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Sails, Sailing

Sail Maintenance Tips - Mark Adams - The Sail Loft, Buford, GA

The following is an article that appeared in the AJC, in February, 1993.  All of the advice is still true today.  You can see a copy of the original AJC article at the Sail Loft.
  • Don't use the sail in wind above its limitations.  Know what your sail is  built for and the limits of the cloth.
  • Don't try to raise the main sail while going downwind.  It can get shredded or damaged in the spreaders.
  • Get proper tension in halyards for proper sail trim.
  • Don't yank or force a halyard, sheet or any control line.  The sail might be tangled or hung on something and tear.
  • Keep sails out of the sun when storing.  Be sure the mainsail is totally covered if kept on the boom.  Store other sails in sail bags.
  • Don't put sails wet.  Mildew will get them.  If the wind is light in the marina, sails can dry while hoisted on the mast; otherwise take them home and hang them up , out of the sunlight.
  • Take sails home during long periods of non-use, such as winter.  The boat sweats, an mildew forms.
  • Folding sails is good, but rolling them is better, because there aren't any creases to cause weakness in the material.  Stuffing is for TURKEYS.
  • Keep an eye on threads.  If one of the stitches is missing, repair quickly.
  • Always check batten pockets for wear.
  • The first sign of wear on the genoa usually appears where it touches the spreaders.  Reinforce that area with a patch.
  • Put boots on the spreaders to protect genoa.  Tape the shroud fittings to protect against cotter pins and anything esle that could catch a sail and tear it.
  • Have a sail-maker inspect the sails about every two years.