Are Jib sizes flexible?

Moderator: GreenLake

Are Jib sizes flexible?

Postby gustavo » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:11 am

All, please forgive my ignorance. I am completely new to this.
I bought a DaySailer II to learn how to sail. I came with a quarter-size hole on the jib and I am ordering material to fix it (patching dracon, sewing material, and also 3M tape).
Since the jib doesn't have a boom, is it possible for me to buy a used jib online with an approximate size of my original DS II jib?

Thanks for your help!
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Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:40 pm

Re: Are Jib sizes flexible?

Postby GreenLake » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:15 pm

The answer is "yes".

You can absolutely use sails designed for other boats that are of approximate dimensions. The most critical dimension would be the luff (length along the forestay). If that is too long, you can't fit the sail. If it is too short, you can still fly the sail, but you will have less area. Next most critical dimension is the foot (along the bottom of the sail). If you make this too long the sail will be more difficult to tack and may have too much power in higher winds. Some sails do not have a straight foot, but one that curves down a bit. It allows the jib to "sweep" the deck in an attempt to block air flow below the sail. If this is too pronounced, you may need a shorter luff to make the sail fit. Also, some boats use sails that are a bit sturdier than what I've seen on the DS - usually for boats designed to be used in clubs. Such a sail might not set as well in very light winds, but it should be very durable.

If you ever plan on racing against another DS under class rules (some "beer can" races do not require class rules) you would be best off with a good sail that's measured to class rule. If your sail were a bit larger, you'd not be able to use it, and if it were a bit smaller it might give you a disadvantage, even if you were allowed to use it. However, for learning how to sail and to go cruising, none of that matters - the only requirement is that you can get the thing to set properly.

As for your hole, if it's a single quarter sized hole and not near a stress point, a bit if sail tape should take care of it. You might want to check the seams on your sails and fix any that are not 100%. Then, I would go sailing. Old sails are great, because you won't destroy something valuable if you are making a mistake (like letting the main flog for an extended period while figuring out how to get out of "irons"). They may be perfectly serviceable for "getting around".

At some point, with a bit of experience, you might notice that all attempts at trimming them nicely (like your see in books or on other boats) don't seem to work with your sails. That would be because they are "blown" that is, have lost their shape with age. Once you are past the very basics are and able to notice that, it's time to get some new(er) sails. When I reached that point with my DS, I opted for entirely new sails. They weren't cheap, but definitely worth it. The most important thing was, I had learned enough to know what I wanted. Currently, I'm sailing with a very used spinnaker cut for a different boat, and using that to make all the beginners' mistakes, before I invest in something permanent.

Good luck!
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am

Re: Are Jib sizes flexible?

Postby gustavo » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:49 pm

Thank you so much for your answer. I really appreciate it!!!
- Gus
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:40 pm

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