Sail cloth is woven out of Dacron thread, treated with a resin filler
and then calendared through hot rollers to make it flat, hard, and
nonporous. The worst condition to which a sail can be subjected is to
let it flap, or luff, while the boat is on shore or tied to a dock. This
will knock the filler out of the sail and break down the bond between
Dacron sailcloth is a hard,
dimensionally stable material under normal temperatures and pressure. It
will deform at temperatures over 160 degrees and eventually break down
and burn at higher temperatures. This means a cut, such as a boom vang
slot, can be made with a hot knife or soldering iron and the edge will
be fused at the same time.
LOWER YOUR SAIL WHEN NOT IN USE
It is best not to roll the sail around the boom after a day of
sailing. Remove the sail from the boom and allow to dry if wet. Remove
the battens (if possible) and fold the sail prior to putting it in the
DRYING - When possible, dry sails out of the sun. While Dacron is not
nearly as susceptible to the ultraviolet rays of the sun as nylon, it
should not be exposed any longer than necessary. The greatest danger is
a possib1e~ shrinking of the luff rope, which in some sails is nylon or
a similar stretchable synthetic. Do not hang
sail to dry ~W lay flat. After sailing n salt water, rinse sail with
fresh water to remove salt deposits.
CLEANING - Dacron sails can be cleaned by spreading them over a large
clean area, or simply immersed in lukewarm water in a bathtub. Remove
battens before cleaning. Use a soft scrub brush and a mild detergent or
Ivory soap. Never use a washing machine. Detergents with a neutral ph
factor will not tend to set certain types of soil rather than remove
them. Always scrub in line with seams. After scrubbing, rinse sail with
plenty of warm water to remove all soap before laying flat to dry.
STORAGE ~W Never put sharp creases in your sail when folding for
storage. Fold and roll the sail as loosely as possible in the direction
of the battens. Store sails dry to prevent the formation of mildew. When
storing for the winter, use an accordion fold with the folds parallel to
the foot. Store in a sailbag in a dry, cool place. Be careful, as rats
and mice have an appetite for Dacron sails.
MILDEW - Mildew is caused by storing soiled sails wet. While it does
not affect the strength of Dacron, it is unsightly and should be removed
early to prevent spreading through the dirt and moisture left in the
sail- a good reason for keeping the sail clean. To remove mildew, brush
the area with a stiff brush to remove as much as possible. Place
infected area in a solution of 1% bleach and cold water for about two
hours. Wash thoroughly and rinse with fresh water. Repeat if necessary.
To remove rust stains, soak stained area
in a solution of 2% hydrochloric acid and warm water. Or, soak the
stain in oxalic acid for 15-30 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
You can get oxalic acid powder at a drug store. Use manufacturers
recommendations about the amount of water to cut it with.
Another method is to wash
the stain in hot, sudsy water (with some bleach added), then rinse and
dry. Moisten the stain with lemon juice and salt and let it dry in the
sun. Rinse in warm water.
To remove blood stains soak the stained portion of the sail in a
solution of cold water with a cup of ammonia to
one half gallon of water. If, after treating, the
stains are still present, dampen the sail with a 1% solution of
ammonia in water, allow to stand for about 20 minutes and then
thoroughly rinse stained area. Another method is to scrub the stain
with a concentrated mixture of dry detergent and warm water. Make
the mixture as thick and pasty as possible and apply it to the
stained area with a brush. Let the mixture stand on the stain for
about 15-30 minutes to let the detergent work, and then rinse with
warn water. If the stain is still there, treat the stained area with
a mild bleach and warn water and then re-rinse.
Always finish any stain treatment by washing and rinsing the sail
with fresh water.
REPAIR - Periodically inspect your sail for broken threads, batten
pocket wear, sleeve wear, and chafing around the headboard in tack
areas. If excessive wear is evident, contact a local sailmaker for
repair. A temporary repair can be made with spinnaker repair tape or
white rigging tape.