Looking after sails Page 3 - Sail Magazine

Looking after sails Page 3

Dacron is a tough, long-lasting cloth that has only two real enemies—sunlight and chafe. There is not a lot you can do to ward off the effects of ultraviolet light except to make sure the mainsail cover is always in place when you’re not using the boat and to check that the sacrificial strip on the leech and foot of a roller genoa is in good condition.Chafe is another matter. It likes to
Author:
Publish date:

Leech flutter in the sails might be mildly annoying to the crew, but when it’s prolonged it can gradually destroy the sailcloth. The noisy, rapid-fire flutter known as “motorboating” that often occurs when the headsail is strapped in hard for a beat is especially damaging. Don’t be afraid to tension up the leechline to get rid of this horrid noise, but don’t forget to ease it when you come off the wind.

There is a lamentable tendency to treat sheet leads as if the cars were bolted in place. It’s all too common to see boats blithely sailing along with the bottom half of the genoa trimmed correctly while the upper part of the leech is flogging away, out of the crew’s sight. This can be avoided by using the sheet leads correctly—moving them forward when the sail is reefed and also when the boat is put onto a reach. If they’re too far forward when you’re beating, there’ll be too much tension on the leech, and if too far aft, the foot will be overtensioned.

When you’re tacking, release the lee sheet early enough so the sail doesn’t catch against the spreader as the boat comes about, and sheet in quickly to minimize flogging. Don’t trim the genoa in so hard it rests against the spreader—four inches or so off is usually enough when going to windward.

Lastly, don’t overtension halyards. They should be just tight enough to get the horizontal wrinkles out of the sail. If vertical creases appear, the luff tension is too high and, if repeated often enough, such abuse can deform the sail. When you leave the boat, ease off the genoa halyard and the mainsail outhaul; leaving tension on them can result in permanent stretch in the boltropes.

Excerpted from Peter Nielsen’s Sailpower: Trim and Techniques for Cruising Sailors, published by Sheridan House.

Related

SouthernOcean

The 50th Anniversary of the Golden Globe

Here we go! The 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe, the first singlehanded nonstop round-the-world race, is upon us. On July 1 one tribute event, the Golden Globe Race 2018, will start out of Les Sables d’Olonne, France, with a fleet of 19 amateur skippers setting out in ...read more

180621-X01-Landing-Page

Volvo Ocean Race Cliffhanger

After racing over 44,000 miles round the world and battling their way past the world’s great capes, including the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, it’s all come down to the final 700-mile leg from Gothenburg, Sweden, to the Hague. Brunel, Mapfre, Dongfeng: going into the ...read more

Stearns Photo

Racing the Solo Mac for a Cause

There are plenty of reasons to do a Chicago-Mac race, and Rich Stearns, who has done literally dozens of ‘em should know. This year, though, he’s doing the Solo-Mac for an especially important reason: to help those with prostate cancer.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comRafting dangerOne unseen danger when sailing yachts lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they happen roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash ...read more

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more