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Extending the Life of Your Sails
Tips From the Pros at Quantum Sail Design Group
All sail fabrics are weakened by UV light. Protect sails from unnecessary exposure to sunlight by using UV covers along the leach of roller furling jibs and genoas and mainsail covers when not under sail.
Avoid prolonged luffing and flogging (motor with your sails down, unless the sails can be filled).
Protect sails from chafe. Make sure spreader and lifeline stanchion patches are correctly placed. Seams and batten pockets are especially vulnerable. Apply adhesive Dacron anywhere broken stitching or soil indicates repeated contact between sail and rigging.
Be sure spreader tips, cotter keys, etc. are all well taped.
Carry adhesive-backed Dacron sail tape for emergency repairs and follow-up promptly with a permanent repair.
Replace broken or missing battens immediately. Carry spares.
Use specialized sails in their designed wind range. If you have a question on wind range consult with any Quantum® loft.
Never back a genoa against a spreader.
Avoid over-tensioning the halyard (too much tension creates a gutter or trough along the leading edge of the sail). Remember to ease the halyard when the apparent wind velocity drops.
Be sure that roller-furling sails are well secured when leaving the boat. Cleat the furling line, take an extra turn of the sheets around the sail, and secure both sheets.
Periodically rinse sails with fresh water. Annual professional washing is recommended.
When cleaning your own sails, avoid harsh detergents, solvents, and strong chemicals. Only use products with a neutral pH. Do not scrub sails with a stiff brush or anything abrasive.
Flake or roll sails (do not stuff) whenever possible for storage.
Store sails dry.
For off-season storage, be aware that mice can do serious damage. Lessen the chance of rodents getting into the sail bag by suspending it from a rafter or overhead hook. Or place a few mothballs inside a mesh bag and place inside the sail bag. Your Quantum service technician may offer onsite storage or have suggestions.
Mildew is not damaging to sails, but is unsightly. It can be removed from Dacron by applying a mild solution of Clorox and warm water. Clorox damages Nylon and Acrilan. Do not use Clorox on spinnakers or furling sails with Acrilan UV protection or covers.
Avoid sail cleaning offers that say they will put the “sizing” back into your sail. This is a temporary stiffening and is often accompanied by aggressive cleaning methods that may shorten sail life. The stabilizing finish on new sails is only achievable under controlled heat and pressure to the fabric before the material is cut and formed into a sail.