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.
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.
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.
Sunbrella does not shrink. That is the mantra, and for covers and dodger that are left in place, it seems to be the true. It stretches a little when wet, and so long as it is maintained under tension while it dries, it retains it shape. So says Sunbrella. While this seems true for tensioned cloth (our dodger still fits) and it hardly matters for a sail cover, our real world experience with removable Sunbrella window covers has been different, shrinking as much as 5 percent over a period of years. The problem, no doubt, is that these are worst case scenario, repeatedly removed while still wet with dew and allowed to dry. The end result was that the covers became difficult to install and some of the snaps were being ripped out by the excessive tension.
In our ongoing study of ways to compare, and hopefully improve the way our anchors set, weve learned that it takes time and slow, delayed setting to make best advantage of very soft mud. However, firm sand and weeds can have the opposite character-making it hard for the anchor to penetrate.
Being a team of diehard do-it-yourselfers, we decided to try our own hand at devising a workable solution to defeating line chafe. After fiddling with canvas, old fire hose, and even messing around with some Kevlar, we settled on leather—an old riggers standby.