Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Manna - we have a Spinnaker

Thanks to Carl, we have a Spinnaker

About 10 years ago, we purchased a used Spinnaker from Second Wind Sails in Fort Lauderdale, it was not quite the right size for our 25' boat back then, but we made it work. It was an absolute delight to fly that huge sail even if it was old and stained. 

Last month, I was scanning facebook and saw a post from Carl, a HISC club member that previously owned a Catalina 36 and sailed it very successfully in club races as well as South Florida events like The Columbus Day Regatta, that boat has changed hands and Carl now has a Hunter 24 that he's kitting out to race. 

Carl had a Spinnaker taking up space at home and in that post he asked if anyone wanted it. WooHoo! I live about 5 minutes from Carl's house. On my way! 

Now we have this 'used used' Spinnaker that can be modified to fly on Eximius. Stoked!

Dragging (it's not heavy, just very big!) the sail out into our front yard and laying it out, I'm in awe. My neighbor saw what I was doing and offered to help. So we staked it out to measure and inspect.

The Sail measures 48' from Head to Foot and 27' wide at it's widest point. It's a Symmetrical Spinnaker in Red White & Blue and I only found 5 patches, largest about 4" square in matching material so it's actually in pretty good shape. It can probably benefit from a cleaning, and it needs to be trimmed down a bit to fit Eximius.

Down at the boat, to measure up and check out what we need to fly this beauty, I measured from the Spinnaker Block (just above the top of the Forestay) down to the lifelines - 42' So that's my starting point.

My intention was to cut the spinnaker and reshape it just a little to convert it into an Asymmetrical.

I started by cutting out 48" in length from the seam of the vertical triangles to the horizontal panels. That would shorten the sail from 45' to 41'
Next I cut from the Port Leach (Red) down 24" to the Starboard Leach (Green) that would shorten the Starboard Leach from 41' down to 39' effectively raising the Starboard Clew. The result would be that the Clew would be at the end of the Green leach tape and the Tack would be at the end of the Red leach tape and the belly of the sail would be moved slightly to the Luff of the sail (Red Leach tape)

Then time to sew. I used some of the removed material to practice sewing the very light material, it's not like sewing Sunbrella and I quickly realized that my existing setup would not work. Spoke with the folks at Sailrite and they prompted me to review the Thread, Tensions, and Needle type & size. Duh! I should have read the manual about that and it's on the first few pages.

I ordered some new needles and basting tape specifically designed for Sail materials and put the project on hold until the supplies arrived.

With the new #14 needles, I ran a few more tests. Had another issue, the machine was skipping stitches. I spent a couple of hours reading, measuring rotation angles and needle positions to see what was wrong. Swapped out the needle for the original and all was well. Dang. Replaced the new needle and still skipping. Was it due to the rotation of the needle? Out with my trusty pliers and screwdriver, eased the screw holding the needle and adjusted the needle rotation (groove has to be facing the open end of the machine) and snap - No, I didn't break the needle, but I did feel it snap up about an 1/8" of an inch. Turns out that when I was measuring the needle position from the Gib Hook, I was looking at the wrong hook! A quick test sew and all was good.

Onto the main task, sew that long 27' seam and make the sail whole again. During my measurements of the sail and the alterations, I had figured that the top edge of the lower part of the sail was within 1" of the bottom edge of the top of the sail, that would require a very small dart in the fabric and I wanted that to be in the middle rather than at the edges. As it turned out, the dart width at the seam was only 1/8", Sweet!

Basting the very flimsy material was a trick needing 3 hands. I hung the real of basting tape from a hook above my work desk, that made taping one edge a whole lot easier. With the tape applied to one edge, I was able to work my way along the material from the leach towards the center and use the tape to hold the two edges together.

It took a couple of hours to complete the sewing, but I'm really pleased with how it worked out.

Next it was time to clean the sail, it's not going in the Washing Machine on gentle cycle - that's Peggy's rule!

I washed out the garbage can first then put the sail in and mixed up some OxyClean with a couple of gallons of water and added that to the can with then filling the can with the hose.

Lots of manipulation, just moved the sail around with my hands making sure the entire sail was getting wet.

However, the sail kept floating to the top because of air trapped in the folds. Partially filling a bucket, I used it as a weight to keep the sail under water. It still would float, so I just kept dunking the top down.

I didn't think the sail was particularly dirty, but it's surprising how much dirt came off.

After a half hour, I lifted the sail out of the can into another clean can and then ditched the water. Rinsed the sail in the 2nd can and repeated several times. Of course, it started raining! What to do with a 40'x27' sopping wet sail? Peggy nixed the idea of putting it in the dryer on air dry. So I took the sail, in the can, back to our Patio and draped it with the head of the sail on a hook up high and the foot of the sail at the other end of the patio.

Come morning with a warming Sun, I spread the sail out to air dry it. I spent nearly 2 hours moving the sail around until it was dry all over. It would have been less but for a brief strong wind blowing some of the sail into the pool. Luckily we hadn't added any chlorine recently. Once dry I folded the sail and took it indoors. There I spread it out, partially, on the floor of our spare bedroom (funny, that's where Carl had been keeping the sail at his home!) and I re-positioned the sail several times to give it a air out.

The sail is ready to use. Next - Make a sail sock & snuffer, and set up the rigging. Then wait for a light air day to see the sail in all it's glory - after all, the sail did come from Glory Daze!

Thanks Carl & Suze, will send you some pics as soon as we can get them.

Meanwhile, I'm off to JoAnnes to get the material to make the Sock & Snuffer.

See you on the Water.


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