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Old 25-07-2006, 18:12   #1
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Mold

About February, we got our mainsail back from "Sailcare" ... they did a wonderful job of cleaning & re-resining it ... I would highly recommend them. Anyhow ... in an effort to save a little room in the interior, I put the sail on the boom where it belongs, under a cover. About 45 days later, I looked up and thought "could that be mold?" 2 weeks after that, I pulled it off the boom and found that roughly 2/3rds of our nice white sail was now covered in black mold.
We have very high humidity here (near 100%) and the temps have been in the mid 90's ... but ... the sail cover did provide for ventilation ... and I'm a bit surprised at this. Then again, nice new lines on the traveler are showing black mold as well, and they are uncovered. Is anyone else having similar problems? If so, what are you doing about it?

Bob & Lynn
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Old 27-07-2006, 08:37   #2
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Mold Eliminator

I too have had this same mold problem in SW Florida. I employ an ultrasonic mold eleiminator similar to the ones used to repel rodents and mosquitoes. The little mold buggers just jump right off my boat when I turn it on. Since Wahoo Sails is berthed right along side my boat I guess he is getting all the mold bugs that are fleeing my boat.

Richard
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Old 27-07-2006, 09:36   #3
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Black mold is probably 'artillery fungus' whick comes from trees.

Im on the Chespeake which has similar high humidity problems. To remove mold from my sails I 'spritz' on a detergent with a "sodium silicate" base, cover with a plastic tarp and let soak. The soaking will 'dissolve' the mold cells and leave them vulnerable to release by gentle scrubbing with a long handled soft brush. You can use chlorine bleach but that only kills the mold and leaves the cellular debris to become the nutrient source for other species of mold, etc. Sodium silicate based detergents wont affect WHITE woven dacron polyester - dont do this to laminated sails and NEVER clean a mylar sail this way. Thorough rinsing is needed to release the mold and detergent. I do this with the sails on the boat - slowly raise the sail as I 'spritz', cover, slowly raise while scrubbing, cover, slowly raise while I blast away with a water hose. Once scrubbed, for any remaining 'shadow stains' I apply a diluted mix of oxalic acid and water (also removes tannin stains) then thoroughly rinse. I do this on a cool, humid, windless day so the mix doesnt dry out ... soak time is important.

Caution: dont do this if you have bare teak decks or other exposed bare teak as the caustic detergent will lift off all the dead UV destoyed surface cells from the teak .... sodium silicate is also know as a moderate 'teak etchant'. Sodium Silicates will also strip all the wax from the gelcoat ... so you will need to re-wax the boat.

For areas inside and outside that routinely form mold, I simply use a modern version of the 'whitewashing' that was successful for our ancestors for thousands of years .... I simply lightly spritz on the sodium silicate and let it dry. Mold wont propagate on a surface that is 'caustic'.

If possible, I never ever cover or furl my sails unless they are completely dry. For roller furled sails I usually apply APSEAL 303 Fabric Guard (better than Scotchguard) as a water repellent over the 'suncover' portions --- keeps the sail from 'uptaking' water when furled. Dont confuse with APSEAL 303 UV Protectant.

Hope this helps.
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Old 28-07-2006, 16:14   #4
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Sodium silicate?? That's also called "waterglass" because it dries like a thin layer of glass, used for fireproofing and radiator anti-leak but I've never heard of it being a detergent base. You thinking of sodium perborate or something else maybe??

I'd be afraid to use sodium silicate on sails, because any residue would leave glass-leak crystals, like salt crystals that can abrade the material.

But mold that bad sounds like the sails weren't thoroughly rinsed, and something left on them made for good mold food. Mold & mildew loves soap residue, making me think they weren't rinsed well enough before they came back to you. A good soaking & scrubbing will get it off...and I'd expect some salt spray on the sails would help KEEP it off.<G>

Mandatory sailing!
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Old 28-07-2006, 19:33   #5
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Sodium Silicate based detergents is what Ive been using for the past 25 years. And no you dont let it dry out. I dissolves the cellular make up of the mold/mildew/mycelium .... thats why its so damn effective. Sodium silicate based detergent followed by a copious rinse followed by oxalic acid, then rinsed will return a woven dacron sail 98% back to new condition ... wont harm the polyester and wont harm the filler/plasticizer.
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Old 28-07-2006, 20:57   #6
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Huh, live and learn. Are those specialty products or just supemarket labels I've never read closely enough?
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Old 29-07-2006, 08:02   #7
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Sodium Silicate based detergents are usually found in janitorial supply sources. Occasionally you'll find them in marine supply, sometimes "Worst Marine". The 'brand' on the East Coast of the US that keeps showing up in chandleries is: Tuff-eNuff.
Oxalic acid is simple 'wood bleach' .... found in hardware stores and paint shops ... (probably not in 'eco-nazi' places).
:-)
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Old 29-07-2006, 15:05   #8
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Hmmmmmmm ... first ... Ricardo ...BASTARDO!!! So that's where it all came from!!
On a more serious vein, Google shows more than 1000 types of black mold in this area ... and the trees here are definetley different from the Chespeake ... so I wouldn't presume which exact mold it is.
A friend here works for an insurance agency that deals with mold ... they will not accept bleach treatments, instead insist on white vinegar!!! Vinegar has become my close personal friend For what it's worth, Oxalic acid (another of my choice products) is plant based & 100% natural ... and water neutralized!
Bob
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Old 29-07-2006, 15:43   #9
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Oxalic acid is also found in the supermarts as "Oxo" and "Bartenders' Friend" both sold alongside the other cleaners and scouring powders, they're good for removing rust stains as well.
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