Sail repair tape

Thread starter #1
I've trawled through the FAQs of several sites and then spent an hour going through the search function on this forum but I still don't have a definitive answer.

I've got 2 rips in an old sail I picked up. They are both approx 6" long. Sail number is 86k age but other than the 2 rips it is in decent nick and even has some stiffness remaining so I would like to use it.

Someone here recommends Ripstop tape but on t'internet I can only find Ripstop "Spinnaker/sail repair tape" and I've been reliably informed NOT to buy Spinnaker tape. I have also seen "Kevlar tape" but have no idea if that is a good option. My mother has a sewing machine so I could go down that route.

Can anyone reccommend a decent sail repair tape or give me some idea of what I should eb looking for?

And no, I can't buy a new sail as I've exhausted my "budget"...or rather I've exhausted the amount of money my wife will let me spend on the boat;)
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#2
Contact a sailmaker and get them to send you the appropriate white sticky back cloth. You need something stronger than spinaker ripstop tape.
 
#3
The loads in the sail vary depending on location (highest out of the clew up the leech for example, lightly loaded in the middle of the sail around the window area etc). It also matters which direction the tears are going (ie in the leech area at right angles to the leech is bad, but parallel is not so bad).

Dacron insignia tape is what you are looking for - You can get some here:
http://www.powerkiteshop.com/psp-dacron-repair-tape.htm
(Sail numbers are usually made from Dac insignia tape as well, so if you have a spare number laying around that will work)

If you are in a high load area, patch both sides, low load area, one side if fine.

Clean the area around the tear thoroughly (fresh water is fine, acetone is also ok), let it dry completely, lay area on a flat surface and peel back an inch of the tape, start at one end and pull the backing paper off as you use your other hand to press the tape down.

Once it's down, you need to rub the area with force (it's pressure sensitive adhesive) - the longer it sits before use, the more the adhesive will set.
 
#6
Dacron insignia tape and dacron sail repair tape refer to the same thing, at least in sailmaking. The link I posted above is the right stuff

Where are the rips in the sail, and which way are they oriented ?
 
#8
One of our (practice) sails has a tear on the luff sleeve, at the mast joint. It's usable as is, but does anyone have experience repairing the luff sleeve? Hard to get tape inside it, I don't want to just tape the outside and have adhesive along the mast, and taping and stitching the edges of the tape is what I'd like to do, but that seems a difficult task also.
 
#9
The 2 rips are both running horizontally, each about 6-8" long, in both bottom corners of the sail. Each is about 8" from any seam,

I'd extend the tape about 4" beyond on each side, is the tear in the leech area or along the foot ? If it's in the leech area and you sail in breeze, I'd ask Mom to sew a row of stitching along the top and bottom of the tape
 
#10
One of our (practice) sails has a tear on the luff sleeve, at the mast joint. It's usable as is, but does anyone have experience repairing the luff sleeve? Hard to get tape inside it, I don't want to just tape the outside and have adhesive along the mast, and taping and stitching the edges of the tape is what I'd like to do, but that seems a difficult task also.
Fixing luff sleeves can be a PIA if you want a "professional" fix - however, it's not really needed unless the tear is longer then a foot vertically and the tube is destroyed in that area.

If you have an area of the sleeve that is missing, you can still fix it with insignia tape, you just need to cover up the adhesive in that area - normally sticking two pieces of tape together (adhesive to adhesive) works, but requires an extra hand so you don't end up with a wad of useless tape. The other solution is to take some baby powder and cover the adhesive with it.
 
#11
Fixing luff sleeves can be a PIA if you want a "professional" fix - however, it's not really needed unless the tear is longer then a foot vertically and the tube is destroyed in that area.

If you have an area of the sleeve that is missing, you can still fix it with insignia tape, you just need to cover up the adhesive in that area - normally sticking two pieces of tape together (adhesive to adhesive) works, but requires an extra hand so you don't end up with a wad of useless tape. The other solution is to take some baby powder and cover the adhesive with it.
Well, I've been sailing with it as is several times, and while I'm conscious of it when I pull on the cunningham, there doesn't seem to affect sail trim at all. The only time it's inconvenient is when sliding it on the mast. I have to be careful or the top of the mast will slide out of the tear.

I guess we'll leave it as is and keep it on the "watch" list to see if it gets any worse.
 
Thread starter #12
I'd extend the tape about 4" beyond on each side, is the tear in the leech area or along the foot ? If it's in the leech area and you sail in breeze, I'd ask Mom to sew a row of stitching along the top and bottom of the tape
Both rips are well in the foot area, about 8" from the bottom seam of the sail. Since my mum's offered her services I might get her to stitch them anyway.
 
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