Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sail Repair 101

After we got over the shock of ripping a sail, we got down to business. We borrowed The Sailmaker's Apprentice from Pisces and read up on patching sails. Of course, our situation was different than any of those discussed, but still fairly basic. The jib foot had caught on the bow pulpit life line connection and created a 9 inch vertical tear with the Dacron parted but the foot tension line still intact. Early the next morning we pulled out all of our sail repair gear and our sewing machine, Elna, and lured Jacob with his sail loft experience over to our boat. After discussing the rip and our options we followed Jacob's recommendations (backed by his old boss as well!) and used our butane hot-knife to melt the rip and burn a rectangular 22" X 3" piece of Dacron for a patch. We then added basting tape and placed the patch perpendicular to the foot of the sail, still encompassing the entire rip diagonally. We used 4.4-oz material and folded it in half in order to patch both sides of the 7.5-oz Dacron sail. Elna worked like a champ with a #100/16 needle and #69 polyester thread. As preventative maintenance, we plan to improve that patch by adding Insignia (adhesive backed Dacron) material over both sides of the quite large area that chafes on our pulpit. Yay! First sail repair mostly complete!

While we had all the repair gear out and Jacob still there, we decided to tackle an issue that happened somewhere on the Outside. Our lowest hank spur grommet had pulled free of the material so the hank was chafing directly on the leech of the sail. This turned out to be a bigger job than the first. We used the hot-knife to cut out the old material and to cut 2 patches out of 7.5-oz material (borrowed from Pisces). The inner patch was 3.5" X 3.5" and the outer patch was 5.5" X 5". Elna's limit was reached and she was unable to sew through four layers of 7.5-oz Dacron. Lucky for us, Jacob offered to pull out their SailRite machine designed specifically for sail making. It powered through those layers and gave us sewing machine envy. Still there was more work to be done. Chris spent what was left of the afternoon making our die tool which was not quite the right size work with our spur grommets. Three grommets and several curse words later, voila! Now our new improved sail is better than ever.

Although it was a little intimidating to have to repair such an important sail, over all we are happy to have had the experience. Not only is our sail in better shape that before we started working on it, we got to go through our sail repair kit and realize what we had that was good and what we still need. So, added to the project list is beefing up the sail repair kit. Much thanks to Pisces for sharing all their knowledge and supplies as well as encouraging us (specifically Shawn) throughout this project. Of course we hope that you will come to us first if you want to use Elna to embroider something... Thanks you two!!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Guys! We just got your postcard of our wedding RSVP and it was so great to not only get written word from you two but also to be reminded of that great day in September! We miss you! Glad to read you are sailing the seas with a righteous posse of scurvy dogs and feisty kittys! Sending you our love and best wishes!
    Maggie and Hata