Friday, November 21, 2014

Sail Struggles

Walt and Kathy of s/v Suppose put their Sailrite LSZ-1 to work making sail modifications. [Sailrite LSZ-1 - don't leave home without it! -Ed]
In January 2013, we made the decision to modify our sail plan and brought the main and genoa sails to Lubbock. We ripped and picked the seams that attached the sacrificial sunshade and the furling wire on the genoa. The main sail lost its battens.

 In June, we purchased a new Sailrite LSZ-1 industrial sewing machine. This heavy-duty machine allows us to modify our sails, make protective covers and a large sun screen, and to reupholster seat cushions.

Because the genoa (140%) is our largest sail and had the most extensive modifications, we started with it. Oh, ambition! It has been a frustrating but satisfying exercise. Here are those modifications:

Triple stitch the broad seams. The broad seams are the ones that go across the body of the sail. Because the Sailrite does not do a true triple stitch (three small stitches to form each leg of the zigzag), we opted to reinforce the seams by adding another row of zigzag stitching. The greatest challenge of sewing on sails is the shear volume of cloth involved.
Replace furling tape with hanks. Many sailboats use furling systems to dowse their head sails. Our previous two boats had such systems, and we quickly became dissatisfied with them. On both boats, we had furler issues such as jamming that would be incredible issues at sea. For Suppose, we have opted to convert the genoa to an old school hank-on sail. To do this, we replaced the furling tape with a bolt rope on the leech edge of the sail. Then grommets were installed behind the bolt rope and the hanks were "seized" on the bolt rope.
This bolt rope bears all of the tension load when the sail is hoisted rather than the sailcloth. For this reason, Kathy created eyesplices around metal thimbles at both ends. The leather goes around the rope first to protect it from the chafing of the metal thimble. Then, the rope is spliced to hold the thimble in place.
Hand-sewn leathering prevents chafe while the webbing secures the thimbled eyesplice at head (top) of the genoa foresail. The contraption on my hand is a sailmaker's palm to prevent me from impaling my hand with the large needle needed to pierce the numerous layers.
One of three needles I broke or bent while hand sewing the leather chafe guards.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...