2014 Saggy forestay surgery and new sails

Enki has new standing rigging from 2012.

Her Elvstrom sails though, are from 2005, and she has been all the way to the Antipodes and back to Europe via Cape Horn with five or six Mediterranean seasons thrown in on top of that. All in all they have held up extremely well......the cross cut HydraNet genoa and main have given little trouble apart from the full length battens in the main which need attention every season or two. They are 8mm amalgams of stainless, fibreglass and carbon joined together to give the main some extra roach and a better shape.....except that the top carbon bits at the leech can fracture at the joint with the fibreglass...... and break. I believe Elvstrom are now specifying 10mm battens and a more robust construction.

BUT (and this will get to the the point of this post) the sails are beginning to look like my grandmothers bloomers.

Using the backstay to get a respectable amount of forestay tension produced far too much mast bend for my liking, considering that we have an inmast furling mainsail. I wondered whether the new 2012 forestay had been supplied too long, or had Enki simply sailed her thousands of miles with a very saggy forestay?

Either way it was time for some surgery. Spring arrived in Turkey and 8cm came off the forestay and 6cm off the inner forestay courtesy of the folks at M2 Rigging in Marmaris. At the same time the Furlex units were serviced before reconnecting the forestays and tuning the rigging. Voila! A better looking profile, enough prebend and far less sag in the forestay.

Although what was really also needed were some new sails........arrrrgh! The number of Euros a sailor can spend on this kind of stuff is frightening. Considering that we had blown a years cruising budget on a new engine last year, the consensus was that we would delay the new sails until we were ready to head off out of the Med for some ocean sailing. A tax free price was also a tempting inducement to wait until we reached Gibraltar or the Canaries. To have the old set as a backup in case of a failure as we headed back to Australia seemed a sensible thing to do.

December 2014 finds us in the Canary Islands ready for the crossing to the Caribbean and a brand new genoa and mainsail delivered on time from the Elvstrom loft in Denmark. Hallberg Rassy keep detailed records of the boats they produce and Martin Alfredsson assured me that there would be no problem, no need to measure anything......they would guarantee that the sails would be spot on. And they were.

We chose a mainsail without battens, HydraNet 420g/sqm. Sure, it doesn't look as sexy as the battened main but the upside is that we are less likely to encounter problems furling and unfurling, especially in fresh winds. Our experience of the past three years suggested that for the majority of our upcoming sailing we would have been reefing the main upwind anyway in anything over 15 to 18 knots true, so the loss of that 10% of sail area would not hurt much at all. Enki just sits a little more upright with a reef and doesn't slow down at all.

The 125% genoa is also HydraNet, crosscut and 420g/sqm, the same as the original 2005 sail. It's on the heavy side to be sure and slightly smaller than the 140% one usually specified by HR, but it's a real workhorse of a sail and will last the distance. The old sail is proof positive of the quality of the product from the Danish loft.

 Measuring up before getting the angle grinder on the job.

New Sta Lok fittings

Better him than me is all I can say.

1 comment:

  1. Very useful tips!
    A brief look at assembling an Etchells main-sail from Doyle Sails One Design. Made to order sails designed, tested, and built customized for performance and durability.