Looking after your sails is an important part of the maintenance programme on any sailing yacht and a good relationship with your chosen sailmaker will be the key to making the right decisions in terms of major enhancement projects and sail replacement.
Minor repairs can be achieved onboard with a good sail repair kit, a selection of suitable sail cloth self adhesive patches and tapes and a knowledge of basic stitching and patching techniques.
General principles of setting up your patch or repair:
Ensure that the sail cloth is dry, free from any puckering and laid out in its natural shape before applying any self adhesive tape.
The general rule is to apply self adhesive tape on both sides of the hole/tear.
Cut off square corners into a rounded shape to minimise the chance of the point lifting and peeling back.
Use a zig zag stitch around the edge of the patch on medium and heavy weight polyester (Dacron) sails - for patches equal or greater than approximately 15cm x 20cm, it is advisable to sew a reinforcing X stitch pattern.
Select the appropriate size needle and waxed thread for the weight of the sail - use a palm to assist in pushing the needle throught the sail cloth.
Avoid stitching lightweight ripstop unless it seems absolutely necessary - use a fine needle and thread in order to keep puncture holes to a minimum.
Do not attempt to sew laminate sails - use only an appropriate glue or self adhesive sail repair tape.
Use a straight stitch to sew around the edge of any polyester webbing used for reinforcement and an extra X pattern if the webbing will take any meanignful load.
Jimmy Green Marine offer Sailmaker Repair Kits which are ideal for minor onboard jobs.
The kit includes an adjustable palm, selection of different size sail needles, a spool of waxed sewing thread and and a block of stiffening and lubricating beeswax.
These are all available individually
Jimmy Green also offer the world renowned Stewart design Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl together with spare thread, bobbins and needles.
Sail Repair tapes and patches are available for all types of sail cloth.
Jimmy Green offer a range of useful additions to your onboard sail repair armoury which are listed on different pages:
- Sharp Scissors
- Sharp Knife
- Heat sealing gun