Monday, May 18, 2015

Sail repairs

It seems that since I have started sailing the wind has been blowing dogs of chains almost every occasion I get to go sailing. It makes for exciting racing but my body is getting a bit of physical punishment. And its not just the body - I noticed this weekend that my jib is getting a hammering on the clew. It is to be expected because the clew on the jib gets the brunt of it as every tack it slaps against the mast and then there are the occasions when the sail flogs and again it gets the worst of it. Letting a jib flog is the quickest way to wreck it so I do my best to prevent it but there are times when you just have to let the wind do its worst.
On inspection I noticed that the stitching had come away and the material was beginning to separate on the leech just above the clew.
I took the sail home and quickly assessed the work. I have a set of sailmaker's needles and some thin sailmaker's twine as well as some sail repair tape. So I replaced the missing thread by simply stitching using the holes already made and then covered it with a strip of sail repair tape. I then checked out the rest of the sail for other repairs and found a few places that needed a bit of sail repair tape. I think it looks ok. The sail has seen a lot of action but it still has a good shape so its worth the effort to keep it going.

These simple repairs should keep the sail working for another couple of seasons but I wonder how many folk would just use it until it came apart and then get a new one. I have recently ordered a new jib, which I intend to keep for open meetings and the Nationals, and they're not cheap; a new mainsail is a pretty penny too. Taking care of your sails is not only good for the bank balance but it is also a safety issue - a sail coming apart at the seams is not much use when you're out on the water in a dinghy as you can't just change it. So take care of your sails folks. This jib is going to see a lot more use before it finally ends up as a garden shade.

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