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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Can sails shrink?
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Thread: Can sails shrink? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-02-2013 02:48 AM
Options409
Re: Can sails shrink?

Looking at the pic... It seems the sail is very old and the bolt ropes are sewn to the sail rather than inside a tape. This is probably the worst for shrinkage. You could cut the ropes off and ask a sailmaker to sew a new luff and foot tape on with a bolt rope inside the tape.

Or just soak the sail in water, then hoist and load it up to stretch it back out.
07-02-2013 02:44 AM
Options409
Re: Can sails shrink?

All sails with any type of fiber shrink. It's a common problem.

Monofilm windsurfer sails are probably the only ones that don't.

I am a sail designer and it's something we are constantly fighting with. In the America's Cup (back when they were real boats) were constantly remeasuring and adding sail area to keep the sails at target area for each round robin.

They shrink with general use. This is why a good sailmaker will crush a piece of cloth before inserting it in an old sail for a repair. The idea is to pre-shrink it to better match the existing cloth. You get some weird looks from customers when doing it, but it's the best thing you can do.

Also temperature and humidity are big factors. We used to heat AC spinnakers in a dehumidified room in vacuum bags right up until a few minutes before measurement. We make the sails over size by about 1-2% and shrink it down for measurement.

The tapes and bolt ropes shrink at a greater pace usually, this is why sails end up short on hoist. Easy thing to do is unpick the hand sewing that seizes off the bolt ropes at the tack of the sail.
06-27-2013 02:46 AM
overbored
Re: Can sails shrink?

the halyard lock on the mast track is what you put the ball swage in when you hoist the sail all the way to the top and then you tighten the luff with the down haul. tied off on the lower horn cleat
amain sail with the lower clew was a fad in the late 70's early 80's. in the pic you need more down haul to pull the luff a lot tighter. this will level out the boom some
06-27-2013 02:31 AM
blackflagsailor
Re: Can sails shrink?

Ran up my older patched sail today to take some photos.






I should try it with the better sail as well since that is the sail I was first talking about, not the one in these pics.
06-23-2013 07:15 PM
blackflagsailor
Re: Can sails shrink?

Indeed it is a C-Lark by Clark Boats of Seattle, WA. I have learned how to use the clew outhaul properly, however, the boom sits with the clew end low when the main is raised. I was going to send pics, however, while raising the sail to take the pics last week, the steel halyard broke free at a swage sleeve where two pieces of line were spliced together. Ugh... Well not I gotta fix that. Does anyway know what those swaged ball end fittings are called? I can't find them anywhere.

Something like this:



Also, there is a vertical track with some sort of adjustable cleat type on the side of the mast near the bottom of the mast. What is this used for?

06-16-2013 08:25 PM
overbored
Re: Can sails shrink?

is you boat a C-lark by clark boats? http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=7682
a sail on that size boat will not shrink enough to prevent you from sailing with it. the foot of the mainsail on a 14' dingy should not be tight. and the boom will be longer then the sail. on many dingys the aft end of the boom will be lower then the goose neck depending on the rake of the mast. tighten the outhaul with a little tension, just enough to hold the sail out near the end of the boom . pull the downhaul down just tight enough to remove the horizontals wrinkles on the sail. go sailing
http://wyctelltale.blogspot.com/2012...part-1_16.html
06-16-2013 06:09 PM
SHNOOL
Re: Can sails shrink?

Sail repair by Sail Care can make old sails like new

Sailcare can get you there (as can many others)... but they have a way to get more life out of it. I've seen people recommend cutting some of the strands in the boltrope, but honestly I don't think I'd be comfortable with that.

Look towards the bottom of their descriptions. It basically describes your issue to the letter.

By the way sailcare does a decent job of getting more life out of old sails. There is however, no substitute for a new sail (I know, I am/have been, in the same boat, pardon the pun - sails are stupid expensive).

Again a shrunken bolt rope will do as you describe... but you can also check the leech line (tensioning will cup the leech up some, shortening the leech, and raising the aft end of the boom, tightening too much will CUP the main to windward - bad - and cause a stall)...

I find getting shape out of a bagged old main harder than getting usefulness out of a bagged old jib... but with some tweaks it's doable. Again, sails are expensive, and I get that, but they are also one of the single largest improvements you can do to get your sailboat sailing better (along with fixing/fairing/smoothing the bottom).
06-16-2013 04:52 PM
Tempest
Re: Can sails shrink?

If you mean when the mainsail is up... yes there should be a downhaul for a gooseneck in a track. If will also tighten the luff of the main. If you mean when the mainsail is down, the topping lift will lift the boom end.
06-16-2013 04:45 PM
blackflagsailor
Re: Can sails shrink?

Okay, learned how to use the clew outhaul. The rigging instructions in my paperwork did mention it and it was easy to do. The new problem I now have is that the boom sits high at the gooseneck and low at the clew end. Is there supposed to be some kind of downhaul to level it? The gooseneck fitting just slides into the track for the main sail. I think I've finally posted enough to attached photos so I may set her up and take some pics.
06-08-2013 05:21 PM
Tempest
Re: Can sails shrink?

The outhaul flattens the sail along the foot or eases it to give it more shape.
Flatter in stronger winds and looser in light winds

How to Use a Mainsail Outhaul - Using the Outhaul on a Sailboat

I was wondering why you were working so hard to stretch the foot.

Do you have any pictures of the end of your boom? If you don't have a car and a pully, it's easy enough to rig something up to get you going. If you have a bolt rope you can just run a line from the clew pin to the clew of the sail pull it tight and tie a knot.

If you want to have some adjustment you can attach a pully to the clew pin. Attach a line to the clew of the sail around the pully and then tie it off on a cleat on the boom if you have one. Lot's of ways to accomplish this, from sophisticated to simple..would be nice to know what you have.

Here's an example of something simple: http://www.designcake.com/laser/acti...%20outhaul.htm
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