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Building the Victoria - Sails

Sail Performance

by Tom Causin (from the 2000 Region 3 Regatta Report)

As far as sails was concerned this event could not be used as a measure of what was best. There was drafting Mylar, Icarex, and Tri Spi as the three predominant materials being used. All but two boats used the same materiel for both sails, the two boats with differing combinations for the Main and Jib, and the captains for these were Danny Thomas and Steve Radloff , both of whom made there own sails, and as can be seen from the results Danny's worked very well. Check out DT Sails, Danny will make you a set. Four sets were from Carr one set came from an unidentified source in Las Vegas, the remainder being a combination of home made and those made for AMYC club member by Brian Roberts.

Sails were a different matter, only one Jib sail exceeded the maximums and that was less than a 1/8th inch at one of the leach points. Several mains were below the limit and in one case a sail was below minimum on all three leach points. The race committee did not consider the amount to be significant, and therefore did not disqualify any sails. It may be a coincidence but the small main large jib combinations were all in the top half of the finishers. Brian Roberts had to switch boats during lunch (sail servo installation failure) and his backup boat had a small (under limit) jib and maximum limit main, yet managed a fifth. Inconclusive conclusions.

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The Fractional Rig Rule

from VRC Forum

Simon Clarke:

After studying a few pics of various Victorias in action, I noticed that some boats have the jib head attached to the mast at the masthead, and others at points around the jenny strut area. Which is better, a higher or lower attachment point?


Hal Slentz-Whalen:

Quick answer may not be quite accurate but believe there are two reason to attach near baby stays = rules and it's faster.
1) believe the rules require a forestay attachment near the baby stays in kit instruction terms...probably a certain point above the bottom of the mast in inches....and
2)would emphasize that the Power of the Jib is coming upwind by Jamming Air (Venturi) thru the jib and main. The leach (back edge) of the jib should come as close to the main's luff (running close hauled the leach looks parallel to the luff of the main) and would overlap to increase pressure over the camber of the main if the sail plan (jib club) would you see in the America's Cup 2000 boats (Jibs overlapping the mains).


A.J. Moritz:

Simon, you have raised a good question. In theory, the head stay attached/placement should be in compliance with what the originally kit rigging instructions show. As I understand it, if the Vic Class Rules do not otherwise state, the masthead arrangement for jib stay and/or jib head is not permitted.
The jib head stay's attachment point is at approximately 6.0" when measured from the top of the mast. From what I understand, the Class Rules does provide up to 1/4" (+/-) variance on all rigging measurements excluding sails.
I have not seen a masthead arrangement on a Victoria until viewing the jpg (BIG BLUE) that you have referenced. If the Class permitted this, I do not believe it would be beneficial to the Vic's performance. In some other open classes like the 36/600, masthead configured rigs are permitted and as such, do benefit in up wind light air performance due to their very high aspect ratios.
In my opinion, its very important that all Vic skippers adhere to the one design concept. Hull, appendages, weight rig/sail plan control is essential in keeping with the spirit and intent of a one-design class concept and preventing the watering down effect. The CR19 and Victor Soling 1M Classes are very strong due to their strict one-design control. Its paramount to any one-design class to stay the course and vote on motions for change, modification or rule revisions put forwarded from the rank-n-file.


Brian Roberts:

There have been many changes to the Victoria above the water line, but within the limits of the rules, even though there are loop holes. It is this freedom that gives the owner chance to experiment. It is one of the reasons I chose a Victoria over a CR914. So I will vote for freedom above the water line at every opportunity, including the jib attachment point.
The instructions measure from the join up and there is no measurement for the join item (BJ0108), we (Victoria owners) have imposed a rule for overall mast height.
My join is approx 6" in length, therefore I am within rules.
Now where "can" the jib be on the fore stay, if the boom has to be 1.5cm from the deck?


Tom Causin:

Go back and read the How to section articles by John Forester and Rod Carr, both members of the Victoria "technical Committee". It seems to me that playing with the rig above water is --to a point-- very legal! I've played with using a masthead rig this season. Found it to be very fast almost to the point of argument! But I bet I return to a 7/8's rig next season because of AJ making sense and e-mails I've had with Rod Carr along the same subject. It is right to question these and other rules we have. Some rules have holes big enough in them you could drive a truck through. Others are direct and leave no room for interpretation.
There is only 1 true one-design out there!! The RCLaser! I'm not sure the tell-tales I have on my sail are legal!
A rule I question is the the LENGTH of the masthead crane. I think the point to begin the 3 inch measurement is the back of the mast. After all what matters is the point to which you can attach the backstay right? I can't think of any reason why anyone would extend the front of the mast crane. That is for 36/600's and ODOM's (right AJ?). There is no definitive starting point for that measurement and since the rule is there should have one!
Spreaders--- I agree with John and Rod and I bet AJ. Only one set is needed! Placement on the mast is the fun part there! Find a picture of Hal's Victoria from the Region 2 RCCR and you will see a 4 spreader rig!! And boy its hard to beat him too! In any case just remember to watch the other boats out there on the race course --because all it takes in one bad tack or a missed wind shift to make all of the go fasts --not work!! But I know you'll look good!! :-)


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Making a Sail Using Broadseaming and Luff Curve.

by Alan A. Bédard

It's the airfoil (wing like) curve of a sail that develops upwind thrust for a sailboat. Even a flat sail will shape itself from the mast to form an airfoil, but to take better advantage of the wind when pointing, especially in light airs, sails are often designed with extra curve (fuller). How much shape (fullness) you add is a matter of personal preference and there are many texts that cover it in much greater detail then this short article will attempt. All I will cover is the basic techniques used to add fullness to sails, (Broadseaming and Luff Curve) and my simplified application to make a single panel (one piece) sail without any sewing involved.

For the easiest and lightest sails, I use polycarbonate kite/sail cloth, available at most kite stores (on-line or in a big city near you). It's available in a variety of colors, doesn't stretch out of shape, resists ripping, and fabricates as easy as cutting and taping (which is all you will be doing).

[BROADSEAM - A seam in a sail, in which the edges of neighboring panels are cut in a convex curve, so that when they are sewn together the resulting taper in the panels forces fullness into the sail.]

Full size sails are assembled by seaming (sewing together) multiple panels of cloth together. The most common technique of adding shape to a sail is to increase the area of the sail in the middle by broadening the seam when putting panels together. Hence the term broadseam. There are all sorts of formulas and techniques for determining the amount (and where) a seam is broadened (made wider). Usually the seam is normal (no extra width) at the luff, then widens to it's maximum amount about 1/3 of the way across the sail, and then tapers back at the leach. What makes this technique difficult is that only a little extra width will add a lot of shape to the sail, and if the broadening isn't done smoothly, then the sail will be lumpy. At the scale of a Victoria sail, the broadening is usually only a few millimeters.

Another way to add shape to a sail is to cut a curve (a positive or convex curve) into the edge of the sail at the Luff . If the mast is strait, then the extra material at the middle of the sail will be displace outward to produce a more curved (fuller) sail. This is the easiest way to add curve because it doesn't involve any precision cutting and seaming of the sail. It's also a necessary part of a sail if you are using a flexible mast. The flexible mast has the advantage of letting you fill or flatten your sail by decrease or increase the bend in your mast, which will use up less or more (respectively) of the luff curve material.

Making a Sail, Step by Step:
  1. Cut your sail as a single piece, using the class rules as your guide. Make sure to leave an extra 3/4 inch all around.
  2. Measure a strait luff line from the Head to the Tack (leaving 3/4 inch extra fabric for the luff curve).
  3. Make your 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4 marks on the Main. The broadseam dart on the Jib is marked 91/2 inches up from the Tack (forward lower corner of sail).
  4. Note: The Jib dart is cut parallel to the foot of the Jib, perpendicular to the Leach. . The class specifications measures the jib perpendicular to the Luff.

  5. Cut and patch your darts. (See Below for details.)
  6. Once the darts are cut, joined, and patched, re-measure the luff, and add a 1/4 to 1/2 inch luff curve. (Mark 1/4" from strait luff line at 1/2 mark, measure and draw curve as you would with leach curve.)
  7. At 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4 marks, measure sail to Leach from Luff Curve line.
  8. Mark and cut the Luff Curve.
  10. Reinforce the corners (Head, Tack, and Clue).
  11. Add batten pockets (up to but not beyond the dart patch) as desired.
  12. That's it. you're done. Ten easy steps to making your own sail.
Broadseaming with Dart:

Since the sails for the Victoria can be made from a single piece of material, it occurred to me that it doesn't make sense to cut the material into panels just so I can use broadseaming to add shape. Taking a hint from cloths designs/patterns, I use a dart, cut from the luff towards the leach. I cut a dart at the 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4 points in the sail (see class restrictions/specifications). How deep you cut and how wide you make the dart will determine the fullness of the sail. For the Victoria, I use the following measurements:

Main Sail

Measure Cut Length Cut Width
3/4 1 1/2" 1/8"
1/2 2 1/2" *3/32"
1/4 4 1/2" *3/32"


Measure Cut Length Cut Width
9 1/2" (from tack) 3 1/2" (parallel to foot) 1/16"
* = corrected measurement

Measure the length of the dart from the Luff Line and the width of the dart along the Luff Line. Mark the cut lines from the edge of the fabric to the inside mark (see example below). Cut the triangle of the dart with a scissors. Avoid using a knife as this may damage the material unless the knife is very sharp.
Once the dart is cut, place a piece of masking tape behind the material and then bring the edges of the dart together.
Once the sailcloth at the dart has been butted together, cut a patch of sailcloth to fit over the seam and a little beyond it. (I use 1/4 inch wide double sided tape to attach everything to my sails, so I cut my patch 1/2 inch wide and 1/4 inch longer then the dart.) Attach the patch over the dart and smooth out the seam. Remove the masking tape. You will only need to put a patch on one side.

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Cutting Ripstop Nylon

by Dick Thomas

I have made a lot of kites out of ripstop and now making sails and I always hot cut the material. Use an electric soldering iron with a pointed or fine tip. Soldering irons vary in temperature quite a bit so play around with it. If the tip gets red hot, you have to move fast (I'd stay away from these for now). Use a metal straight edge and tape your material onto a glass cutting surface.

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Sail Material

from VRC Forum

Bob Dockrell:

I spoke with some some folks who use MICA film ( The old material used for covering RC airplane wings ) for making sails. I purchased some and it appears strong enough but I was wondering if anyone else has tried using this material on their Vic and what their experience has been.


Rod Carr

Mica film does a fine job as a sail material. It has a couple of major shortcomings. First, the material creases easily, so handling the sails when off the boat becomes a test of your willingness to be careful and treat them gently. The second is the inability of the material to hold stitches in high stress areas, an adhesive material seems best for clew, tack and head patches. I've produced micafilm sails for even the big EC-12's and they do the job along with being a pretty opaque white if you choose that color. For competition, our recommendation is the tested TriSpi 40 with its excellent shape holding capabilities.


A.J. Moritz:

I have not personally seen or heard of anyone using MICA AKA Monocoat [Ed Note: Micafilm® and MonoKote® are two different (normally) model aircraft covering materials] or film other then .2 mil drafting mylar. Your better off purchasing some 1/2 Icarex. With lightweight films, it's very difficult to install the necessary reinforcements needed to distribute the loads.
Alternatively, Maritime Products offers high performance sails that include luff pockets "sewn", stainless steel micro grommets, draft stripes, Victoria Class std "V" insignia, tack, head and clew reinforcements. Jib includes 50lb Spectra forestay inserted in the luff. The material used for these sails is bullet proof, 50% greater bursting strength than many standard sail materials used by others. This material also has 50% less wrap stretch which promotes better sail shape with less high wind distortion, excellent strength to weight ratios, less moisture absorption and low air permeability. Each set comes with a complete and detailed set up procedures including detailed drawings showing measurements, attachments etc. Also, tuning procedures for wood, carbon spars and adjustments for different wind conditions.


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