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Old 14-09-2016, 22:30   #1
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Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

Hello, i havent done any sail repairs before, cant even sew my ol blue jeans.
Does anyone know of a good repair kit and any other tricks and preventive care for different types of sails.
Kindest regards
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Old 14-09-2016, 22:33   #2
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

You can do quite a lot with stickyback.
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Old 14-09-2016, 22:39   #3
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

Thanks, is it as strong as sewing.
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Old 14-09-2016, 22:53   #4
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

Big stuff we leave to the professionals, but for minor repairs and temporary/urgent fixes, we have a sewing awl - slow/steady, but super-strong results.
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Old 14-09-2016, 23:04   #5
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

No professionals at sea.

I use contact cement and spare sail cloth. I never sow. Sowing can rip unless you can hand sow zig zags. Contact cement has flex in all directions.

But... Hey, this is the internet. I am wrong.



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Old 14-09-2016, 23:26   #6
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

First time I used sail tape I thought it had no chance of working under load because it's so thin. And I doubted it's ability to stick.

Amazing stuff, works great.
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Old 15-09-2016, 01:29   #7
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

1 – Read a lot on the subject, including picking up The Sailmaker’s Apprentice
2 – Get hands on time sewing, even if it’s not sails, nor with a machine necessarily. Just work on the basics.
3 – Talk with a, or several sailmakers. Tell them your sailing & sewing goals. Ditto on budget, as well as your current & desired tools (machine or not, etc.).
Also discuss doing a brief or extended apprenticeship with them – which may entail your picking up a machine. Usually it needn’t be a fancy one, nor expensive. Craig’s List ones are great.
4 – Put together your kit, assembled to your level of expertise & tools. Or a level or two higher if you’re going off on a long trip. Knowing that there will be times when the damage to sails & other things onboard will exceed your skill level. But that you’ll find others who know how to fix your stuff, & may be willing to mentor you too. So that having the supplies to work with will be helpful. Just as if you have a bigger medical/first-aid kit than you personally can use everything in it. But that you neighbor the paramedic is more than handy with.

If you tell us some of the above, plus the type of boat(s), setup of her sails & their attachments, when you’re heading out & where, etc. It’ll let us sketch out a list of recommended materials & hardware for you. And at the moment I'm too undercaffeinated to do a basic list. But such lists are not hard to come by. Though they need to be tailored to you.

Get familiar with basic sewing, & pick up a mid-level palm, some double-sided sticky back tape, plus a tube of sailmaker’s needles. Then do a bit of practice on anything you can via the information in the suggested book. And via other info sources that you run across.
The big difference between making sails & any other sewing, is in the handwork & materials. Both of which are covered in the above book.

Also, like Mark J says, Contact Cement can be handy, as can 5200 Fast Cure. Though get some practice with them first. Including picking up an old sail or 2 to use for this, as well as to have some cloth on hand.

Ditto on 44'cruisingcat's rec. on the sticky backed sail cloth, AKA insignia cloth in sailmaker speak. Along with plenty of extra rubbing alcohol for drying sails at sea after you clean the spot to be patched with soap fresh water, & a rinse. The alcohol displaces the water & dries in an instant, so that you can then put on sticky back cloth.

The sailmaker, & the book will have suggested threads for you. As well as lists of materials & hardware to get. Most of which you can find online, & or via a sailmaker. Who’s expertise will be invaluable if you speak to a good one, who preferable has or works in a small, private loft.
Also go to the sailrite website. In addition to using the search function on here.

The above should cover you for basic repairs. And once you get some hands on time, you’ll flesh out your kit. Just as you would do for any blossoming skill.


PS: Make time to take some classes. Both on basic sewing, as such works on many onboard projects, sails included. And also take one from a sailmaker/loft. Such as at Port Townsend Sails, the Port Townsend Wooden Boat School, a community college, or anything similar. And ask us if you’re having trouble sourcing any of the above.

Also, there's a sewing sub-forum on CF which is accessible via the Community Tab (I think).
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Old 15-09-2016, 01:43   #8
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

Uncivilized: many tx, a great post!
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Old 15-09-2016, 02:10   #9
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

Thanks Clint, you made my day...
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Old 15-09-2016, 04:36   #10
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

Check out "The Marlinspike Sailor" by Harvey Garrrett Smith which is available in ebook form or as a .pdf from a number of sources.

Great book full of wonderful illustrations and instructions for all kinds of salty looking rope and canvas work. Very old school but it's good to have some background knowledge about how things used to be done to put the modern world into context. Plus can be just plain useful sometimes.

Includes instructions on how to hand-sew a ditty bag which is a great first project for anyone who has never sewn and produces a practical object to store all your sewing tools. Link below to a how to make a ditty bag using a sewing machine and another one on how to make a sail makers palm using a penny, a cork, and some scrap leather.

Create Your Own Waxed-Canvas Ditty Bag - Man Skills
Duckworks - Take A Penny And Build A Sailmaker's Palm
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Old 15-09-2016, 04:47   #11
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

I am all for sticky back, great stuff.

That said if you are planning on crossing oceans and such it can't hurt to pick up some basic tools and skills. They don't cost much. I have had to repair about eight feet of torn leech and panel seams at sea that simply would not have been possible to do with sticky back. A ball of waxed thread, a palm, and some needles will take you far.

I have heard the stitch below called a couple different names. It is a great one to know because it allows you to repair a tear in fabric where you cannot gather the fabric to overlap it. I learned it as a teenager and have used it numerous times throughout my life. Good one to have in your bag of tricks.
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Old 15-09-2016, 04:56   #12
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

Sailrite - Fabric, Canvas, and Sewing Machines Since 1969 has an excellent video on hand sewing.
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Old 15-09-2016, 04:58   #13
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

Ditty Bag.
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Old 15-09-2016, 10:38   #14
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

Cruising Compass article today under Boat Rat Tips is on sail prepare and shows a kit easy to put together.. Ted.
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Old 15-09-2016, 15:00   #15
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Re: Best sail repair kit and helpful hints required

For a small damage, I make a two sided insignia patch. This can be applied on a sail set, as long as it is dry.

For a big damage, I use 3M 5200FC, then patch with insignia over-patches. This takes some hours to set (24, if you can afford this much). Stronger than original once dry.

Both methods work on dacron and laminates. Spectra sails seem the most difficult to glue on, but these are the most difficult to damage too!

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