Sail Wrinkles

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Sail Wrinkles

Postby Chuck Luscomb » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:31 am

I don't know about the rest of your guys but I have struggled with a way to remove wrinkles from sails and up until today had not found a way to do it without damaging the sails.

I aquired a couple of older boats this past week and with them came a three suits of sails. One suit was a 1997 A suit from Bobs Boat Yard that had never been fitted. The Jib looked ok but the Main looked like it had been crumpled up like tin foil and stuffed into a tube. It seemed that saving it was hopeless.

Then it occured to me that if I could take the sail and tape the tack and the clew to a cardboard tube, roll the sail over the tube on the outside, I could flatten the material out as I rolled and finally tape the head to the tube as well. If I did it correctly, the sail would now be pulled tight over the tube and all the wrinkles would be gone.

Next, I had to heat the material evenly and indirectly as to not distort the cloth but get it to "relax" to the new shape ie flat. So I took a heat gun and pointed it into the end of the tube the sails were rolled on and heated the material from the inside. While this was happening, I slid the tube with the sails on it inside another tube just a bit larger than the first so the sail had about 1/2" clearance around the inner tube. This outer tube must also have a cap on the end which I will explain later. As I heated the smaller tube, the hot air heated inside the tube, heating the tube and the sail. As the air hit the bottom of the "capped" tube, it would then return back out between the inner tube and outer tube which would heat the outside of the sail.

I did this for about 3-4 min turning the tube with the sails on it to make sure it was heating evenly. When I felt like it was warm enough, I removed the sail tube from the outer tube and let it cool a bit. I removed the tape from the head and allowed the sail to roll off the tube and the wrinkles were about 90% gone. The sail material was Bobs heavier tri-spi 50.

I then tried the same proceedure on some other sails and it seemed that the process takes most of the wrinkles out without distorting the sails. They looked pretty good and certainly usable.

I have not tried this on Mylar at this point but it may help relax the wrinkles in that material as well.

Also, this process should solve the issue people are having with the foot of tri-spi sails curling up. Just roll the sail on the tube opposite the curl and heat it as suggested.

Good luck,

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Chuck Luscomb
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