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Old 02-04-2019, 23:50   #1
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Silly question - sail cover and new sails

I'd been using my old main sail cover that came with the boat just fine. Recently I got a new cruising mainsail with Challengge 7.88 cloth. Its so stuff. I can't flake it very well, especially at the radial patches around the cringles, clew, head and tack.

My old mainsail was so old that it felt like 4-5oz fabric. I had no problem covering it with my cover, which may be designed to be used on the old school roller furling boom (wraps around the boom), though I never used the furler. I always hand-flaked it, tied down, then covered it.

I've been told that eventually with use, the sail will 'break in' and be more cooperative to flaking and stowing.

Right now only the top 1/3 of my sail is covered -- I bungeed and tied down the cover so it'll at least stay on. I'm thinking about getting a canvas tarp to cover it better. It breaks my heart to leave my brand new sail out in the elements.

Should I go ahead and get my cover modified? I do have some sunbrella lying around from a boom tent I no longer use (built a hard bimini). That being said, as it currently sits, I can't imagine any reasonable cover fitting over it. Three reef points and radial reinforcements at the cringles aren't helping.

Thanks in advance.

Bristol 30 S/V Sonora del Viento
Dancing with Sonora
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Old 03-04-2019, 20:03   #2
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Re: Silly question - sail cover and new sails

If the sail doesn't come near covering the sail, it's probably time to get a new cover. The new sail will get a bit softer with age but not all that much.

Peter O.
'Ae'a, Pearson 35
'Ms American Pie', Sabre 28 Mark II
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Old 03-04-2019, 20:25   #3
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Re: Silly question - sail cover and new sails

Yeah I'd do whatever it takes to cover it or stow it below when not sailing. Sunlight and salt is the enemy of sails... I'd certainly give that old bimini a second shot at life, if it is sufficient.
1962 Columbia 29 MKI #37
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Old 04-04-2019, 19:28   #4
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Re: Silly question - sail cover and new sails

Our sailmaker suggested that sail covers can degrade and let a lot of UV through after a few years, even if they continue to keep the rain and the wind off. He stitched another layer of more UV-resistant cloth on the inside of our cover the last time we had it in for a once-over. A new double-layer sail cover may be what you need.
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Old 04-04-2019, 19:54   #5
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Re: Silly question - sail cover and new sails

We have some friends who make their own mains'l covers, and use the double layer method, as well. FWIW, the darker sunbrella colors absorb more UV than the outer. I have extended the use of old mainsail covers by opening the center seam, and putting in an insert that then gives the two sides adequate length. The piece to insert winds up being shaped like an elongated kite (because it has to fit the mast end, and be long enough at the boom end, but needs less fabric there). Such a mainsail cover is also easy to make from scratch. Boom bags with lazy jacks, well, look at SailRite's discussion. We have made a boom bag with provision for lazy jacks, what I like best about it is that the bunt is controlled when one is reefed down. And, they have a tidy appearance. Some places you really need air circulation around your stored main, and there, perhaps the open-at-the-bottom mainsail cover is better.

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Old 04-04-2019, 20:07   #6
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Re: Silly question - sail cover and new sails

We, really my wife, purchased the sailrite kit, it went together well, lazy jack slits included. We needed it because of our new main sail for our Bristol 29.9, would recommend it to you.

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