Re: [bolger] Grape shot damage (sort of like)
- Hullo Jack
A caveat; I'm by no means a sailmaker. I've put together a few sails, kit
and otherwise, is all. You might get more erudition asking over on the
saildesign group. If you are desperate to get out on the water before the
season ends then sailtape will work, but you will likely hate cleaning up
the sticky mess if you decide to keep the sails and do a proper repair. A
sewn repair is pretty easy anyway. Emiliano Marino's book [The Sailmaker's
Apprentice] is very good on hand sewn sailmaking and probably available from
the library. Sails of the weight of Micro's can be sewn on a domestic
machine though, the older and heavier the better. Zigzag is better but
straight-stitch will do.
Use a soldering iron or hot-knife to clean up and seal the edges of the
holes against coming unravelled. Use the same hot-knife to cut patches from
sailcloth, allowing yourself about half an inch of overlap. The sailcloth
should ideally be sound, but from a used sail - in other words, the better
you can match the two fabrics, the less effect the patches will have on the
sail. Chuck at Duckworks could sell you a yard of new cloth at a good price.
Alternatively, someone on list may have a few square feet from an old sail.
I sometimes buy them from marine fleamarkets. I'd be happy to send you a few
feet of cloth, but what I have on hand is probably rather heavy to match the
fabric on a Micro sail.
When cutting out your patches, check that the weave of the patch is aligned
to match that of the section being repaired; this is important.
Cut yourself a few slices of four inch diameter plastic pipe, with each
slice being about an inch or two in length. Split the slices once down the
side wall to make your sail-clamps. Roll up the sail either side of the area
to be repaired and spring a couple of your tubular clamps over the 'sausage'
to keep things under control.
Sailmakers use a double sided tape to 'baste' panels and patches together
before they are stitched. You can buy the stuff from sailmaker's supply
houses such as Sailrite, but I've seen similar stuff sold for attaching
plastic film to single glazed windows to reduce winter drafts. CanTire carry
the window film kits, and that might be a quicker way of getting the tape.
Once your patch is taped in place it can be sewn to the sail with at least
two rows of stitching; not short stitches, and not long; somewhere in the
middle of the machine's range should be OK. The sticky tape is extremely
thin and stays in place after the repair is finished. If you are energetic,
it is a good idea to do one row of stitching from one side of the sail and
then flip the whole thing over to do the second row; Sailcloth is tough
stuff, and the thread does not pull into the fabric as it would into
domestic cloth so flipping the sail means that the patch has a better chance
of avoiding failure through thread chafe. Not a big deal here, I suspect.
It probably took longer to write this than it would to do it, once the
materials were on hand. Practice on some scrap sailcloth to set up the
machine's thread tension before working on the sail proper. Real sailthread
is available from Chuck or Sailrite [amongst others] but in a pinch you
could use stout polyester thread. Tape a blob of cotton wadding to the top
of the sewing machine, arranged so the thread passes across it, and soak the
wadding with silicone lube. Good Luck.