Spinnaker Questions
What is the advantage in a asymmetrical spinnaker over a symmetrical spinnaker?

Asymmetrical spinnakers also known as Reachers, Drifters, Cruising Spinnakers, Screatchers, or Chi Kites, are built so that the luff is always the luff and the leech is always the leech. This makes the airfoil shape of the spinnaker much more efficient. 

Can an Asymmetrical Spinnaker be used with a pole?

Yes, you can fly the Asymmetrical Spinnaker the same way you fly a Symmetrical. It is more efficient at the same angle and that turns into speed. The only difference is when you jibe an Asymmetrical Spinnaker you have to turn the spinnaker inside out. This requires rigging slightly different and a different technique.

What is the difference between a cruising asymmetrical Spinnnakers and a racing Asymmetrical Spinnaker?

Cruising Asymmetrics are generally 15% smaller and are designed for an all around shape. Racing Asymmetrical Spinnakers are larger and designed for specific wind ranges. We build 5 different racing asymmetrical spinnakers for the larger race boats with different wind ranges and wind angles.

Sail Cloth Technologies
What is the biggest difference between laminate sail cloth and woven sail cloth?

Laminate sail cloth is lower stretch and generally stronger than the woven cloth like Dacron. In a woven cloth the yarns have to weave up and down between each yarn in the opposite direction. When under tension the yarns try to straighten which turns into stretch over the length of the sail. This is more apparent on larger boats and much less on small boats.

What is the difference between your string sail "Fiberpath" and others on the market?

There are two ways to make a string sail and they both have their advantages and disadvantages. At Ullman Sails we have decided to go with what we feel is the most durable and reliable solution. We build the string sail in sections and run the sections through a autoclave with extremely high pressure to get the highest quality laminate. Since we have NEVER had a seam failure we knew the weakest point would be lamination. We decided to solve that problem to make the highest quality string sail. Other manufacturers have gone to the other side of the envelope and that is why our sails last longer and are a better investment.

Mainsail Questions
How do I determine how many reefs I need in my main sail?

It depends greatly on the type of sailing you want to do. If you are planning to go offshore you most likely need 2 reefs. We do not usually recommend more than 2 reefs because of the possibility of damaging your main in the type of wind you would use your 3rd reef. We recommend having a storm trysail and practice using it so that you are prepared and educated when you need to use it. If you are just day sailing or inland sailing 1 reef is usually sufficient.

How do I know whether or not I should have full battens in my main sail?

Most boats do not need full battens and in fact it adds friction for hoisting and lowering if you do not have a track or car system on the mast. If you are motor sailing a lot it is a good idea to keep the main from flogging. If you are day sailing or racing it is only recommended on the top battens or on large roach sails.

Headsail Questions
How does the foam luff work on roller furling genoas.

A correctly shaped genoa will have more sail in the middle than on the edges. This is what makes the airfoil shape that makes your sails work. When you have the foam on the luff it makes the roll larger where the foam is and rolls up more of the cloth keeping the genoa from becoming more full as the sail rolls up. You can usually roll the sail up 30% with a foam luff and still have good sail shape.

Miscellaneous Questions
What is a Riding Sail?

A Riding Sail is a small sail that hooks onto your backstay to prevent your boat from sailing back and forth while on anchor.

How do I wash my sails?

Dacron sails can be washed with a mixture of bleach and water. Use a sponge not a brush and work the solution around on the sail, rinse off and let dry in the sun. Repeat this process if needed. Laminate sails use only water and let dry. Do not let sails flog in the wind or use aggressive agitation, this will only wear your sails out and remove the finish of your sail cloth.

Sail Maintenance Questions
How long do sails last?

We get this questions a lot. It is related to how often you use your sails a year and how many tacks you make. A well cared for cruising sail will last over 10 years. A sail that is left in the sun or is flogged will last about 3 years. Race sails usually loose their effective shape before they are worn out.

How often should I service my sails?

Every other year is a good rule of thumb but if you are racing much. Bring your sails in at the end of the season while all the issues are fresh in your mind. This way your sails will be 100% by the time racing starts. It is a good idea to have your roller furling genoas in every 3 years to have the stitching in the U.V. Cover re-sewn before you start to have problems. It is much cheaper this way and you do not miss any days on the water.

Headsail Questions
How do I find the correct lead possition for my headsail

The easiest way and fairly accurate is to take your genoa out onto a large flat surface and fold the head to the tack and mark this possition on the luff.  Then take a string from that mark (1/2 luff) and bring the other end to the clew.  Take a marker pen and trace where the string is at the clew for about 2' from the clew.

When you put the sail up on the boat line the sheet up with this mark and that is where the designed lead possition is.  This will change in different winds.  If the boat is over powered or the main is starting to back wind excessively then the lead should move aft.

Sail Cloth Technologies
how do CAL Sails last compared to Dacron

CAL (Custom Axis Laminate) Sails have lower stretch and are stronger than Dacron sails.  The shape last 3 times as long and will not get distorted in higher wind.  So far in all our testing the CAL sails have outlasted the Dacron sails.

Spinnaker Questions
How low can I sail down wind with an Asymmetric Spinnaker?

An Asymmetric spinnaker can sail as low as a symmetrical spinnaker if you use a pole the same way you use a pole on a symmetrical spinnaker.  If you do not want to use a pole you can still sail at about 120 degrees off of the wind direction in over 10 knots of wind.  In lighter wind you will need to sail slightly higher angles.

How do you fold laminate race sails

This may differ from what a lot of people think.  To keep your sails looking the best and lasting the longest it is best to not fold them into the Sausage or full length bag first but rather fold the sail and roll it from luff to leech.  This keeps the leech on the outside of the roll and not getting wrinkled on the inside of the roll.  After the sail is bricked put it in the tack section of the bag and brick the bag around it. Before you go racing you can expand the sail into the full length bag and store in boat full length.  If you brick the sail after putting it in the sausage bag you will cause excessive wrinkling at all of the folds while bricking the sail.