Having the panels run across the sail allowed Hood to introduce sail shape more consistently and, drawing from his experience building cross-cut head-
sails and mainsails, more precisely.
Center Seam ed of a series of vertical panels working in from the leeches toward the center of the sail in diminishing sizes. While the sail worked well, it was only when Ted Hood turned the panel layout on its side and started to build cross-cut spinnakers that sail development began in earnest.
Because of the way the panels ran from the clews to the head of the sail, the Ratsey and Lapthorn sail was triangular in shape, like an "A." But Ted Hood believed that a sail that had more projected area, especially up high, would perform better, and so he built his sail with cross-cut panels, which meant there was no practical limit to how wide the sail could be across the head. With this new flexibility, Hood began experimenting with different size sails, until he eventually found a balance between too little projected area and a sail that would fly without its edges being so large and heavy that they collapsed in on the center. Having the panels run across the sail also allowed him to introduce sail shape more consistently and, drawing from his experience building cross-cut headsails and mainsails, more precisely (Figure 8.1).
Unfortunately, although cross-cut panels worked quite well through the middle sections of the sail, in the top third there were serious problems. Most significantly, where the edges curved in toward the head of the sail, the fabric was cut on a huge bias causing it to stretch and distort to the point where it was no longer able to support the shoulders of the spinnaker. Hood Sails was the first sailmak-er to put a radial head on a cross-cut body to address the problems caused by the cross-cut panels (Figure 8.2). And afterward, North Sails, seeing this improve-
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