Sunday, December 6, 2015

New Sails: Part 3 

--Blogpost written by Bob

This week measurements were taken for the new sails.  Many details of the new sails were worked out.

Brian DeBrincat of Quantum Sails makes measurements for
the new sails--this took nearly two hours.

Postponing the Cruising Spinnaker

After all the considerations we made and color selections for the cruising spinnaker, we decided to postpone it for three reasons:
(1) Maggie & I may have trouble handling it (we are both in our sixties when many sailors are moving to trawlers)
(2) We don't know how often we would really use it, and
(3) Our funds could be applied to something more useful (like a water maker).

Dutchman Mainsail Flaking System

We have always manually flaked our mainsail--this means that after sailing, we would typically release the halyard and the mainsail would come down in a big pile and we would carefully fold the sail with equal creases on each side of the boom.  We then would use sail ties to fasten the folded sail to the boom.  This manual flaking is done while standing on the cabin top, sometimes in windy conditions while the boat is pitching.

With the dutchman flaking system, as the main halyard is released to drop 
the mainsail, the sail automatically flakes on alternating sides of the boom.

A dutchman flaking system, incorporated into our new mainsail, automatically flakes the mainsail as the halyard is released--it is easier and safer than manual flaking.  Many sailors with dutchman flaking systems don't even use sail ties to fasten the flaked sail to the boom.

A new topping lift will be supplied with the new mainsail.  The new 
topping lift will include clamps that correctly position the vertical flaking lines,

The Dutchman system was invented by Martin van Breems in the 1930's.  It works like a window blind--when you pull up the window blind the pleats neatly stack.  This system works the same way but it is upside down compared to a window blind.

Sun Cover Material for the New Sails

We have decided to make the sun cover on the new self-furling genoa and the new mainsail cover from Sunbrella "toast" which is like a khaki color.  The next time we change our bimini and cockpit enclosure (probably within 3 to 5 years) we will make it from the same color Sunbrella.  It is currently dark navy blue.

We have to change the mainsail cover because the new mainsail will be fuller when flaked than our 30-year old mainsail.  Zippers will have to be installed on one side at two points where the flaking lines come through the sail.  The new mainsail cover cannot be made until the new mainsail arrives and is installed in mid-January.


Part 4 of this blogpost subject (new sails) will be posted sometime in January after the new sails have arrived.   We are proceeding with the new sails, a new primary anchor system, and an additional solar panel (possibly to provide power for the water maker) despite the fact that it is getting colder outside.

Thanks for following our blog!


  1. You traded your spinnaker for a water maker? That's like the saddest thing I've ever heard. ;) Admittedly, we don't use our spinnaker that often, but when we do it's awesome.

  2. We expect that our watermaker will be used daily in the Bahamas (6 months per year)!

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