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Construction Star 45, Sail Making,
colored sails, sail material

Apr 2007 Subject: [Star45] Sails - colors
From: "Larry Ludwig" mailing list

You can have colored sails. You can make your own from ripstop and the colors are all available. The material is inexpensive enough that even if you do botch the first few attempts it's not going to set you back more than $10.00

Learning to make sails teachs you more about TRIMMING sails and the way they take a "set" than sailing a boat ever will.

If you set your mainsail luff as a bolt rope (and you should IMHO) then it takes only a few seconds to pop off your mast head or foot, slide out one sail and slide in the other. Then if your jib is setup as a hook attachment to a hole in the mast, you unhook from the deck, unhook from the mast and voila, you are ready to hook both ends of the 2nd sail and you are complete. You should be able to change the sails on your boat in 2 minutes if you are properly set up. Of course, using a 2nd mast and complete rig is even faster. If you setup so your turnbuckles remain on the deck, then they are ready to go regardless of which rig you chose, and you reduce the cost of a 2nd rig by $40 right there.

Don't discount ripstop sails too much. They may not be all the rage... but I promise you the skipper skill factor is WAY more important than the sail material. I have rip stop sails here that have lasted 20 years, if they are well cared for, they will last. Skippers familiar with the Vic class will remember a Regional Regatta being won with a stock ripstop mainsail last year ( I think it was)

Give it a shot, you won't be sorry you did. *and it DOES look very nice on your boat.
From: "J Fisher" Sender: Subject: Re: [Star45] Sails - colors

I have seen people in the 914 fleet use colored markers to color sails. I think it was mostly to tell the boats apart, but there were some interesting designs. You could probably paint your sails as well to get color.
From: I have made a lot of sail and could put together a step by step to make sails.

I use mylar which I buy from They only carry clear, so I sand it to make it translucent. It colors well with markers so that would be one way to make colored sails. To make sails you can use the sail block based on the method provided on the star 45 yahoo groups by John Whitford or you can use the block from great basin, which is based on the Sweede Johnson sail block. I have used the sweede block with good results.
From: "Larry Ludwig" Sender: Subject: RE: [Star45] Sails - colors

You can make panelled sails, but it is not required. You can get PLENTY of use out of a single panelled sail. They actually have some advantages in high winds because of the less draught. Also, but putting in the luff curve and using a bolt-rope main, you do have a sail with some draught to it, not just a flat sheet of cloth. The block method works fine, but also.. is not required. Basically you cut the bottom panel seam flat, and draw your airfoil MAC (mean aerodynamic chord) and cut it with a #9 X-acto or scissors. Use seamstress tape and overstitch. Do the same thing with the luff curve, and hem the foot and leech and you are about there. Oversew some corner panels, tack on some batten pockets and thread in a piece of weed-eater line up the hem of the luff and you are ready to put on your class markings and numbers. Grommets in the corners are installed either with a seamstress tool or they could be ordered from Don Ginther at GBMY if he is still shipping, he was in the process of suspending operations.

Where to find the material? Nylon ripstop is inexpensive... typically $6-$7 (x 38-50" long bolt) a yard at LONDON's Fabrics or HANCOCK Fabrics, sometimes you will find it at HOBBY LOBBY retail stores, but if you check your local fabric store you will most likely come up with some in various colors. Also using contrasting thread colors can make the sail more attractive. Start with a single panel sail and go through all the steps. When you are ready to start making paneled sails... don't be afraid to make them out of paper first. Typical brown paper can be cut and taped together and makes a perfect mock up of the sail for pennies.
From: "Al Stein" Sender: Subject: [Star45] Re: Sails - colors

I think I got mine from Potomac Sailmakers in Alexandria, Virginia... I bought yellow and orange, but they had a bunch of different colors in spinnaker cloth, and very light weight and airtight it is.

It's fairly stiff, too, for as light as it is -- something well under an ounce per yard. Price about the same as Larry experienced... less than $10 a running yard from a BIG WIDE bolt (can't remenber exact width, but it was much wider than normal fabric store goods.
From: "John & Kelly" Sender: Subject: RE: [Star45] Sails - colors

I have built US One Meter sails from spinnaker cloth purchased from Sailrite.

I used .5 oz which is only available in red, white, and blue, but .75 oz is available in a multitude of colors.

The part I like best about these materials is you can buy a role of C3 spinnaker tape (pricey at $25.00) and build a set of sails without sewing a stitch.

They actually use C3 to tape together the body seams of full scale spinnakers so I'm pretty sure it can take just about anything a model can throw at it.

I've built two sets of sails and only used about 10% of my role of tape so that $25.00 will go a long way.

At about $12.00 a yard, spinnaker cloth is twice the cost of fabric store ripstop, but spinnaker cloth is coated with resin that makes it far more stable and eliminates all porosity (wind can blow right through ripstop). I also haven't tried using C3 on plain ripstop, so I can't say how the bond will hold up.

For cutting fabric like this I'd use a hot knife. I bought a $4.00 40watt soldering iron at the local mega-mart, removed the tip, hammered it flat, and put it back in. Cutting works best over a smooth heat resistant surface. I use my glass topped kitchen table (when my wife's not home).