Did you know that you should fold your mainsail, Genoa, or jib sailboat sails at least once every sailing season. If you sail on a racing sailboat, each sail should be folded at the end of each race. This will increase sail life and save you big $$$s in replacement costs. Follow these five simple learn to sail tips to success.
All sails are coated with a layer of resin. Cruising boat sails have a softer feel–called “hand”–and use less resin than racing sailboat sails. This makes cruising sails easier to handle, more durable, and allows you to stuff them in a sail-bag while cruising.
Racing sails are much less durable. They come with a heavy surface coat of resin, or use one of the high tech fibers like Mylar. These stiff surface coats help sails hold their shape better in light to moderate winds. But they will break down fast if not cared for.
After cruising or racing, remove the sails from your boat. Follow these five steps to keep your sails in tip top shape:
1. Remove Leech Battens
Before you fold a mainsail, remove traditional or full length battens. Although you could fold these into the sail with care, a batten will stress the sail.
2. Find a Flat, Clean Surface
Lay the mainsail or headsail onto grass, the pier, or a clean floor space. If it’s windy, move the foot of the sail upwind. This will help control the sail as you fold it.
3. Fold the Sail like an “Accordion”
Have a partner help you. Each person should hold one corner of the foot. Reach up along the edge of the sail. Grab the edge and pull it down to the foot of the sail. Now, hold the corner of the fold, reach up and grab the edge again and pull it down over the first fold. Continue this process all the way to the head of the sail.
4. Roll the Sailboat Sail
With the mainsail, move to the edge with the tack. Roll the mainsail from the tack to the clew. With a headsail, move to the edge with the clew. Roll a headsail from the clew to the tack. Mylar or high tech sails should be stowed flat if possible. If you don’t have room and need to roll them, start at the foot and roll to the head.
5. Bag with the First Attachment On Top
Slide the sail into the sail-bag so that the first attachment point lies on top when you open the bag. In the mainsail, the clew should be at the top of the bag. On a headsail, the tack should be at the top of the bag. This makes the sailing crews job faster and easier when they bend on sails the newt time you want to go sailing.
Now you know five valuable sailing tips that will breathe new life into your sailboat sails for many years to come. This will save you money and your sails deliver maximum performance in power and speed–wherever in the world you choose to go sailing!