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SHays 08-07-2007 05:46 PM

Ripped the Mainsail
Mainsail got caught on a spreader while taking it down on my first unsupervised voyage due to not having the boom sheeted over the centerline of the boat while taking down the mainsail - Didn't ruin the trip though - we had a wonderful sail with the family for the first time out alone - a long-time dream come true.
I'd like to patch the sail and use this one while going through this time of expensive learning curves. I have read that you can glue a sail patch over a rip with marine 5200 adhesive - but where can I get a 1foot patch? Please advise.


sailortjk1 08-07-2007 05:56 PM

I would check with a local loft and ask about getting it repaired proffesionaly. You also might want to contact somebody like Atlantic Sail Traders that keep used sails on hand. That gives you a back up for your original if this ever happens again. Also gives you something to use while your original is being repaired.

Next time, turn your bow into the wind more. Your mainsail should not be touching the spreaders when lowering. This will also spill wind from the sail and make it easier to lower.

sailingdog 08-07-2007 06:09 PM

While you can glue a sail patch over the tear using 3M 5200, it isn't advised. 3M 5200 has a cure time of seven days or so IIRC, and removing it to do a proper repair job would be difficult at best.

I would highly recommend you contact a local sail loft and get the sail professionally repaired. If you can not afford to do that, get some sticky back sail cloth and put it over both sides of the tear and then sew through all three layers. The sewing makes the repair far stronger than the adhesive alone would ever be able to do.

STJK1's advice about turning more into the wind is very spot on... the boat should be as close to dead into the wind as possible. This also helps prevent the bow from blowing off and swinging the boat around when you least want it to.

pigslo 08-07-2007 06:15 PM

Another thing to remember when raising the sail is to loosen the main sheet. If it is sheeted in you can tear it with the tension on the halyard. Don't ask me how I know about this one.

sailingdog 08-07-2007 06:26 PM


Originally Posted by pigslo (Post 176603)
Another thing to remember when raising the sail is to loosen the main sheet. If it is sheeted in you can tear it with the tension on the halyard. Don't ask me how I know about this one.

Also, tighten up on the topping lift a bit, loosen and free the outhaul, the reefing lines, and the boom vang. Might want to loosen the lazy jacks and pull them forward and out of the way as well. :D

CharlieCobra 08-07-2007 06:32 PM

West Marine has sail repair tape that works well on Dacron sails.

SHays 08-07-2007 06:38 PM

Many Thanks Friends!
Thanks for the timely response and great advice. Much appreciated. What do they say? Experience is the best teacher? Friendly advice never hurt anyone either.



joeybkcmo 08-07-2007 06:54 PM

been there, done that
Had the same thing happen on my boat last year, used the sail patch kit from West, was able to get enough use out of the sail to finish the season and it gave me enough time to get a new one ordered and delivered. Good luck, once its happened you know what to watch out for.

RichH 08-07-2007 08:20 PM

You can use 3M 5200 FAST CURE if you have similar dacron nfor the strip=patches and this will need NO oversewing. 5200 FAST CURE will cure totally within 24 hrs. The downside with this sort of patch is if the alignment of the original cloth is not 'perfect' and since 3M5200 FAST CURE is permanent and subsequent patching repairs will be more difficult and will require a sectional repair. If your current rip is in the center of a panel there will be NO problem when patching with 5200; however, if the rip is near a seam (that is broadseamed), then you probably need to stitch the repair.

BTW.... when I make a sail I usually use an adhesive tape that sets up almost as strong as 5200 and then overstitch the seam. Many laminate sails and spinnakers nowadays are simply glued together using double sided (PECO, etc. adhesive tape) and without stitching on the panel-panel seams at all.

I used to lug-around a heavy sewing machine when on long passages, etc., now, I simply take along several tubes of FAST CURE 5200, etc. When using FAST CURE 5200 on a sail be sure to apply it 'thin' and use masking tape on the adjacent dacron material so you dont make a 'mess'.

The adhesive on the 'kit' rep-air sold at WEST, etc. isnt that permanent, will 'creep' and come loose when the sail is wet and under load .... and you will risk furether tearing the sail if adverse loading is encountered on the panel. So, adhesive repair tape is so-so OK for the middle sections of a sail but anywhere on the stress loaded areas - leech, luff and foot, you will probably be very disappointed.

If you are 'handy' you can use FC 5200; alternately small repairs near the stress loaded 'edges' of a sail usually need some 'care' and a sailmaker will take little time to make an 'edge' repair (machine sewn and repair patches correctly aligned with component thread orientation (warp and weft) of the original woven material.


SHays 08-26-2007 06:46 PM

sail repaired - sailed very well.
My sweet wife was able to glue, tape and stitch our mainsail and on sat. the 25th of august our family set sail for our second trip out dealing with our learning curves and enjoying the fulfilling dream of enjoying some water, some sky and some winds. At first, there was not much wind, so we were not able to get underway right off the bat. The winds gradually picked up, and pretty soon we were heeling over at a comfortable degree and moving at a decent little clip.
We were able to experiment with varying tempos of coming about - which we found to hold no end of entertainment. Everyone in our family agrees that we like to come about rather quickly, as this made our genoa happier to transfer to the different tacks.
When we got ready to go back into the harbour, putting the bow into the wind made the mainsail much easier to handle, so our mainsail should last just fine! We had seen other boats come in and just haul down the main in the marina regardless of wind direction, but we've learned that must be for the advanced and not for novices. I thought you kind people would enjoy a follow up report on our unfortunate incident we wrote about some weeks back. Our rip in the main was not the end of the world we thought it was, we are now repaired, wiser, and have had a splendid sail recently despite the little setback.

The Hays'

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