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General care and handling recommendations of laminated sailcloth used in rollerfurling sails

Dear Sailor,

We thank you for letting DIMENSION-POLYANT deliver the sailcloth for your new sail.

Modern laminated sailcloth for rollerfurling sails is produced with the latest materials and ideas in sailcloth technology and has advantages of combining high stability with low weight. These are achieved by combining layers of films to various kinds of woven or non woven yarns. Although these materials, when laminated and bonded together, make ideal sailcloth materials, they require special handling, care and maintenance.

These sailcloth styles have been in continous development for years, during which time earlier problems of sailcloth selection, production methods, sail handling and sail making techniques have reached a very high level of acceptability.

In order to prolong the life of these "high tech" sailcloth styles for rollerfurling sails, we recommend attention to the following handling suggestions:

Rolling the sail:
Do not roll the sail too tight, this can cause permanent creases and inhibit ventilation. On the other hand avoid clew flutter by controlling the clew with the help of the sheet. Move the jib sheet lead forward as the sail is rolled in. As the forces of tension are significant, make sure that the tension is tight when rolling up the sail. Avoid wrinkles in the luff of the sail. (See: Halyard tension)

When rolled:
The rolled sail must always be protected against the sunlight. A cover should be used even if the sail is built out of UV-stabilized sailcloth. The cover should be constructed in a heavy, soft and breathable material which will prevent the sail from getting harmed due to fluttering in the wind. The cover shall, of course, have a system which can tie it tight around the rolled sail to avoid flutter and to keep rainwater out. When rolled up for any period of time the sail must be dry (see Mildew). Do avoid the practice of drying the sail by flogging in the wind.

Folding the sail:
If you need to stow the sail, fold it loosely and store it in a ample size sausage bag. Fold the sail parallel from the foot and upward in folds of approx. 60 to 70 cm.

Stowing or storing of the sail:
The sails should only be stowed or stored when completely dry. Avoid cramming the sails into restricted space and avoid sitting or walking on the sail. This can cause permanent creases which will ruin the designed shape. The sail should be stored under clean and well ventilated conditions.

Protection of the sails:
Before you hoist the sails for the first time, make sure that all sharp corners and ends, like turn-buckles, pins, stanchion tops, running backstays, blocks and spreader ends are well wrapped and taped. It is also recommended that the position of the spreader ends are marked on the sail, the first time you hoist it. Protect the areas with P.S.A. (Pressure Sensetive Adhesive) insignia cloth carefully applied to this area. Since the leech of the sail rises up when the sheet is eased, place the spreader patches so that 3/4 of the patches are below the point where the spreaders hit the sail when sheeted. The patches must be on both sides of the sail. Other areas of impact, like the foot of the sail, which come in contact with the stanchions must also be protected.

Halyard tension:
Sails of laminated sailcloth are generally more sensitive to halyard tension than sails made of woven conventional sailcloth. As the designed shape is built into the sail, only moderate halyard tension is needed, just enough to remove any horizontal wrinkles. Too much halyard tension can distort the design shape and even overstretch the film in the laminate.

UV (Ultraviolet) resistance:
Although this sailcloth has been treated with a UV protection coating and has a good resistance to the harmful rays from the sunlight, it is recommended that impact to the sail against the mast and rig should be minimized, as the coating can be chafed off. Do not leave any part of the sail exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time when not in use.

Mildew (Damp stains):
The film in laminated sailcloth inhibits the sails ability to "breathe" and moisture can create mildew in these sails. Mildew is a destructive growth caused by spore-forming fungi that thrives in a warm, moist, confined atmosphere. When the sail is not used for a prolonged time it is recommended that it is only rolled up when completely dry, clean and covered up.

Using your sail:
It is highly recommended that for the first couple of hours, the sail is used well below the maximum recommended wind speed. This time spend will allow the components stretch uniformly thus ensuring optimum performance and extended life. It is important that you adhere strictly to the recommended maximum wind speed as advised to you by your sailmaker for your new sail. When tacking, avoid hanging on to the sheet until the sail has been trimmed. This practice can lead to over stretching of the sail in the area of the spreader ends, considerably increasing the possibility of snagging or tearing your sails on the rigging.

It is important to temporarily repair tears with PSA insignia tape. Return the sail for professional repairs to your sailmaker.

Washing and cleaning:
Localized stains can be removed by using a normal detergent and luke warm water. Do not attempt to launder the sail. Rinse the sail occasionally, for salt and dirt, with fresh water. Mildew can be removed by brushing the stained area with a dry stiff brush, removing as much as possible. Let the stained area be soaked in a solution of freshwater and 1 % chlorine for about 2 hours and rinse with plenty of fresh water.

A final word:
Please note that the life of your sail will be very much prolonged if the above recommendations are followed. If you have any questions about our sailcloth, please do not hesitate either to consult your sailmaker or to contact us directly.

We wish you happy sailing.

Your Sailcloth-Crew