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Old 10-07-2010, 16:08   #1
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Lightbulb How to Repair Sails

Here's the situation. Our local sail loft (500nm away in Dubai) has closed down. So, the yacht fleet has, on the whole, been replacing damaged and worn sails with new ones from Thailand. It's about time for most.

However, the dinghy fleet is reluctant to do that, since the hulls are also ancient, so buying new sails seems a bit extreme!! So, I now have a pile of half a dozen sails (Hobie jibs and Dart mains) on my lounge floor which need patching and repairing.

- I tested the machine out, having had it repaired last week. It won't take sail thread, but it will take premium thread. This worked well on a previous repair by someone else (but the patch fabric was badly chosen - it disintegrated!)

- I have allocated the oldest Dart main for sacrifice to make patches.

- For rips - I intend to glue (will wetsuit glue work? It's what I have!) the patches to either side of the sails, then zigzag around the edges.

- For batten pockets which have worn out - pretty much the same, but obviously I'll have to turn hems, and can only stitch along the edges of the patches.

Does this sound about right?? Any advice?

PS - I know this isn't a beach cat forum - but what the heck - you guys are WAY more useful than anyone else on any other forum anywhere!!! Also, I've volunteered (god help me) for this on the basis that it'll be good practise for when we're cruising! Besides, we cruise on the beach cats too! So that's my justification for asking for help here!!
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Old 10-07-2010, 16:45   #2
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Quote:
- For rips - I intend to glue (will wetsuit glue work? It's what I have!) the patches to either side of the sails, then zigzag around the edges.
That should work assuming it remains pliable, which of course it should. If you get a chance, invest in some sail repair tape which comes with adhesive backing, next time you are in a well equipped destination.

Sail Repair Supplies from Sailrite
Hand Sewing Supplies - Sail Repair Kit
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Old 11-07-2010, 00:42   #3
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Going cruising? Get some sail repair tape. Bainbridge sells it up to 6" wide; in Hilo I got some from an upholstery shop (!) - the local sail repair place - that was 10" wide, but I can't find any reference to that width now on the Internet. The wide stuff allows you to make more "aggressive" repairs, and you can always cut it down to 2" strips with ordinary scissors.
There are different repair tapes for dacron, nylon, and kevlar material.
And sew the tape on as well as adhere it.

Michael
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Old 11-07-2010, 02:02   #4
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Originally Posted by svcambria View Post
Going cruising? Get some sail repair tape.
And sew the tape on as well as adhere it.
Michael
We used to have some. It was bought by the guy who owned the yacht before us. But no-one was ever allowed to use it - I think they wanted to keep it in case a sail ripped during a race (in fact it was used once - in a race). It has been so well guarded that noone knows where it is now.
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Old 11-07-2010, 03:53   #5
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Stuff the stitching! Thats got flies.

We just glue with contact adhesive.
Work the contact adhesive (buy a HUGE can of the stuff, its cheap that way ) and I use a spatula, actually a 2cm wide metal scraper and work the contact cement into the fabric of both the sail and the patch. Work it in deep. Just a thin coat and let it dry. then repeat the process and after the final coating has touch dried the press the patch onto the sail.

When the whole thing is dry we often run a hand stitch around the edge just to pretend we are professionals but its the glue that does the work

Our old mainsail died and we had at leas 10 large patches on her before she finally blew a few months ago (we have a brand new Rolly Tasker main ready for action)

NEVER did one of those glued patches come off or need re-repairing.

Mark
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Old 11-07-2010, 05:04   #6
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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Stuff the stitching! Thats got flies.

We just glue with contact adhesive.
Work the contact adhesive (buy a HUGE can of the stuff, its cheap that way )
NEVER did one of those glued patches come off or need re-repairing.

Mark
Nice to have you back, hope you enjoyed your last leg. Any more marble streets? Or communal loos????

Anyway - what sort of contact adhesive do you normally use? I have UHU for leather and stuff, and wetsuit glue (Seament) - both seem OK but I've never used either for heavy duty stuff.
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Old 11-07-2010, 05:54   #7
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sail patching

try using 3m 5200 quick dry. This was recommended in a North Sails newsletter. I have patched rips on bo0th sides and when dry stitched.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:51   #8
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A few years ago, there was an articial in a respected magazine that tested out different methods of sail repair. They found that 5200 bonds to dacron stronger than stitching. We have used it to repair sails and found that we works great. We know of one boat that repaired thier mainsails foot using only 5200. They have a Sail Rite machine on board but it was unable to get the needle through the 8 layers of sailcloth and straps. The 5200 is stull holding and they were last seen sailing from Long Island Bahamas back to the states on this repair. This is not a dingy but a 40+ cruising boat.
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Old 12-07-2010, 23:34   #9
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Originally Posted by Aaza Dana View Post

Anyway - what sort of contact adhesive do you normally use? I have UHU for leather and stuff, and wetsuit glue (Seament) - both seem OK but I've never used either for heavy duty stuff.
Use what the hardware store has in a can that would be used in industry for shoes, leather, lamionex benchtops etc. Its basicaslly all the same stuff brownish yellow goop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roberttigar View Post
try using 3m 5200 quick dry. This was recommended in a North Sails newsletter. I have patched rips on bo0th sides and when dry stitched.
5200 is extreemly expensive. I am talking about getting a 1 litre can for the price of one small tube of 5200 where thhe can would last forever and you use one tube of 5200 per repair.
Also remember with 5200 that once the tube is open you need to use the whole lot as it will cure inside the tube.

Mark
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Old 13-07-2010, 02:10   #10
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OK, it's done. It wasn't UHU cement, it was Pattex - same same. So I glued the patches on, and they're holding just fine (although they haven't been sailed with yet). But, I think I'll sew them a bit, if only to put my newly repaired machine through it's paces.

I made butterfly patches for this one!! It's a repair for a mate - and her mum told me that when she was younger, if she had to make a different coloured patch, she'd sew butterflies all over her clothes. So that's what I've done. I hope she sees the funny side, and likes the surprise.
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Old 13-07-2010, 05:48   #11
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If you want to learn a rather more professional way of doing this, have a look at the videos available from www.Sailrite.com[ Their recomendation is the use of double sided tape (availble from them in different thicknesses and at different strengths to suit different materials).
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Old 14-07-2010, 08:23   #12
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Will do - I also saw some great sail making videos on You tube, courtesy of Expert Village.
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Old 14-07-2010, 10:03   #13
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3M 5200 FC.

Patch some 1 inch each side of the repair. Apply patches to both sides. Wipe the sail with acetone first. Cannot be re-done with sewing later on (needles will break).

Sticks like hell, waterproof, magic.

b.
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Old 15-07-2010, 04:19   #14
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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
3M 5200 FC.

Patch some 1 inch each side of the repair. Apply patches to both sides. Wipe the sail with acetone first. Cannot be re-done with sewing later on (needles will break).

Sticks like hell, waterproof, magic.

b.
Why will the needles break??? Unless the needles simply aren't strong enough, of course....
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Old 15-07-2010, 09:53   #15
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Why will the needles break??? Unless the needles simply aren't strong enough, of course....
Make a test repair as described, then try to mow it with the machine and see for yourself.

Maybe a commercial grade with finger-thick needles won't, but a standard machine needle is probably not up to the job when it meets with 4 mm of Sika layered with 3 pieces of dacron. If you go slow it gets stuck, if you go faster, the needle breaks.

Then again, note that once the 3M repair is done, there is no further need to sew it, not now, not ever. And the repair IS stronger than sewing. Unsightly? Perhaps, if you are a messy worker.

BTW Important note - the repairs I have made were on dacron, for nylon or spectra you have to try and test as both are very slick and I do not know how well they bind with 3M.

BTW2 The sail can be wet but must be clean, clean it with acetone dipper rag before repairin (the acetone will take most of the moisture too). Personally, I will apply insignia cloth (again - 1 inch larger than the dacron patch) to keep the repair immobilised, both sides of the repair.

Can be done anywhere and in any conditions provided the sail can be dragged down below for about 24 hrs. It is ready to re-use after that (only if you use the FC, normal grades of Sika/3M dry much longer (!!!)).

barnie
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