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Old 10-03-2008
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Introduction and a question

Hi, I just got a sail boat, 26 feet SKAV. It's wood and very nice I think. But the sails are a little boring, all white. I'm sure I saw somewhere that you could buy this cloth that you could cut into patterns and glue/stich on to the sails to make them nicer. Have anyone here heard of or tried this? Does it work, does it suck or? I was thinking something like a tribal pattern of a sun or something. I'm new to this whole sailing thing so I don't really know anything about this stuff, I have all winter to learn though. Won't get to try my new boat till then

Oh, and I'd just like to add that Im not intrested in racing or anything like that, I intend to live on it during the summer and sail very, very slow...
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Old 10-03-2008
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Welcome aboard. I'll be honest and say I don't 100% know the answer to your question but I think sewing things on will could change the way the sail performs relative to how it was designed. AFAIK, sailmakers spend time engineering their sails to work in a specific way whether it's for racing or cruising or just daysailing durability.

I think that sewing something in may alter the sail and may reduce it's effectiveness and durability racing or not. Others may have other opinions
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Old 10-03-2008
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Merlin's right - adding fabric for designs will have a negative effect on the sail. There are ways to have images and graphics added to new sails. Some people have jibs that are multiple colors, usually a cross cut sail (meaning the sail is made from a series of horizontal panels) that alternates colors in the panels; white and blue looks OK, IMO.

I'm not familiar with your boat, but if it has a classic look, you can order the sail made with dacron that looks like a tanbark sail. This looks very classic and very yachty. The color comes from back when sails were made from cotton. They were sometimes dipped in tanbark (tannins from tree bark), which made them more durable.

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Old 10-08-2008
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That picture is the tanbark your talking about right? I have to look into that, those sails look awesome and would go really well with my boat. I'll try to get you some pics if you'd like. I have some photos where it's on the water from the previous owner. The deck has been overhauled whit plywood and fiberglass cloth so that part looks slightly modern but the rest has a very classic look, mahogney. Thanks a lot for your very helpfull advice.
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Old 10-08-2008
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Most of the graphics you see on sails are vinyl printouts using a flexible UV protected film developed by 3M. They can be a bit expensive but solve the issue of punching a bunch of holes into the sail to sew a pattern / design on.

If you have any artistic skills or can do a stencil - Acrylic paints from Daniel Smith's or other art supply stores can give you the expression you want. You have to use them thinly and instead of the normal mediums for mixing the consistency, use only the UV protection top coat as the mixing agent.

Or simply paint with the acrylics and when done use a clear non-yellowing parrifin (sp) wax applied on top. Using slightly damp cotton towel place on top and iron lightly on medium heat. The wax will prevent UV damage and the sail will still be flexible. You could of course use dyes - but they are incredibly difficult to work with on sail cloth and are breakdown / fade easily.
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Old 10-08-2008
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Then there's the high/low tech way. print out a stencil on the computer, cut it out, then spray paint it on. It won't last long but then that could be a good thing if you're totally sure how you want to spice up the sails.
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Yeah, I was planning on doing the "art" myself so I will deffintly look into that (not the spray paint) :P My designs so far (red and yellow) would look a lot better on the brown sails in the pic above but I guess that means I have to get completly new sails. Could get a bit expensive but I need a new fokk (not sure what you call that in english, it's the front sail) anyway. Maybe I should just go for a whole wardrobe... There are a few more things I need to upgrade so I'll have to see what I can affor right now, but like I said, I have all winter.

Edit: here is a picture of the boat.


Last edited by tripmix; 10-08-2008 at 09:47 AM. Reason: Added image
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Great boat! I really like it.

I think tanbark sails would look fantastic on it. The photo I posted above is a Stonehorse 23 and yes, those sails are made to look like tanbark sails.

I think graphics on sails look very out of place on classic boats - to me they go on sponsored race boats or a modern sport boat.
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Old 10-08-2008
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I think it looks kinda nice and this was just a pic I found on google. I think it brings a lot more life and personality to the boat. Sill good advice tough, I haven't decided on anything iet.

Edit: well, it looks a little to red on my big monitor, looked better on my laptop, anyways.

Oh, and I know what else colored sails looks good on... A warship, I'm Norwegian you know, I'll have to let everyone know the Vikings are coming

Last edited by tripmix; 10-08-2008 at 11:47 AM. Reason: Looked at diffrent monitor??? Stupid joke...
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Old 10-08-2008
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Tanbark?? Yes.

Graphics?? No.

How about a nice custom burgee??
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