Photo of Sails 2.0 author's sailboat Principia

Sails 2.0

New sails breathe new life into an old sailboat

By Jeffrey Taylor

I replaced the jib on Principia a couple years ago and had the mainsail made to order just last year. The old sails had big, fat, blown-out bellies and, at over 10 years old, were long in the tooth for Dacron sails.

Before replacing the sails, I didn’t know my boat was behaving badly because I had no idea how sweetly it could sail with nice, crisp, new sails. The old sails weren’t so bad in a light breeze, but if the wind picked up, they dragged the boat so far over on its ear that Principia was in danger of rounding up and behaved like a pig going to windward.

After getting the new jib, the improvement was so great that even with the old mainsail I could hardly believe it was the same boat. I hadn’t planned on replacing the main until Principia got caught out in a violent, intense thunderstorm at the beginning of the season. I rolled up the new jib before the first 45-knot gust hit, but the storm tore the old mainsail to shreds.

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