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More On Sail Care…

In the last blog about taking care of your sails at the end of the season, I have pointed out some of the areas on sails that are particularly vulnerable to deterioration or damage. This time I would like to share with you a few pictures showing these problem areas:

Damaged webbing
severely deteriorated webbing

This first picture shows a severely deteriorated webbing loop at the head of this furling genoa.  This web is really ready to fail at any moment, and most likely it will happen in the worst possible time…

Hopefully webbing loops on your sails are nowhere near this level of deterioration, but keep an eye for drying fibers, that feel chalky and dry. Especially if you start to see individual fibers starting to separate, as in this picture, it’s time to replace such webbing, else inevitably this happens:

broken webbing
broken webbing

Often on sails with a second-hand sun cover installation, corners end up being left uncovered as in this example:

torn dacron at clew corner
damaged dacron at clew corner

If you zoom closer and look at the Dacron® surrounding this pressed ring you will see that top layer has ripped. As you might have guessed, sun exposure has weakened the fabric.  At least this sail has a webbing reinforcing the corner, but it itself is slowly weakening. Ideally you would want all Dacron and webbing surface to be covered with Sunbrella for best and longest lasting protection. If your sail has any areas exposed as in this picture, keep an eye on these.

In the last blog I have also mentioned about luff tape on furling sails. Here is the example of what I was writing about:

Head of roller furling genoa
head of roller furling genoa

This particular genoa has Sunbrella sun covers installed in a typical fashion. Again, ideally you would want to have the web loop also wrapped in Sunbrella for protection, but it would be nice to have a strip of Sunbrella to extend over the portion of luff tape. Take a look at a close up of the top of this luff tape:

damaged luff tape
damaged luff tape

About 2 inches of this tape has ripped and this will continue if left unattended.  It is much easier (and less expensive) to fix if you don’t let it go this far on your sail. It may be worth your while to occasionally drop your head sail and inspect what is going on at the head…

If you have any questions or comments on the subject, feel free to leave me a comment below.

Happy Sailing!

Arek

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