Sailors, especially those venturing offshore, do well to live by the “always be prepared” motto of the Boy Scouts of America. A comprehensive sail repair kit is a good place to start. Here’s what Quantum’s National Director of Service Charlie Saville recommends.
Having the tools and materials you need to fix your sails in a pinch is a must. So, what are the most essential sail repair items to carry while offshore? We’ve put together a simple list to start with. Your local sailmaker can help supply all the basics and discuss further customization based on your yacht and sailing type.
To start, here are some of the questions you’ll need to consider with your sailmaker:
How long will you be offshore? The longer the trip, the more time should be spent on a proper sail fix with stronger materials. If you only take day trips, a quick fix will suffice until the sail can be brought to land.
Will you be racing or cruising? Racing and cruising sails are designed with different purposes and often have different materials. Your sailmaker will make sure you have the right materials to keep you safe.
What type of sails do you have? Are they Dacron or membrane? Similar to the racing/cruising question, it will help dictate some specifics for your kit.
Is it worth bringing your own sewing machine? Any boat over 50’ should consider having one. Click here for the sewing machine Charlie Saville and his wife took on a three year voyage.
After you’ve got the above materials, set up an appointment with your local loft. They are happy to walk you through a few emergency repair techniques and make sure you know what everything is used for. Practicing a few repairs (perhaps while out sailing to create similar conditions) is an excellent way to familiarize with your kit.
Check back next month to see explanations and photos of the most common onboard repairs.