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Old 26-12-2021, 13:20   #1
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Genoa repair

Hey everyone,
Completely new to boat ownership and sailing. So much so Iíve bought a boat that Iíve never sailed. Going over a few things to be ready this spring or when the weather is better I see my genoa has some loose stitching. Can this be restitched? Stitched on a sewing machine? I have my mother in law that is very proficient sewing. Any specific Iíve thread to use? Any other advice? Thanks all in advance!
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Old 26-12-2021, 15:26   #2
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Re: Genoa repair

Hello, Matt,

Before you take it to your m-i-l, take a #2 pencil, and see if you can drive the point through the cloth. If it pierces it, the cloth is shot, and you'll need a new sail. Try a CF Custom Google search (under the Search button), for used sails, as there are a few outfits that are reliable that sell them, and we've had threads on the subject. You'll need to stake out and lightly stretch the sail somewhere with a big lawn to get the measures for the luff, leach and foot, to determine the size sail you need.

Yes, sail cloth can be stitched on a home sewing machine, but often a walking foot is helpful for the thicker areas, like the clews. It will depend on the machine she has. You should understand that the needle pokes holes through the fabric, so unless the holes line up, you will then have a "tear along the dotted line" situation if the cloth is too old. Dacron damages from UV exposure.

There is basting tape made for sail work (double sided sticky tape) that she should use to hold the fabric together -- if it passed the pencil test-- and then re-stitching the seams is easy, even though rolling up the fabric to get it through the throat and having someone to help feed it may be necessary. The leech would be stitched last. You can buy a palm and really heavy thread if the clews need any work, and do that part by hand. If necessary, a heated icepick can make holes for you to hand sew through. She should use proper sail thread, comes in big cones, V 96 weight and UV treated, needs a 18 needle, and the largest zig zag stitch her machine has. If it only will take a 16, then someone else would have to stitch it.

You can also take it to a sailmaker, they'd be able to see if the sail is worth fixing, and explain why not. You can tell a lot by the feel of really old dacron, but I am not wordsmith enough to be able to tell you. The sailmaker can show you.

Ann
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Old 26-12-2021, 15:57   #3
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Re: Genoa repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattw24 View Post
Hey everyone,
Completely new to boat ownership and sailing. So much so Iíve bought a boat that Iíve never sailed. Going over a few things to be ready this spring or when the weather is better I see my genoa has some loose stitching. Can this be restitched? Stitched on a sewing machine? I have my mother in law that is very proficient sewing. Any specific Iíve thread to use? Any other advice? Thanks all in advance!
mattw24, the number of seams that have let go indicates to me that this sail was exposed to uv (sunlight) quite a bit and the thread is weakened. So that means that the other seams are also weakened. As mentioned above, you need to determine if the cloth has any strength left before embarking on a repair.

If you do decide to repair it I'd say it's beyond the capability of a mother in law with a household machine. What is would need is a nearly complete re-stitching, and it should be in zig-zag stitches with heavy duty thread and a heavy duty machine. That would generally mean a sail maker.

BUT, there is another worrying sign. In at least two of the photos there has been a long tear in the cloth, not at a seam, which was hand stitched without any patch applied. This indicates to me that the cloth is weak. A sailmaker will surely tell you it is not worth re-stitching.

Even if you get the sail back together it will tear again someday when you are out in strong winds and that is not only a nuisance but can be a safety issue.
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Old 26-12-2021, 17:03   #4
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Re: Genoa repair

I agree it looks pretty ratty, wingssail. And previously re-stitched, as well, if you look at the bit near where the cloth was hand-sewn and then not patched.

However, the OP doesn't know, and I don't feel certain it's all UV damage, though it could be. The fabric looks "old" to me, like polyester gets that sleazy, really worn "hand". But I don't know how to describe that sense of the cloth.

I feel pretty sure the sailmaker would be able to show him.

I guess it is hard to explain why old, worn, cloth is just "history".

This point that you made is singularly well taken: "BUT, there is another worrying sign. In at least two of the photos there has been a long tear in the cloth, not at a seam, which was hand stitched without any patch applied. This indicates to me that the cloth is weak. A sailmaker will surely tell you it is not worth re-stitching." Maybe it got snagged on a spreader or some such, as well as UV.

******

Matt, you've just had pretty detailed descriptions from two very long term cruisers who do almost all their own sewing of boat stuff.

What is your plan, now?

Ann
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Old 26-12-2021, 17:54   #5
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Re: Genoa repair

Thanks all. Before going through all the repair work and not wanting to throw good money after bad what are a few good options to source new sails? I assume a new set properly cared for could last quite a while. My main sail does not seem to have these same issues but certainly not new.
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Old 26-12-2021, 18:45   #6
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Re: Genoa repair

Hum that looks pretty cooked to me. Go to Sailrite web site and look for thread and have your mother in law watch a couple of videos on how to cross stitch. Not all sewing machines will have the clearance or walking foot for a nice tight stitch. While you are at it, buy double sided tape from them to help the panels stay together and avoid baggy patches. Unless she has an industrial sewing machine, stay away from any leather parts at the corners, or saw more than 4 layers of DacronÖshe might not be so friendly if her machine gets dislocated or her foot breaks.
Since this is your first boat, I say patch the sails, see if this current boat is a long time commitment, and only if you want to keep the boat longer time get new sails or recut sails from your local loft.
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Old 26-12-2021, 18:52   #7
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Re: Genoa repair

Some people sail with Dacron sails that are more than 20 years old, though UV degradation and wear & tear can shorten that period. On our old boat we had a Dacron main from a sailmaker who went out of business around 1985. We used it in a heavy air (30+ knots) race and it tore along a batten seam. We had it repaired afterwards and continued to use it as a delivery sail for another ten years before selling it with the boat in June. The new owner hoisted it for the trip to his home port instead of the other three in inventory.
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Old 26-12-2021, 19:09   #8
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Re: Genoa repair

So they may be worth sewing and see what happens from there? I am the type of person that my time with my kids at home is limited and want to enjoy as much time as possible without trouble. I don’t want a problem on the water so assuming they are patched well I may not experience too many issues is what I am gathering. Worst case It doesn’t work not out a whole lot and then buy new correct? Thanks again thus far all!
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Old 26-12-2021, 19:39   #9
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Re: Genoa repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattw24 View Post
So they may be worth sewing and see what happens from there? I am the type of person that my time with my kids at home is limited and want to enjoy as much time as possible without trouble. I donít want a problem on the water so assuming they are patched well I may not experience too many issues is what I am gathering. Worst case It doesnít work not out a whole lot and then buy new correct? Thanks again thus far all!
Matt, sadly I can't agree with this conclusion. My observation of the sail as depicted is that the cloth is well past its use by date. IE, the UV damage has weakened the whole thing to the point that restitching and patching will not keep it together long. As a novice, the last thing you want is to be caught in a gust that blows the whole thing to ribbons... and that is not hard to envision.

My suggestion is first that you tell us what design the boat might be. This will tell us lots about what sort of sail is acceptable as a replacement for you. You will get lots of appropriate advice... lots! Then, I suggest checking the web sites of the various used sail lofts in the USA (I'm assuming that's where you are... it would be good if you filled out your profile in full while you are at it). Two that I know of are Bacon in Annapolis and Minney's in SoCal. Both have BIG inventories of used sails, and both have impeccable reputations for accurate and fair descriptions of their wares. Prices for usable sails can be as low as ~20 % of new, and offer great value for a learning sailor. I bought several sails from Bacon when still in California and was happy with each one.

IMO there is little to be gained by buying new sails at your stage of development. Their characteristics will be more appreciated when you are a bit more learned about trim!

Good luck

Jim
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Old 26-12-2021, 19:50   #10
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Re: Genoa repair

So I am located in Missouri. I imagine I won’t have many if any lofts near me and would have to order most everything in. I have a 89 Catalina 25 tall mast wing keel. The headsail is a furling jib. Thanks Jim!
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Old 26-12-2021, 21:00   #11
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Re: Genoa repair

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Originally Posted by mattw24 View Post
So I am located in Missouri. I imagine I wonít have many if any lofts near me and would have to order most everything in. I have a 89 Catalina 25 tall mast wing keel. The headsail is a furling jib. Thanks Jim!
OK Matt, that helps quite a lot! Catalina 25 TMs are common enough boats that I'm sure that used sails will be available, properly designed for that specific yacht, and that really helps. No having to fudge a few inches here, a few inches there!

And roger on the Mo location! But I think there is Conestoga service between there and Annapolis, and Bacon's terms are that you get a few days to try the sail on for size and fit, and if unhappy in any way you can get your money back. In general their ratings are quite conservative, for it does them no good at all to have folks saying that the "really good condition" sail was in fact a rag, and blabbing all over the web!

Have fun with the Cat 25. My second boat was an early (hull 61) Catalina 22 swing keel. I sailed the hell out of her in the SF Bay and NCal coastal waters, plus trailer trips to Santa Barbara/Channel Islands and a month long cruise in the Canadian Gulf Islands. You can have a lot of fun and learn heaps with boats like those!

Jim
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Old 27-12-2021, 08:01   #12
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Re: Genoa repair

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OK Matt, that helps quite a lot! Catalina 25 TMs are common enough boats that I'm sure that used sails will be available, properly designed for that specific yacht, and that really helps. No having to fudge a few inches here, a few inches there!

And roger on the Mo location! But I think there is Conestoga service between there and Annapolis, and Bacon's terms are that you get a few days to try the sail on for size and fit, and if unhappy in any way you can get your money back. In general their ratings are quite conservative, for it does them no good at all to have folks saying that the "really good condition" sail was in fact a rag, and blabbing all over the web!

Have fun with the Cat 25. My second boat was an early (hull 61) Catalina 22 swing keel. I sailed the hell out of her in the SF Bay and NCal coastal waters, plus trailer trips to Santa Barbara/Channel Islands and a month long cruise in the Canadian Gulf Islands. You can have a lot of fun and learn heaps with boats like those!

Jim
Mr. Jim, Any advice on what to do with the old sails assuming I can find a replacement? Also, which size genoa is appropriate 110? 135?
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Old 27-12-2021, 12:26   #13
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Re: Genoa repair

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Mr. Jim, Any advice on what to do with the old sails assuming I can find a replacement? Also, which size genoa is appropriate 110? 135?
There are a couple of organizations that make bags and such from old, donated sails. I've seen them repurposed as sun shades, and in the Pacific islands there are a few places where local fishermen use them actually as sails on their canoes... suitably refitted by local talent! In your location I doubt if there is any useful disposition and the local tip may be the only destination.

As to size, it depends upon what the typical winds are where you sail. If on the lighter side, a 130 or so would be useful, in places with stronger breezes a 110 would be better. Your tall rig means that you can get by with a bit smaller headsail. On our 22, sailed mostly on SF Bay where summer afternoon winds are typically 20-30 knots we used only a working jib (~ 110 LP but nowhere near full hoist) nearly all the time... and we were racing fairly seriously. Eventually carried both a 150% and a kite... and a much smaller jib as well. This was, of course, long before furling headsails were around. Your furler will allow use of a single sail over a larger wind range, but don't think that a big genoa, rolled up a long way, will be an effective sail.

Have a good time with your boat, and keep us informed as to your progress.

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Old 27-12-2021, 13:16   #14
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Re: Genoa repair

We use old sails to rake leaves into and for painting dropcloths.
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