At Gijón I met up with Montse and Iñigo who had received and were taking care of a replacement for the original sail. Turbo GT one was very nice indeed. Turbo GT two is truly beautiful!
How did Turbo GT one fare?
I have some experience of sail lifespan experiments. 10+ years working at a Mediterranean sailing centre, and 98 days for the Round Britain adventure on a Tushingham Bolt. Both experiences gave me a good idea of what to expect...
Turbo GT one actually got a lot further than I'd imagined. Nonetheless, after 3 months of extreme (initially 24 hours per day) UV exposure, the previously resistant monofilm was becoming noticeably weak. That sail was specced with X-ply - two layers of monofilm with reinforcing fibres inbetween - for the main body, so full tears were avoided. And when tears did happen - (I'll point out that these were as a result of simple normal use pressure rather than from sharp objects!) - they were limited in extension and could be patched.
Before setting off I had also reinforced parts of the X-ply with Aironfix clear plastic film. Bit by bit, all the main panels received the clear film treatment. This increased the lifespan of the X-ply at the expense of increased sail weight.
The rollers on the cams became flat spotted. I replaced those, and also repaired wear on the mast itself with kevlar patches.
At Arcachon in France an X-ply panel fully shattered during a simple batten flip. I patched the entire panel both sides with expanses of Insignia sticky sail cloth. Brilliant stuff, but heavy.
During the time I was battling to increase the lifespan of the X-ply, the material in the head of the sail - a much denser weave laminate material - maintained its integrity. Indeed, even at retirement those dense weave ply panels are still damage free.
The other notable damage to the sail was from the lower luff catching on the mast extension adjustment seat. I've recently solved this problem by making a fixed extender sleeve so that the adjustment ring can sit lower, allowing the lower luff to slide freely. For any sails that use a significant amount of extension this is a simple and effective way to prevent the sail catching during rigging, derigging or use with an adjustable downhaul...
Turbo GT two
Upon unrolling the new Turbo GT 9.2, and seeing it had been specced almost entirely with the dense weave laminate, a big smile spread across my face. This sail will go far!
As far as keeping if beautiful goes I'll be using the extension sleeve to prevent the lower luff damage; as soon as I can I'll be putting Aironfix type film on the parts of the sail that touch the boom, on the (few) smaller panels specced in standard X-ply, and also on the parts of the sail that touch the barrel when in paddling mode.
Build quality of both sails is excellent - they are stitch perfect - evidence being that sail one held together without any issues. There have also been no problems with batten breakages during normal use, and when I have broken carbon tube battens on bad landings repairs have been possible.
In terms of performance I remain delighted with the Turbo GT. See these initial comments from way back in June. I loved the Tushingham Bolt used on the Round Britain expedition too, but - genuinely - the Turbo GT is way better designed and built, and lighter feeling and nicer to use. Severne are kindly supporting this expedition and have provided these Turbo GTs free of charge, so it would be expected for me to be positive about them, but hopefully this candid description of intensive use results demonstrates a degree of objectivity too! I really do rate them as great sails.
I'd like to thank the cutters, stitchers and everyone involved in the production of the new sail. This applies to all stages of the chain, but especially to those in the factory in China where the sails are created. I guess the appreciation of your craftsmenship and attention to detail is something that is not always communicated, but it is noticed every time we unroll a sail and watch it take shape as the downhaul tension is applied.
Thankyou! And be proud of what your creation are making possible!
Below a few pictures and explanatory captions...