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When is it time to change/replace a windsurf sail ?

As I am working with limited funds, most of my sails are purchased used or received free. The ONLY sail I have purchased NEW to date is the 2006 Maui Sails Pursuit 8.5 which I purchased in FALL 2007 for about $500 with taxes in. I still have the original BIC Dufour sail from 1981 that absolutely sucks, butt is retained JUST for historical value. That sail has NO full battens and obviously NO cambers. The reason it stinks is simply due to its swing weight. The boom length of this sail is phenomenal !!

I still have an NP 7-oh and a Simmer 6-oh from the 90's that are still just OKAY. Both have cambers and mostly suffer from things like broken zippers on cam pockets and batten tensioners that slip over time.

My 1998 Gaastra Flow 3x 7-oh is still going strong and rigs on my current 490 mast. This is a GREAT sail, but was pre-Barry Spanier era with Gaastra.

Also have a 2008 Maui Sails TR-4 10-oh that is also a GREAT sail IF one can handle such large sails. I purchased this sail for light winds and NOT to race. One year I used it almost 45 % of my outings in that summer season. It is too large to use for winter sessions, as these tend to be quite FAST!!

Now we get to the real reason for this post ... my MS Pursuit 8.5 ...

This is my MOST used sail and I use it on my BIC Dufour Wing 200 liter longboard, on my AHD 160 liter shortboard AND in the winter on my snow sled. Donut believe I have used it on the ice sled - again, would be too FAST. This sail has a GREAT deal of range and I rig it tight leech for snow and longboard. It can be downhauled wonderfully for the shortboard and rigged tight all over for some bigger winds around 20 knots and some really decent planing.

This sail is made with monofilm and i had some discussions on durability of the material when i first purchased it. I was re-assured and it seems true - it is slightly cloudy, the logos are peeling, butt the monofilm seems FINE. The stitching on the other hand seems to be wearing out at the batten pockets.

I posted some questions regarding this on the MS forum and the Auzzie forum. Barry has asked for some more info and I posted this photo:

On the Auzzie forum some folks said ride the sail until the end and even put mylar tape or duct tape until it dies. Others said chuck it and replace it and comedians that they think they are, posted the following pic of a sail they say they had to throw away !!

I have ridden some sails until the end and they looked NOTHING like the sail above :-)

The sails I consider my GOOD sails are ALL in GREAT shape and I hope to keep em as such. My question on the forums was to determine whether people replaced panels and/or stitching on their most-used sails. I did NOT get a clear definitive answer. One answer that did surprise me was: someone mentioned that North Sails had an excellent five(5) year warranty and they had used it successfully with some monofilm issue. In other words they said - the extra money for the North was well worth it. I donut know the warranty policy from MS and would be surprised if they paid for a stitching repair. Such things can be blamed on usage and/or poor rigging...

I did a calculation or estimate and came up with a figure of $5 per outing with the 8.5. This seems VERY acceptable !!

New sails in the 8.0 to 8.5 m² range all seem to be well over $600 now.
Found an almost new Maui Sails TR-6 8.4 for $800 asking. That seems expensive.
AuVentFou has a used MS Titan 8.0 for $650 - no negotiation for items on consignment.
Found a 2009 Severne Overdrive 8.0 asking $450, butt is about a 3 hour drive away.
Decisions, decisions ...

Followup: In the end, I decided to keep the sail and ride it until it dies.THEN I saw a used MS-2 8-oh with the MS 490/75% mast !!! Well, I purchased it. So now I am trying to sell the Pursuit 8.5 and the Autima 490 mast. So far only had a few nibbles. My w/s buddy suggests I sell them separately cuz the mast it still very good to go and the sail is B material - with lotsa life ...
See my post about MS-2 and Pursuit: maui-sails-pursuit-vs-ms-2.html

This discussion is about replacing sails and NOT changing sails.
For me - changing a sail means the sail is NOT performing as expected or one is using a sail in conditions it was not meant to be used. That is a different discussion entirely. When you are on the water - how to know it is time to change the sail ??  

Continued.... The MS-2 always got crinkles whenever I rigged it. There did NOT seem to be any solution for this on a free-race sail with the two(2) cambers. In DEC 2012 it was cold and the crinkles formed into a hole. I repaired this with mono-film tape. This is okay for the winter usage, butt NOT summer. This has convinced me that I do NOT like free-race mono-film sails. I prefer to have a wide luff that does NOT crinkle. Unfortunately some people speak against the free-race MauiSails Titan GS. Thus I have put a down payment on a TR-6 8.4 which still fits on a MS 490 mast. Even with mono-film tape , it seems a sail can last a long time ... I just do NOT want to go through the rigging hassle any more $%^&*(
I also changed my 6-oh cuz a "kid" wanted a full kit when he purchased my F2 Comet 330. This sail has only been used once in the summer and not yet this winter - for when it was purchased... Do I sell it?? The session I did have with it on the Fanatic BEE LTD was magnificent though :) Will make my decision after this winter and summer. If not used = FOR SALE...

Spring 2015 UPDATE: Just to continue the story until the current situation ...
Started with the MauiSails Pursuit 8.5.
Went to the MS-2 8-oh
Replaced with the TR-6 8.4
So, went from free-ride, to free-race to race...
I liked all three sails ....
The issue with the current TR race sail is it is difficult to water start (for me). When riding in chop and overwhelming conditions, I tend to drop the sail more often - as an amateur windsurfer ... And so, I also purchased a HotSailsMaui SpeedFreak 8.5 in 2014. Going back to free-ride basically. However, I still DO have the race sail. When winds are solid and water not too choppy in the 16 knot range, I LOVE the TR race sail ... Here is a clip from 2013:

The unfortunate thing with the HSM SPF is that the window is made with PVC and this could be sensitive to COLD. I do windsurf on the ice in the winter and depending on conditions use an 8.x sail. Seems insane to use the TR race sail on ice n snow and so purchased a used SailWorks Retro 8-oh in 2015 as well.

Yes, this means I currently have MANY 8.x sails... This is also my MOST used sail range. This summer I intend to try the Retro on my longboards... The HSM SPF has GREAT range, but lacks a little grunt.

Patched MS-2 8-oh whenever
TR-4 8.4 in perfect summer conditions
HSM SPF 8.5 in uncertain and wilder conditions
Retro 8-oh in the winter and try with longboard

The Retro was a GREAT sail on both longboard and winter sailing.
It popped at the seams one day ...
My buddy told me he stopped using Retros due to cost, did not like the new cutouts at outhaul and popped at the seams.
My Retro will thus be used in the winter ONLY and the HSM SPF 8.5 became my most used sail.
Another sail known for durability seems to be Ezzy.
Personally never tried one ...

So, all the race sails with wide luff never needed replacement - lasted longer.

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