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Old 07-07-2016, 19:25   #1
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Leaving mainsail exposed

I'm working on a new sail cover with a friend, but we aren't going to have it finished in time for a planned trip my family is taking this summer.

Max exposure the sail will get is a month in the Michigan sun.

My gut tells me it will be fine, but thought I'd check for second opinions here.

Leaving the sail off and going with the jib alone wouldn't be the end of the world. Weather looks like we are going to be motoring on the way there anyway.

Thoughts?
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Old 07-07-2016, 19:35   #2
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

Get a cheap tarp and wrap the sail, tieing the tarp with chain knots all the way down the boom.

Now you are exposing a $12 (or cheaper) tarp and a cheap rope instead of a $$$$$$ mainsail.
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Old 07-07-2016, 21:36   #3
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

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Originally Posted by TurninTurtle View Post
Get a cheap tarp and wrap the sail, tieing the tarp with chain knots all the way down the boom.

Now you are exposing a $12 (or cheaper) tarp and a cheap rope instead of a $$$$$$ mainsail.
What he said
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Old 07-07-2016, 22:29   #4
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

Math is simple. A new dacron cloth has somewhere like a year, maybe two worth of life in sunlight. By leaving it uncovered for a month, you use up 5-10% of that lifetime. If a new sail is, for argument's sake, $2000, this decision costs you somewhere in the ballpark of $150.
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Old 08-07-2016, 11:01   #5
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

A year in the sunlight? Really? Some of my sails are at least 17 years old, all have seen much use as we live and cruise aboard, and I'm confident they's seen far more days in the sun than 1 year. While I'd love a new main, I plan to get at least another year or two out of it before I replace it with a used sail. We're obviously not racers, nor have deep pockets, but we aren't sailing with raggedy bedsheets either.

Nonetheless, I agree with keeping your sails covered - why not do something as simple as that to extend the life of you sail? And, for a month, a tarp will do a lot of good.

JOSO, and YMMV.
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Old 08-07-2016, 11:06   #6
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

Quote:
Originally Posted by chad.lawie View Post
I'm working on a new sail cover with a friend, but we aren't going to have it finished in time for a planned trip my family is taking this summer. ..............
.............

Thoughts?
My thought is for you to stay up a night or two after work and finish making the cover. You aren't precise in how long off the start of this trip is. Can you accelerate the production of the cover?
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Old 08-07-2016, 12:57   #7
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

Won't make enough of a difference to worry about leaving the sail uncovered for a month. If you can get a tarp or something that won't crowd the boat too much, go for it. Other than that, have a nice sail. Personally, have had sails up for nearly a month on long passages many times and the sails still lasted for years. Usually it's the stitching that goes before the cloth. The cloth doesn't seem to fail as much as it stretches out of shape that dictates replacement. Talking Dacron not the high tech laminates which are way more degraded by UV.
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Old 08-07-2016, 13:17   #8
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

Take any cheap stuff and cover the sail. Anything, even an old sail or a polyethylene tarp.

UV kills your sails. Cover.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 08-07-2016, 13:52   #9
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

is your friend.
Actually, a sail cover shouldn't take that long to make, you could make the basic cover now, and add the straps and such later.
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Old 08-07-2016, 14:57   #10
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

Or, get with the program and finish that mainsail cover! Yeah, I know.

Still, I got a "kit" from Sailrite, which included all the fittings, Sunbrella, and thread. Did it on my 1968 Kenmore in a day or so. Gave Sailrite my boom length and they sent me the fabric with the cut lines marked on the fabric, and step by step instructions (and a video online) that took most of the guesswork out of it.

I hot-dogged it a little and used white thread on the navy Sunbrella...gotta get those stitches extra straight. Came out great.

Before I put the fasteners in, I took the cover to the boat and marked where I wanted them, so there wouldn't be places right where the boom vang or mainsheet attach. Then, returned home and put in the common sense fasteners.

Am I annoying?
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Old 08-07-2016, 15:12   #11
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

What about using the old mainsail cover? If none, then the tarp will work. The deal about leaving it exposed, tied down on the boom, is that the UV that gets to the sail,while it is tied down, strikes mainly on the top panels at the head of the sail. So you'd create an excess of weakness there. It strikes differently, more evenly, not only on the head of the sail, while the sail is up.

Ann

PS. I made my first mainsail cover a long time ago, and so I don't remember how long it took, but I feel certain it was less than a week, most of the work done on the weekend, as I had a job outside the home, at the time. It is basically all straight stitching, and a simple logical construct. Anyhow, if you prioritize it up, the best would be to finish it off, before you go.
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Old 08-07-2016, 17:01   #12
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

Ann, I nominate you for the title of "Seamstress of the Forum." I'm really impressed by your evident skill and advice on all topics that you speak to, but particularly anything to do with cloth.

--Tim.
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Old 08-07-2016, 17:23   #13
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

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A year in the sunlight? Really?

Let's agree on "low number of years"? Pretty sure that it's not much longer than a year or two in the East Med. Sunny all the time, and close to the equator.
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Old 08-07-2016, 17:57   #14
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

When I am actually on the boat and moving the sail cover stays below most of the time. A tarp that is big enough to double as a boom tent would be my choice.
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Old 08-07-2016, 18:22   #15
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Re: Leaving mainsail exposed

Last time I looked (OK, I googled it a few minutes ago.) Tripoli, in the southern Med was at 33 deg North, about the same latitude as Cape Hatteras and L.A, not arctic, but a ways north of the equator.
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