Jotz Sails


Sail Care Tips by Hank Jotz

Storing Sails

General: Dry dacron sails between use if possible. Sails stored in a sailbag with the top open will dry out. However, spinnakers are best dried out before being put in a bag. Storing sails in a cool location minimizes shrinkage.

Rolled: Rolling sails up after cleaning and drying is the ideal way to store sails. The easiest way to roll the sail is start at the head, rolling to the foot. If the rolling is done parallel to the seams, the battens can remain in the pockets. Leaving the battens in the pockets substantially reduces stitching wear.

Folded: For sails that cannot be rolled easily or carried as a roll, the best option is to fold them accordion style parallel to the foot. Then roll to fit into the sailbag. Try folding in a different place each time so that the cloth wears evenly.

Loose in Boat: Sails laid out loose inside a boat is a fine way to store them if the room is available. Crunching unfolded sails in a bag is the least desirable storage method unless the sails are old and soft.

Sail Cleaning

Washing: Rinse sails with fresh water to remove dirt and salt whenever possible. Sails left with salt water on them become wet again anytime the weather becomes humid. Wet sails and sails with residual salt water on them may become moldy when left onboard a damp boat. Never put sails in a washing machine or iron them!

Spot Cleaning: If creosote, grease, or oil get on a sail, acetone or thinner will take most of the spot off. Nothing will completely remove the stain. Dirt spots and shroud marks can be partially cleaned with a sponge and warm soapy water. Rinse off the soapy water thoroughly with fresh water.

Sail Maintenance

Sail Wear: When folding or rolling sails, check for places of frequent wear such as both ends of the batten pockets, around the head and clew of mains, and around the clewpatch and places where shrouds and pulpits chafe threads on headsails. The best way to check a spinnaker is when it is flying.

Rigging Maintenance for Longer Sail Life: Make sure that spreader tips, shroud connections, turnbuckles, and the forward surface of the mast are smooth. If any surface is too sharp to rub your skin against, it is too sharp for sails. Check all cotter pins on the boat to protect sails and crew against cuts. Taping over rough spots is a short-term remedy. The best solution is to cover rough spots with leather.

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