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Old 25-02-2012, 09:39   #1
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Thread Thread - Restitch Mainsail Leech ?

My mainsail on my Pearson 26 is still in pretty good shape overall but it's showing a little wear along the leech. It looks like there's a little chafing on the hemmed edge, so that the canvas is a little frayed on one half of the zig-zag stitch, and it's mostly the more aft set of zig zag holes that are holding the canvas hem together. (Sorry I'd send a pic but I don't have the sails with me).

I think I could reinforce this edge by sewing another zigzag behind the original stitching. I still have room to do this without interfering with the leech line, which is of course running in the folded part behind the stitch.

I have a decent sewing machine, but I think it would actually be easier to do by hand since the part that needs reinforcing is only a couple feet long. I could simply mimic the zig zag pattern, but set it back about a quarter inch... Does this sound like a good approach?

Alternatively, is there some sort of product, like a flexible glue or resin, to keep a canvas edge from fraying? I guess this problem would have been avoided if they had folded the hem over one more time in the first place to hide the edge, but it seems like there should be a way to coat it with something so the fabric and threads don't get chafed or worked apart.

Any advice on this is much appreciated!
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:41   #2
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

There is a Teflon cloth tape which you can get from a Fabric store which will heat glue and resist wear on edge.
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:54   #3
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

I wonder if a sailmaker might replace that leech piece fairly cheaply giving you years more service?
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:56   #4
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

How does the heat glue work safely on a sail? Any idea what that product is called?

I guess I could just use some teflon sail tape folded over the whole leech. Tape Dacron 8oz Teflon White 5"
Although I wouldn't want to weigh down the leech too much... not sure if that would be a real issue.
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Old 25-02-2012, 11:02   #5
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

the stitching on my Genoa came undone last yr and i used this stuff sailfix Sail Repair Kit, the online home of SailFix and it worked brillantly
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Old 25-02-2012, 11:23   #6
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

I like the look of that. It seems like it's only available as "kitefix" in the US where I am located, but I imagine it would be more than strong enough for the use I have in mind. I'm not even sure the fabric part of it would really be necessary; maybe just the glue (since it's flexible) and a strip of dacron sail tape would be just as good for my purposes.

Can you tell me a little more about what part of the sail you fixed and how exactly you did it? Did you put it right over the original stitching or fold it around the sail edge?

Thanks!
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Old 25-02-2012, 11:25   #7
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

Do fix the leech, otherwise the canvas may go when the tape gets disconnetced. It is a 5 minutes job on a sewing machine, probably quite cheap fix at a local sailmaker. I would use the sailimaker as you may need one next year and you can only use one if they are still afloat!

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Old 25-02-2012, 11:36   #8
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

You can fix that on your home sewing machine, probably. Download free instructions here: Using a Home Sewing Machine for Sail & Canvas Work.
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Old 25-02-2012, 11:50   #9
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

Yeah I've made some other canvas pieces for my boat on the machine, and while it works pretty well, it's not rare for it to miss a stitch here or there and necessitate doing it over. I'd rather not perforate the sail edge any more than I have to, and it seems that hand sewing creates a stronger pattern anyway (continuous line from one side to the other rather than the looped stitch of a sewing machine.

I'll take it to a sailmaker if it's really necessary, but it seems like I could just do it myself, then apply a little glue/tape to prevent the edge from getting any worse. Would a sailmaker open the whole leech and resew the hem? Would they then have to restring the leech line and re-do the stitching around the spreader pockets? I could imagine it getting more expensive quickly...
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Old 25-02-2012, 11:55   #10
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

Hi, We restitched 6 panels of our mainsail by hand, using the original holes.
The area you have a problem with can be re-run under machine as its not a load bearing joint, the extra holes wont hurt. Use sail tape to cover the stitching to prevent future chafe. While you are about it, change your leech-line to Spectra, a huge improvement when it does not stretch.
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Old 25-02-2012, 12:31   #11
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

I'll take it to a sailmaker if it's really necessary, but it seems like I could just do it myself, then apply a little glue/tape to prevent the edge from getting any worse. Would a sailmaker open the whole leech and resew the hem? Would they then have to restring the leech line and re-do the stitching around the spreader pockets? I could imagine it getting more expensive quickly...
I'm getting mixed goals... if just needs another row of stitching alongside the other row, that ought to be a real fast job at the sailmakers. If rebuilding the entire leech is the goal, that's a diff story...
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Old 25-02-2012, 12:41   #12
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

True, I guess I just didn't see the point in using a professional if the idea I had was a reasonable approach. Just shipping it/bringing it to them sounds like more trouble than doing the sewing work myself, unless I'm likely to do an inferior job for some reason if I do it by hand.

Hey Cheechako I like your name! That means foreigner in the Yellowknife language, correct? I always considered myself more of a Kabloonah I guess...

Thanks!
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Old 25-02-2012, 12:54   #13
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

orange Crush i glued my UV strip on the Genoa (10ft of it) and i had i 9 inch tear on my main sail where the panel sitching is on the sail and i used this stuff and it work brilliantly so much so it didnt show any signs of failing in f5/6 winds last june
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Old 25-02-2012, 13:11   #14
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If you think you want to hand sew it yourself, two things.

1. You will need to invest in some special tools - a sailmaker's palm, sailmaker's needles, sail twine, and beeswax.
2. Get and read the book "The Sailmaker's Apprentice"
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Old 25-02-2012, 13:36   #15
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Re: Thread thread: restitch mainsail leech?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
How does the heat glue work safely on a sail? Any idea what that product is called?

I guess I could just use some teflon sail tape folded over the whole leech. Tape Dacron 8oz Teflon White 5"
Although I wouldn't want to weigh down the leech too much... not sure if that would be a real issue.
I'm not sure if that's a concern.

I would fold the tape over the edge of the leech that is fraying, and then through-stitch the lot with a double zig zag at either end, and a single zig zag between. Would you really need more than a few feet, or is the leech wearing along the whole trailing edge?
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