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  #1  
Old 12-18-2007
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Proper way to fold a sail

So I just picked up a new to me O'day Javelin and while digging it out of the snow covered frozen tundra I found the sail bag burried in the snow. I have hug the sails to dry in my basement and I am ready to re-stow, but I am not sure of what is the best way. Both the main and the jib were stowed in the same bag.
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Old 12-18-2007
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Exclamation Roll everything into a giant ball

No!!! Just joking.
I like to make mine into a well organized folded roll type ball. I guess it a technique you learn that works for you. My sails are each in a separate colored bag. They are labeled as to what they are, but, I can just tell someone; "Get the Green Bag or Grab the Red bag" and they not be trying to read what in the bag! I have the sail placed in the bag according how it need to come out to rig so it not blow all over the place pulling it all out to place on my boom and mast or wherever. So, for example in street terms. Rigging the mainsail (Bending on the sail) for "me" I grab the Mainsail bag. Open and the bottom comes out to slide onto the Boom. It folded in the bag so that I load it on top of the boom and can thread it into the mast and it ready to go. I have every sail packed this way.
I not the best explaining, but, maybe you get the idea.
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Old 12-18-2007
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tigerregis has a little shameless behaviour in the past
Gryzio, good explanation. The idioms will come apparent, the more you use them.
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Old 12-18-2007
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I lay the sail out and start at the bottom, making 18-24" folds until I reach the head, which lays in the last fold. Then I start at the foot and roll the sail up. BTW, I grab the sail and fold down to the foot, not the foot up. That way I end up with everything stacked with the foot on the bottom before I roll it. Makes it faster to bend the sails on. It's easy with two peeps but can be done solo.
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Old 12-18-2007
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It really depends on what kind of sails you have, since most laminate sails don't like being folded at all.

Assuming you have Dacron sails, what you should do is flake the sails—basically folding them in an accordian pleat, with the folds about 2-3' in length depending on the size of the sail, size of the sailbag and such. Start at the foot of the sail and keep the luff or the leech (luff for mainsails and leech for head sails) basically lined up as you flake the sail. Then roll the sail from the clew to the tack.

This will leave the sail with the head, clew and tack easily accessible and easily identifiable. It will also allow you to bend on the sails fairly easily without much risk of fouling the sheets or halyards.

Put the rolled sail into a sail bag... and leave for the off season.

Hope this helps.

BTW, the way I flake the sails is to leave the foot of the sail pinned and then pull the sail down over the foot to flake it. This is far simpler than trying to move the foot of the sail.

Most laminate sails would prefer to be rolled loosely and stored in a nice tube...
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Last edited by sailingdog; 12-18-2007 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 12-19-2007
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For my sails (non laminate) I use this method. http://sailcare.com/foldsend.shtml
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Old 12-20-2007
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I lay my sails out flat, grab the top corner (head) and walk back and forth dragging it into neat little 2-3' folds as I go. It takes a lot of walking back and forth, but is the best way singlehanded to fold them. Once I get to the accordian shape with the head stacked on top of the pile, I make two or three lateral folds to shorten them and they go right in the "short style" bag.

With racing sails, I take them right from the boat to the dock, having two helpers fold as the sail is drug off the deck, and then we use a LONG bag to put them into because the less folding you do on those the better.

Of course, that's my way because I short or singlehand so often, but there could be others. The main thing you don't want is wrinkles or creases in it especially if they run top to bottom like this -> |||||||||
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Sort of on topic, how do you guys fold your spinnakers?

I fold mine in from the leeches to the centerline in an accordian shape, then fold center down so all of the clips for sheets and halyard are still exposed (mine has red and green corner trim to show which side is which before deploying / bending on) It seems to work ok from the sock, but is there a better method?
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Old 12-20-2007
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Most people I know just stuff their spinnakers into a bag... leaving the three corners out. Of course, if you have a spinnaker sock, this all changes... and it is more like coiling a snake...
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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
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 12-20-2007
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RE spinnakers - well, you have to stuff em in a special way or bad things happen when you go to launch em.
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