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Posted by on Oct 23, 2019 in Equipment |

Easy Windsurfing Repairs | Part 3: Quick sail repair

Whether it’s during the session on the water or in transport, small cracks and holes in sails can happen anytime. However, similarly to board dings, leaving them without a repair will only make the problem worse. The tensions in the sail can make the rip expand further, eventually destroying an entire panel. However, most small damage in both monofilm and dacron sails can easily be fixed! Here’s how to perform a basic sail repair!

Materials:Time required
– Dacron/Monofilm repair tape
– White spirit
– Sharp scissors
– (optional) Squeegee
– (optional) Polyethylene adhesive foil
approx. 15 min

1. Preparation

Sail in need of a heavy repair, ripped

As per usual, the first step to making a repair is to spot the damage. However, in case of a cracked sail, it is usually pretty evident. Monofilm damage has a tendency to spread really fast in a non-reinforced sail so it’s crucial to get the repair sorted as soon as possible.

First, get the sail onto a flat, clean surface. If dealing with sand/grass, it’s a good idea to place a clean towel underneath the repair area. Next, rinse the area around the crack with fresh waters and then with acetone/white spirit. This will drive away some moisture and degrease the surfaces. Make sure to repeat that on both sides of the sail. Afterwards, wipe off any excess and leave it for a couple of minutes to air-dry. Meanwhile, we’re gonna cut out our patch.

2. Cut out the patch

Roll out some of the monofilm (clear plastic) or dacron (coloured fabric) tape and measure it against the crack. Next, cut some off, with a length somewhat longer that the damage to the sail. If the crack is too wide/curved to cover with a single patch of tape, divide it into several sections and deal with them separately. The patch should extend at least an inch away from the cracked area.

Before sticking the patch on, you’ll want to trim and round off any sharp corners. It is because a rounded patch will be a lot more difficult to peel off. This will make the sail repair a lot more permanent and durable.

3. Apply the sail repair tape

Squeegee used for vinyl wrapping, can also be used for a sail repair

With everything prepared, there’s nothing left to do but stick the patch down. Start by peeling off a little bit of the paper backing but do not take it off completely! Stick down the exposed part of your patch and press it down firmly. Next, you’ll want to simultaneously press down on the patch and peel away more of the paper backing. A great tool for that is a squeegee used for vinyl wrap applications. These can be found cheaply all over the Internet and are great to keep in your toolbox!

When sticking the patch down, try to avoid air bubbles getting trapped under the foil. However, don’t worry if they do happen – unless extremely bad, they shouldn’t affect the durability of the sail repair. Once you’re done, flip the sail and repeat the process on the other side of the crack.

4. (optional) Reinforced sail repair

For added durability, you can add a layer of self-adhesive polyethylene foil. To do so, simply cut out a shape slightly bigger than the original patch. Then, follow the same procedure to stick the foil over the monofilm tape. Alongside a mechanical reinforcement, the foil blocks water from getting to the monofilm tape, making it less likely to peel off.

Conclusion

Sails, just as any other piece of equipment, do eventually suffer from wear and tear. The longer you’ve had a sail, the more likely it is to get damaged during your session or in transport. However, unless the damage is extensive, a simple sail repair can get you back up and running. Whilst a patched sail might not be acceptable for PWA competitors, it can continue to serve the average Joe for years.

So look after your sails and treat them right – but don’t worry too much if they do break! A quick patch done using our guide could grant you years of fun. And you might even forget the hole was even there in the first place!

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