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Nacra 16 sq Mylar flat top sail


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16sq Square Top

The pic you have probably seen is of the Prototype Square Top that is being developed by the Nacra Factory at Brisbane Catamaran Centre.

The prototype has been on a couple of different boats, the pics here are on my boat and taken at Humpybong late last year.

The sail has been changed a couple of times and is showing steady signs of improving. The last time I saw this sail was late last year when Rosco had it on Doggys boat and I had a standard sail on my boat, we sailed them against each other at Humpybong to get a base line on how the sail was evolving.

I believe another prototype has since been made and Rosco sailed with this sail at the Nationals in SA.

This sail is still being developed and when the factory is happy with its development they will make it available in Australia.







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Here are a few more pics of the Prototype sail on Doggys boat next to a standard sail on my boat.

The on water pics a bit average as they were taken from my boat as it was bouncing around in the Morton Bay Chop.

Here is the new one Roscoe made for my I17, sweet as, easy to depower, dosent cavitate the rudders, I say just do it!


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Rosco lent the sail to ON THE SQUARE at the SE titles. With the initial setup it sailed like an Aclass about 5-10 points higher than the other 16's but not so fast off the breeze. After raking his mast back and loosening the diamonds he went from about two minutes behind the other 16's to two minutes in front. In comparison with a normal pin top he is about level with the other 16's in that breeze. I had a quick sale and it does have a lot of potential. Felt like I was sailing directly into the wind. Down wind I could wild side but the extra speed I had didn't make up for the height I had to go. Whether they can get the mast to work properly with it is the big question. We need someone with a good knowledge of square tops to have a go.

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  • 1 month later...

The latest square top is radial cut and from a different cloth to the first (one of the sailmakers at our club did tell me which cloth it is but I cannot remember the details).

I got a chance to use this sail a few weeks ago at Humpybong, I could not get any pics of it on the water or with sheet tension on sitting on the beach because it was blowing 20 to 25 from the SE and all the A Class guys normally at the club had buggered of to the lake for a sail.

The sail looks very good on the boat and should pull the chicks.

I rigged up my boat with its normal moderate setup and went for a sail, it sailed extremly well in 20 to 25 knots to windward by was still a little flighty, I ended up backing off the diamonds and went for another blast, this settled the boat and it felt good going up wind, I was sailing with the traveller eased about 2 inches and the main cleated with a reasonable amout of downhaul and soft diamonds, the automatic response from the sail made it much easier to sail upwind compared to the standard sail, the gust response was much more automatic on the square top sail. The sail also felt strong sailing downwind with no nasty suprises. In this sort of breeze it would have been a lot harder to get the boat going as quick and smoothly with the standard sail.

The setup that i used on the day was probably not as good as it could have been as the guys from Bundy had broken a few battens during a capsize during the SEQ Tiltes, I used a few battens from my standard sail but the top diag batten was a different length to anything I had with me on the day so i taped the broken one together for the day, this would have affected its shape to some degree.

I think this sail is a step forward for the boat as it should make the boat easier to control in most conditions.

Jarred from Bundy used this sail during the QLD State Titles over easter, there are a few pics of it on the water at the Humpybong Site, through the picasa site.


Jarred did alright over the weekend but did not feature in the results,


the sail looked good on the water and seemed to be performing well, off the start line during one race in 12 to 15 knots Jarred started below me, he managed to climb out from under me and up onto my line with better boat speed forcing me to tack away into clear air, the sail seems to point very well with good boat speed.

I hope to get a chance to use this sail again in the near future and sail against a few other boats in different conditions to see how it goes in a mixed fleet.

The next level of development for this sail will probably come once it is on a few different boats and will be in batten shapes to suit the individual crew weight and boat setups.

The only thing that I think might need to be changed is the overall luff length, when the sail is on the boat it sits quite high up the mast, this is probably a normal height for a boat using a boom and i am used to seeing the 16sq with the deck sweeper, I think the foot of the sail could be a little lower but its not a huge issue.

Will try to keep you up to date when I get another chance to use the sail again.









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Went for a sail yesterday with the new square top, was less than 10 knots all day.

Only had A Class's, a hobie 16 and an Alpha Omega to race against so it wasn't easy to compare it to anything else.

The sail looks great on the boat and seems to go well, its very stiff compared to the dacron sail and is easy to oversheet in the lighter breeze. Once the A's could get on the wire they got away on the upwind legs but the Kite on the 16sq managed to round up most of them on the downwind runs. The last race had a little more breeze so they could get away on the upwind legs far enough to not catch them on the downwind runs. I was able to trap upwind in the last race and the sail looked very good powered up with just a little downhaul on. The boat feels different with this sail on and responds a little differnent to the sail settings and gust response.






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  • 3 weeks later...

It looks like the Nacra Factory have released the new sail.

Here is a link to the details on Goose Marine



Great chance to get some of these new sails on the boats and get them tuned up prior to the Nationals at Christmas.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Goose, I am not sure if I want to spend a few grand on my old tub, mainly because of the old short mast. Is there any talk of changing the mast section to carbon fibre or a winged section? I want to be competitive againt the Taipan and weight is a big issue. I pulled the decks off my boat and coudn't see any areas to clean up inside, but the weight of the mast could do with looking at. Maybe my mast being so old is more heavey than the later modle ones. Has any one weighed a current compleate mast for a 16sq.

The next option is the buy a late modle boat which may not be out of the question if I have to spend a few grand on a sail and another few grand on a mast.

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No plans to upgrade the mast, the new sail has been cut to match the existing mast.

All masts have come from the same profile die, so no measurable difference over the years.

A set of foam battens will reduce the weight aloft, as these are now class legal.

Yes a late model boat will be lighter and stiffer compared to yours, as older boats will gain weight over the years, just like some people. dont forget the special is only for the next couple of months and you need an edge against Bro. He hasnt ordered one, so that could be your edge.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have turned the mast rotator around on my boat to give it a try when the new sail arrives, it should work to de rotate the mast and depower the upper section of the sail, will let you know if its succesful.

Have you ordered your new sail yet so that you have time to get it sorted before the National ?


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New sail on it's way. I am in the process of major winter maintanece program. Doing some fairing and painting to the hulls. Then I will move onto the rudders and centre boards, then the mast and beams, then the rigging. I don't expect to have her on the water until Oct/Nov and the other news is I am now number 2 build boat so she is a later modle than what I thought. Please keep the posts going on tuning. I need all the help I can get.

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Old Sail

Interested to know how many boats will be sailing with the "old" sail at the nationals. I am not prepared to spend the money required for new sail and battens on a boat that is not 2 years old yet. I have cared for my sail and have at least one more competitive season in it. I moved into this class to get into a bigger fleet with good competition which up until now I have enjoyed that challenge. If some of the top sailors use the new sail successfully will this create 2 divisions which may kill the class for a while or invigorate it? I guess the next few months could tell us whether it will even be worth turning up at the nationals with an "old" sail. I love sailing my 16sq, but more so I enjoy the racing against similar boats. So I see 3 possible options:-

1. I shut up and continue to sail as is,

2. I forget class racing and hoist the spinnaker and just sail for fun or

3. I put my less than 2 year old 16sq, which is in superb condition with factory spinnaker kit, registered trailer and beach wheels on the market and move on.

So as I said, I am interested to know how many boats will be at Hervey Bay with the old sail. Interested to hear if anyone else shares my concerns or if I am just a rambling old idiot.


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Hey Corey,

Do you think you will want to de rotate up wind and rotate downwind. If so, why not leave your original mast rotation set up and just add an extra set of cleats on each side of the boat, maybe mounted on the aft side of the fwd beam, that alows you to cleat the mast rotation rope coming from the opposite side? This way you could rotate and de rotate the mast from either side of the boat.


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Geoff, introducing changes to any class is always a tricky situation, I am in a similar situation with the "old" sail on my boat. The good sail currently on 273 (the one with the red draft stripes on it) is the new sail that was on 29 for the 2010 Nationals at Hervey Bay, this sail has done a couple of races to tuneup prior to the 2010 nationals, 10 races at the 2010 nationals, 10 races at the 2011 Nationals in Port Stephens and 6 Races at the 2012 QLD States, so like you this sail still has plenty of life in it yet. Over the past 2 seasons I have had little chance to do any club racing and when I have I have used the older sail off 273 or the Factory Prototype of the Square Top Sail.

My intention with the new sail is to sail it leading up to the Nationals to get it tuned up and then use my "old" sail for club racing until such time as it warrants using the Square Top full time.

Introducing this new sail to the class was always going to be challenging, in your situation it may not be worth changing until your existing sail is no longer competitive, there are others in the class that would say they are due to buy a new sail now prior to the Nationals as their existing sail in not competitive, if the new square top was not available they would have to decide to buy a new "old" sail for the nationals or show up with a sail that they know is not competitive, this means that next year they have a new "old" sail that has only done 1 series before changing to the new sail.

It is yet to be proven if the new sail is faster across the board, i think it will make the boat easier to sail and therefore may be quicker across the class, until a few of them start sailing against the "old" sail it is uncertain if the "old" sail will become uncompetitive straight away. The factory have tried to encourage or assist the transition across to the square top sail by offering a discount for the first group of sails made, this may assist some people in making the transition during this initial period.

I don't think your boat / sail will become uncompetitive over night and therefore warrant selling your boat and moving to another class, the 16sq is a very reliable boat and is an excellent class to sail in, the overall cost of the boat, maintenance and annual sailing costs is very attractive to many people when compared to such boats as A class or F18.

I would hope the class can continue to grow and prosper after an initial change over period to the new sail, I would think there will be a mixture of "old" and new sails at the upcoming Nationals in Hervey Bay and that both will be able to compete on the same course.

The 16sq was originally released with a radial cut mylar sail, these were very powerful sails that did not respond all that well to loads of downhaul, as I was one of the lightest people sailing a 16sq at the time (since corrected that by getting fat) i needed lots of downhaul to depower in anything above 10 knots, the bigger guys would just power away when the breeze was above 10 knots, as a result on my first 16sq (no. 33) the mylar sail had to be put back together regularly as it would delaminate at the seams, the also had a cross cut mylar sail that was a little more robust but over time suffered from the same delamination issues, during the early 90's the factory changed over to a dacron sail, this was introduced in a similar way. The change to the sail did not affect the bigger guys in the class but it meant the lighter guys could depower without pulling the sail apart, this improved the competition within the class and eventually made the boat faster overall, it also made the boat more reliable as the sails would stay competitive for longer.

I still have the original radial cut mylar sail off No. 29, a little while ago I had a sailmaker patch most of the delamination’s so that we could use it on light days, took it for a sail against Scott and Leon when they were sailing with their spinnakers, killed them upwind and could hang on for a while downwind when it was light, swapped boats with Leon so that i could sail his boat with the kite on it and he could sail mine with the Mylar sail, he managed to pull the seams out of the bottom 2 panels so it is pieces again, it also proves that 20 odd years later the Mylar delaminating has put an end to these sails, I also have another radial cut Mylar main and a cross cut one that came from Max's boat, haven’t had a sail with these yet, will have to see if they look like they would stay together long enough.

The new cloths are a lot more stable and reliable and don’t seem to suffer from the same issues as the early composite sail cloths.

Happy to talk to you about this change over or anything about the boat if you want to give me a call.

Pete, I have changed the rotator around so that i can derotate up wind (we did the same thing years ago when we first changed from the Mylar sail to the Dacron Sail but it was not that successful) By changing it around you can still over rotate downwind by using the cleat on the leeward side, it makes it possible to rotate the mast from the windward side with a higher level of accuracy, if it proves successful I may adapt it further to make it easier to do from on the wire, you could put the extra cleats on the front beam but until it proves

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Hi Geof. is a difficult situation! you buy into a one design class and find that it is not one design.

This situation is not unusual. The Maricats had a similar dilema when they upgrading thier sails and then went to foam sanwhich hulls. Windrush has just introduced a square top which will have a similar impact.

I don't have an answer! this will effectivley create two fleets at our club and like you I race this class specifically to create a level playing field for fun racing. I can see that some of our fleet will become disalusioned and spit the dummy. (I don't blame them)

I would not neccesarilly choose to sail a 16 sq, I sail this class specifially because that is the fleet at our club. if the playing field is no longer level what is the point!

you could argue that Laser and other one design classes have thrived specifically because they do not change things (still would not sail a lazer in a fit)

Change is healthy and in the long term if this change closes the gap between this class and say the Tiapan then it will open up other competion options at reggattas.

Sorry there is no magic answer for this problem. I suspect that regardless of what sail Corey uses he will be in the top few.

Hopefully I will see you at NATS.


Mark (NUDGE)

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Hi geoff I know the 16's in Bundy are going to upgrade when their existing sails have had it. I am still unsure about how much faster the new sail is. When Jarrod used it it seemed to slow him down in heavier winds but slightly faster in light. It also seemed to help on the downwind and hinder on the up. Rosco didn't seem to gain much at the nationals. It will be intresting to see what happens with some decent tuning. If you can stick with the class this small hiccup should be ironed out in a couple of years and it isn't going to stop the Bundy boys from travelling so you will still have 16's to race. I was with the cobras when they let their small head sail in and upset a few people but within 2 years it had been forgotten. It seems that a few classes are heading this way as the arrows have also just changed specs to allow square heads

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Sailing in Bunbury, Mark and I are very close. Most cases we finish within +/- 1 min of each other in every race, for the states it came down to who won the last race to split the tie.

I have bought a square top but I need a new sail as my old dacron sail was brand new in Bunbury Nats and hardly used untill two seasons ago when it was upgraded to my club racing sail.

I intend to use my square top prior to the nationals to compare it with Mark. Then most likely will go back to my old sail to get the couple of years life of club racing out of it.

With a good yardstick in Bunbury, we will be able to see if the new sail actually makes a difference.

If mark doesn't buy a square top, then you know it hasn't.


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The Square top has to make a differance. There is no question in my minde that the boat will go faster. I have no compertition here in Newcastle/Port Stephens because there are Tiapans at a lot of the clubs. I just want to close the gap on the Tiapans. They changed to Square top and they are flurishing. They flog me off the wind. That should change with the new sail. Plus I need a upper hand over Mark. I have a new sail on the way. My old sail was only used at 3 nationals and 2 states. It is sterched on the leach. To be honest I would't have replaced it this year. I would have got a new one for the WA nats in 2013/14.

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