Magazine, Travel

20 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Sails

I have recently, as part of my professional activity met a specialist in the maintenance of sails. I took the opportunity to ask him what were the best practices that I should advise my customers and you also my readers to extend the life of the sails as much as possible. Here are the 20 tips I learned from this interview:

1 / Avoid having the sails extended for a long time. With the beat of these, the trailing edge (or fall) can degrade very quickly. Above all do not navigate the boat engine for saltwater facing the sale with sails that basement. After hoisting the sails, take a course so that the sails can fill rather than a whip.

2 / Adjust your trailing edge to eliminate the basement (stretch it a bit more than necessary to stop the beat). The required voltage will change as the breeze increases and the jib listening is adjusted. Do not stretch the fall too much, if the fall becomes too straight, release it. Proper placement of the genoa carts will also prevent the flapping of the trailing edge on your genoa.

3 / Use your sails in the wind ranges for which they were designed. If you do not know the recommended wind ranges for your sails, contact your sailmaker.

4 / Avoid unnecessary contact between the sails and the standing rigging. Avoid shocking the genoa too late in a tack. The trailing edge against the wind block can tear the sail.

5 / To avoid chafing, be sure to protect the arrow bars with protective caps made of plastic or leather. You must also check that there are no pins, damaged rivets or sharp corners around the mast that could tear the sail. Same thing on the deck with lifelines, turnbuckles or candlestick points that need to be protected too. All of these can rub or tear your sail.

5 / Make sure your sails have extra reinforcement in potential friction areas. Reinforcement pieces on the genoa for the boom edges or additional protection on the forward sails where they come in contact with the radar and other mast-mounted elements, install these reinforcements will extend the duration useful life of your sail.

6 / When you leave the boat, shock the jib halyard, the mainsail halyard and the clew that not that the sails remain strained. Releasing the tension of the slats also reduces the distortion at the ends thereof.

7 /  Limit sun exposure for long periods. UV rays are one of the worst enemies of your sails. The furling genoa must have a UV resistant material covering the outer part of the sail when rolled. This may be an anti-UV band or a genoa cover. If you leave your mainsail stationary, make sure it is always covered when not in use.

8 /  Rinse your sails with fresh water and dry them carefully before storing them to avoid mildew and spinnakers discoloration as well. Rinse metal parts in fresh water to prevent corrosion. Store dry sails in a well-ventilated area. And remember that making sure they are dry is as important as the initial rinse. Wet sails create mold problems.

9 /  Avoid folding the sails on the same fold lines each time so that the small folds do not become permanent.

10 /  Remove mildew stains on polyester, Spectra / Dyneema or Vectran sails quickly. Use a mild bleach solution with water and a soft cloth, then rinse thoroughly. DO NOT USE BLEACHING ON NYLON, ARAMID OR ROLLED SAILS. There are also specific cleaners that you will find in your ship chandler but this solution works very well.

11 /  To remove oil or grease stains, scrub with a degreasing soap such as Matt Chem cotton kline and a soft brush, then rinse. Be careful not to damage the sail with excessive friction. Depending on the task, you may not be able to obliterate it.

12 /  Removing rust stains are tricky. I recommend you to go through a professional who will have the right products and methods without damaging the sail. It may not be possible to get rid of it completely, but at least the sail will always be in good working order.

13 / Regularly rinse the zippers of the sail bag or lubricate with a silicone spray.

14 /  Cover minor tears as soon as possible with pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSP). Avoid using tape! Take something like this: PSP tape

15 /  Check the nylon/polyester sails a few times a season for small tears. Locating small holes early can reduce the risk of big tears later.

16 /  Spray the genoa furler and the mainsail while sliding along the rail, using a Mclube type lubricant. This will help to clean the slides and make it easier to hoist and lower the sails.

17 /  Check the battens to see if they are cracked. The slats in poor condition must be replaced or at least taped so that the cracks do not damage the sail.

18 / Check the slide strips and other parts to make sure they are still securely attached to the sail

19 /  Check seams to make sure they are still intact. UV, salt, rage can quickly damage some threads.

20 / Ask your expert to inspect your sails at least once a season. Regular inspection will prevent small problems from becoming big problems. You can also ask your local sailmaker to create a sail repair kit to keep on board just in case. If you are a Square Stern Canoe for the Fishing user then you have extra opportunity to explore the beauty of fishing. 

Thank you for reading this article. I hope it will be useful to you and that you will put it into practice!

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