SAIL AND COVER SERVICING
As you will appreciate sails and covers are a considerable investment towards any boat, sadly they do not last forever so looking after them is of utmost importance. We recommend that sails and covers are serviced regularly, for most owners that would be annually and the winter is often the best time for this.
Sails can be maintained by checking for damaged stitching, chafe, damaged hardware defective UV strips, delamination in laminated sails etc. This inspection is done by ‘grovelling’ over the sail on ones hands and knees checking every part, every panel and every stitch of the sail.
The key areas we look for is to check every row of stitching including edging tapes and seams, we check for chafe on the luff rope under all luff slides on mainsails and Mizzens and under hanks on headsails, we check the batten pockets for chafe and wear and also check that their method of location is in good condition and that the battens cannot easily escape. We check all areas that are likely to come into contact with the rigging or stanchions and guard rails. We also check that the webbing attachment loops or straps and their stitching are in good condition. For covers we also inspect all zips and fastenings to ensure they still work and check the windows for splits and tears.
Roller reefing sails left uncovered will deteriorate very quickly even in the UK climate and eventually simply rot away. It is essential that roller or furling headsails are either covered by the form of a dedicated Genoa Sock, or removed altogether or for most of us fitting UV strips on the leech and foot (the exposed parts) of the sail.
We fit Odyssey (a lightweight and UV Stable) polyester fabric to the leech and foot of the sail and this offers protection for most boats for between 4-6 years in the UK (less in high UV areas. Odyssey is the industry norm material for UV strips and has little adverse effect on the shape on the leech and foot of the sail. If the sail will be used in high UV areas like the Mediterranean or the Caribbean we recommend either heavier Sunbrella acrylic UV strips which last longer in the UV exposure but does have an adverse effect on the sail shape or Weathermax which is very light and soft having little adverse effect on shape and excellent UV properties. We can also use Tenara Thread.
Normal sewing thread eventually degrades and fails due to salt crystals and UV exposure. Tenara thread is completely unaffected by UV radiation, salt water, acid rain, industrial pollutants and cleaning agents and has a 15 year guarantee. For a long lasting cover especially for use in high UV areas we recommend upgrading to Tenara thread. http://www.contender.co.uk/Products/TenaraThread.aspx
This inspection and any subsequent required repairs are then done by a professional sailmaker and if any significant work is required beyond the normal wear and tear we contact the client and talk though the options first before proceeding.
Sails should always be stored clean and dry and neatly folded or rolled in a warm and dry environment ready for use next time or next season. Dart Sails can offer a free storage facility after service work assuming the invoice is settled within 14 days.