Basic Sail Care Tips, these tips apply toward all sail materials from Polyester Dacron to Carbon.
Avoid Flogging: Flogging or leech flutter breaks down sail cloth in a hurry. The best way to maintain the performance and overall life of your sails is to reduce the amount of time spent flogging. A couple ways to reduce flogging is to minimize the time spent motoring into the wind while hoisting your sails, reduce sail in heavy wind to maintain control, keep enough leech and foot cord tension engaged to keep the edges from fluttering.
Reduce Chafe: eliminating or reducing chafe will add many miles to your sails. We can eliminate chafe by covering cotter pins and ring dings with tape especially on our lifelines and shrouds. Reduce chafe by the use of spreader patches and stanchion patches on your genoa and avoid loose lines and halyards rubbing on the mainsail. Any part of the rig that contacts your sails is a potential hazard, once a small tear occurs it doesn’t take too much to make it a large hole that can grab part of the rig and keep you from sailing safely.
Protect from UV Degradation: Direct sunlight is one of our biggest enemies. Always cover your sails when not in use, furling genoas should have a UV cover sewn to the sail or a zippered sock covering the rolled up sail. Mainsails should be flaked and covered on the boom and specialty sails bagged and down below.
Store sails dry and folded: When your sails are not in use, they should be stored dry, folded, and bagged. If you have the storage space, rolling sails helps to eliminate unwanted hard folds and reduces “shrink” from multiple creases. Try to avoid folding your sails along the same creases every time, hinging may occur and cause the sail material to crack and fail.
Don’t Exceed Recommended Wind Range: Another aging factor is excessive load on your sails. This could happen from using your sails in too much breeze or in the wrong angle. Try to stay within the recommended wind range of your sails to keep them from becoming “Blown Out”.