Intro: Repairing a Headsail
Recently, on an overnight sail to relocate a boat to a different marina, we tore the headsail on our catalina 37. While we planned to replace the sail this winter, there are still many weeks of sailing yet this season. We also have not quite saved the money to replace it yet. This sail is a Kevlar sail that has seen many seasons, in fact we bought it well used 3 seasons ago for $300 it had been repaired several times before we bought it. Here's our attempt to repair it. It's held so far in a week of heavy use!
Step 1: Lay the Sail Flat.
we had to come into the marina to do this repair, though we probably could have done it on board, this made it much easier.
make sure there are no wrinkles, when we match up the edges wrinkles can make the repair weak.
Step 2: Assess and Check for Other Damage
our sail has other damage and is at the end of it's life but this rip could keep us in port for the rest of the season. LAME!!!!
Step 3: Repair Tape
We used 2 fifteen foot rolls of dacron sail repair tape. we really should have used the Kevlar tape but at 30 dollars a roll (x2) this was pretty much all we could afford. it's VERY tacky and once it's stuck, or if it gets stuck to it's self game over!
Step 4: Trim Off All the Wispy Parts
the wispy bits where the sail tore will get stuck in the tape and could bugger your whole operation. we used sharp scissors as we had to cut through Kevlar and wanted a nice clean edge.
Step 5: Start Taping
peel the backing off and start unrolling it. we found that this was really a 2 man operation as we wanted the tape to be straight and burnished along the entire length of the tear.
Step 6: Tape
while one person unrolls the tape and removes the backing the other burnishes and makes sure the two sides are not overlapped or too far apart.
Step 7: Flip the Sail Over
We folded the sail over to tape the other side to add more strength. we're trying to get a few more months out of the sail and were worried that taping only one side would not be strong enough.
Step 8: Complete!
It's difficult to see in this picture but the sail tape is along the edge of the white portion of the sail.
Step 9: Run It Up the Forestay
After furling the sail we're ready for another day of perfect sailing weather!