When sailing on the wind, a high-aspect sail like a blade jib will have the bulk of the load travel almost directly up the leech of the sail with less stress along the foot.
Loads travel up the leech and along the foot pf the sail.
being used within its designed wind range sailing hard on the wind and see what loads the sail encounters. If, on the other hand, he is designing a headsail to be used on an Open 60 sailing in the Southern Ocean he would know that the sail would never be used in a hard-on-the-wind situation. Rather, the sail would be used reaching and running. Therefore, engineering the sail for dead upwind conditions would not make any sense. The same applies to designing a sail for a cruising boat or a smaller one-design boat like a Soling or a Flying Scott. The amount of analysis for these sails will not be as much because the uses are less complex, and the time spent doing the analysis adds to the cost of the sail. But some kind of analysis is still important for creating the best possible all-around sail.
Note that the loads in a sail are also affected by the geometry of a rig, and in particular the aspect ratio or height-to-width ratio of the sail. For example, when sailing on the wind, a high-aspect sail like a blade jib (Figure 4.1) will have the bulk of the load travel almost directly up the leech of the sail with less stress along the foot. A low-aspect sail like a No. 1 genoa, on the other hand, will have the loads travel more toward the center of the sail rather than concentrated along the leech. It will also experience greater loads along its foot than the high-aspect sail (Figure 4.2). By knowing where the loads fall and combining this information with the strength and stretch resistance of the individual yarns, the sail designer can begin to develop an overall picture of an optimal panel configuration.
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