Case for Multiple Plies

The fact that the fabric along the luff of sails was overkill was not lost on sail-makers, but until they figured out that fabric could be plied, or made up of multiple layers stacked on top of one another, there was little they could do about it. Sails were engineered for the loads on the leech and the excess fabric strength at the front end (generally in a low load area) got a free ride. When I worked for Hood Sails in the early 1980s we had a lock on the maxi-boat market. Maxi boats back then were 80 feet long, giants for their time, and the sail inventories consisted of five or six headsails of varying sizes and weights,

HIGH-ASPECT CROSS-CUT HEADSAIL

Fill-oriented Dacron used on ernss-eDt high-as°ect sails like a blade jib.

Strength is across the fabric.

Loads run almost directly from clew to head.

Figure 4.6

Choose a fill-oriented fabric for a No. 3 blade jib where the loads run right up the leech of the sail.

plus a number of other sails like staysails and spinnakers. Some of the boats carried 15 to 20 sails on board each time they left the dock to go racing, which represented a tremendous bulk. It did not make any sense to remove excess weight from the boat in the form of spare tools and unneeded toothbrushes when the bilge was stuffed with heavy, overbuilt sails. When they were wet, which was much of the time, it was even more of a problem.

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