Sails Canvas

A Custom-fitted Clew Strap

After settling on the material, one of the most basic mainsail design questions is whether to have an attached foot or loose-foot. A sail with an attached foot, secured to the boom with a bolt rope or sail slugs, has a small advantage in area, while a loose footed sail is easier to adjust (flat for windward work and smooth seas, fuller for reaching and rough seas), slightly cheaper to fabricate, and much easier to take off the boom for storage. Both are used on both high performance and cruising boats. Most new mainsails are loose footed.

Make Your Own Over-the-Boom Riding Sail

Delighted with the performance of the over-the-boom riding sail, we decided to make our own.

Rest Easy with a Riding Sail

Even when your anchor is well designed and ideally matched to your boat, there are four common factors that can cause an anchor to drag: poor bottom, short scope, insufficient shock absorption, and yawing. Each of these reduces the holding capacity of the anchor, and they are additive. That is to say that any one of them can ruin your day, solving only one or two of them does not ensure good holding, and the more problems you solve, the better youll sleep.

Sails and Summer Projects

While most of us are-hopefully-out sailing this summer, we know that many sailors are busy with system upgrades, do-it-yourself projects, and the usual marine maintenance adventures. Here are some archive articles we think will help you tick off the tasks on your to-do list.

Making Sail Repairs Last

Polyester has long been the workhorse sail fabric; durable, easy to sew and handle, and relatively stretch resistant. It is also relatively easier to repair (see Sail Repair Tapes vs. Glues, PS November 2017). Racers needed something that was lighter and held an aerodynamic shape better, and so laminate sails were born, using Mylar films and non-stretch fibers such as carbon and Kevlar.

Long-term Clear Vinyl Protection

When the clear vinyl on one of our multihull test boats began to crack and fade after approximately 10 years, the costs estimates for window replacement began at around $1,500. Thus began our investigation into ways to prolong the life of clear plastics. In previous issues weve reported findings at the six-month and two-year marks. Here, we present a last look at products and best practices to preserve clear plastics, and the five-year performance of four popular types of clear plastic in the marine environment.

Anti-Seize Coatings for Spars

If youve ever been humbled by a single impossibly stuck fastener, or plan on adding hardware to your spar, running gear, or deck, this report on anti-seize protectants is right up your alley.

Adding Yarn Telltales to Your Sail

Fixed wind indicators tell the direction of the wind relative to the boat, but it is the flow within a few inches of the sail that really matters (see Top-notch Wind Indicators, January 2018).

Reading the Telltales on Your Sails

Even the most laid-back cruiser has days when he would like to get there an hour sooner. But speed is not the only reason to fine-tune sail trim. Proper sail trim can often eliminate the noise of motoring. Properly trimmed sails last longer.

Penny Pincher Pawl Lube

Winch pawls require a different lube the rest of the winch. The only time they are moving is under practically no load, clicking along the ratchet wheel until the handle stops turning. A heavy packing of grease can stick and prevent full engagement, resulting in broken pawls, gouged ratchet wheels, and in the worse case, crew injury when the handle spins backwards.