from Jim Casto
Just a thought for guys with old cats who probably won't be buying new sails any time soon. I was talking to the local sailmaker one day about my dilemma - I had found a really great 5.7, but it had old sails, but new ones too expensive, a pointless expenditure. He reminded me best way to deal with old sail is not a re-cut or adding a square-top, but to really look at the quality & function of your battens. If you've got old stiff, incorrectly tapered, mismatched battens, you're going to be giving away a lot of power & control for no good reason. So that winter (pretty short in TX) I spent some time modifying all my battens so they were really working for me, not against me.
I was just reminded of this 2 weeks ago when we were resurrecting a 5.0 that had sat dormant for almost 20 years. (helping the widow sell it). The guy had bought it in 1984, raced it for 1-2 years, won Nationals, then started crewing on Tornados, then got married, then got into fly fishing. Literally parked the boat in his backyard since 1988, but kept all the sails inside A/C since then. The hulls were in decent shape, but ugly as sin, the tramp stitching was 100% gone, and all the standing rigging needed replacing. But when we raised the mast to pull up the sails we just couldn't believe what we saw. The 5.0 mainsail was fantastic, it only looked 1 year old, and the draft on it was unreal - he had worked on the battens to get the absolute most power out of that sail that was possible. It made me think of all the energy I didn't get out of my old 5.0 sails back in the day.