Appendices -- Useful Supplemental Information


In the 1990s traditional sailmaker Nat Wilson teamed up with fiber experts at North Cloth to develop a polyester that would simulate the look and feel of cotton canvas sailcloth. After a few false starts, engineers developed spun polyester yarns that resulted in a cloth with a slightly fuzzy surface, a nice soft hand, and reasonable bias elongation -- Oceanus Ships Cloth. Finds applications in traditional small craft, and in heavier weights in tall ships.

Oceanus is particularly appropriate for four-sided sails like gaff, gunter, lug, and sprit, all of which can have their shape controlled to some extent by “peaking up” to stretch the cloth on the bias and flatten the sail for close-hauled work or stronger winds. Produced in 18” panels, it is most often used in vertical panel constructions.

Oceanus comes in weights starting at 7oz per sailmaker’s yard, which is right for this 300 sq ft gaff mainsail for a Muscongus Bay Sloop, and because it is so soft, it can also be used in skiff and dinghy sails as small as 50 sq ft. Because it’s softness compensates for its weight 7oz Oceanus is about equivalent to 5oz or 6 oz hard, modern Dacron. Color is off-white.

For maximum traditional effect, hand roping and hand-sewn brass rings are a practical (but more expensive) choice, since passing the sailmaker’s needle through this fabric does not break as many fibers as would be the case with the usual “crisp” Dacron.

Like all polyesters, Oceanus is subject to degradation by the UV in sunlight. Except when in use, Oceanus sails should be stowed inside, ashore, or covered with a lightproof cover.

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