Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cinnabar Gets A New Prom Dress ( sails actually)

Why is this man making a "snow angel" on a crisp, new mainsail in the middle of a tropical  park?

After 14 years Cinnabar's sails needed replacing, especially our mainsail which started delaminating during our journey across the Pacific. We fretted over the mainsail during most of our cruising season, babying it and hoping it would last until we ordered our new sails. And we even poked holes in it to drain water out during one particularly nasty squall! 

After we arrived in the Marquesas this April, we ordered a new mainsail and working jib from North Sails New Zealand, the same loft who had made our original sails. The value of the NZ$ compared to US$, and an additional discount provided by North made ordering sails from NZ our best option. After lots of email and Skype communication with the North NZ rep, nerve-wracking decision-making (Dacron? Spectra? Carbon? What size jib? What options? So much money! Is using a remote Sailmaker a wise choice?) we decided to go with improved/updated versions of the sails we had before and what had served us so well, the Spectra laminate material.

We then cruised around the Tuamotus for a few months while our new sails were being made with the intent to eventually pick them up in Tahiti.

Delivery day in Tahiti, October 10,  was exciting. 

Hello, I love you, won't you tell me your name?

The nicest guys in the world delivered our sails (and other gear packed along with them including 10 meters of Sunbrella) and insisted on delivering the gigantic and heavy box right to our boat! 

Sylvia with Henri and Ellis, box on dock next to Cinnabar in the background.

The first order of business was to take both old and new mainsails over to the nearby park...

New sail in dock cart, old sail on hand cart

...where there was room to lay them out, compare them, and identify where to put the spreader patches on the new sail. (Spreader patch - placed where the sail rubs up against the spreader and gets worn.) 

New sail on top of old to compare.

The sails weren't exactly the same size, but very close; the new sail was slightly bigger by design due to expected shrinkage over time of the old one. In fact, the leech of the old sail was about 14" shorter (!!) than the new sail so took a bit of calculating (only four freaking hours!) to guesstimate where to put the patches.

Unflattering photo of Sylvia locating the spreader patch on the old sail (underneath), marking it on the new, then moving it up four inches.

It took all day and it was HOT, but we finally finished and Tom was able to zen out with the new mainsail. All I wanted to do was take a cool shower and have a cold rum drink.

You will be a perfect fit...ohmmmmm...

Now all we had to do was install it. All 132 lbs of it.Ugh.

It was incredibly hot during the days, also windy (from abeam) making mainsail installation impossible, but the wind usually died around 6:00 p.m., so a couple of nights later we waited until the wind died and the heat subsided and we hoisted the new mainsail to take a look. Tom "jumped" the halyard at the mast while I used the winch to raise the sail.

It's a bit longer on all three sides than the old sail, but it looks like it fits.

Lowering it and flaking it on the boom to store until ready to sail.

Now it was time to put up the jib. Luckily we had a calm morning so we knew it would be a good time to hoist. It was so much easier to install the (91 lb) jib than the huge mainsail. 

Out of the bag and ready to hoist.

She's a beauty!! 

With the new sails installed we were just about ready to sail to Raiatea where we would store Cinnabar for cyclone season.

Fast forward one month and here are the sails pulling us from Papeete to Raiatea:

New sails in action. (Luff tension on jib should be tighter as the wind increased.)
And wonder of wonders, the spreader patches were perfect! 

The boat traveled swiftly along her 120 nm course in the moderate winds (10-14 kts TWS) and seas (1 m) of her first sea trial of the new  "prom dress". So far, the sails seem to be a proper fit. 

The overall duration of the new sails process, from initial quote request to first sail of the product was 8 months. The total emails exchanged was just over 100.


  1. Did you lose a contact lens under the main ?

  2. WOW!! LOVE love love the new prom dress ~ Cinnabar must be purring now. Great shots, you guys look great in Spectra
    Catch up soon ~ we'll update you on Telitha too

  3. New main sail, new jib, recon. vang, serviced winches.......when's the next race......our turn!!!

  4. When it comes to choosing from the best ball dress shops in Auckland, you can visit it offers with a wide range of different ball dresses making it the best choice nz prom dresses