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The Art and Science of Sails


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Table of Contents

Introduction... 8 Chapter 1 / An Artist and a Scientist... 18 Chapter 2 / Materials and Technique Matter ... 32 Chapter 3 / The Science of Sails, ...50 Chapter 4 / From Aerodynamic Theory to Practice, ...68 Chapter 5 / Three Dimensional Molded Sails: 3DL & 3Di, ... 86 Chapter 6 / The Computer Science of Sailmaking, ... 110 Chapter 7 / Mainsails, ...120 Chapter 8 / Headsails, ... 134 Chapter 9 / Downwind Sails, ... 150 Bibliography ... 170 Index...

About the Author

Tom Whidden is CEO of North Technology Group, owner of North Sails, Southern Spars, Future Fibres, and Edgewater Powerboats. North Sails and Southern Spars are the largest in their respective marine sectors. He is also one of the world's most experienced sailors and sailboat racers. Tom Whidden is also author of Championship Tactics, by Tom Whidden, Gary Jobson, and Adam Loory, St. Martin's Press. 1990, ISBN 0312042787. The Art & Science of Sails (First Edition) by Tom Whidden and Michael Levitt, St. Martin's Press, 1990. ISBN 10: 0312044178 Michael Levitt is a journalist, sailor and author of 14 books including Herding Tigers: The North Sails Story, by Michael Levitt, North Sails Group, LLC, 2009, ISBN 978-0-615-28649. Ted Hood Through Hand and Eye, by Ted Hood and Michael Levitt, Mystic Seaport, 2006, ISBN 0-939511-14-2. The North Sails Story by Michael Levitt, Fabio Ratti Editoria, 1999 ISBN 10: 0615286496. The America's Cupthe History of Sailing's Greatest Competition in the Twentieth Century by Dennis Conner and Michael Levitt, St. Martin's Press, 1998, ISBN 0-312-18567-7. The Official Record of West McLaren Mercedes Haymarket Specialist Publications Ltd Publishing 1998 ISBN 9780860249580. The Official Record of West McLaren Mercedes, Haymarket Specialist Publications Ltd 1997 ISBN 10 0860249573 Around the World in 79 Days, by Cam Lewis and Michael Levitt, 1996, Delta ISBN 0-385-31326-8.


The Art and Science of Sails Revised Edition (2016), by Tom Whidden and Michael Levitt is a perfect addition to any sailor's library of knowledge. If you're feeling slow, you'll know where to go. Sailing World, January 13, 2017 The subject of sails and sailmaking can be quite complex but in this terrific revised edition of The Art and Science of Sails authors Tom Whidden and Michael Levitt have done a superb job distilling the complexities into a narrative that we can all understand. From the intricacies of how wind and water conspire to propel a boat forward to some of the more mundane aspects of sails, this book covers it all and in great detail. I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who wants to know more about that very important part of a sailboat, namely the sails. Twenty six years ago the original The Art and Science of Sails was published and it was a ground breaking book... Who would have guessed back then that the America's Cup would be raced in flying boats with solid sails? One of the most interesting chapters of the book is The Science of Sails; how indeed can a flimsy curved surface propel a boat almost directly into the wind? It seems unfathomable but it's true, and Whidden and Levitt walk the reader step by step through the various stages of, as they put it flying a flat plate," to a complete understanding of aerodynamic theory. They then take this theory and explain how it translates into designing and engineering sails. There is significant ink given to 3DL and 3Di sailmaking and for good reason. Building membrane sails on a full size mold completely revolutionized the industry, and these days it's not only the racers that want this kind of technology, increasingly cruisers are also seeking it out. By being able to precisely lay fibers along the anticipated load lines in a sail meant that sails could be built lighter and stronger for the same stretch resistance. Incorporating exotic fibers such as carbon and vectran into sailmaking further advanced things and now blending different fibers into the same sail with each doing their own part all found their roots with 3DL.I urge you to read the whole book cover to cover like I did. Sailors around the world spend an inordinate amount of money on sails and without being disparaging many have no real clue how to use them. I can almost guarantee that your skills as a sailor will be vastly improved once you have read this book. -- Brian Hancock, Owner of Great Circle Sails and author of Maximum Sail Power Sail Magazine's Sailfeed, November 17, 2016 This book is the second iteration of the Art and Science of Sails written by a wonderful sailing journalist Michael Levitt and Tom Whidden, a distinguished North Sails veteran. I took it on wanting to understand more about what drove those boats we raced and how we could squeeze one more ounce of speed. The sport has changed dramatically and this book is a solid portrayal of the journey and change in approach, technology, vision and design. In essence it sets the record straight for many of us who were possibly too close to the forest to see the real evolution and its rapid pace of change. Whidden's personal story is intriguing. I loved the approach, the setting of a baseline, the linkages to Hood and North and the contrasts of their inherent strengths, the working through the materials and the technical meat of the book in the transitioning from as they put it "from aerodynamic theory to practice." It's often said one of the things that separate great books, especially ones that deal with topics that are technical in nature, from the pack is a style that truly engages and teaches... Simply said this is a must book for your sailing library. -- John Kerr, John Kerr is the managing Partner at AD ASTRA Media publishing Canadian Yachting. Canadian Yachting, 10/23/2016 Twenty-Five years ago, these authors published the first version of this book. As they note, in the quarter-century, there has been many amazing advances in sail design and construction. Published by North Sails, this book is stuffed with full of theory and discussion of how sails work. It has sections on theory, materials, design, use of sails, as well as the use of computers in sail design and manufacture. There are also distinct chapters on headsails and mainsails. There are also substantial chapters on the advances that North Sails has made since the late 1980s, specifically 3DL and 3Di sails. It absolutely benefits from the personal knowledge of the authors, and their involvement with North Sails. This book is clearly written for people who are interested in the cutting-edge sail design and manufacture techniques, specifically as applied to racing sailboats. It does not address square rigs at all. It is beautifully printed, and is filled with really interesting diagrams and photos that illuminate the text. This is highly recommended for racers, and also for anybody who is interested in how sails work, and modern sailmaking. It is suitable for all levels of experience. The Nautical Mind, 10/12/2016 Tom Whidden and Michael Levitt's legendary reference work on the art and science of sails has received a complete and well-researched update. Seahorse Magazine, 10/2016 Tom Whidden and Michael Levitt's book is a clear, reliable guide to getting the most out of your sails, an essential component to good seamanship whether you're cruising or racing. -- John Rousmaniere, Author of "The Annapolis Book of Seamanship" A fascinating look at the science and history that has led us to today's highly technical world of sailmaking. The book does a wonderful job of explaining the physics behind both trimming of sails and state-of-the-art sailmaking. -- Bora Gulari, Two-time Moth World Champion and U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Christmas is drawing near, and with it the question: what gifts should I give? This year, Boote Exclusiv recommends three books... And for the development of sailors, The Art and Science of Sails beckons. North Sails chief executive Tom Whidden shares insider knowledge in 182 pages. Boote Exclusiv There is much to learn here for me and my Volvo Ocean Race team. This book is a must read for anybody looking to improve their sail trimming and sailing. -- Ian Walker, Skipper of Abu Dhabi, winner of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race and a two time Olympic Silver Medalist.

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