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Old 02-07-2001
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How do you tell if sails are good?

Dirty laundry is not a good thing to hoist on your spars, so figure the cost of new sails in your future in that situation. Otherwise, synthetic sails that are quite old (10-15 years) can still look OK as far as wear & tear on seams and corners, etc. Determining if they''ve held their shape is another matter. A sail may be only used once, but if it was for a 2,000 mile trip in gale winds, you''ll need a new one. A sail that looks to have solid seams & little wear may be OK for cruising in the trades for another five years, but might not be suitable for a single race around the bouys next weekend because the shape isn''t quite right. If it looks OK to you, it probably is ok for what you plan to do. When you''re ready to think about new sails, get a sailmaker to have a look.
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