Small sail tear reapair? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 12-21-2007
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Small sail tear reapair?

Went sailing yestarday and as I was raising my mainsail I noticied as I was sliding it through the track about an 8" tear parralell with the luff of the sail. It was right at the end of the stitch, so not between any seems or anything like that. I thought to myself darn. But I rigged up a quick temporary fix for the day(10mph wind tops) with some electrical tape. It did well and didnt let the sail tear anymore than it had already but was coming off near the end of the day.

Now to repair it before tomorrows sail. I am a decent hand seamster (seamstress) and plan to do the repair this way. I was wondering if anyone knew a good way to do this. need another piece of cloth to patch it with? What type of thread? I was thinking dental floss. What stitch should I use?

Any comments appreciated.
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First, you need to get some proper sail thread... Tenara is the best, since it is UV stable.

Ideally, you should herringbone stitch the tear closed, and then put a piece of sailcloth, about the same weight as the sail, over both sides of the tear, and then stitch the patches to the sail as reinforcement.
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Old 12-21-2007
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A sail palm and sail needles will be needed also. The palm fits over your hand and is used to shove the needle through the heavy material. A thimble is just too small for this kind of work.
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Old 12-21-2007
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I got a lot of advice from

http://www.sailrite.com/

But there are other sources....
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There is also available peel & stick sail repair tape that can work quite well in some cases... but if the sail is old and stretches quite a bit it likely won't stay put. Probably wouldn't work in the area you describe, but may for others.
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Old 12-21-2007
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Years ago I bought a "Sail repair kit" from West Manure - contained a ball of U V resistant thread, a sailmaker's palm, a couple needles, about a quarter yard of sail fabric, and some tape. Kinda like your Amex card -- "Don't leave home without it!" Too late now for the guy that needs immediate repair, but for all the rest of us, buy one before you need it!
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Yeah, I plan on buying a sail repair kit and almost did a while back but figured I didnt need it. Whadayaknow........ I even said yesterday to my first mate when I saw it, "shoulda bought that sail repair kit".

I do not live in a town that would have "sail" material readily avaliable but it is a place with large fabric stores. Would yall think that they would have the right thread and cloth that I need for the job? If so, what should I ask for that they be familiar with? I would like to make the repair quickly for another sail tomorrow but I will order some more appropriate materials later on.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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A large fabric store, if it has exterior fabrics for awnings should have both the material and thread you could use to effect a decent repair. While it won't be sailcloth per se, you should be able to find a heavy dacron/polyester fabric to work with.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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Tent makers also use similar materials.
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Best to buy thread which has some UV protection. A patch of material should be used not just knitting the damaged ends together.

Purchase a sail repair kit as stated from West Marine for such emergencies in the future. I have as part of my spares purchased 6 yards of 7 oz white dacron to use. It would be a shame to cut a cruise trip short for such an emergency which can be handled easily.
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