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Silversailor
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A laminate sail that I had cleaned by a commercial sail cleaner just shredded. My sailmaker said that it had been compromised by the process used by the commercial sail cleaner. A number of name sailmakers have since told me the same thing. "Don't allow the commercial sail cleaners to touch your laminate sails." It was an expensive mistake. I hope you don't make the same one.
 

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Freedom isn't free
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you know I hadn't ever thought of sending a laminate sail to a sail cleaner... but yeah I could see it damaging the sail. They are traditionally about dacron sails.

However, you'd think the sail cleaner would have realized it and NOT attempted the clean!
 

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██▓▓▒▒░&
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Sounds more like a commercial loft with sour grapes. Are they saying "NEver clean our laminate sails" or are they saying "WE are the only folks who can clean our sails" trying to use FUD to garner business?

I find it easy to believe sail cleaners, like any other business, could screw some things up. But it can't be rocket science to figure out IF laminate sails can be cleaned safely, and if so how.

Just saying 'don't ever let any cleaner ever..." is nonsense. Ivory soap and a soft bristle brush on a good smooth floor couldn't hurt any sail ever made.
 

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Sounds more like a commercial loft with sour grapes. Are they saying "NEver clean our laminate sails" or are they saying "WE are the only folks who can clean our sails" trying to use FUD to garner business?

I find it easy to believe sail cleaners, like any other business, could screw some things up. But it can't be rocket science to figure out IF laminate sails can be cleaned safely, and if so how.

Just saying 'don't ever let any cleaner ever..." is nonsense. Ivory soap and a soft bristle brush on a good smooth floor couldn't hurt any sail ever made.
The problem with many laminate sail materials is that various fungi begins to grow 'between' the layers of laminate. The fungus is using the adhesive that is used to help bond the layers as its nutrient source.
Cleaning such fungi with such high pH solutions (especially ammonia, etc. of higher pH based 'detergents', etc.) dissolves the fungi and leaves a macroscopic void between the laminate layers which no longer helps to binds the layers together thus decreases the inherent strength especially in flexure more, even though most layers are 'heat set' together by hot calendaring. The second issue is that mylar-type films are principally polyester films; and although polyester is generally of high chemical resistance, the films are more subject to degradation vs. ammonia and other hydroxide-like compounds when used in high potency/higher concentration (long term) due to that one cannot remove/rinse them from between the layers; the accelerated degradation is probably due to long term exposure to those higher pH, etc. compounds.

The bottom line is that in comparison a woven dacron is generally chemically resistant polyester material; but the same polyester when applied as a laminated multi-layer film has much less chemical resistance to those same high pH compounds as once these 'chemical' enter between the laminate layers, as you can't effectively remove/rinse them from the internal surfaces.
 

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██▓▓▒▒░&
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Rich-
All of that would be old news to a real sail cleaner. Or of course, shocking news to someone who said "Honey, we can make thousands working from home! We can clean sails in the kids' pool!"
You know.(G)

This is why they don't sell glacial azotic acid at the WalMart. Great stuff for cleaning stainless steel, but it also eats through concrete. Ooops.
 

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al brazzi
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I had my older dacron main cleaned by a big cleaner last year and it looked good and although all the small line items were low dollar there were lots of little things that added with the cleaning so I was north of $500 all told. On a newer sail if you believe in cleaning its probably worth it but the money would have probably be better spent on a deposit for a new one. Experiences will vary.
 

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Master Mariner
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A few unfortunate circumstances left my tape drive sails looking pretty grim when I bought the boat. They looked as though they were moldy, which they were. I took them to a sail cleaner who said exactly what Rich said. They said the cure would be much worse than the ailment, so we sailed with awful looking sails, but they worked fine for over 5 years.
I don't think it had anything to do with, "Sounds more like a commercial loft with sour grapes."
I'd NEVER buy laminated sails after using them, for cruising anyway. Not one plus I can think of, especially with roller furling sails.
 

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Speaking from a point of ignorance, what is the reason for buying laminate sails? Are they more efficient, lighter in weight, resistant to rotting, or just the latest "cool" thing? Sounds to me like a headache to be avoided.....
 

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Master Mariner
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Speaking from a point of ignorance, what is the reason for buying laminate sails? Are they more efficient, lighter in weight, resistant to rotting, or just the latest "cool" thing? Sounds to me like a headache to be avoided.....
Skipping Stone's former owner fancied himself a racer and I got the feeling UK Sails conned him into them. With RF sails honestly, it WAS a con!
 

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Speaking from a point of ignorance, what is the reason for buying laminate sails? Are they more efficient, lighter in weight, resistant to rotting, or just the latest "cool" thing? Sounds to me like a headache to be avoided.....
Several reasons for laminate sails ....
Pro -
1. Air permeability. Air doesnt flow 'through' the material like it does with woven materials; thus, higher overall aerodynamic efficiency.
2. Lighter weight = less weight aloft = Less heel = higher overall efficiency/performance for the boat.
3. Stable shape. Due to the rigidity or non-stretch of the material, the shape you buy is the shape you get - even in rising/lowering wind conditions.

Cons -
• You will need a large sail inventory if you want to be at the top of your fleet in order to constantly alter(change) the sail shape to match the current wind/wave conditions.
• Not much adjustment of sail shape (location of point of maximum draft, etc.) is possible when underway .... unless your inventory is large enough to make the needed change to a different sail.
• Letting a laminate sail 'flog' = destruction.
• Comparatively more expensive and with less service life.
• He/she who has the biggest wallet usually places higher in the racing results.

;-)
 

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Old enough to know better
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If it were me I would be contacting the cleaner, they certainly should have known not to clean a laminate sail. At a very minimum I would expect a full refund, and it will help educate the sail cleaner so they don't make the same mistake again. You might even get more than a refund if they really want to improve their image.
 
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