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Old 06-01-2013
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Can sails shrink?

I went to ready my 14 sailboat fur a sail today and while going through a test setup, I could not get the sails fully stretched across the boom and mast tracks. They have been stored in a garage in the sail bag for a few years in a dry climate which usually sees 90 degree days during the summer.

If they can shrink a bit, how do I correct this for a sail?
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Old 06-01-2013
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Re: Can sails shrink?

Mine sails did shrink after they were professionally cleaned.
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Old 06-01-2013
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Re: Can sails shrink?

Maybe get two people and play some tug o war on the luff and foot?

Last edited by blackflagsailor; 06-02-2013 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 06-02-2013
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Re: Can sails shrink?

yes
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Old 06-02-2013
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Re: Can sails shrink?

The bolt rope shrinks most definitely... A decent sail repair shop might be able to get it back to full height, but it still won't be great, but it'll buy you a season or two.

Hence the term "bagged out," or blown out... the luff and the foot shrink, but the cloth is the same size, so the shape gets "bagged," or larger curve...
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Old 06-02-2013
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Re: Can sails shrink?

This sounds exactly like my problem. The cloth is still very good but it seems to me like the bolt ropes may have shrunk and are pulling the fabric. The jib is just fine. Of course it doesn't have bolt ropes which make me believe that the ropes are the problem.

I currently live 180 miles away from Seattle and out here there are no sail shops. Actually... there are no sailboats on the lake at all. Just water ski power boats and PWCs. (I'd be bored with something like that in 5 minutes. It's like driving a car)

So my next question is; can I fix this myself? Maybe pull it back into somehow shape possibly?
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Old 06-02-2013
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Re: Can sails shrink?

Find two appropriately spaced trees and a "come along". Tension the bolt rope a bit, let it set for a few minutes...tension a bit more, let it set....repeat until the desired length is reached.
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Old 06-02-2013
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Re: Can sails shrink?

I second the tree idea, maybe wetting them would help and prevent tearing them..?
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Re: Can sails shrink?

Well, I'll give it a cautious try and we'll see what happens. The weather is changing today so I may not sail today anyway.
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Re: Can sails shrink?

So far no go. It's about 7" off still. Of course I don't have a come along so I'm using chain and turnbuckles. But no improvements so far. Too bad. I just about had everything ready for splash down. Oh well.
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