Q: What is the best way to
clean my sail? I have a 6 year old Dacron mainsail that has gotten kind of
dingy over the years and it also has a few stains. One spot looks kind of
oily and a couple of places it has rust stains.|
A: The best way to clean the sail
yourself is to lay it out somewhere like a driveway and wash it with soap,
water, and a soft brush. Something like Simple Green works well. This will
take off most of the dirt and oil spots. For the tough spots you can use a
one part bleach to ten parts of water solution, (1:10). For rust stains
you will need to use oxalic acid. You can buy it at most supermarkets in
small bottles that are used for removing rust stains from fabrics. The
stuff I use comes in a brown bottle and is called "Whisk Stain Remover".
You just put it on and let it sit for a bit, no scrubbing, and it will
oxidize the rust stain. Afterward you always want to rinse the sail really
well to remove any cleaning residues. Let the sail dry be leaving it
laying out, turning it over from time to time to get totally dry. One of
the worst things you can do to a sail is to hoist it up and let it flap
around in the wind to dry.
If the sail is really dirty, stained,
or mildewed you can bring it into the loft and have it professionally
My new mainsail has a loose foot and I have never sailed
with one before. What are its advantages and how should I be using it? It
also came with a long strap that has Velcro on both sides that was
attached to the clew. What is it for?
A: A loose footed main gives you
a much wider, and easier, range of adjusting the amount of shape there is
in the bottom part of you mainsail. With just the outhaul you can pull the
foot tight making the main much flatter, or ease it off and make it as
full as you want. Generally going up wind in medium air when you are not
overpowered the out haul should be ease enough so that the foot of the
mainsail in the middle is about 3" to 4" away from the boom. As the wind
increases tighten the outhaul to make the sail flatter and reduce power.
In light air and choppy conditions you can ease the outhaul a little more
to make the sail fuller and more powerful. Do the same thing on reaches
and going downwind.
The Velcro strap is to hold the clew
down to the boom in place of a slug that slides inside the groove on the
boom. It should go through the clew ring and around the boom at least 3
times and tight enough so that the clew ring is just above the boom. The
reason we provide them is that they will slide on the boom much easier and
with less friction than an outhaul slug slide.
I have a Catalina 30 and am looking for a new furling
genoa. What is the best cloth and construction for the sail if I use it
only for recreational and local cruising?
A: For your boat and your use I
would stay with a good quality Dacron cross-cut genoa. It is both the most
affordable and will give you the longest life. Something in the 6.5 oz.
range should last you for 10 to 15 years depending on how much you sail.
It will need a UV furling cover sewn on the leech and foot to prevent UV
damage while the sail is rolled up. You may also want to consider adding a
foam luff pad which reduces the extra shape as you partially furl the
sail. This allows the sail to be "reefed" down to a smaller size as the
wind increases and still keep a very useable shape.
I am looking to replace my 10 year old #3 jib on my
Lapworth 36. Here is a page on my boat
http://l-36.com/papoose.php. With the jib car on the rail, the
sheeting angle is very broad so I am thinking of installing an inboard
track. I have some choices. I can take a high cut sail and thread it
between the upper and lower shroud or I can get a low cut blade sail and
bring it inside all the rigging. The forward lower it the interferer that
needs to be worked around. This gives me three options with three
different sheeting angles. My question is, what is an ideal sheeting
angle for a boat like mine? Do you have a recommendation vs my three
options? This is a very old boat but I do race it in beer can races races
and classic wooden boat races. I would want the sail to be useful for
both racing and day sailing. I do not cruise in that I do not go anywhere
overnight, just sailing for the fun of it.
A: For an older boat
that doesn't have a modern keel there is no reason to sheet the blade
tighter than 11 or 12 degrees. However that will still mean a sail that
just comes to the mast and can be sheeted so that the leech is inboard of
the spreaders. You should be able to sheet it outboard of the forward
lower and inboard of the upper shroud. In heavier air when you need the
blade the leeward forward lower will be loose enough that it won't prevent
the sail from being sheeted in tight. The sail should be full hoist on the
luff and the clew should be around 14" to 16" off of the deck. It is
important that at least the front 1/2 of the foot comes down to the deck
to seal it off.