Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 12-05-2011, 05:25   #1
Registered User
 
simonmd's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Sant Carles, S Spain
Boat: 30ft Catalac 900 "Rubessa"
Posts: 876
General Safe Working Life of Sails ?

A boat im interested in buying is 16 years old and has the original set of sails. Now, I've always been led to believe that the safe working life for sails is about 10 years so I have some concerns and would like to hear some opinions.

I know it's bit like like asking 'how long is a piece of string..' and obviously their usage and general condition is the main factor but this boat has been very lightly used, never done any long distance work, charter, etc. but do even lightly used sails have a finite lifespan?
__________________

__________________
Previous owner of a 1994 Catalac 900, now sadly SOLD
simonmd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2011, 05:38   #2
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: UK/Portugal
Posts: 20,209
Images: 2
Send a message via Skype™ to boatman61
pirate re: General Safe Working Life of Sails?

The material life is generally double that of the stitching I've found...
One of my current mains is the original main.... cloths still fairly good.... if a little grey... and not 'stretched out'... but its sure had a lotta hand stitching the last coupla years...
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2011, 08:24   #3
Registered User
 
Tynesider's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Northumberland UK
Boat: Colvic Watson
Posts: 94
Images: 12
Re: General Safe Working Life of Sails?

Quote:
Originally Posted by simonmd View Post
A boat im interested in buying is 16 years old and has the original set of sails. Now, I've always been led to believe that the safe working life for sails is about 10 years so I have some concerns and would like to hear some opinions.

I know it's bit like like asking 'how long is a piece of string..' and obviously their usage and general condition is the main factor but this boat has been very lightly used, never done any long distance work, charter, etc. but do even lightly used sails have a finite lifespan?
Hi Simon
You do not say 'where' the boat is you hope to buy. My reason for saying this is I do Pre-Buying Inspection Visits on Colvic Watsons and I find depending on where the boat is and how the sails have been kept can have a substantial baring on the sail condition.

For example here in the UK East Coast in the North sea our sails can get a bashing and often get a good soaking when sailing, rather than say the med where they may get less bashing, but have a stronger sun on them which can also help deteriate them especially a rolled up Genoa.

It is also surprising just how many people do not dry their sails after they get wet which also rapidly deteriates them.

My opinion is without seeing the present condition of these 16 year old sails is the financial factor to replace them 'sooner rather than later' should be taken into account when negotiating the final price offered, regardless of their present condition.

Hope this is of some help
__________________
Mike

Archivist for the Colvic Watson Owners Group
Tynesider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2011, 09:11   #4
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,042
Re: General Safe Working Life of Sails?

A piece of string is five years long. :-)

If sails are used regularly, figure five years young and they're still probably good, although daily use would wear them out in that time. Most sails today will have a plastic layer "calendered" into the material when they are actually new, and a good rule of thumb is that once that layer is gone, the cloth will be softening, destabilizing, taking UV damage and starting to need replacement. And if the cloth is soft enough to be used instead of cheap sheets and pillowcases...the odds are the shape is all gone from the sails, they're overdue for replacement.

You can USE old sails till they rag apart, but the difference in performance between a new sail with proper shape, and the old one that still looks perfectly good, can be radical. If you just want to do some casual sailing and speed isn't important...by all means, squeeze some extra life out of them. If you can see daylight where the stitching goes through--then the thread has sawed into the sailcloth, and it IS going to come apart on the dotted line. If someone got it right and the thread is wearing out before the cloth is, they can be restitched (with care to use the same holes!) to prolong the agony, but the odds are the shape is already distorted and it's time for new sails.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2011, 09:17   #5
CF Adviser
 
Bash's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: sausalito
Boat: 14 meter sloop
Posts: 7,260
Re: General Safe Working Life of Sails?

16 years is pushing it. You'll wonder why the boat sails like a dog, and then when you finally spring for new sails, you'll wonder why you waited so long.

There are lofts that specialize in sail repair and don't build new sails. One of those lofts could better advise you whether the material can stand up to a re-stitch and/or recut. But if you take a 16 year-old sail into a loft that wants to sell you new sails, I can almost guarantee what the verdict will be.
__________________
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
Bash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2011, 09:21   #6
Registered User
 
simonmd's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Sant Carles, S Spain
Boat: 30ft Catalac 900 "Rubessa"
Posts: 876
Re: General Safe Working Life of Sails?

Thanks for the input so far, the boat is near me in Southern Spain.
__________________
Previous owner of a 1994 Catalac 900, now sadly SOLD
simonmd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2011, 11:08   #7
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
Boat: Boatless Again
Posts: 4,324
Re: General Safe Working Life of Sails?

A sail that has spent 16 years in the sun is will be in tatters. A sail that has spent 16 years in the bag will be like new.
__________________
donradcliffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2011, 12:09   #8
Registered User
 
simonmd's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Sant Carles, S Spain
Boat: 30ft Catalac 900 "Rubessa"
Posts: 876
Re: General Safe Working Life of Sails?

I'll be inspecting them properly in the next couple of days. I'm lucky in the fact that the boat has only had two owners and i've actualy met the previous owner's son so have a pretty good idea how the boat has been treated.

The mainsail is always packed away in a proper lazy bag and the headsail has been taken down and stored below.
__________________
Previous owner of a 1994 Catalac 900, now sadly SOLD
simonmd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2011, 12:32   #9
Commercial Member
 
Mark Johnson's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: New Bern NC
Boat: Searunner 34 Trimaran
Posts: 1,565
Re: General Safe Working Life of Sails?

IMO... the issues are not as much age, as accumulated chafe and UV exposure. Did they cover the main immediately at the end of a daysail, and was the mainsail cover double thick, with a UV barrier liner inside, or at LEAST made of a VERY dark color canvass. (Dark colors of Sunbrella block 95% of the UVs, where as white, or light colors, only block about 50%)!

Has the boat been sailed 24/7 for months... accumulating YEARS of UV exposure in short order? Otherwise...

Was the roller furling headsail removed in winter, and was the "sun cover" made of a dark color & restitched as needed?

How much was the staysail used? Was it stored below 95% of it's life?

Was the STORM staysail EVER used?

My Neil Pride sails were the heavy TOUGH variety, with heavy corner & reef point reinforcements, three rows of "tripple stitching", etc. They are 14 years old, and good for another 20,000 miles yet. I haven't, however, been around the world with them.

So... It all depends!

M.
__________________
Mark Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2011, 12:37   #10
Registered User
 
swagman's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Winter land based UK New Forest. Summer months away. Making the transition from sail to power this year - scary stuff.
Boat: Super Van Craft 1320 Power Yacht
Posts: 2,175
Images: 10
Send a message via Skype™ to swagman
Re: General Safe Working Life of Sails?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
A sail that has spent 16 years in the sun is will be in tatters. A sail that has spent 16 years in the bag will be like new.
Wise words but there are always exceptions.

I've purchased a 7 year old boat with mylar sails flaked neatly and stored 'safely in their bags'. But it seems the loft was too hot, and those super 3DL sails delaminated very very quickly.

As a majority of others have already indicated, I think it makes sense to assume 16 years old fabric to be at or close to 'end of life' and factor that into your plans. If you do get more use, treat that as a bonus.


Cheers

JOHN
__________________

__________________
Don't take life too seriously. No ones going to make it out alive......Go see our blog at http://www.sailblogs.com/member/yachtswagman/
swagman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
sails

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Converting Hank-on Sails to Furling Sails Jimbo2010 Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 19 29-09-2010 14:41
Life Lines for Children to Attach to Life Jackets the_cowper Families, Kids and Pets Afloat 8 30-04-2010 12:43
For Sale: Sails, Sails, Sails - Sydney, Australia ribbony Classifieds Archive 6 22-02-2010 20:28
Safe Solvent for Sails Knowazark Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 7 16-09-2009 22:56



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:15.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.