SPINNAKER CLOTH WEIGHT

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Postby Guest » Wed Jun 13, 2001 9:59 am

I would like to resurrect what was a very controversial topic on this forum last year: minimum spinnaker cloth weight.
Most other classes I am familiar with (Melges 24, J-24, J-22) mandate a 3/4 oz spinnaker in their class rules. I will not dispute that a 0.6 oz sail is better in light air, but it is also less durable (tears more easily, particularly poly) and incurs more damage (stretch) in heavy air. I know of many boats that already carry a 3/4 oz sail for use in heavy air and there is always the dilemna of which sail to use in a multi-day event where the wind speed is likely to fluctuate. If we were all required to use 3/4 oz, it would alleviate the perceived need to carry heavy and light air sails (and return us to the intended purpose of the rule which was to allow use of a backup sail in the event of irreparable damage). It would return the 80 to a "three sail" boat rather than a "four sail" boat, bringing costs down and making racing more affordable.
The only real down side to this change would be a slight loss of light air performance, but it would affect all boats equally (which is the intent of sailing ONE DESIGN). When racing PHRF, the lighter sails would obviously be allowed.
Is there a logical argument out there to oppose this? The other obvious problem is that most of us already own 0.6 oz spinnakers, and it would be unfair to render them unusable. There are several ways to implement a rule change that would not adversely affect those owners (such as announcing a change say one year prior to it going into effect, since a 0.6 oz sail used all the time will not last much longer than that anyway).
Please share your thoughts on this topic!
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Postby Guest » Wed Jun 13, 2001 10:43 am

Chris I support the idea of a .75 oz. chute. The motivation for me to buy a J80 was to minimize sail inventory (My last boat had three head sails and three chutes along with the main!!!). I have no desire to carry light and heavy air spinnakers. If we do not rule on this what will essentially happen is that each J80 will have a .6 a .75 and a third chute for backup.

I think that if the intent of the rules on sails are to use them for a year we should have a rule on materials that allow for a years worth of durability. .6 oz does not seem to be able to take the wind that we saw at a couple of stops earlier this year.

As far as the .6 oz to keep with the spirit if the class-having fun minimizing costs I would support a year time period to implement the rule and another year to grandfather the .6 oz chutes as backups. In other words if the rule was approved in January 2002 no one would buy a .6 oz but could use it as the primary chute in 2002 and as a backup in 2003 and in 2004 not use it for OD.
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Postby Guest » Thu Jun 14, 2001 8:13 am

Scott's suggestion is along the lines of what I had in mind. Does anyone else have an opinion?
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Postby Guest » Thu Jun 14, 2001 10:59 am

The spinnaker cloth issue is an issue which I find very interesting. To preface my comments, I will start by saying that I was, a number of years ago, sold 2 spinnakers, .6 nylon, which both blew up in winds of less than 22 knots. At the time, I was told by my sailmaker that this was the recommended weight and that this was more than adequate for an all purpose spinnaker. I dropped the sailmaker/company after they refused to make good on the chutes and pointed the finger at me stating that my inexperience or crew was responsible for the chutes being blown to shreds.

Since that point in time I have only purchased .75 oz chutes and have had no problems. The .75 oz chute in my opinion is really a true all purpose chute and holds its shape better in the long run. Jay Lutz once stated that I was not that fast in the light stuff. Well, I'm not that slow either and I know that I have a chute that I can count on when the breeze picks up. For me,the .75 oc cloth is the only logical way to go for the J80. And now my views re having the option of purchasing a lighter chute.

I do not see anything wrong with the rules allowing one to buy a lighter chute. Some of us live in areas where the breeze is light. Others want to have the option of picking a chute,light or heavy, prior to the begining of a regatta. Nothing wrong with this. However, what I see, is a group of indidivuals who have purchased .6 oz chutes, either at the recommendation of their sailmaker or based on their own decision, who have now realized that .6 is not the type of material an all purpose chute should be made of. My suggestion is to purchase a .75 oz chute the next time to have to reach for the check book. No need to change the rules, just select the right cloth for the right job. What it boils down to is this, you initially try to buy speed (your light .6 chute) and it ends up costing you more than you thought(rips,tears, overall longevity). No need to change the rules, just make the right selection.

When it comes to the weight of the materials that can be used to build the main, we also have some room to go light or heavy. Should we eliminate the variables there as well?

I have heard a number of sailmakers recommend that the J/80 rules allow for two chutes, one light and one heavy, so as to allow a sailor to select the appropriate sail for the given conditions. This would conceivably ssave the owner lots of money in the long run since he/she would not be sailing the .6 in 30 knots of breeze. Sounds like some one is looking for a larger ski house.

Maybe a rambling message, however, you get my point.( 12 hours sleep in the last three days will do that to you)

Changing the rules to require .75 chutes -- not a bad idea. However, I'd rather leave the rules the way that they are.
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Postby Guest » Thu Jun 14, 2001 12:25 pm

It seems both weights of cloth have advantages. The question to ask is are any of these advantages so big that it hampers one design sailing? Looks like a ford vs. Chevy question.
I have sailed both.6 and 3/4 chutes and I see no major speed difference.
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Postby Guest » Wed Jun 20, 2001 10:25 am

Does anyone know what the process is for proposing and ratifying changes to the class rules? The forum is a great way to get the issues out and discuss proposed changes, but is this the actual process?
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Postby Guest » Wed Jun 20, 2001 12:05 pm

Bob,

You raise an excellent point. I have been asking this same question for quite some time. I do not think the process is clearly established, particularly since we are now an ISAF-recognized class and all changes must somehow go through that organization as well. I think the class officers need to devote some time to this issue in the very near future!
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