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I know, I know! It's been like a year since I've posted on this board, and I've missed Sailnet but I've been busy! But now, I'd like to take Ol' Miss Dirtybottom out for a sail.

The problem is that my mainsail's been through like 30 years of hard use and along the foot is completely sun-baked and rips like paper! So I take it off and ashore to my shop to give it a thorough assessment. The real answer of course is to replace the thing but it's going to take until the end of sailing season before I get the new one. The other option is to find a used one at Bacon or Atlantic but the aspect ratio of the sail is not that common and finding one to fit is tough.

So. I thought I'd try to make this one last the season. I got out the sticky-backed repair tape and had at it. As an afterthought, I got out the iron to heat the glue on the repair tape and try to make for a better patch job because I figured that sewing through that sail would just start more rips.

Interestingly, I noticed that as I worked, the areas of sail-cloth that I ironed seemed to get stronger! Even in areas that I had previously tested and found ripped very easily, those rips were much more resistant to further tearing! I also kept an eye on the cloth itself to make sure it wasn't actually melting and that I wasn't altering the shape of the cloth. With a fingernail, I could still feel the individual threads of the warp and fill. In got the iron up to “wool” setting but didn't dare go any higher.

Does anyone know of anybody else doing this and if so, what did they find worked best? Thanks a lot! And I'll try not to be such a stranger.
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