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Old 28-02-2015, 22:28   #1
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Life of Sails

Read in an article on cruisingworld.com the following equation and wonder what people on the forum here think about that:

"A reasonably well-treated woven polyester sail that has been maintained regularly will last 3500-4000 hours."

So let's assume you cruise full-time
Let's say on sailing days that's about 12 hours per day, about 12 days per month.
That adds to 1728 hours per year or 2.5 years life of sails.
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Old 28-02-2015, 22:46   #2
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Re: Life of Sails

I reckon that their formula leaves out the variable of how it is used: high UV or not, strong winds or not, lots of reefing/unreefing or not... these sorts of things surely alter life expectancy.

Data point: Our last mainsail, premium woven dacron, tri radial, plied cloth in high load areas lasted ten years of full time cruising, during which we sailed just at 40,000 miles. It had some restitching and leech repair near the end of its life. The shape had begun to be noticeably lumpy at the join between plied and non-plied panels, but wasn't really awful yet. We did quite a few miles with two or three reefs in, and we are not too careful about crushing in the clew area, especially at night. We had no failures except the webbing on a few sail slides, and a few nylon slides breaking... all easily fixed in situ.

YMMV! A lot, I suspect.

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Old 28-02-2015, 23:00   #3
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Re: Life of Sails

That actually sounds overly optomistic to me. Unless you are rincing the sail off with fresh water after every use, drying it, and storing it in air conditioning.
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Old 28-02-2015, 23:11   #4
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Re: Life of Sails

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
That actually sounds overly optomistic to me. Unless you are rincing the sail off with fresh water after every use, drying it, and storing it in air conditioning.
Why of course that is exactly what we did to achieve that life time for the sail.

Doesn't every cruiser do that?

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Old 28-02-2015, 23:14   #5
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Re: Life of Sails

Oh, BTW...

When we bought our new Hydra Net main, the sailmaker took our old sail, did a couple of cosmetic repairs and sold it on for further use. It is now serving as a delivery sail on a race boat, still logging the miles.

I bet they also rinse, dry and store the sail after every use...

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Old 28-02-2015, 23:47   #6
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Re: Life of Sails

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailabroad View Post

"A reasonably well-treated woven polyester sail that has been maintained regularly will last 3500-4000 hours."
I think we need a definition of "last."

I estimate the mechanical condition of the sail (tears, rips, UV deterioration) is much longer than sail "shape/performance."

For performance - A top racer will replace the sails for each regatta. A "serious" racer each season. most of us flung what we brung.

Rich cruisers probably replace based on some personal balance blend of deterioration and performance.

"Economy" cruising sails are pretty much used until there is more patching than original sail - LOL

There are lots of ways to abuse a sail. Using it is one. Not using it and storing on the boom/furler is another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
That actually sounds overly optomistic to me. Unless you are rincing the sail off with fresh water after every use, drying it, and storing it in air conditioning.
Damn - Aircon and watermaker needed for the boat. To be used only by the sails not master or crew...

For reference as a weekend warrior I estimate we put on 400-500 hours a year. based on the "serviceable" condition of our 9 y/o mainsail I reckon that 3600-4300 is about right.

I admit sail abuse as it only gets fresh water "washed/scrubbed/rinsed" at haulout. It lives its life in the boom cover.
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Old 01-03-2015, 00:09   #7
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Re: Life of Sails

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
That actually sounds overly optomistic to me. Unless you are rincing the sail off with fresh water after every use, drying it, and storing it in air conditioning.
OK, if you think that's too optimistic how long would you say sails last.

Yes there is some subtle differences to 'last' but let's assume we talk cruising not (professional) racing.
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Old 01-03-2015, 00:16   #8
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Re: Life of Sails

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Originally Posted by sailabroad View Post
OK, if you think that's too optimistic how long would you say sails last.

Yes there is some subtle differences to 'last' but let's assume we talk cruising not (professional) racing.
I don't think individual people's definition of last is at all subtle or consistent - cruising or racing.

Some people will think a sail "lasts" until a seam rips. Some will think it lasts until the belly sags.
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:47   #9
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Re: Life of Sails

I don't know how long sails will last. All I can say is that my OEM 14 year sails can still have my 43' boat at 7 knots in 15 knots wind and that is good enough for me
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:44   #10
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Re: Life of Sails

When I bought my boat the original sails were 20 years old and had been stuffed not folded for their lifetime. They still felt somewhat crisp. while I had them I resewed them completely, every seam, as the seams had started to come apart. I met a lot of cruisers who religiously folded their sails with sharp folds and laid them in their storage area. And yet Dacron lasts a lot better crushed than folded. Mac
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