What problems have you had with your Sails? (especially rips)

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Hello Everyone,
Every summer I teach kids how to sail sunfish at a summer camp and they always rip the sails by capsizing them incorrectly so the lateen goes through the sail or by sailing to close to each other.
I am doing a project on the puncturablility of sailcloth for the Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair.
I was wondering what problems you have had with your sails: rips wearing down ect. This is not limited to sunfish.
Thank you!
Check with your sail loft and see if the battens pockets are properly reinforced/designed. The batten pockets should be at lease double if not triple enforced to help if not prevent this sort of problem. This is especially true when teaching young sailors the ropes. Having the rubber/plastic ends installed on your battens also help to prevent rips. If you are not using the plastic batten ends check to make sure the ends are as blunt as possible with only a slight rounding or the ends (the broader and blunter the battens the better). Crashing any sail into the water puts a strain on the whole sail which typically shows up at the battens ripping out.

I believe sailing too close to each other is more of a discipline issue. I try to keep inexperienced sailors a safe distance from other boats and consistently beat it into their heads. Accidents are one thing but not keeping a safe distance from other boats is usually more a lack of respect for the rules or simply placing a student on a boat single handily before they are ready. Accidents I pay for the repairs; stupids they pay for the repairs; this is made clear day one! Students should be taught that sailing close to other boats of any kind is something they consider once they gain a great deal more experience. I see no need for students to sail even remotely close to each other until they are introduced to racing.

Sails that are ripped by another boat are typically caused by caused by the spreader tips coming in contact with the other boats sails. If your students cannot keep from crashing into other boats perhaps you could put some form of massive spreader boots on the boats.

Perhaps new sailors would benefit from being required to demonstrate their close sailing skills by navigating through a series of buoy; the more narrow the course the more handling skills required. This sort of exercise is a very good training tool as well as a confidence builder.

PLEASE! I am not trying to be critical in any way I am only making suggestions without the benefit of knowing all of the facts behind your question. I suspect there is nothing new in my post. I admire you for taking the time to teach new generations of sailors - many kudos for your efforts and patience...