Dave Wermuth

Who hid my paddle?
item number found on ebay.

I was wondering if anyone had an opinion as to these sails. the seller has 100% positive rating. I know near zero about sailing and less about canoe sailing although I have Todd's excellent book.
Save your money. The listing is crammed full of very questionable information aimed at folks that don't know anything about sails or sailing.

First of all - There ain't no such thing in sailmaking as "Free Flow Design". It's total B.S. I don't know whether they've coined that little phrase to justify the loose-footed bottom edge or the fact that it has a non-roached leech that requires no battens but it's meaningless marketing hype.

Ripstop nylon is a terrible choice for general-purpose sails as it has too much stretch. It's used for downwind sails (spinnakers, V-sails, etc.) where the sail doesn't need to hold it's draft in a specific location. When you try to make a jib or mainsail from it, your upwind performance goes right down the drain because it won't hold the designed (desired) shape. It's also rather fragile for that type of sail.

Nobody in their right mind would build a bermuda-style sail with that type of aspect ratio (height vs. length along the boom). It's an incredibly inefficient use of your sail area, as wide along the foot (bottom) as it is tall. The result = minimal lift, not much power and a boom that drags it's tail in the water as soon as the boat heels a bit. It also moves the Center of Effort way aft. Assuming that the daggerboard of the boat shown is either placed through the middle seat or a well just in front of it, the sail's C.E. is located just about straight above the aft edge of the middle seat when it should be about a foot forward of the daggerboard for a boat that size. This pretty much guarantees that the boats balance will be all screwed up and it will have horrible weather-helm (always trying to turn upwind, so you will be dragging the rudder through the water sideways just to try to correct the steering and get it to go straight).

I don't know anything about the seller or their business but this just can't be considered a serious attempt to build a sail and doesn't convey even a basic understanding of what goes into one.
OT Sail

Todd, I just bought an OT sailing canoe. It's just a 1964 16 foot Guide with a sailing rig. The sail had never been used and appears to be nylon. It was stored in the box and looks brand new. Are you saying that even these "newer" OT sails arent adequate?

It's most likely a form of Dacron called "Fleetboat". It was (is) a fairly soft, general purpose polyester just under 4 oz. in weight that was used over the years for everything from thousands of Sunfish sails to inexpensive (and not very durable) boat covers, to thousands of uniforms and smocks for fast food employees and probably that bib that your dentist's nurse snaps around your neck before they drill you and thrill you. It's not as stiff and stable as modern 4 oz, Dacron sailcloth, but it's far better than nylon (meaning that you can actually make a sail that works from it - even if it doesn't work quite as well as modern Dacron offerings do). Sunfish sails were built from Fleetboat up until about 1980 and I suspect Old Town just contracted some big production sail loft (maybe even the same one) to build their sails.

Nylon was tried very early on as a replacement for cotton sailcloth but it's drawbacks were quickly pretty obvious, so there weren't an awful lot of sails built from it. I don't know whether O.T. ever sold any nylon sails, but it's far more likely that it's Fleetboat Dacron. The catalogs from as far back as '69 or '70 specify Dacron fabric.