Monday, June 27, 2011

5200: Sailmaker's tool

3M 5200 sticks to everything, and is for all intents and purposes a tough, permanent adhesive - right?   Can you think of a better sailmaker's adhesive?  Livia on s/v Estrellita 5.10b shows us how in another in her continuing Haul Out series:

P1010725 (1280x960)One of the things I wanted to do while the mast was off (and the sails were off as a result) was to examine all of sails.

I made it through the main, the jib and the genoa which, considering the path of the haulout, I’ll take as a success.  Other than one known issue (below), the sail slides that I changed out, and some sunbrella stitching that needed touching up, everything looked great.  All of the between panel stitching was intact, the head, tack and clew of the sails were in good shape and the “edges” (luff, foot and leech) were solid. In essence, what I did was to look at the general state of the Dacron (good) and then walk through every line of stitching looking for broken stitches (from chafe, UV or both).  Our sails are double and triple stitched everywhere so a single broken stitch or a small patch in one line of stitching isn’t a big problem – although you have to ask yourself why it was failing in one area and see if there is chafe that should be attended to.

Speaking of chafe (*snort*), the leather chafe gear that I added to the jib 10 months ago looks good with only minor signs of wear – the wear meaning that it is doing its job.

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We had two fairleads on the mainsail for our Dutchman system that had popped off.  There are two halves, one on each side of the sail that snap onto each other through the sail, but ours are old and apparently too warped to stay snapped on.  One departed when the monofilament line broke and one just popped off and sat flapping on the filament.  We’ve had a number of people try to scare us about our Dutchman system – saying that if a fairlead failed the monofilament would saw a hole through our sail.  I can see how that could happen but because we loosen our Dutchman when the main is up, it seems like that wouldn’t happen for quite a while and one would have a chance to notice it and fix it.  We have no idea.  However, our old main still has a lot of life in it.  The Dutchman system is already cut into the sail and makes dropping and reefing the sail a cinch…so we’re keeping it.  Someday, when we get a new main, we’ll have a decision to make.

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The fairleads are ridiculously expensive and thankfully our cool local sail shop (Leitch & McBride in Sidney, BC – they’ve done several jobs for us including installing a third reef) had some used ones.  Because the Dutchman system will be on our main until we replace it, I used some flexible, fast drying white 5200 and glued those puppies back together making sure that there was 5200 between the little snaps that connect the two pieces.  With a little weight to make sure everything stayed aligned, it dried as designed.

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5200 is a dangerous toy because it should only be used on something that will “never” need to come apart…for that reason this seemed like the perfect use.  We want the fairleads to *never* come apart again.

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