sail maint. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-06-2015 Thread Starter
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sail maint.

hello everyone.
first I want to thank everyone who has responded to my earlier post. good info.
I have been inspecting my sails and have found very small holes in the bottom of my mail. when I say small, I mean really small. a couple larger ones are around an eighth of an inch across. is this something to be very concerned about? if so, is it repairable? do I need to get a new sail? can I make my own sails? what type of sewing machine and materials will I need? also, I am looking for some electronics, used is okay, any leads or advice as to where is the best place to look for used electronics? thanls again. this forum is great.
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-06-2015
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Re: sail maint.

The question is how the holes got there. If it was due to some kind of accidental damage, or abrasion, or wear, they could be (and should be!) repaired. If, however, the fabric has generally deteriorated to the point where it's just ripping on its own under load, you need to replace the whole sails.

So that's the question. The general state of the sail cloth.

Now isn't really the time to be making sails, given your lack of experience. You'd need a powerful sewing machine (Sailrite LS1 is one), and all the materials, and ability to design and build the sail. There are plenty of good sail makers around who do good repairs. You could also look into second hand sails.

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Last edited by MarkSF; 04-06-2015 at 07:21 PM.
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-06-2015
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Re: sail maint.

Sailcloth is really tough. The holes you describe are not a big concern. The sail could last for years without doing anything. I would suggest you get some sail repair tape from Westmarine or other source, and patch them. Alternatively, you could patch them by sewing a small piece of sailcloth over them. Depending on whether the holes are in a single layer of sailcloth or in a place where there are multiple layers, you might be able to sew the patches with a home sewing machine. If the latter, then you'll need an industrial type sewing machine, like a Sailrite, which is expensive. I'd tape them and forget them.
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-06-2015
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Re: sail maint.

Holes or any wear near the leech of a main can lead to destruction of the sail much faster than elsewhere. The leech loads on a main are far more than anywhere else, especially when properly trimmed for close hauled sailing.
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-07-2015
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Re: sail maint.

+1 on the sail tape repair. Make 8 more posts on here somewhere and then post a picture. Also, add some info to your profile/signature like what kind of boat and loacation. If you have any real doubts, you can take the sail to a reputable loft, and they'll advise you on it.

s/v My Sweet Girl!
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-07-2015
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Re: sail maint.

Such a 'hole' really depends on where the hole is located. The most vulnerable areas would be along an edge or closer to one of the 'corners' of a sail where most of the the forces are concentrated where holes are easily propagated into larger holes/rips. Less vulnerable areas would be in the 'middle' of the sail.

Also too tears that are "L" shaped, no matter how small, have the potential to become magnified in short order to become large tears. If you have an "L" shaped tear, take the sail to a loft ASAP.

Sail repair tape is virtually worthless for repair, especially along edges and corners. Its 'real' usage is for on nylon rip-stop spinnaker material ... and is only for a brief/temporary repair until you can affect a 'proper' repair/patch.

For a teeny hole not along an edge or corner its best to protect the hole from becoming 'frayed' .... a small judicious 'dab' of 3M 5200 allowed to fully cure and become 'hardened' will usually suffice to 'control' such a teeny hole from progressing into a larger tear. Apply and let fully cure, and dont fold/roll the sail until fully cured.
If you have some 'scrap' sail material you can apply masking tape, cut the scrap to slightly overlap the hole and glue the small repair patch to the teeny hole (both sides of the sail) but inside the 'window' in the masking tape surrounding the small tear. Even 5200 will ultimately come loose from woven polyester dacron sail fabric ... so you may have to 'repeat' or take to a sail loft at a later time.

;-)
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Last edited by RichH; 04-07-2015 at 02:56 PM.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-07-2015
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Re: sail maint.

Chomp,
Gotta disagree with Mark on one point. A beefy sewing machine is a nice-to-have, not a necessity. We are just finishing a sail from a Sailrite kit. Mama's Kenmore (circa 1980) did the whole thing just fine. Up to 10 layers of sail cloth. The key is metal gizzards. If you did want to make your own sail, you can but it takes a professional kit and lots of patience. But, I'd say all you need is an $8 roll of sail repair tape.
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-07-2015
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Re: sail maint.

I have both a sailrite sewing machine and a recent vintage home sewing machine, and the lightweight won't sew through anywhere near 10 layers of sailcloth. Some of the old machines were very powerful, but I bought one, and it didn't get the job done, so I sprang for the sailrite. The new lightweight is great for projects that don't require much power, because it's so easy to thread and to wind bobbins, and to do many things, but it just won't punch through many layers of fabric. If you're lucky and have a really good old machine, then make your own sail, but it would be a waste of time, money and effort if you get it partially done, and can't finish it because your machine isn't up to the task.
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-08-2015
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Re: sail maint.

If I were to guess (it's easiest when I guess cuz I can seem right to me with absolutely NO facts) I think simply the age of our machine has something to do with. Cast everthing. I'm pretty sure it was Rocna's inspiration. To help out, I honed the needles to an extra fine point. But I tell ya , not a problem. At the corner patches, 1 layer of sail, 5 layers of patches, 2 layers of luff tape, 2 layers of foot tape . . . makes 10. Basted together with spray glue between the patches, and basting tape along the luff and foot.
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