A Case for Sock Sails

Stan Storwick writes:

I  trust to sailmakers to do a good job.  I have had great sails over the years put together by sailmakers: Bob and Mary Taylor(no longer in business), Tom Taylor, Jay Gardner, and North Sails of Vancouver.  The latest sets I have purchased have been from North Sails of Vancouver and are Mylar.  Usually I order one main and two jibs.  By using an older set when sailing for fun  I hope to make my latest two sets last a long long time on the racing scene.  I have gone with the sock or sleeve style for a number of reasons.
The rig is lighter!  Mast with sock is @ 12 pounds less than the typical halyard rig.  This is significant as you don’t have weight aloft which has to be dealt with when it blows.  I don’t usually hike out very hard unless I feel particularly aggressive and it is blowing strong.
The rig tends to bend a bit more!  This seems to give a bit better sail shape which I think may be more effective and faster.  It also depowers a bit in heavier gusts.
The cost to fabricate a sock rig compared to the extruded halyard mast is much less expensive so (UPDATE: SEE ‘BUILDING A TUBE MAST FOR HALYARD SAILS) .. if you need to replace your halyard mast give it some thought.  By the time I have bought or made the hounds, mast cap, base, boom goose neck, downhaul pulley and cleat arrangement, batten socket and tubing I am looking at less than $200.00 for materials.  Note:  The mast head has to fit the head of the sail if you want the sail to have optimum shape.  I usually fabricate the head out of wood using waterproof glue.  This can take quite a while to get a satisfactory fit.
Finally the care of sails is something that really needs to be discussed.  With the mylar sails that I have one set is close to fifteen years old.  Still has good shape and is competitive.  The secret:  I carefully roll the main and jib together and store in a space that doesn’t crush them.  The only visible wear is from the folds that the sails had when they were delivered.  I also put them up, do my sailing and take them down immediately when done.

PHOTO BELOW: Stan Storwick setting up his Sock Sail at Lake Osoyoos Sailing Club

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