Laying out sails



Gary advises…

LAYING OUT SAILS – Using dimensions shown on the sail plan to make paper patterns for the sails. – Let it be easy,

The JIB is a simple triangle.
Never mind angles, simply lay out the 3 sides to the given dimensions and the angles will take care of themselves.
The angles cannot be wrong if the linear dimensions match those shown on the sail plan.

The GAFF sails, also easy, but don’t overlook the DIAGONAL!
Here’s the Scoop – Think of the gaff sail as TWO triangles – divided by the DIAGONAL (measurement given on the sail plan) from the throat (corner by the gaff jaws) to the clew (corner at end of boom).
Begin by laying out the lower portion (a triangle), then add the upper portion (another triangle). BINGO! All the angles have again taken care of themselves. Again, the angles cannot be wrong if the linear dimensions match those shown on the sail plan.

Making the pattern, don’t forget to add the “hem” (extra 1/2 inch) all the way around the sail. I sometimes tape paper together to make a big enough piece for the pattern(s).
When making the sails, be sure to incorporate Bolt Rope as per the sail making video. It takes the strain so as not to distort the fabric when under load.

Happy Sewing, Gary



Gary’s technique works very well for me.  Here’s a few photos taken while setting up as he recommends..



I used pieces of pine to shuffle them around until the diagonal (ruler) measurement was accurate and  the other 4 sides were also to specification. I’ve updated this next image with approx. angles to help set up those timber sides.

A long time habit of mine in regards to any rc sailboat I acquire/build is to first make a MDF (thin composite board) template, even with  brand new sails (nice and flat when new), , so I have a practical sail pattern for my own use (I tend to use Mylar these days) or to help others get their boat, or new sails, made. The 3mm material is great for drawing the outline from.  The Emmas in the photo are exact sized, I didn’t think to add the 1/2″ all round for the seams. Next time!

I somehow got this notion that machine sewing sails can’t really be all THAT hard.  My wife made the Molly G schooner sails and suggested that I don’t want them done again too soon.   So, chanced on  a new Husqvana at a bargain price, so away I went. Well, EASY isn’t the term I would now use, perplexing at times, yes, but it is definitely an acquired skill requiring much practice. Fortunately cotton poplin  (or rip stop nylon) and cotton thread are cheap, so I hope soon to be able to give Anna (sloop) a change or dress every so often. not sure about Molly, with the more complex rigging, but we’ll see.





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