bought my third one which we hoisted in 2009. It is a Fusion X by Quantum. While the carbon taped sail was at the high end of price at the time, the Quantum Fusion X is not the most expensive sail from Quantum and probalby is less than the 25% premium over dacron.

Regarding performance, I admit to the placibo effect. Just kidding, but I do say this to my crew - "the bottom is spray painted and sanded smooth with 2000 grit sandpaper, the sails are hi-tech and in great shape. Gentlemen- there are no excuses, performace is now dependent on sailing skills - sail like champions". Too, my competitors believe I have an edge with my bottom and my sails and they are thus already beaten when they leave the dock!

Back to Mr. Thurston's input; he seems to support my arguement on cost. If you are buying a sail for racing, even at a 25% premium, the useful life of the high tech sail (5 years) more than offsets the the lower cost of the Dacron sail at (3 years useful life). My simple math says; with 25% premium, 4 years useful life on the high tech sail is a breakeven compared to dacron.

Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 02/17/10 10:07 PM

Because sail regularly, we try to efficiently manage and care for our inventory. Chesapeake Bay YRA schedules more than twenty days of weekend racing for J/30s, many with several races per day, plus several long distance races. Annapolis YC runs a twenty week Wednesday Night Series, quite serious for some, though we tend to use it to find and train crew. Our boat is also day sailed and cruised so a mainsail is hoisted 40-50 days a season. Maybe not as much some, but I work or a living and have kids with sports and activities.

We time sail purchases to coincide with the J/30 NA's. If possible a new main and genoa are saved for a second NA or only used for major regattas like the NOOD. After several major events, they go into regular weekend rotation for about three years and are then either sold or used for Wednesday nights, deliveries, cruising, and the occasional weekend gear buster. Typically we have two, but often three mainsails on hand.

For example, we had a new Dacron main for the 2002 NA's at Cedar Point YC that we saved for the 2003 NA's in Annapolis. It became our regular weekend sail between 2004 and 2006, for a total of 55 races. Still in good condition, it was sold for 40% of original cost. That's two championships, three years, plus residual value, 3+ years/(1-40%) = 5+ years. The previous main, new for the 1999 NA's was our primary weekend sail for three years. We got five more years out of it on Wednesday nights, for a total of about 80-100 races before being sold for 20% of its original cost, 8 years/(1-20%)= 10 years.

Is there any salvage value or after life for a five-year-old carbon/Kevlar? Are these sails only used for racing or for deliveries and cruising too?
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 02/18/10 11:28 PM

In response to your question regarding salvage life, neither of my two older mains (carbon tape/kevlar or kevlar tape/kevlar) would have a salvage value. The carbon tape sail that we retired at the end of our 2008 season is still good for day sailing, delivery and crew training races. But I wouldn't have the heart to take money for it.
I can't compare to your sail program. We have a 15 race Wednesday nigt series that is taken very serious by our club along with a regatta series that is another 14 races. We race in 6-8 of those regatta series races along with all 15 Wed races plus two long distance races (off shore - type) one 140 mile and one 53 mile race. One main is used for all races for 4-5 years. If and when we start doing Nationals, we'll propably consider a two main program such as yours.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/05/10 12:10 AM

The poll about Dacron Main Sails was completed 1 April 2010.

Here's what I'd like to ask people in the class to do. Please post your interpretation of the voting results. This is not a "black and white" situation and I think we should hear interpretations of the results.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/05/10 01:21 PM

Two quick question; First, could a person have filled out the poll more than once? And if so, can that circumstance be identified and the poll adjusted accordingly?
The reasons I ask is that the last time I looked, there were less than 50 respondants which represents maybe 10% of the entire fleet - which in one sense is a low sampling. As well, with only about 50 respondants, a few duplicates could skew things in one direction.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/05/10 02:10 PM


The only way someone could vote twice is with 2 different accounts to login. As far as I know, I'm the only one with multiple accounts (Rhapsody #348, J/30 and Bill is Testing). I only voted with the Rhapsody account.

from a sampling standpoint - 50 respondents is actually pretty good on a statistical poll. Of all the J/30 owners, there are 235 registered with forum accounts.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/05/10 03:50 PM

Thanks Bill,
21% is qood. I was assuming 50 out of 500 J/30's built.
Thinking about it more, 235 registered forum accounts is also pretty good.
Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/05/10 11:15 PM

what the poll didn't survey was the basic question ...
Are you a cruiser, racer or day sailor?
There are a lot of owners out there who just like the boat because it handles well, and really have no plans to mount the effort to put together a race program.

Race programs are an exponential time and resource consuming effort.

The results may reflect a way higher percentage of responses from active racers ... who are the ones affected.

Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/06/10 12:03 AM

Vic - I concur, but it's the racers who are concerned with the class rules. People who only cruise will do what they want if they aren't worried about limitations. By the way - I've seen the racing rules of sailing, the Nautical rules of the road, and the COLREGS, but never run across the Cruising Rules of Sailing smile
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/06/10 10:40 PM

To your request for interpretations of the results, since I have no strong opinions on the topic, I offer "the un-biased view of the civil war as seen throught he eyes of a southerner".
Kidding aside
Almost 3/4 (72%) of participants currently only have dacron.
Yet 62% of those voting said they would pay some premium; anywhere from 10% to higher to move up to a highe tech main sail
80% would not have a PHRF penalty if sail material were changed.
6 participants said they would come to OD events if non-dacron mains were allowed.
I could make some summary points that

Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/06/10 10:55 PM

Here's an observation
Don't hit the tab bar when trying to type in the quick reply
I'll pick up where I left off
I could make some summary points
1. More than half of the participants would pay a premium to go to higher tech mains
2. few would be affected in PHRF racing
But I won't. Instead I offer these thoughts to the members and the board
1. To the OD sailors
If the class allowed non-dacron mains, would you conclude the need to purchse a non-dacron main jsut to be competitive or do you think dacron mains are competitive
2. To the 6 people said they would come to OD events if non-dacron mains were allowed; Is that 6 who currently do not come or are some of those that responded currently attending OD events with dacron mains. In other words, how much are the OD events going to really benifit from this change? I'm one of the 6: net +1 so far.
3. In fairness to that question - how many OD sailors will quit coming if the main sail material rule is changed?
4. To the Board - what will the class gain from changing the main sail material and what, if any set backs would the class incurr from the change?
I'll look for some response as I think of more to add
Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/07/10 12:43 AM

on the high tech side:
1. ALL the Phrf spin b boats we see here in Naples are NOT dacron.
2. our National Rating -- cast in iron 25 years ago -- was set up dacron to dacron ... the rest of the phrf racers have kicked it up ... we fall behind
3. J30 work horse is the Main
4. I am looking at ONE NA for the next three years in Dacron, but 30+ regattas not in dacron.
5. In Narragansett Bay we "may" get 3 OD regattas a summer but only if we get 5 boats. I think there was 1 OD regatta last summer, and one of the 5 registered didn't do the races.

maybe I can rent a dacron for the NA? Should be light wind in Marblehead ... unless we get an early hurricane. For the OD events in NB this summer ... I will bring up my heavy full battened dacron.

Posted By: lakesailor

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/07/10 05:13 PM

Prior to my retirement form the marine industry, over the years I rep'd for North, U/K, and most recently Quantum. Sadly the odds of my attending a Class OD event are likely slim to none so I really don't have a dog in this hunt but decided I would offer up a few thoughts on this from a third party who has also been active in other classes.

The ultimate concern that seems to oppose the change to laminate mainsails is concerns of cost and to a lesser extent longevity (ultimately another argument about costs). On the costs theme it should be noted that not all laminate sails are created equally. Recent advancements in sailcloth design mean that laminate sails can now take advantage of less labour intensive cross-cut construction methods, that when combined with offshore production (further taking advantage of cheaper labour) means that laminate mainsails can be had at price points virtually on par with conventional Dacron mainsails (it should also be noted that Dacron is a fairly premium material and has not fallen in price as many laminate cloths have) As far as longevity, both laminate and Dacron also have a comparable competitive lifespan although ultimately it will take Dacron longer to self destruct but that is really a different discussion.

With all due respect to the OD class stalwarts, in my humble opinion, I would submit that people are no longer buying the J/30 for "class racing" Most, like myself, are buying the J/30 for the comfort of the design and the fact that the boat can still be competitively raced, and for the vast majority of us, competitive racing is going to involve PHRF, that is simply a reality. There are very, very few boats campaigning in PHRF that do not take advantage of the performance and reduced weight of laminate sails, more so as the prices have come down on par with Dacron. I do not believe there is anyone buying a J/30 because if they were to race class, the can save a few dollars by not having to replace a Dacron mainsail after it is 5 years old. Further the poll shows the majority race PHRF and there are greater cost efficiencies if you can have only ONE competitive mainsail as part of your program and be able to race PHRF and Class with that mainsail. Some class members have talked about having a "class Dacron" mainsail rolled up in the basement just for class events. This in itself seems somewhat wasteful.

From my perspective it just seems to make sense to try and streamline a competitive PHRF inventory with a Class legal inventory. The alternative, as you have already heard from some, is that exceptions may end up getting made if it means getting a few more boats on the line. I will say that if the costs of exotic sails were still on par with building a tri-radial Kevlar mainsail (still a very pricey option) I would feel differently, however most every sail maker now has an affordable laminate product that offers a competitive lifespan on par with Dacron. Just my .02
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/09/10 08:09 PM

I appreciate the rational thoughts of lakesailor and poll analysis from Russ. My perspective as a one-design sailor is that our class rules and restrictions level the playing field by controlling costs. Our rules go beyond material to include limits on the number, type, size and how often sails may be replaced.

While accurate, the converse to Russ' claim that 62% would pay more is an even larger majority (73%) that would only pay a small premium or none at all (35% plus 38%, respectively). If it were in fact possible to obtain a laminated sail for just 10% over the cost of Dacron, would the remaining 27% of class members, already willing to pay even more, accept the limits of a budget priced laminate?

In answer to another question posed above, were the class to allow laminated mainsails, yes, I would feel compelled to purchase one in order to remain competitive. Where I sail the difference between the top boats in most races is measured in seconds. If the class were to make the change I'd imagine our fleet would either stay Dacron for at least a couple years or change completely to laminates within two seasons. The change might spark interest or it could kill an already declining fleet so that the few remaining boats sailed PHRF part time like the rest of the country. Realize that there are a dozen alternative one-design keelboats racing in Annapolis, J/22, J24, J/80, J/105, and J/35 among them.

While a lively exchange of opinions is vital to the class, continuing uncertainty over rules is not. Are we going reconsider the mainsail material annually? How about once every three or four years, the minimum life span of a mainsail. If you wish to succeed in convincing satisfied one-design sailors to purchase a more expensive mainsail than they need, you might also consider extending the replacement cycle, and further limiting how often or how many sails can be purchased annually.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/09/10 10:54 PM

I'm sorry... I couldn't find that rule in the by-laws about only voting every three or four years. Is that under main sail material or is that a general rule for every by law.

But back to being serious and statistical; 6 folks responded that they only race OD... and 4 said they race mostly OD. That means that 80% of the respondants race mostly PHRF - a rather substantial majority. Then if the non-dacron main is better (as Bob says), isn't it a bit unfair to restrict the majority of the fleet from being competitive where they do most of their racing.

Bob makes reference to "convincing satisfied one-design sailors to purcahse more expensive mainsails than they need". I'm not exactly sure what that relates too in that if there is a one design fleet that is only interested in one design, then make all the sails as inexpensive as possible. Apparently there was some arguement for upgrading the headsail material that trancended one-design racing because there is no logic for upgrading any material if one-design is the only objective. And unfortunately that leads us back to the fact that today, only 20% are racing mostly or only OD.
There was also reference made that there are a dozen alternative one-design keelboats racing. To those classes that have significant numbers racing mostly one-design, restrict the "H" out of the sail material. When I bought wildcat in 1986 and sailed in Newport - there would be 10-15 j/30's in most races. And every mid-week race had a j/30 one design group. When there are those kind of numbers, so long as everyone is the same - I would agree; what difference does it make what the sail material is.
The j/30 class is now over 30 years old and the majority of j/30 sailors (by a large margin) race mostly PHRF or don't race OD at all. It seems to me that if one wants to build the J/30 fleet, first make the boat competitive in the largest racing venue (PHRF). Encourage and build the racing fleet of J/30's and then give those sailors reason to come race OD.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/10/10 11:38 AM

Just so there is no confusion - I moved a post on Genoa sizes originally in this thread that Vic added (and the replies to it) to a thread already started on that topic. Let's keep this thread limited to the mainsail discussion, and discuss other aspects in the respective threads to minimize confusion.

Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/10/10 11:48 AM

roger, roger ... the gist of that comment was to say that if we have 2% tolerances in a number of other OD parameters (such as the 163%) ... maybe we should relegate the mainsail material to the "optional" status and not worry about it.
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/10/10 01:13 PM

True the rules don't limit how often an issue is reconsidered or changed. However I think it is the duty of the BOG to use a steady hand at the helm so that sailors can plan their purchases. I'm due for a mainsail soon and will plan accordingly.

I characterize this as you wanting to be able to compete in PHRF while sailing an occasional NA without buying an extra mainsail. I want to hold down costs to help my one design fleet survive. Around here the J/35 and J/80 fleets are growing while the J/30s have shrunk to about 10-12 active boats.

I don't care what sail material is approved but do care about the impact of cost, as noted above. Clearly this would be a more expensive sail and in my one design fleet no one needs one. It could be that a sexy expensive mainsail will attract more interest and increase activity, though I doubt it. I can afford a high tech main and as noted above would get one. The question is will the rest of my fleet pay the premium.

Here's an idea. My fleet passes the hat with each member pitching in $200 apiece, or better yet we assess the entire class $2000 over five years divided by the number of members. Then every five years spend $2000 to get a class mainsail that one lucky but recalcitrant PHRF racer may use annually by lottery at the NA's. That would be less expensive in the long run.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/10/10 02:12 PM

I like best the idea that Bob's fleet pass the hat to buy me a new sail
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/10/10 02:32 PM

Sorry - I couldn't resist the opportunity to have Bob's fleet buy me a new main.
More seriously, ever since I've owned my J/30 (1986), J/30 sailors have been moving "up" to J/35's and other fleets. The J/24 fleet, I'll bet, is srinking in numbers at the expense of the j/80 fleet and the Melges 24 fleet. And why, because the J/24 is in the same vintage as the J/30 while the Melges and J/80's are new, high tech and "sexy".
Back to what I said in my post yesterday - if one want's to build the brand and ultimately the OD participation. Attract sailors from the majority of racing. Convince them that a 30 year old boat can be competitive. Attract sailors in Ohio, Chicago, Michigan, etc, etc to buy and race the boats. Build local entities of J/30 fleets that can start racing OD. Make the boat competitive in the venue where it is raced most and don't make those sailors go buy a second main to race OD. And in the mean time, Bob when you order my new sail my sail number is 41230
Posted By: R II

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/10/10 05:41 PM

It appears to me that the fortunate few that are able to race one-design, prefer the status quo. The rest race PHRF and do as they please. The eventual demise of one-design will likely follow as more prefer to be competetive in the many more events available in PHRF. Is that what the BOG thinks appropriate?
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/11/10 10:32 AM

I wouldn't be so quick to declare the demise of J/30 one-design racing. If you look at the J/30 National Championship History you'll see that except for least year when the economy tanked, J/30 NAs have continuously grown in participation over the past 5 years. I see the same thing on Narragansett bay. It is a matter of shaking the trees to get participation up. Some boats just aren't racing, PHRF or OD. Is it the main sail material causing that? I doubt it.

Personally, I'd like to maintain a reasonable cost for the OD main sails. I don't think laminates are the answer because of longevity. That's why I'm investigating Vectron - a woven material that looks like Dacron but better strength and aging characteristics for about 10% more than Dacron. There was a market for my 1998 and 2002 Dacron sails sold to people who can use them for cruising and delivery. I wouldn't have been able to do that with a laminate sail the same age.

ps - I'll take one of those sails bought by the class too! smile

I'm going to start a different thread that is "what-if" for brain storing ideas on equipment that have been in this thread, emails, and other threads. Let's keep this thread on topic for the mainsail only.
Posted By: lakesailor

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/11/10 03:17 PM

Originally Posted by Rhapsody #348
I wouldn't be so quick to declare the demise of J/30 one-design racing. If you look at the J/30 National Championship History you'll see that except for least year when the economy tanked, J/30 NAs have continuously grown in participation over the past 5 years. I see the same thing on Narragansett bay. It is a matter of shaking the trees to get participation up. Some boats just aren't racing, PHRF or OD. Is it the main sail material causing that? I doubt it.

Personally, I'd like to maintain a reasonable cost for the OD main sails. I don't think laminates are the answer because of longevity. That's why I'm investigating Vectron - a woven material that looks like Dacron but better strength and aging characteristics for about 10% more than Dacron. There was a market for my 1998 and 2002 Dacron sails sold to people who can use them for cruising and delivery. I wouldn't have been able to do that with a laminate sail the same age.

ps - I'll take one of those sails bought by the class too! smile

I'm going to start a different thread that is "what-if" for brain storing ideas on equipment that have been in this thread, emails, and other threads. Let's keep this thread on topic for the mainsail only.

I am assuming you are referring to Vectran. Vectran is an excellent performing sailcloth as well.
Posted By: dbows

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/12/10 03:09 AM

One thing to consider - when trying to build a fleet it would be much easier to have the OD config match PHRF. Take it from someone that has tried hard to build a viable fleet.

It seems people with established fleets want to keep it the same and people who potentially see having a fleet want to it to change because thier boats will come from PHRF.

I personally think there would be MORE OD racing if it matched PHRF.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/12/10 11:00 AM

Originally Posted by lakesailor
I am assuming you are referring to Vectran. Vectran is an excellent performing sailcloth as well.

Yes - Vectron is the Hood Sails brand name for a fabric that is made from Vectran. It is a woven cloth with polyester (Dacron) and high tenacity Vectran fibers. This from the Hood Sail website

In 1995 Hood launched Vektron® sailcloth, a breakthrough in sailcloth technology, utilising Vektran® fibre to weave a higher strength, lighter weight woven fabric with superior durability and longevity. Vektran® is the trade name of CNA, a liquid crystal polymer fibre which is underwoven with super high tenacity polyester. This process which has a worldwide patent, has been pioneered by Hood Textiles in Ireland. Because Vektron sailcloth is fully woven not subject to the delamination and handling problems inherent in laminate construction.
Posted By: cstoddard

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/12/10 11:54 AM

If we were to open up the sail material all options what would happen

We will see a mix of new sails carbon and dacron in the top ten finishing boats will the main sail material make the difference NO
The rest of the fleet will be sailing with an older inventory that plus luck and skill sets will determine were they finish
Conclusion it doesn't matter what the material is

local one design
Those who choose to sail with there number one set of sails will probably finish higher than those sailing with their set of second level sails (Bill I've sailed with you so I know that you save the good stuff for key events)
Conclusion If you sail with the good stuff and you get luckly you will finish higher than sailing with the old stuff

So a dacron sail will age by stretching getting fuller and fuller with time thus you don't go up hill as fast so over 3-5 years based on the amount of sailing you do it goes from a race sail a club sail to the crusing sail ( I'm on race main number 4 over 15 years) A carbon main will not stretch out will hold its shape until the material fails probably due to flogging the sail going from a race main to the dumpster.

The carbon main will be lighter by about 50 % which is good in a PHRF fleet In looking at the Tuesday night fleet in Barrington the Carbon mains on typical 30-35 footers are lasting 5 plus years assuming they are well maintained which is longer than I can get out of Dacron

Draw backs to Carbon are
up front cost
Care and feeding to max the life you will need to roll the sail making sure that the crew doesn't crease it or step on it

I would like to suggust that we consider opening up the main material in the following fashion

local one design for the 2011 season
North Americans for the 2012 event

This will allow people to evaluate options get pricing and save up for the sail of there choice
Lets remember that the J30 class is sailed by a bunch of people who love racing but are not the Ken Reads of the world So its going to be who makes the least mistakes not the sail material that makes the real difference in a race

Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/12/10 08:06 PM

Sorry Russ, but the idea would be to make a class mainsail available to a PHRF racer who doesn't have one in order to sail at the NA's, kind of like the loaner boat. You wouldn't get to take it home after the regatta or put your number on it, except temporarily while using at the NA's. Used only six races a year, it should last a good long while.

Melges 24 never reached critical mass here and probably never will. Meanwhile the J/22, J/24 fleets are both active and stable. Etchells came to these parts relatively recently while J/80s only are just now getting organized. J/105s peaked at 43 boats back in 2007 down to 23 in 2009. Bet you can you guess what all have in common with the J/30?
Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/14/10 01:17 AM

Roger, Roger ... sign me up for a loaner Dacron Main for NA.

My 7.8 oz, full battened bullet proof North dacron ... my favorite sail in 20+ is not going to cut it in under 10s in Marblehead.

And I would have to take off all the Tides Marine slugs and batten slides. And my 15% first reef probably violates OD design.

here in Naples we have 1 J105, 1 J30, 1 J95 and no other Js sailing. But the last club regatta brought in 9 Melges 24s for a circle of their own. a quarter of the racers.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main Poll Results Complete 1 April 2010 - 04/20/10 05:59 PM

Sorry for any confusion about the free main... the only thing I can offer is that apparently for some, sarcasm can be a difficult concept to grasp. In the future, I'll try to write a little slower smile
In reference to one design fleet sizes, when I lived in NJ, a cusotmer once told me that New Yorkers thought that the US ended at the Hudson. In my 10 years in Mass. I learned that most New Englanders think of the Connecticut river as the end of the universe. Apparently, some in Annapolis have similar restricted vision.
And, as an FYI, Etchell's, Melges 24's J/22's, and J/80's are all raced mostly in one design. Those boats are technically not PHRF legal for any offshore races without lifelines. Since those boats are so focused in OD, they could all use cardboard sails if their classes so decided. Thus it seem that the reference to using dacron sails (did I guess right) doesn't really compare to the J/30.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Rhapsody New Mainsail - 05/06/10 01:59 AM

The new Vectron main was used on the Rhapsody maiden voyage last weekend. I'll get some calibration data and pictures over the next week to establish a baseline for aging characteristics. Here are teaser photos, with more available on the Rhapsody blog site

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Rhapsody New Mainsail - 05/09/10 01:25 AM

Based on comments from Bob Rutsch, I've since adjusted the headstay so it is max class legal length, and tightened the uppers an additional couple of turns to give more mast prebend. The results looked good Friday with winds 15-20 gusting to 25.

If conditions support this week, I'll get pictures and take data.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Rhapsody New Mainsail - 02/23/11 06:53 PM

If you haven't figured it out, I'm passionately in favor of changing the rule on main sail cloth from Dacron to unrestricted.

Over the last couple of years I've done my best to poke and prod in an effort to stimulate input for both the pro's and con's of changing the class rules for main sail material.

Shortly, I will be writing to my representative on the BOG to submit a recommended rules change at the next BOG meeting. The following is a draft of what I will submit. For reference, I have also included the current rules regardining main sail.

There are two reasons for calling this a draft
1. I welcome input
2. I question if there should be a minimum sail cloth weight; but if there is, what should it be - I have a call into my sail maker for his thoughts and am awaiting a response. I will post the sailmakers commnets as I recieve them

Here's the Current Rule - to save a lot of reading, I will recommend changing only section and possibly section Regardless here's the current rule

5.12 Sails

5.12.1 General Sails shall be constructed and measured in accordance with the ISAF sail measurement instructions except where otherwise stated herein. Mainsail shall be manufactured from woven ply polyethylene terephthalate ("PET"), such as Dacron®, or woven ply polyethylene naphthalate ("PEN"), such as Pentex®. The spinnaker shall be manufactured from woven ply nylon. Sailcloth in the #1, #2 and #3 Genoa is not restricted.
This change in approved sailcloth goes into effect no later than October 17, 2005. Individual J30 Class Districts may adopt this change for local events at an earlier date. Sail numbers shall be placed immediately above the third batten (#2 sewn from the head of the mainsail) on the #1 and larger genoa in line with the mainsail numbers and on the spinnaker. The starboard or forward number shall be on top. Genoa #2 is optional and does not need to be on board while racing. Numbers shall be of the following dimensions in solid black, red, green or blue: height = 380mm, width = 254mm, thickness = 57-77mm, spacing = 77mm. Windows. There is no limit on the number or design of collision, telltale, or spreader tip windows on the mainsail or genoas.

5.12.2 Mainsail Minimum cloth weight is 6.25 oz.

Here's my DRAFT RULE Change (see and for my recommended changes)

5.12 Sails

5.12.1 General Sails shall be constructed and measured in accordance with the ISAF sail measurement instructions except where otherwise stated herein. Sailcloth on the Mainsail is unrestricted. This change in approved sailcloth goes into effect no sooner than 1 October 2012. Individual J30 Class Districts may adopt this change for local events at an earlier date. The spinnaker shall be manufactured from woven ply nylon. Sailcloth in the #1, #2 and #3 Genoa is not restricted.
This change in approved sailcloth goes into effect no later than October 17, 2005. Individual J30 Class Districts may adopt this change for local events at an earlier date. Sail numbers shall be placed immediately above the third batten (#2 sewn from the head of the mainsail) on the #1 and larger genoa in line with the mainsail numbers and on the spinnaker. The starboard or forward number shall be on top. Genoa #2 is optional and does not need to be on board while racing. Numbers shall be of the following dimensions in solid black, red, green or blue: height = 380mm, width = 254mm, thickness = 57-77mm, spacing = 77mm. Windows. There is no limit on the number or design of collision, telltale, or spreader tip windows on the mainsail or genoas.

5.12.2 Mainsail Minimum cloth weight is ???.
Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Dacron Main - 02/23/11 09:10 PM

whatever our competition uses at a PHRF event, should be the goal.

Also consider that if the number 2 jib is not required for OD racing ... why keep it in the rules at all?
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main - 02/23/11 09:20 PM

The #2 is strictly optional and legal by being kept in the rules. Eliminating it from the rules would make it an illegal OD sail. We don't pass rules that render anything that was original design illegal. Some people swear by it - ask Nemesis....
Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Dacron Main - 02/23/11 11:59 PM

roger, roger ... off shore a 140 is my favorite on a roller.

But it does present an interesting problem ... If I were to race OD with a roller and a 163 ... could I not reef it? during a race? to any point between full and say a blade?

[disregard that it looses efficiency. in higher winds there are tradeoffs between a imperfect rolled sail and an overpowered sail. ]
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main - 02/24/11 12:11 AM

Vic - I know of nothing in the rules that precludes that. Permitted alternatives per Rule Jib roller furling system to facilitate sail handling.

Implies it's allowed, if you like to have that weight aloft. Most racing OD don't.

Let's keep this thread focused on the main discussion that Russ posted and take the other stuff to another thread if you want to discuss further.
Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Dacron Main - 02/24/11 12:36 AM

roger, roger ...

So try this ... what would Rod Johnstone do, if he had to do it all over again today?

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Description: J95 with full battened main.
Attached File
J95.jpg  (1574 downloads)

Description: J108 Mainsail
Attached File
J108_FranceTrialSail.jpg  (3928 downloads)
Posted By: sailon

Re: Dacron Main - 02/26/11 04:47 AM

Oh boy. Unrestricted sailcloth in the main is a real bad idea. My personal experience in laminated sailcloth is that the quality of it is getting WORSE. It really wants to come apart and quickly. Again, when the mylar scrim cloths first came out, they seemed to last a long time, and hold their shape. The current group of laminates seem to be getting worse. PBO was the last sailcloth that seemed to hold up for a length of time. The Hood vectron woven sailcloth looks pretty interesting. I tend to agree with Dave Ullman, who used Dacron mains in the Melges 24 for a LONG time. Dacron tends to give when over powered, helping the boat to remain flat. If you order your main with the top two battens full length, ROLL the sail, do not flake it, and do not allow it to flog, it should last many seasons. (you also should roll a laminated sail.) I also prefer to order the sail with extra bolt rope hanging from the bottom of the luff, and not sewn to the sailcloth. Lots of mains that owners have said are bad have simply had the boltrope shrink. I have taken mains two years old into top competition in the J-24 class and was competitive. Also, remember that if you are racing PHRF with an ODR rating, and you are using a non class legal sail, your ODR rating is invalid. ODR by its definition states that you are racing a class legal boat with class sails.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main - 02/26/11 01:48 PM

Art - some good info in your post. The PHRF - OD sail rule depends on what PHRF body does the rating. Here on Narragansett Bay (PHRF-NB), the PHRF rating is unchanged by sail cloth material, only by dimension changes in the sail. A few years back we posed the question to the rating body because of 0.5oz spinnakers. The rating body came back with the ruling they did not adjust ratings based on changes in sail materiel. I am aware of other rating bodies that work similarly, and some that will adjust the rating if the material does not meet OD requirements. My Vectron main has no PHRF rating adjustment. If I had a string sail, it would also rate the same.

You should read the minutes from the 5 August 2010 Board of Governors meeting bullet #6 where Rod Johnstone commented on one reason why J/Boats have used light weight laminate sails. Rod weighed in on the discussion and thought that the laminates were getting more cost competitive.
Posted By: sailon

Re: Dacron Main - 02/26/11 02:34 PM

Referring to the minimum cloth weight. Some classes, (S27.9) weigh the sails. I would propose that if laminates are allowed, that the overall weight of the sail must equal the weight of the Dacron main that is currently specified. Weight aloft in a one design class should not vary with respect to sail material. As far as What would Rod do, What he did is to establish a propritary one design class. That is what he is expert at. If you want to play in the one design game, everyone plays by the same rules. There are lots of great boats out there that have no restrictions on sailcloth. I am finding in my inexperience that the 30 is actually more restrictive than the J-24 is in many respects, but that is OK. Everyone plays the game the same way, and the best sailor wins.

If the class is serious about going the unrestricted sailcloth way, here is a proposal:

1. The overall sail must be weighed, and its weight should be equal to the weight of a current class Dacron sail.
2. Establish an evaluation period where a small sample of boats compete at a national regatta. 4 boats, 2 raced by former class champion crews and 2 raced by average sailors. Evaluate the performance of the laminate boats, vs the dacron main boats.

At the next class meeting, determine whether the laminates had any advantage vs. the cost spent over the laminates and put it up to a class vote.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 02/28/11 07:14 PM

Regarding sail weight; to get similar strength equivelents, higher tech sails will invariably weigh less than Dacron. To require a high tech sail to weigh the same as the Dacron sail is in effect, a cute way of eliminating high tech sails from anyone's inventory.
I'm OK with having a sail weight requirement if the purpose is to insure that someone doesn't go out and buy a "throw away" sail for one race or one regatta. As well, I'm confident that the sailmakers will be able to tell us what the proper sail cloth weight should be for an all purpose, high tech main.
Bottom line, the class needs to decided whether to go unresticted on main cloth or not. Who's kidding whom, putting restrictions on high tech sails that make it so impractical to actually have one is not a solution - make a decision!
Posted By: JBro

Re: Dacron Main - 03/01/11 08:29 PM

I agree and I support lifted restrictions on materals. Adding a weight requirement is like using new materials to build a race car but overbuilding to make sure it weighs what it would have weighed 30 years before. I get it technically - I just don't think it's wise.

While I understand the OD point, I think the fleet needs to consider whether unlimited material is framed as an unfair advantage boat-for-boat or an advantage to draw more potential boat owners into the fleet. Bigger fleet = better OD health and possibilities.

The tactics re: how to test are good suggestions, BTW. This example has been used in Tasars and is now showing up in Moths with wings compared to softsails.

It seems to me that this is ultimately needs to be looked at as a class/boat longevity issue. I believe that relaxing material restrictions will make the boat (and class) more attractive, make it more competitive in handicap fleets, expand the addressable pool and pull in more owners, make the boat a little more "sexy" (did I just say that????!), and continue into the next 25 years. Otherwise, restricting for those that want (or need) both OD and handicap sailing could make the boat a nonstarter for some potential owners and boats on the course.

My worry isn't about that other J/30 sailor that has a "weapon" of a mainsail. I'm worried about the crew on other boats in handicap distance races - maybe a few years from buying a boat - that see a dacron main and bottom of fleet results and say, "why would anyone buy that boat?"

That's my $.02.
- Jeff
Posted By: sailon

Re: Dacron Main - 03/01/11 11:47 PM

I am afraid my view is quite the opposite. I am finding a resurgance in interest in the J-30, especially from people who want to ease up on the race circuit and be able to go cruising. The appearance of "high tech" mains may actually be a turn off for these crowds. I didn't buy my boat because of the main material, I bought it because of the people in the class, and the ability of the boat to race and cruise comfortably. Did I buy my boat because of the material that the main is made of? No. As for making the boat more competitve in handicap fleets, I would rather spend the extra money on a .5 oz spinnaker. Light air is where the boat struggles (or so I hear). Boat performance is not going to be dependant on whether it is a Dacron or a laminate mainsail. The Dacron will be just as fast out of the bag. BTW, memories of a well sailed J-30 gave me fits in all wind ranges when I used to race a Soverel 30.
Posted By: JBro

Re: Dacron Main - 03/02/11 05:32 AM

All very good points and I completely understand. Candidly, that Furlex currently on my boat and the way it's setup look to be very cruising-focused for the next year or so with family. And - most of this years budget? Going to virtually all things that likely make the boat more comfortable vs. faster! So, I can completely appreciate the appeal and your points.

I guess I just don't see that it makes much difference in the end and I always err towards choice and flexibility being a good philosophy. Honestly, if someone has a nice carbon-laminate main and makes poor tactical decisions or doesn't handle the boat well, the advantage is likely neutralized anyways. ;-)

The main material allowed will not make or break this class which is a testament to a great design and people involved with the class. And, that in itself is a cool thing about the J/30 and why we chose one too!

- Jeff
Posted By: JBro

Re: Dacron Main - 03/02/11 05:58 AM

BTW - any chance you might want to do a boatswap for a few days... we have a lovely 37degF, 40mph wind, and... rain. A little sunshine and warm water would be so nice! ;-)
Posted By: sailon

Re: Dacron Main - 03/02/11 04:06 PM

Jeff, After the shrouds and chainplates are fixed, come on down. Would love to get a few pointers. I too have a Furlex on my headstay, but have been looking at how to take it apart for the occasional serious races.

BTW for the rest of the main discussion, if anyone is racing IRC (which I have considerd) the main material COULD result in a rating change. The amount is decided within the secret society of course, however, sailcloth is factored into the IRC formula.
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 03/04/11 07:31 PM

Sure Russ, I get sarcasm, but try to ignore it, as it does little to foster reasonable, constructive dialog. I get irony too, noting you purchased mainsails in 2004 and 2008, so 2012 might be good for you, but maybe not for the dozen boats racing one-design in Annapolis that have or will get new Dacron mainsails in advance of the 2011 NA's there.

I'll try not to rehash my previous posts or opinions, since they're substantially unchanged and easy enough review by scrolling back. Is there anything compelling, in terms of materials, construction, pricing, how or where we sail that would persuade the BOG to reconsider this decision? Or is this just the same debate we have been having for more than twenty years?
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/04/11 10:36 PM

Let's see, you know there are 6 Hobie 33's racing out of North Cape (my club), you know I bought sails in 2004 and 2008. In case you are wondering, I change my underwear every day too. It's nice that you worry so much about me.
And since you are so interested in me, the sail that was bought in 2008 has just over 1 full year of use. The sail I bought previous to the 2004 sail was bought in 1997 (also a high tech sail). In reality, as much as you want to make it about me, I would not be buying new sails in 2012 unless I do the Nationals.
BTY, what a coincedence that 10-12 boats will all be buying new sails in 2011 and not 2012- so what really is your point?

And for the record, this winter I told a couple of senior BOG members I was done fighting this issue. If the J/30 class doesn't want to change then don't. I'll go race PHRF next year and try to defend my title as 2010 Western Lake Erie Boat of the Year - in case you didn't know that, apparently I do know a little bit about sailing the boat, the effect of good sails, etc.

I was asked to take this further and agreed to. And as I agreed, I will submit a request to my BOG representative to submit for a rules change once I get agreement on a sail weight. He can do with it what he wants and if submitted the BOG can do what they want with it. I'm done selling, I'm done arguing, I'm done poking and done period.

You've done your best to insult me and make it about everything but the sail- you want to be constructive; make it about the sail.
Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Dacron Main - 03/05/11 02:07 AM

Bob... twenty years ago High Tech was garbarge .. so it appears than as High Tech becomes more practical, the subject needs to resurface as most of us race PHRF. And those guys we race against are pretty much all Kevlar.

But then again we all had dacron jibs 20 years ago ...

I will not be sailing OD in Narragansett Bay this summer. A J30 without roller furling and slugged main is a dinosour and a crew killer ...

duh as our j30 designers currently seem also to believe.
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 03/07/11 10:58 PM

I did not intend to insult you Russ nor did I anticipate learning about your personal hygiene. It was easy enough to review the evidence posted in this thread and make a simple projection. My point is that what might be best for you, Vic, and other PHRF racers may not be what is best for the eighteen one-design racers sailing in my fleet. Many of them are gearing up for the NA's in September and have planned their sail purchases accordingly. My goal is to continue racing one design in our class and fleet. I'm also growing weary of this topic which long ago reached a stalemate; but I'm not the one who keeps resurrecting it.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/09/11 10:56 PM

Here's some dialog that I have had with my sail maker regarding their input on sail cloth weight for a high tech (string) main

Here's my first e-mail to the sail maker:
The requirement for a Dacron main is a sail cloth weight of 6.25 oz. What is the cloth weight of the Fusion X main that I bought? If I wanted to purchase a Fusion MT main; what is the recommended sail cloth weight of the Fusion MT (in other words, would it be different from the cloth weight of the Fusion X)?
Is there a minimum sail cloth weight you would suggest for a high tech, general purpose main? I appreciate your guidance

Their first response:
Most classes that allow some sort of high-tech sailcloth or sail construction do not use a minimum cloth weight, but rather a minimum finished sail weight. Something around 9-10 kg would work for a J30 main

Their follow up response:
This is an interesting question as I guess most OD classes recommend a bag weight. We looked up several resources and it looks like dpi would be in the 14000-15000 range. High tech string sails can be in the 12000 range. Your sail is a Flex 16, which equals 5.5 Sm Oz.

Not understanding what they told me I sent the following:
Thanks so much for the input. I apologize that I am, however not able to follow all the terminology.
Bag weight I think I understand = weigh the finished sail. I am not familiar with the other terms such as dpi and Sm OZ.
Backing up for a minute; current J/30 class rules for the main read Minimum cloth weight is 6.25 oz.

The question then is, if the class allows non-Dacron sails what sail cloth weight should be used or if sail cloth weight is not appropriate what measure should be used (if any).
I saw the note that a J/30 main should come in at a finished weight of 9-10kg (I assume tht is bag weight). Can you be specific on weight; is it 9 or 10kg or something else? You have my sail at the loft, it's missing the battens but it could be weighed if you need a sail to weigh?

Next question. When I bought the sail, If I had upgraded to the more expensive Fusion MT alternative, would the Fusion MT sail have weighed the same or less?

To the forum;
I'll keep working on this. If anyone else has input from a sail maker on what wording to use for a high tech main sail weight please jump in here.

Posted By: sailon

Re: Dacron Main - 03/09/11 11:57 PM

Great work Russ!!
Posted By: D. Bartley

Re: Dacron Main - 03/10/11 03:14 AM

"Bag weight" can be rather fungible. One could make a 5kg sail, and add a 5kg "grommet", and it would weigh 10kg.

gsm (grams/sailmaker yard) or smoz(ounces/sailmaker yard?) would be a better measure.
Posted By: NaturalHigh

Re: Dacron Main - 03/10/11 08:22 AM

All I know is I ordered a new dacron main today. I race only PHRF. Thought the extra thousand for a tech main was better put towards a bottom overhaul or a new #1
Posted By: dlabrosse

Re: Dacron Main - 03/11/11 07:19 AM

Ooooooh new main Scott? Who'd you buy it from?
Posted By: NaturalHigh

Re: Dacron Main - 03/11/11 07:09 PM

UK. Boat show discount (25%) so it was the best price, plus Tim Knight used to own a J/30 and raced on Radiant Heat for a while I think so that is worth something to have a sailmaker who knows your boat.

With regular pricing, both Sobstad and Neil Pryde came close. North was $1000 more. I never even heard back from Evolution
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/17/11 01:42 PM

Just got more input from my sailmaker. Look to my 03-09-11 post if you want to follow this dialog from the beginning

From the sailmaker:
Here is a bit more info that hopefully will help you and the class make progress towards the proposed changes in mainsail material.

Sm. Oz. is just an abbreviation for sailmaker's ounces, the generally accepted measure of the weight of cloth in the sailmaking industry.

"dpi" stands for denier per inch. With dpi, you are measuring how much fiber is in a given cloth or a specific sail. High-tech "string" sails (Fusion M, 3DL, D4, Tape-Drive, etc.) are generally referred to as having a certain dpi. For example, North Sails offers a J 105 class jib with 16800 dpi, that meets the class minimum finished sail weight of 23.8 pounds. The problem with dpi, with regard to string sails, is (unlike cloth weight) there is no standard throughout the industry on how exactly dpi is measured. So, jibs from 3 sailmakers for the same boat, each one at say 15000 dpi, could all be quite different in finished weight.

Your last main was built with cloth that has an overall dpi content of approx 16000.

Your last main weighs approx 29 pounds (13kg). If it had been a Fusion M main, it would have certainly weighed less. The 9-10kg number is an estimate for a J30 main, based on comparing the minimum mainsail weights in several other classes, and obviously taking area into account - Rick

To the class... any thoughts on how to deal with this? Perhaps a minimum DPI and a minimum bag weight?

Posted By: NaturalHigh

Re: Dacron Main - 03/17/11 04:31 PM

I would think a finished weight would be the easiest to manage. Of course it will be lighter than Dacron sails so we are still back to the orginal question if dacron mains will still be competitive at the national level then.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/17/11 09:49 PM

To Scott/Natural High
I'm honestly not trying to take a poke here... I would however, like to ask some tough questions that I think are important to this discussion.

Earlier you stated that you race only PHRF; yet you bought a Dacron main to save (in your case) $1000.
So, some questions are;
1) Did you buy Dacron simply because of the cost?
I know, from when I appealed the J/30 rating with PHRF -Lake Erie that PHRF does not cut any slack for less than the best. 2) Did you buy the Dacron sail thinking that you could still be competitive in PHRF - that high tech wasn't going to help you?
3) Did you buy the Dacron sail thinking you are a casual racer and therefore Dacron was good enough

I could probalby think of a bunch more ways to ask questions around a point I'm trying to understand.

What I'm trying to understand is your thought process that in an arena where hi-tech mains are allowed you bought Dacron. Yet...you ask the question as to whether Dacron sails will be competitive at the national level if hi-tech sails are allowed.

Backing into this another way, if Dacron won't be competitve with Hi-tech sails in the nationals, then shouldn't Dacron be non-competitive in PHRF too? And if so, why then did you buy Dacron to race PHRF?
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/17/11 10:11 PM

Here's another question about sail weight
If there were a rule on sail weight for "string" sails (and if the class doesn't put a weight restriction that effectively blocks ever using a string sail), then the weight would hopefully be different than the current weight for Dacron which the rules now say is a minimum cloth weight of 6.25 oz.

So the question is; would there still be a minimum cloth weight for Dacron Sails of 6.25 oz that is different from the weight limits for string sails?

Posted By: NaturalHigh

Re: Dacron Main - 03/18/11 07:13 AM

This isn't really about me as I am unlikely to sail a National OD event. But my reasons:

1. Purely budget. I am only 30 years old, single income and own a house in a ridiculously expensive market. An extra one or two thousand dollars will mean no bottom overhaul which is very much needed. I probably can't even afford the Dacron main.

2. Longevity (related to budget). If I race this main exclusively for 5 or 6 years, then I can retire it to cruising and maybe then buy a tech sail and have both. I have a lot of years of sailing ahead of me; no sense in going for broke right away and needing to replace an expensive sail and not having anything decent to cruise.

3. Winning isn't everything for me. I race with fun crew that one slow tack will burn up every inch of advantage a string sail gets me. Not worth the money to me. Besides, Dacron is still competitive in our PHRF fleet here and the rest of my sails are 1982.

I fully grasp the advantages of laminate sails to racing; I was actually "begging the question". Finished weights of the laminate sails is the easiest to manage as a OD rule but could never be deemed so heavy as to be a similar weight to Dacron, thus we fall back to the root of the issue: Dacron may not remain competitive against tech mains, so the class would need to decide if that creates greater costs for competitive boats.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/18/11 02:47 PM

Thanks for the input. And again, my questions were directed at trying to understand a rationale as to why a PHRF boat might consider Dacron.
And too, I would agree that changing the rule could have the effect of raising the cost (in my view slightly) for someone that does nothing but OD.

On the other hand, I did invest in string sails. Most of my PHRF fleet and the few other J/30's in our area have string sails. While I'd like to think my crew has fun, we are also pretty serious about racing and as well, winning. I.E. 2010 Western Lake Erie "Boat of the Year".

For us, the cost of doing OD is far more significant than for the OD guy that will upgrade. I must buy one sail for a once a year OD national and a second sail for PHRF.
I also beleive, and I think the survey results will back me up in that the majority of the J/30's race PHRF. As technology continues to move away from Dacron and as the price differential continues to drop - more and more of the J/30 PHRF boats will be going string sails. Folks such as me that are trying to keep the boat relevant and do want to also do OD are being penalized at the class level.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/22/11 09:12 PM

Today I spoke with both the local UK (western Michigan) and Doyle sailmakers. Both recommended using bag weight as the best method for measuring/controlling sail cloth. One offered to provide recommended verbiage to use to help protect against hanging unintended weights on the sail. I will report back when they respond.
Also, both suggested the easist way to come up with a bag weight is to simply weigh a couple of sails. Since I have my original dacron main + 3 string mains I will weigh them all and report that as well.

Further, one of the sail makers suggested that if the class were to adopt going to string sails that it also consider changing the rule on the number of battens from 4 to a max of 5. His beleif is that a fifth batten will help to exptend the life of the sail.

Any thoughts on allowing a 5th batten? BTW I have 2 older ones designed with 5 battens and my newest has 4.
Posted By: NaturalHigh

Re: Dacron Main - 03/22/11 11:29 PM

I wonder if there would be any potential for cost savings on laminates if the class put an exclusive sail contract out to tender which would provide a fixed price for sails for a certain number of years. That could pretty much guarantee equity for OD racing but the removal of your "secret sailmaker" and his creativity might be a downside to some.

Just throwing things out there. I'd imagine getting the class to agree on a sailmaker and a design would be like herding cats.
Posted By: sailon

Re: Dacron Main - 03/23/11 01:48 AM

Natural High is pointing us to the J-44 path. How well does that work for them??? Could it be relevent for us? Just a thought
Posted By: bemusv2

Re: Dacron Main - 03/23/11 03:37 AM

I think he's suggesting is that the class could try to work out a pricing deal with a particular sailmaking firm which would allow for consistent pricing and sail cut/shape across the board for adopters in the class who would wish to adopt string sails for OD should that ever come to pass.

I would hesitate trying restrict cuts and shapes. Sail dimensions should remain the way that they are... not that I have a say. I'm just thinking out loud.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/23/11 10:39 PM

The local Doyle sail maker got back to me today with some verbiage to use:

The Main shall have a minimum weight of *_____*, excluding battens. The intent of the rule is that all sails submitted for measurement will be constructed using well establish sailmaking techniques. The class reserves the right to reject any sail with additional weight added to the sail that is determined to be there for the sole purpose of meeting the minimum weight.

So far my sail maker, Dieball Sails, has offered a recommendation of using 9-10kg as the minimum weight. Over the weekend, I'll pull my old sails (1 Dacron + 2 old string sails) out of the attic and weigh them and report back.

Does anyone have contact with a North Sail Loft that could offer input on the weight of a 3DL main?

I'd be happy with a rules change that allows string sails so there's no push from me on changing battens. That said, one sail maker suggested it - any thoughts on allowing 5 battens? Or, should I leave this one alone?
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/28/11 01:41 PM


I weighed my two oldest sting mains. The oldest, a UK kevlar tape drive weighed in at 27lbs. The second, which is newer (I think Bob Rutsch said it was a 2004 - 7 years ago) is a UK carbon tape sail that weighed in at 25lbs or 11.3kg. I'm pretty sure my newest sail weighs more (although I didn't weigh it because it is stored at the sailmaker).

My newest sail is not the most expensive that my sail maker offered at the time. As I've shared, my sailmaker said that the more expensive sail would have weighed less than my current sail. Too, he recommended a sail weight of 9-10kg (by comparison, my sail weights listed above are based on roughly 11 and 7 year old technology).

Thus, allowing for a little technological advancement in the last 7 years, I'm going to submit my rules change request with a sail weight of 10kg as follows:

The Main shall have a minimum weight of 10kg, excluding battens. The intent of the rule is that all sails submitted for measurement will be constructed using well establish sailmaking techniques. The class reserves the right to reject any sail with additional weight added to the sail that is determined to be there for the sole purpose of meeting the minimum weight.
Posted By: LChristy

Re: Dacron Main - 04/08/11 03:43 PM

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.

Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 04/08/11 08:43 PM

A few comments,
1. I'm betting that most of the PHRF areas don't penalize for for sail material, and if that's true then the J/30 class would be held back by a handful of Chesapeake OD sailors that don't want to keep the boat relavent for anything other than THEIR OD sailing - that to me would hardly be good for the Class.
2. I find it hard to beleive that every boat in the Chesapeake Bay sails with Dacron sails. I'm wondering if the sail cloth penalty is applied to boats where a class allows string sails. For example, the newer J boats allow string sails for OD sailing. Do those boats get hit with the 6 second penalty or is it just that the 6 seconds applies to boats that violate their class rule? Is there a 6 second penalty for head sails too?
3. I currently carry 6 seconds of penalty for sailing OD configuration - I don't sail a PHRF beater boat. And, I did appeal the local PHRF on the spinnaker pole rule and won. Why don't you appeal the 6 second rule.
4. You tell us about the cost diferential of a string main and that they don't last. How do you know? I'm on my third one and thus I have a pretty good bench mark for how long they last. They last about 5 years and are in race condition pretty much throughout that life - I doubt one can honestly say that for Dacron. No sailmaker I've talked to will say that (at least not for the level of racing we do)
5. For me and most every other PHRF sailor that wants to race OD, the cost penalty to us is quite high to have to buy two sails. One for PHRF and one for OD. And again, I'm betting there are a lot more PHRF racers than the hand full of OD guys that get a penalty for string sails. Should the class make a rule for the entire Class or just for the benifit of the Chesapeake OD'ers
6. I'm thinking that if my sail maker can't make string sails - I've got at least 2 sailmakeres because one can't make my class legal head sails.
7. The arguement of taking a top level skipper with a dacron sail and putting him up against a back of the fleet sailor with a string sail and see who wins isn't relavent. The question that is relavent is; top level skipper with a string sail vs top level skipper with a dacron sail - which one has the advantage?8. One can tell us all about how a string sail doesn't make a difference... "one bad tack etc, etc. One can make that same arguement about fairing a keel, upgrading to low strech sheets, cutting the covers off of halyards, sanding a bottom to an ultra fine finish and on and on. I hear those arguements every year - mostly from the guys sitting at the bar that don't win flags. As Dennis Conner said about how to win an America's Cup race - "start with the fastest boat"
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 04/09/11 04:03 PM

Interesting perspective on PHRF, which like the America's Cup nearly, if not always, goes to the fastest boat. The Cup is a a design competition within a box rule. PHRF attempts to compare unlike boats and allows wide latitude and local determination as to what is considered in the rating. The single builder J/30 raced one-design is intended to assure that the boats are the same, within the limits of class rules. It's difficult to reconcile these differences.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 04/10/11 11:39 PM

While an OD rule is intended to make boats similar it doesn't guarantee that boats are identical. Several changes are allowed under the current rule that could make consideralble differences in boat speed. Here are some.
Sail maker and sail cut can have an impact on boat speed. Rig tuning, bottom surface, keel fairing, age of sails, moving and double ending the backstay adjuster, carbon fiber pole, cutting the cover off of halyards - all could provide incremental inprovements in boat speed. How about "dry sailing" the boat vs wet sailing. This list could get pretty lengthy but what's included above should make the point.

Some OD events try to level the field by using one sailmaker and by making the competitors rotate boats in a regatta. - J/30 OD events do not. Therefore, J/30 boats that show up at an OD evernt are different - not the same.

For purposes of the discussion let's simplify the quote to "how do you win a sailboat race? - Start with the fastest boat"

So, back to relavent comparisons; do the front of the fleet sailors, pay attention to most, if not all the details of making the boat fast before leaving the dock? Probalby, and if so why?
Most likely because they want to "START WITH THE FASTEST BOAT"

Regardless the point of starting with the fastest boat was made in regards to an earlier post that said one bad tack would offset the benifits of a string sail. And to that point, the idea, I think, is not to make bad tacks. But, If a bad tack happens, I'd rather have a boat tha can accelerate out of the tack faster - which leads us back to string vs. Dacron
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 04/11/11 12:03 AM

Last fall we delivered Wildcat 35 miles in open water to an island regatta. For the entire trip, the wind blew steady 30k with gusts to 40; waves on our hip at 6 to 10 ft. We used our 2004 carbon fiber tape main as our delivery sail. We used it for the return as well, mostly as a weather vane as the storm blew itself out on the first day of the regatta. Other than the paint stains from having used it as a drop cloth the sail looked good and held up fine - LOL.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 04/11/11 01:01 AM

Can someone help here?

The following is from the Chesapeake Bay PHRF application
4. SAILS: [ ] Request BOTH Spinnaker and NS ratings -- (Provide all mainsail, headsail, and spinnaker info required below)
[ ] Request ONLY a NS rating -- Will not race with spinnakers this season (Provide the mainsail and headsail info required below)
MAINSAIL: Number Battens: _____; Using Roller Furling Mainsail; furling in the [ ] Mast, or furling in the[ ] Boom;
Oversize girth mainsail? [ ] No, [ ] Yes; If Yes, record following dimensions. Headboard _____, MGT_____, MGU_____, MGM_____, MGL_____
HEADSAIL: Largest jib/genoa: Midgirth less than or equal 50%. Overlap (LP): _______.____ft., and/or (Overlap percentage): %LP__________
[ ] Using Roller Furling Headsails: RF Sailcloth is: [ ] Woven(Dacron/other), or [ ] Lam/molded (Mylar, Kevlar, Spectra, etc.)
RF Laminated sail cloth protected on both sides by taffeta skin? [ ]Yes, [ ] No; Year/month RF Headsail was built ( ________/_______)
RF Headsail has leech and foot cover of UV protected woven material of at least 4.0 oz? [ ] Yes, or [ ] No
RF Headsail drum is installed above deck level [ ]; or RF Headsail drum is installed at, or below deck level [ ].
[ ] Using "Code 0", or Sail with Midgirth between 50% and 75% (record measurements below)

I couldn't find anything in the application nor in the document labeled PHRF rating system that addresses sail material. The only mention to sailclothe material is in the section about Roller Furling sails - and there it says Laminated Mylar, Kevlar sails are leagal.

Perhaps I've missed something, the only conclusion I can draw is that the J/30 is penalized for non-conformance to OD configuration. If that's true, then if the J/30 class allows string sails, the Chesapeake sailors would no longer be penalized
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 04/11/11 03:36 PM

PHRF Chesapeake 2011 PHRF Fleet Policies..."Equipment...One Design Ratings will only be provided to CBYRA recognized One Design Classes. In the event that the applicable class rules for a CBYRA recognized one-design class conflict with these regulations, the class rules shall take precedence." Also "Classes...one design class rules, which limit headsail size, sail materials, or spinnakers do not apply to PHRF, unless the boat is rated as a one design class (italics mine)....PHRF may, when requested by established one design classes, assign a rating to the one design configuration of that class. Each individual boat which desires to be issued a one design rating (ODR), must specifically request an ODR and agree to race only in that configuration in PHRF handicapped races."
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 04/11/11 04:11 PM

PHRF of the Cheaspeake Valid List dated 4/7/2011 has the J/30 one-design rating (ODR) 144 and non-ODR 155% headsail J/30 also 144. A non-ODR J/30 using a 163% would be rated faster.
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 04/11/11 04:50 PM

The 'start with the fastest boat' idea is precisely why one-design sailors are unlikely to ever reach consensus with those consigned to handicap. Prep and rig according to your personal preference, while staying within the limits of the rules. But the goal is to start each race even, not with an advantage. That wouldn't make for good one-design racing.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 04/11/11 05:29 PM

Thanks for the info.

Bottom line, it doesn't appear that you get penalized for sail material. You get penalized for non compliance to the J/30 OD ruling on sail material. If the J/30 class changes the rules to allow string sails, you would not take a penalty for having a string sail.

Being more specific, you sighted the non ODR J/30 with a 155% headsail racing with the same 144 rating as you ODR boat. So if you sail with a string sail you are no longer ODR compliant - correct? Other questions: do you get 3 seconds for non ODR compliance and another 3 seconds for the 163% headsail? Does the non ODR compliant J/30 with a 155% and a string sail rate the same as you at 144?

And... somone has to say it; here I've been thinking 141 was a good rating. 144 for ODR... cupcake, cupcake, cupcake!!! Shhh, be very, very quiet about that. LOL
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 04/11/11 06:15 PM

Comply with class rules (sail material, crew weight, gear on board, etc.) or you don't get the ODR . Base rating of a non-ODR J/30 assumes standard local PHRF limit of 155% LP Genoa without penalty.

Might take a little time but if the class changed the rules to make the boat go faster, PHRF would notice and adjust the rating, don't you think?
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 04/11/11 07:28 PM

Aren't you even a little embarrassed to have a 144 rating for a class legal J/30?

Did the rating change when the class allowed string head sails?

I'd bet that the year the sail material is changed (if it happens) you could go out, buy your new sails, sign the ODR compliance document and smile all the way out to the race course. You shouldn't even have to announce it

Still, where's the 6 second penalty when not ODR Compliant Normal PHRF penalties = 9 seconds

3 seconds for the head sail
3 seconds for the pole
3 seconds for the kite
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 04/11/11 07:52 PM

Why should I be embarrassed, I'm not the one sailing handicap? Now isn't complaining about 3 seconds a mile in PHRF reserved for the club bar? Honestly I'd know zero about PHRF except I was asked to do a tour of duty at CBYRA and it was unavoidable.
Posted By: Luke Buxton

Re: Dacron Main - 04/11/11 10:02 PM

sorry had to do it
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 04/11/11 10:25 PM

My mother always told me that if I had to explain my jokes I didn't belong in comedy.

Posted By: Phil

Re: Dacron Main - 05/19/11 01:28 PM

I'm a bit confussed, isn't Pentex approved for J30 Mains, and aren't Pentex sails "String Sails" ?

If I've done this right, I am attaching a picture of a J-30 Sail made from Pentx that I am told is Class Legal.

[Linked Image]

Attached File
P1010118.JPG  (2884 downloads)
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main - 05/19/11 03:08 PM

The stipulation is that it is woven ply (PEN or PET), not laminate. String sails are laminates. Mainsail shall be manufactured from woven ply polyethylene terephthalate ("PET"), such as Dacron®, or woven ply polyethylene naphthalate ("PEN"), such as Pentex®. The spinnaker shall be manufactured from woven ply nylon.

The picture you show would not be a legal main under the current rules.
Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Dacron Main - 05/19/11 04:25 PM

The photo does not look like an approved woven fabric.
for sure.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/13/12 03:17 PM

OK, I just ordered my new f#*@ing Dacron Main for delivery in September.
I think I figured it out, Bob must own stock in a Dacron cloth manufacturer... smile

God willing, we'll see y'all in N'Orleans in October
Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Dacron Main - 03/13/12 03:54 PM

Wait a minute ... You may need to keep it in good shape so you can bring it on board Vee Jay for NA2013 in Barrington ... I hope it is not a "heavy" weight main. We will slide the tidesmarine track out. and by that time i will have the base of the mast moved to 25mm. I am not planning on gettin a new OD main ... when I use heavy tides marine slides on my normal programs.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/13/12 04:02 PM

Other than a some trials with the sailmaker and a chase boat, our plan is that it'll only see the Nationals in 2012 and then won't see the light of day until hopefully when we bring it and the boat back home to Barrington in 2013.
Posted By: Cap'n Vic

Re: Dacron Main - 03/13/12 04:18 PM

Ohh... OK ... I'll have to look for another set of OD for Vee Jay in 2013. I smell retirement in the air.
Posted By: Bob Rutsch

Re: Dacron Main - 03/13/12 05:12 PM

You can try to pick a fight with me, if you like, but I'm glad to see you have committed to sail some one-design events. I hope it is a terrific experience.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 03/13/12 08:21 PM

Not trying to pick a fight - sorry if it was taken that way, just trying to make a joke...
I'm wondering if Amazon.com will take back my new book "Comedy for Dummies"

Hey Vic, I offered to go halfsees with you earlier. It's too late though, I've got full crew for N'Orlins
Posted By: Georges

Re: Main Sail Material - 08/12/13 11:31 PM

I am interested by the Hood woven vectran proposal.
Did you end up ordering and using this vectran woven sail?
After four year what is the verdict?
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Main Sail Material - 08/13/13 12:28 PM


I would say that the material is more durable than Dacron based on the aging characteristics. I plan on getting draft stripe pictures later this month. It definitely doesn't have the shape of my new race main. The draft has moved aft with aging. Unlike my race main, this sail has slugs and is flaked rather than rolled.

Unfortunately I'm not sure what the future is for the sail cloth as Hood Sails, because they filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
Posted By: Georges

Re: Main Sail Material - 08/18/13 02:38 PM

Thanks Bill,
Doyle - close by - seems to have a similar offer will check with them too.
Posted By: Luke Buxton

Re: Main Sail Material - 08/18/13 02:53 PM

I would also look into a north radiant cloth for a main or a 3dl marathon sail.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Main Sail Material - 02/19/14 11:33 AM

I just looked and this topic has the most views of any on the J/30 forum. Much time has passed since Russ posted in 2008, and we have enjoyed having Wildcat at the NAs in New Orleans in 2012 and Barrington in 2013.

Now for the question / continuation of this thought Russ proposed.

Does the class want to:
1. Keep the main sail restriction "as-is" with Dacron.
2. Update the class rules to allow any Woven material (e.g. the main I tried from Hood Sails with Vectron threads woven in the fibers)
3. Remove the restriction on mainsail materials.

When you post your response, please provide the rationale for your decision.
Posted By: sailon

Re: Main Sail Material - 02/20/14 05:34 PM

I use my boat for both day sailing and cruising. When I look at the overall value of the sail, the ability of a racing sail to "retire" into a life of cruising is attractive. I have owned MANY laminated plastic, and Dacron sails. When the plastic sails reach end life, they typically are a delaminated mess. Dacron sails, while they don't hold their shape as well as laminated sails do, are still perfectly fine for cruising, in fact I am sure I still have the original Dacron mains in my loft that would work just fine for daysailing. Soooo, points in favor of Dacron. On the other hand, the current methods of giving Dacron some rigidity require the application of a stiffener, that makes handling of the sail difficult, and can even risk damage to the cloth if a wrinkle is not removed carefully. If a woven material can be incorporated that provides the stiffness of impregnated Dacron, is easy to handle, and has a "lifevalue" similar to Dacron cloth, that would carry my vote going forward.
Posted By: Steve Buzbee

Re: Main Sail Material - 02/21/14 10:09 PM

I would be open to a removal of sailcloth restriction for the main, although I'm not 100% sure the added shape retention is worth the added cost, especially with all the tweaks available for the main (outhaul, downhaul, vang, halyard etc....
Posted By: Michael L

Re: Main Sail Material - 02/22/14 02:17 AM

I'd say open up if it makes the boat more competitive in PHRF (along with other restrictions such a spinnaker cloth minimum). If however it were to lower the PHRF, then not worth the effort.
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Main Sail Material - 02/24/14 05:39 PM

My views are well documented and have not changed but I will not engage further in this discussion. Wildcat is committed to racing one design and thus we've made the decision to invest in a one design main, along with a trailer (so we can travel to one design events), etc. For PHRF we continue to use a laminated sail. And yes, it is an expensive commitment to have two sails.

Michael, sail cloth is not at all factored into PHRF ratings unless the sail material is a violation of class rules. Some areas give a "one-design" PHRF rating for the J-30. Non compliance to one design configuration is a 3 second penalty - but not directly related to sail material. To be specific, if the class approved a non-Dacron main, the boat would then be class compliant and still be able to sail with a class PHRF rating
Posted By: Michael L

Re: Main Sail Material - 02/25/14 12:01 AM


My point exactly. If the Class allowed laminate, then PHRF shouldn't change.

Anything to add competitiveness to our boats in a PHRF fleet has only upside from my perspective. Highest on the agenda however is the restriction on minimum spinnaker cloth weight.
Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Main Sail Material - 02/25/14 12:50 AM

For what it's worth, in PHRF Narragansett Bay, there is no change in rating due to sail cloth, only for sail size. I asked this question for both the main and spinnaker. I bought a 1/2 oz spinnaker that is the same size as the class spinnaker. It works great in light air. In PHRF-NB area there is no reason to make the 1/2 oz spinnaker OD class legal.
Posted By: Jangles13

Re: Main Sail Material - 02/26/14 01:21 PM

I'll say from my research the price difference between a woven poly sail (aka Dacron) and a higher strength laminated fabric is marginal. The bulk of sail cost is now in labor rather than material. I understand the class rules to be preventing arms-races, but for such a slight increase of material cost we could be utilizing better sails.

Perhaps opening the ruling to allow higher tech laminates but stop short of membrane sails. Membranes tend to cost significantly more and have some of the shortest life cycles.

Just a thought.
Posted By: Defender

Re: Dacron Main - 04/30/14 02:56 PM


I have to agree.....I don't class race but I do like PHRF.

I don't have a Dacron main and I don't miss out much on that....

Perhaps because I don't race one design I am the one of the last to speak out about such things. I do wish to support the position that Russ has taken....I agree with him in principle.

My non Dacron main needs replacing finally anD I will look to newer technology materials as Dacron is more suited to cruising and antiquated notions of history in my view.....

In Southern Connecticut and western L.I. Sound the J 30 has always been a great class and it continues to be so...thanks to CPYC and others,albeit it may be losing ground due to other advances in technology, meaning the J 70's ... a class that proliferates like beneficial microbes in the garden. Meanwhile a class that is losing participation might want to be more accommodating.

Perhaps for that reason the board will need to lighten up down the road....? who knows. I am a beer can racer , perhaps a mere novice.

I only weighed in because I think the debate is useful. I encourage others to chime in as I am certain there are many factors we have yet to consider.


Good luck

Barry Butler
Fairfield CT

Posted By: Rhapsody #348

Re: Dacron Main - 09/25/20 11:57 PM

The last post on this thread was over 6 years ago, but I enjoyed reading it again from the beginning. Although I no longer own a J/30 (moved to a J/109), thought it appropriate to stir the pot again. Sail technology has changed over the past 6 years. High tech sails are no longer laminated. This discussion / evaluation may want to be resurrected since now there is a process using thermoset resins that don't delaminate. The acquisition costs have come down and the longevity is far superior to laminated sails (e,g, mylar / string).

Any thoughts from J/30 owners if alternative materials should be reconsidered for the main?
Posted By: Russ Atkinson

Re: Dacron Main - 09/28/20 08:05 PM

No Comment smile
Posted By: deathtrap30

Re: Dacron Main - 10/18/20 01:57 PM

does the mainsail have slugs? Price, Pix?
Posted By: usa1136

Re: Dacron Main - 01/16/21 12:51 PM

I think if you live in an area that has an OD fleet, and you don’t need to race in phrf or orc, Dacron is just fine. I felt you could nurse 4 seasons out of a Dacron main. That about $600 a season especially if it was a radial design that allowed for a bit more tweaking and adjustment. Not a bad ROI. At that price point, I rather buy a new Dacron sail, then say my 4 year old 3di is “looks pretty good”.

Although I love my 3di Genoa, they are nearly double the price of what was 3dl or a paneled radial Genoa. I still question why the class allowed 3di genoas to be honest, instead of requiring a paneled laminate tri-radial sail with a minimum bag weight hat would allow for extra taffeta on the back 1/3 overlapping portion of the sail
Posted By: B Davis

Re: Dacron Main - 01/16/21 08:24 PM

I find myself split in two directions on this:

1. As mainly a PHRF Racer, I would appreciate a lighter, faster sail that is durable without a rating hit. I would get more value and speed out of my sail if I can PHRF and OD with the same higher-tech sail.

2. As a new boat owner, I would appreciate an affordable and durable sail. More new owners with limited budgets can dip their toes into OD Racing if the costs are lower. Is it more important to consider what would grow the waning OD fleets? I'm not saying that continuing with cheaper sails will grow the fleet, but it is one idea.

What if a balance between these two ideas is sought? Would we grow the OD fleet by finding a middle ground with a higher-performance sail that offsets its higher cost with better durability?

If a slightly faster mainsail makes the J/30 a better PHRF performer and allows owners to have one mainsail between OD and PHRF, will it make the J/30 a more appealing boat to new owners?

If we get a few more interested owners between New Jersey and Massachusetts, we could have more low-key OD events to encourage OD participation. Without that, I don't have a very compelling reason to keep a perfectly OD boat as I fix it up over the next 5 years.

I'm mostly posing questions because I'm new to the boat, and don't know what it's like in any of the OD fleets around the country. I do think it is important to talk to the new owners who are interested in racing in addition to the seasoned racers who are firmly committed to the class and have supported it for years.
Posted By: Ryan Anderson

Re: Dacron Main - 11/11/21 05:50 PM

As a new owner I plan on purchasing a higher-tech main and passing on a Dacron one. The main reasoning is there isn't a local fleet (that I'm aware of) for OD here on Cape Cod so I'll be doing PHRF. I would like to go to OD events, but they would be rare occasions.

One argument for easing the restrictions on the material would be lowering the barrier for someone like me to attend a OD event. The restriction is going to prevent me from going to any OD events since I won't be getting a Dacron main.

As an aside, where's the closest OD fleet to me?
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