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Senior Mumble
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Discussion Starter #1
Our genoa has a leech line sewn into a folded over flap at the leech of the sail (where else?). A couple of years ago, the stitching that attaches the flap gave up the ghost, so I had it restitched. Now the fabric of the flap itself ripped, pretty much from clew to head, and the leech line managed to come out of the sail and wrap itself around the spreaders and shrouds. Fun!

I guess it's getting to be time to get a new sail, but I wondered if I can continue to use the sail without this line. I know the line is there so that one can adjust leech tension to reduce or eliminate flapping of the leech. In actuality, I rarely adjusted it. Perhaps that contributed to its failure. When we first went out today, it was blowing pretty good, maybe 14kts or so, so the leech was "singing".

Is this sail unusable?

TIA

Joel
Pokey III
'78 P323 #101
Bayside, NY
 

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Cal 9.2 SilverSwan
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302 Posts
The leach tape and leach line acts as a reiforcement to prevent stress iniation points. I had the tape detach near the spreader and repaired the sewing prior to further use. Years ago I experienced tearing a sail from a spot where the leach tape had come unsewn next to the spreader. If the tape is completely gone you could fold over the leach and sew this to also act as reinforcement. It would be better than a ragged edge. V92 thread will sew in a standard sewing machine, in zigzag mode...
 

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Not sure how much damage you have, but I had the same thing happen to my genoa a few weeks back. It looked bad with leach line out and the sunbrella cover strip edge looked ragged and torn. I took it to a sail loft and they looked at it, said it would be no problem to repair, and resewed the sail. It looks as good as new. May be that they can do same for you.
 

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As sail cloth gets older exposure to sunlight, salt and wear and tear will eventually make it rip easily. If this is the stage your sail is at then any repair will not last long. If the leach tape is off then see if the material can be torn by hand. If so then not much lost, if you can rip it by hand it is "rotten" and stitching will not hold to it, if it does not then you can decide if you want to spend money on it at a sail loft or try to fix it at home. If you try at home be careful at head and clew patches. Extra layers of cloth can break neddle in machine. Go slow or hand stitch. If in doubt put on a pair of safety glasses if you use a machine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks. Has anyone tried sail tape? I thought perhaps a 3" wide strip, folded over the torn edge from head to clew might prevent further fraying.
 

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Which is torn...the sacrificial cover strip (mine is blue sunbrella, but on son's C22, it is white sailcloth) or the sail? The cover strip is intended to take the UV light abuse, while protecting the sail. During its life, the sail is exposed to sunlight only when you are actually sailing (a small percentage of the time), while the cover strip is always exposed. First, if the edges of the cover strip are only frayed, sailmaker may be able to still make repair. Cost for my repair was $180 vs. $1,500 plus for a new sail. If the cover strip is rotten (by tear test), the sailmaker can sew a new cover strip onto sail if the sail is still in relatively good shape. An experienced sailmaker, upon inspection of the damaged sail will be able to advise you whether your sail must be replaced or whether its just a simple repair that is needed. Since your sail seems to be old, if you put new cover strip, it might look better to put on a colored strip of sunbrella like your sail cover, since old sail and new strip will likely have significant different shades if you use white sailcloth. I don't think the sail tape is going to be satisfactory and if you continue to use the sail without proper repair, the damage is going to become worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the responses.

Update: The admiral and I spent a couple of hours applying 3" wide sail repair tape along the leech, folding it over the edge. That is really sticky stuff. It looked great. So we took it out Monday in 5-10 kts, actually, it was mostly 0 kts with some periods of a little wind. Anyway, the tape came right off.

I took the sail to Doyle on City Island. I couldn't answer NCC320's question regarding what was torn. I was under the impression that there was no sacrificial strip, but Doyle told me that the entire leech and foot are sacrificial. They said it was a weight-saving design. Instead of having a second layer, the sail is built so that the last foot or so is replaceable. Bottom line: easily repaired.
 
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