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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 05-31-2013
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Zipper along length of sail

Going through the sails last night, I noticed one of the bags (labeled main) had a sail with a zipper down one side? It looked like it was down the leech.
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Re: Zipper along length of sail

Did you take the entire sail out? Can you post a pic?
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Re: Zipper along length of sail

I took it out. The luff and leech are almost the same length. The zipper is on the side with the sail number. I will try to get a picture this weekend. Should have taken one last night!
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Re: Zipper along length of sail

Does this zipper break the sail into two parts (which I've never heard of) or just hold down a flap, which may be the leach line?
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Re: Zipper along length of sail

You hit the nail on the head- it is one long flap to hold a line of some kind.
The sail inventory is confusing. There is one hank-on, two roller furling sails of different sizes, and this particular sail. I gotta take some pictures!!
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Re: Zipper along length of sail

I found this on the cncphotoalbum site:
Leach Lines

Your mainsail and perhaps some or all of you jib sails may have a leach line. This is a small line that is sewn into the fold of fabric along the sail's leach. There is normally a small cleat near the sail's clew so that you can secure the leach line after you've adjusted the line's tension. The leach line is a precaution line that better sail makers add with the idea of the sail lasting longer.

As the sail ages and stretches, the leach often becomes "soft" and begins to flutter even when the breeze is perfectly flowing on the rest of the sail. Increasing the tension on the leach line controls leach flutter. Leach flutter can disturb the air flowing on your sail - making the sail less effective, especially for upwind points of sail.

Many jib sails also have leach lines that act similarly to the leach lines on mainsails. Any time you see the leach of either a mainsail or jib start to flutter, increase the tension on the leach line.

The danger of adjusting the leach lines is that some skippers tighten these lines too much and actually cup or hook the leach of the sail causing the sail to stall and become less efficient. Watch the tension on the leach lines so that you have smooth air flow from both sides of the sail.
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Re: Zipper along length of sail

Leech lines are rarely 'zippered in'.. there's no reason and in fact it would be problematic keeping the leech line in if you opened it.

One of our former boats used a zippered luff roller jib.. the headstay was attached via upper and lower swivel and the sail hoisted on an contained halyard inside a wrapped-around zippered enclosure. Not meant as a reefable sail. Instead of hanks the zippered panel wrapped around the forestay and the halyard, and you closed the zipper as you hoisted the sail. That's the only application I can think of for a full length zipper, but it would be odd to have it on a boat with a furler or a foil....

Perhaps it was 'a deal'....
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Re: Zipper along length of sail

I thought of that, too. It looks like half of the inventory is from before the roller-furling was installed.
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Re: Zipper along length of sail

Many years ago I had a main with a zippered "pouch" along the foot. The idea was that you could open the zipper downwind to increase sail area and fullness. It didn't work so well. It wasn't unlike the effect of adjusting the foot line on a loose-footed main, although I think the latter gives better sail shape than the pouch did.
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I think Mark is correct, it's a " shelf footed " main.
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