So you’ve just received your new sails for the season… here are some handy tips from Dave Dobrijevic of Dynamic Sails to help you get the maximum performance and longevity out of them.
Over the years sailmaking techniques have advanced and the sailcloth we use on our dinghy racing sails today is very different to the Dacron sails that were previously used. But how has the way we look after our sails changed?
I have been sailmaking and looking after sails since the age of 15 and take sail care very seriously, I’ve compiled a few tricks of the trade which you can use for your own sails that takes very little time at all.
The three sails you may have to care for are your Mainsail, Jib and Spinnaker. All three are subject to similar causes of deterioration such as sun damage and general wear and tear, these causes can be minimized with this useful sail care guide.
If your lucky enough to sail somewhere where the sun is shining all day, try taking your mainsail out of the sail bag just before setting afloat, your jib can also be furled and your spinnaker kept under the foredeck and out of harmful UV rays as much as possible.
Rinse all sails with fresh water and make sure they are fully dried when they are stored away. If you sail in salt water then make sure you wash the sails with fresh water after use. Salt holds moisture so the sails never completely dry without a freshwater rinse.
Before rigging your new kite check around the spinnaker chute and under the foredeck for any loose fittings or sharp edges. Does your puller have a puller sock? At Dynamic Sails we specifically make a puller sock that fits neatly under the foredeck and protects your spinnaker from catching on fittings when its being hoisted and dropped.
Storage: Its important not to just pack your new spinnaker into its sail bag without first of all folding it. Spinnaker cloth is firm and has a memory, if it is crushed into a bag it will set looking like its been packed into a bag with twisted and creased tapes that will take a while to blow out.
If you really want to look after your jib you can take an extra minute or two whilst de-rigging and ease off the cunningham tension before you roll the jib up, otherwise the luff wire can be held under a great deal of tension when rolled up.
This next one is a common mistake… when rigging up only ever furl your jib when you have enough rig tension on, as otherwise you can create a twist at the top of the rigging that can on a worst case scenario enter the mast – not what you want just before racing!
Dynamic Sails top tip: A tighter roll is better when packing your jib away, this can be made easier using a sail tie (these area available from DS) this loop of webbing keeps your jib from unrolling itself inside the bag and this in turn makes it less vulnerable to being squashed.
Check your mast track for any wear or carbon splinters that may have an adverse effect on your bolt rope.
Mainsails are particularly vulnerable to damage from spinnaker pole ends and other boats booms etc… give your mainsail a thorough check over after races, if you catch a small nick or tear early it can be easily prevented from becoming a larger more expensive repair.
Lastly, In the boatpark pull your boom out until just before it meets the shroud and tie a knot in your mainsheet at this position – this will prevent the foot of your mainsail from being caught between the boom and the shroud and causing damage while racing.
By following a few of these hints and tips I hope you enjoy your sails that bit more this year and in future years!
For more information contact:
Tel: 01243 374495