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Old 25-12-2009, 18:42   #1
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Fixing My Own Sails for the First Time.... Zig Zag Stitch Width?

Hello all,

After getting estimates for repair and replacement of the 1.25 genoa on my Pearson 26 at $300 and $900, respectively, I have decided to have a go at repairing it myself. The sail is damaged along the leech and foot from opening up on the roller furl and flogging against the forstay while at dock. The rest of the sail is in great shape, although admittedly not the highest quality, and I think it might not be worth sinking the repair dollars into it.

So my plan is to buy some dacron sail cloth and reinforce this area by covering the UV strip along the entire leech and foot. I have a strong old sewing machine and I have been practicing on it. The sewing machine does zig-zag stitches, but the maximum width of the zig-zag is 3/16 of an inch (4.7 millimeters). It is still a nice sized zigzag but not nearly as large as the existing stitch on the sail. This is my first question... will using a smaller stitch width weaken the sail by perforating it too closely? The sailmaker sewing machines offer zigzag widths up to 10mm, but I cannot find any minumum values anywhere. It seems to me that a 3/16" zigzag width would still be nice and strong, but I am hoping someone with experience can confirm this.

My next question is more of a general request for advice on this project. My plan was to cut the cloth into panels, twice the with of the UV strip, and fold them around the outside of the sail, then glue them in place and sew the panel on. Would it make sense to make the "new" UV strip a little wider than the old one to prevent doubling up and therefore weakening the stitching? Obviously I have to be careful not to alter the shape of the sail, but will the extra weight along the leech and foot affect my performance?

Any advice or experience with this type of thing is much appreciated.
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Old 25-12-2009, 19:33   #2
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The new sail cloth will not be UV protected and will wrought fairly quickly. Also you need to line up the threads on the cloth so that the stronger ones are in the correct direction for the most amount of pull. I would think you should price out a new sail. YOu may be throwing good money after bad.
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Old 25-12-2009, 20:26   #3
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I thought the UV strip on a headsail was really just an extra sacrificial layer that stayed on the outside when it was furled up. Is there something special about the UV fabric?

Most of the damage the sail took was in the form of chafe. The two layers (the UV strip and the actual sail) are separating in some spots and the stitching is also broken in a few places). Since I am just thinking of sewing an extra layer of cloth (4 oz. weight dakron doubled up over the chafed up existing double layer) the sail will still have most of its original strength, unless sewing the zig zag stitch into it would weaken it in some way. I am not talking about replacing the clew or anything... that seems fine.

The cost of the materials for this are about $100. Sure I might have to replace it anyway, but at least I will have a backup sail and I will learn something in the process. And if it comes out well it might not need replacing at all... at least that's what I'm hoping.
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Old 26-12-2009, 08:11   #4
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Sticth 2 lines of zig-zag running paralell to eachother........i2f
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Old 26-12-2009, 08:20   #5
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UV dacron is different.

Nascar Canopy Fabric - UV Dacron 6oz - White 60"
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