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General care and handling recommendations for sails of woven sailcloth

Dear Sailor,

We thank you for letting DIMENSION-POLYANT deliver the sailcloth for your new sails. You have chosen a sailcloth which is produced with the latest materials, technology and ideas.

In order to prolong the life of your new sail, we recommend attention to the following general care and handling recommendations:

Protection of the sail:
Before you hoist the sail for the first time, make sure that all sharp corners and ends, like turn-buckles, pins, stanchions tops, running backstays, blocks and spreader ends are well taped or covered. It is 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 Sensitive Adhesive) insignia cloth. Other areas of impact, like the foot of the head-sail, which comes in contact with the rail and stanchions must also be protected.

Halyard and outhaul and leech cord tension:
The sail shall not be over hoisted. A vertical wrinkle along the luff, while sailing, is a good indication that too much tension has been applied. Use just enough luff tension to eliminate horizontal wrinkles in the sail. The same thing applies to the mainsail-outhaul. Tighten the outhaul only enough to eliminate any wrinkles in the sail. Tighten the leech cord just enough to remove the leech flutter and note that, as the sail is trimmed harder, the leech cord should be eased.

Folding, stowing or storing of the sail:
All sails should be folded or rolled in a manner that avoids sharp creases. Before folding the sail, ease the outhaul, so that the foot is not under tension. Fold the sail loosely and strore it in an ample size sailbag. Fold the sail parallel from the foot and upward in folds of approx. 60 to 70 cm.

• The sail should be stored dry, under well ventilated, clean conditions.
• Dry out the sail before leaving it on the boat for any period of time.
• Avoid the practice to drying the sail by hoisting it to flog in the breeze.
• Dampness, which may encourage mildew, should be avoided. While mildew
  growth does not effect the strength and lifetime of the sail, it can cause
  unsightly stains, that are hard to remove.

UV protection:
Do not leave any part of the sail exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time when not in use. A sailcover should always be used, even if the sail is built with a UV protection. The cover should be constructed in a heavy, soft and breathable material which will prevent the sail from getting harmed due to the fluttering of the sailcover.

Using your sail:
It is highly advisable that, for the first couple of hours, the new sail is used well below the maximum recommended wind speed. This time spend will allow the components to settle uniformly, thus ensuring the optimum performance and extended life. It is important that you adhere strictly the recommended maximum wind speed as advised to you by your sailmaker.

• Reef the sail as the conditions demand it.
• Avoid luffing your mainsail when reefing.
• It is critical that the headsail sheet fairleads are located in the proper fore and
  aft position in order to avoid straining either the leech or foot of the sail.
• When tacking, be sure to cast off the leeward sheet early enough to keep the
  leech from hanging up on the spreader during tack.

It is important to repair temporarily any damage or tear to your sail, as quickly as you can, in order to minimize damage. The best temporary repair to minor damage is to use PSA insignia tape. Rinse the area of repair to remove any dirt or salt and dry it first. Use the tape in both sides of the sail. Return the sail to your sailmaker for professional repair as soon as possible.

Care washing and cleaning:
Has the sail been used frequently, or in heavy weather, it should as soon as possible be hosed off and washed carefully to remove salt and dirt with fresh water. Try not to soak completely, scrub or launder the sail.

• Blood and mildew can be removed by brushing the stained area with a dry stiff
  brush, removing as much as possible.
• Soak only the stained area in a mild bleach solution of fresh water for two hous
  and scrub lightly. Rinse with plenty of fresh water.
• Rust can be cleaned by using so called rust removers available under many
  commercial names in about any hardware store. Be sure to read the
  instruction thoroughly.
• Oil, Grease and Tar can be removed by dabbing the stained area with
  acetone or lighter fluid and then rubbed with a clean rag. Once the stain is
  lightened, scrub the area with detergent and a fresh water solution. Rinse
  to get all the acetone out of the material.

A final word:
Please note that the life of your sail will be very much prolonged if the above recommendations are followed. It is important to return the sail to your sailmaker as soon as the season is over or at least once a year, for checking and refurbishing. This practice can add years to the life of your sail and will help you to get the most out of it.

If you have any questions about our sailcloth, please do note hesitate either to consult your sailmaker or to contact us directly.
See also our: "Sail handling and maintenance of laminated sailcloth for rollerfurling sails".

We wish you happy sailing.

Your Sailcloth-Crew