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Old 09-30-2004
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Sail Maintenance

I have had a discussion with a sailing friend who has asked why should he rinse his sails in fall before stowing. His reasoning is that if they are dry and folded for the winter there is no benefit to hauling them out, rinsing and waiting for them to dry before stowing.

A quote from our discussion
"Tell me the mechanism by which it helps the sail. Why don''t we rinse them weekly? If we rinse it more often will it last longer? Why? What about the mold that might grow if you don''t get it dry enough after rinsing?"


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Old 09-30-2004
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Sail Maintenance

Your friend must sail on a clear mountain lake, so that salt crystals and general dirt/dust don''t cover the surface of his sails and act like so much sandpaper as one fold rubs against another when he moves them around or puts them away for the winter. He SHOULD rinse them weekly, if not after each use. (Not that I do, but our club''s sail loft maxes out with Lightning mains.) Salt crystals on sails absorb moisture, which further adds to weight aloft. If you grow mold, you''re not letting them dry enough, but the mold probably weighs less than the salt & water. It may not add four seasons to your sails, but taking better care of them may help you find minor spots that need repair before they turn into major ones.
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