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What's in a Sail Check?

Your sails are an investment and with proper care, you can expect many years of satisfaction and enjoyment. Quantum's Global Director of Client Care, Charles Saville, describes what our sail professionals look for during a multipoint inspection.

As referenced in another recent article, annual inspections, sail care, and service not only help maintain sail performance, but also extend the lifespan of your sails, limiting potential disasters. Getting into the habit of getting a sail inspection every year is the first line of defense against small problems turning into bigger, more expensive issues later on. 

Often the best intentions to get your sails in for service during the off-season frequently get tucked away with the sails themselves, and transform into surprise problems come spring when you’re ready to hit the water. Recalling back to a binding clew block on your furling mainsail, some frayed stitching on the head of your spinnaker, a tattered UV cover, or a worn bolt rope can quickly escalate. To provide the highest level of sail care, we believe it’s not enough to simply identify the needed repairs. Our service technicians are trained not only in the painstaking process of inspecting a sail, but also collecting additional information to help identify the source of the problem. Making the sail repair is just the start; helping you address the root cause, reducing future repair costs, and minimizing potential downtime is the ultimate solution. The Quantum team takes great pride in going above and beyond to provide exemplary service.

So what exactly goes into a Quantum sail check?  

  • Inspect all attachment points of the sail. Take a close look at corner attachment points, luff tapes, luff hardware, headboards, clew rings, and reefing systems (including headsail roller-furling, in-mast furling, and boom-flaking methods). Investigate any chafe or damage at these points and evaluate suitability for continued use 

  • Look over all edges of the sail. So much can be gained in understanding the life of a sail by examining its leech, which can provide insight into any stretching or misshaping, or potential UV damage. We inspect the entire perimeter to gain a better understanding of the sail’s history, which in turn helps shape our recommendations for repair or upgrade.

  • Evaluate entire sail for chafe, tears and damage, including not only the body of the sail but also batten pockets, leech reinforcements, etc. We look to see if there’s a pattern to the chafe, evaluate why it’s happening, and not only fix the sail, but also advise you how to prevent the damage in the future.  

  • Assess entire sail for UV damage.  Some exposure is normal, so our trained technicians understand when exposure has developed into a larger problem. Sacrificial canvas UV covers are essential to increase longevity of your sails, but those UV covers need regular re-stitching and replacement as well. 

  • Examine all accessories on the sail for proper function and continued use, including draft stripes, Dutchman Systems, batten pocket tensioning systems, control-line pockets and cleats, sail numbers, windows, tell-tales, etc. If it’s on the sail, we’re going to inspect it thoroughly. 

  • Evaluate the cloth. Dacron and technical laminated sails have very different parameters that determine lifespan. We analyze where the sail is in its lifecycle, evaluating how the lamination is withstanding use. By judging how the material is holding up versus the age of the sail, and understanding your sailing style, we can give you a better analysis of its remaining useful life and make the appropriate recommendations.

The best way to ensure you get the longest life out of your sails is to have them checked annually for the above criteria. When problems are identified early, there’s a higher chance that our trained sail experts can make the necessary adjustments and repairs to prolong the use of that sail. 

Sail checks can also indicate other potential rigging or tuning issues based on evidence of wear. A simple annual sail check can save you money by avoiding replacing sails more often than necessary, and ensure you don’t lose valuable time on the water waiting for replacement sails. Contact your local Quantum representative to schedule your next sail check.

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