Different Color Sails

CLC only has White, Cream, and that brownish color sails, so where can I find a dark red like a crimson or similar color?  

Looking for a lug or sloop sail for my dory.


10 replies:

« Previous Post       List of Posts       Next Post »

RE: Different Color Sails


I think that you'll find that Tanbark sails are rather more reddish than brownish.  Jerry Montgomery, another Scot and a sailmaker has suggested using Sunbrella fabric for small boat sails.  It comes in a huge number of solid colors and prints (maybe even a plaid or two).  It is a very durable and UV-resistant fabric and is used in many marine applications.  Just Google to find a sailmaker near you.




Dick (my mother's family's Scottish surname)

RE: Different Color Sails

  This is Tanbark.  Any sailmaker will be familiar but it costs a little more.


RE: Different Color Sails

northeast dory, tanbark sail

Tanbark sail on my northeast dory.....


RE: Different Color Sails

To my eyes "tanbark" is more of a burgundy red.  Depends on the light.

PocketShip Pocket Cruiser Plans

Sailmaking fabric is very specialized material.  It's been engineered to a fare-thee-well, combining low stretch, durability, and just the right amount of plasticity.  Sailmakers are very, very fussy about the fabric they use.  If they use some lesser-quality fabric, the intricate three-dimensional shape they've built into the sails will stretch and deform, whereupon they are blamed for the boat's lousy performance.  

Since high-quality sailcloth is expensive, it's hard to offer a rainbow of colors.  Plain white is what 95% of the sails out there use.  "Egyptian cotton cream" is high-tech Dacron, dyed, apparently without irony, to replicate the look of the old and unlamented cotton sails.  (The hard-core traditionalists have been heard to remark that the only improvement in sailing in a hundred years is the death of cotton sails.)  "Tanbark" is an imitation of the ancient organic tanning solution used to preserve cotton or flax sails on sailing work boats.  Like so many things it's an affectation in the year 2015, though I like the visibility and the lack of sun glare, myself.  It's amusing to pay for imitation tanbark if you recollect that the original tanning formula was oak tannin, fermented horse urine, dung, and god knows what else.

Mirror Dinghies have always had red (as opposed to tanbark) sails.  The story I heard was that when the first fleet got started, the sailmaker got a deal on red sailcloth, and a hundred-thousand Mirrors later they're still that color.  

Mirror Dinghy, used to be a popular build-it-yourself kit


RE: Different Color Sails

   Thanks all!  

Now, should I do a sloop or a lug rig?

RE: Different Color Sails

>>>Now, should I do a sloop or a lug rig?



RE: Different Color Sails

John, John, John .....

Bannockburn, check out this article written by a well known and once much respected expert on small sailing craft.



RE: Different Color Sails

   I have the tanbark.  I think you will find them to be sufficiently reddish if that's what you want.  They look really great on a traditional boat.

RE: Different Color Sails


I've always loved tanbark.  I've seen discussion elsewhere about UV absorption on the darker sails/thread.  With that being said, I think I might spring for the extra $100 to go tanbark on the PM.

Lug vs. Sloop:

My dad made me learn how to drive a stick before getting my license.  As a sailing intructor, I kinda feel the same way about tacking a jib.  On the other hand, we don't want to scare away new sailors with the added complexity of learning how to reverse steer a tiller, feel wind direction for tacking angles and tack a jib all at the same time.

Once you've sailed sloops long enough, there is something very appealing about the simplicity of a lug rig.  The standing lug on my EP is very easy to sail, quite forgiving and generates a respectable amount of weather helm.  In some ways I do miss the upwind advantage of a sloop and the different sail plans it offers, but I'm just messing about.

I'm still vacillating about the PM rig.  One of the big factors is paying for and building two kits from Sailrite vs. one kit, especially if I'm seriously considering the tanbark upgrade.  Part of me loves the classic look of the gunter and wants to build/rig it.  The jury is still out...

RE: Different Color Sails

The plans make it seem to be a lot simpler to install stuff for the lug rig anyway, so that's very appealing as well.  I don't have much experience sailing, so the simplicity of the lug is also a mark in its favor.  

Now, I get a bit confused in all these articles and conversations about talking about the differences in handling (due to my inexperience in sailing, no doubt)....  With both rigs you can sail them all the same, but both have their advantages and disadvantages?  

Also, would it make sense to do a lug rig, then install a jib in front of it later?

« Previous Post     List of Posts     Next Post »

Please login or register to post a reply.