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Thread: #6 tape vs luff wire

  1. #1
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    Default #6 tape vs luff wire

    Winter's coming and all I have is a 7oz dacron jib. I'm thinking that Dura Mater needs a drifter. What is the difference between a sail with #6 tape (my current sail has this and it fits into the Harken furler) and a sail described as having luff wire? Used sails seem to have hanks or luff wire more often than #6 tape.

  2. #2
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    #6 tape is like a bolt rope for headsails - it slides into the slot on your furler. You need to stick with that for jibs on your boat (unless you remove the furler). They make it in different sizes - smaller boats with furlers would probably have #5 tape for example.

    Luff wire is a wire (or non-stretch cord) that runs the length of the luff. It allows you to fly the sail without attaching it to the headstay or furler. A drifter would probably have a luff wire since the luff doesn't have to be tight against the headstay. Also, jibs for larger boats may have a luff wire in addition to hanks to give the luff more support - not likely on jibs sized for your boat (or mine).

    Hanks are clips that are used to clip a jib directly to the permanent wire headstay. You had them on your Cal 20.

    The good news is a sailmaker can usually switch a sail with luff tape to hanks and vice-versa. The added labor may make a used sail not such a good deal however.

  3. #3
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    So a sail advertised as having luff wire is a loose foot?

  4. #4
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    You mean loose luff, and probably it is. I've still got that genoa for you though, and it has a #6 tape already.

  5. #5
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    I have had a number of nylon "drifters". The term "drifter" was popular some years ago and was used differently by various
    sailmakers...at least it has always seemed that way to me. In my applications, I always had them : (1) made of nylon and
    usually triradial to reduce stretch. Same rationale with spinnakers, in that regard. (2) Cut just like a dacron 155%, ie, flat,
    compared to a spinnaker or blooper. (3) Rigged with hanks or luff tape AND a wire or spectra in the luff. I think you can go
    to weather best with the sail properly attached to the forestay...ergo use luff tape/hanks. But sometimes you may want to
    fly the sail free of the headstay (another sail occupying the headstay arrangement), so the "luff wire" gives you an alterna=
    tive, esp for reaching vs beating. I believe that every cruiser's sail inventory should carry light air sail options. What I call
    a "155 lite" is worth its weight and cost. I stick to 155% LP as that is the largest you can go without extra penalty on your
    PHRF handicap. I've used such a sail on my boats since 1972 and won't go without one.

  6. #6
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    Not to encourage topic drift, as the original question was about luff tape vs. luff wire for a "drifter." But here is a consideration. You don't say if the "drifter" is for racing, cruising, or both.

    Ken points out 155% LP is largest overlap allowed without penalty. That is generally true. However, DURA MATER is currently handicapped by NC PHRF with a max. listed overlap of 120%.

    I do not know if going greater than 120% affects your rating. But to be on the right side of things, it would be good to check with rating technicians, and declare anything bigger if it goes that way.

  7. #7
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    To encourage topic drift, here is the sail I'd like DM to have. It would measure 144% LP and cost you 3 sec/mile on rating.

    It's said that every stylish lady should have a little black dress in her wardrobe - this would be DM's little black dress.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    To encourage topic drift, here is the sail I'd like DM to have. It would measure 144% LP and cost you 3 sec/mile on rating.

    It's said that every stylish lady should have a little black dress in her wardrobe - this would be DM's little black dress.
    Early on one realizes that very pretty girls can wear anything and make it look good, while other girls, well, their mothers reassure them that a nice personality is just as important. That sail in the attachment just enhances Ragtime's natural beauty. Hardly seems fair. If I put that sail on my sweet natured, fat sterned boat we would have to have that conversation. And I'm just not willing to go there.

  9. #9
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    I think it would look just fine on her. Shall we take a vote?
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10
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    That BLACK sail, with it carbon fibers, would be the on the water equivalent of, "out for a kill". It sure belongs in the DM inventory.

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