There are a number of types of mainsails that HOOD produces: conventional, mizzen, fully-battened, in-mast furling, in-boom furling and gaff. All HOOD sails are custom built to order for each client, although our standards specify detailing that is common to each class of sail.
For conventional and full-batten mainsails and mizzens, some of our standards that make a HOOD sail a truly valuable purchase are noted here:
- Aluminum headboard riveted to the head of the sail. There is a bushing pressed into the top of the headboard to take the halyard shackle.
- The luff slides sewn on using nylon webbing. This lets the slides articulate over a wider range without chafing either the sail or the slide, as shackles do.
- There is a more robust slide webbed onto the headboard to provide extra support to the head of the sail when it is reefed. Bigger sails get two such slides.
- There is a “bumper rope” that is a pre-tensioned rope stapled onto the sail and then sewn down. The staples are then removed. This is installed so as to take the strain when the halyard or Cunningham-eye are tensioned. Without this rope, the loading comes on the skin of the sail and reduces the longevity of the sail.
- If the sail is to have a “bolt” rope, then the boltrope is installed in the same fashion as the bumper rope, i.e. pre-tensioned. In both cases, the ends of the ropes are heat sealed then seized off with heavy-duty nylon twine.
- Where required, we install “floppy rings” in the luff reef rings. These are two stainless steel “O” rings secured by nylon (or Spectra on bigger/offshore boats) passed thru the pressed ring in the reef patch. The idea is that it makes it easier to secure the reef to the tack reef fitting.
- If the sail is to have a captive foot, i.e. a boltrope into a groove in the boom, we install slits in the foot to allow the reef line to be secured around the boom. These slits are protected against chafe with leather.
- The leech line is low-stretch cordage and is adjustable via an aluminum clam cleat at each reef point on the leech.
- Dedicated folded tapes on the leech, and if loose-footed, on the foot, too.
- If the specifications call for the foot of the sail to be “loose”, then there is a foot cord installed also.
- The batten pockets are literally pockets and do not use the sail surface as one side of the “pocket”.
- There are “stop” sign shaped reinforcing patches placed under the forward end of the pockets. These patches help distribute the compression from the battens into the body of the sail.
- The battens are quite different from 15 years ago or so. Today, they are made using “E” glass and epoxy. They are smaller in cross section and for conventional mainsail, are quite aggressively tapered at the forward end. This tapering is so the transition from the batten into the body of the sail can be very smooth and not impact the shape of the sail. The battens should compliment the shape not create it.
- Depending on the intended use of the sail, we have several ways of closing the outer edge of the batten pocket so as to prevent the batten coming out. Most are Velcro based, but where appropriate, we will do a tie-in closure using webbing loops and Spectra cord.
- The sails have telltales sewn to the leech. These help the crew determine the correct sail trim.
- Unless the sail is a specialized racing sail using a fabric that prefers to be rolled up, like J-24 sails for instance, each mainsail gets a drawstring sail bag, with a mesh bottom and the name of the sail sewn onto it. The sail can be folded up then, rather than rolled.
The mainsail is your most important sail; it needs to be easily handled and reduced efficiently in area as the wind increases, and a HOOD mainsail will do that for you!