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How to: Replace a Sail Panel
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theq



Joined: 10 Apr 2000
Posts: 672

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great explanation of that mysterious art. Now that I understand more about how it's done, I accept that I will never be replacing a panel myself. That's darn labor intensive. Thanks for taking the time and sharing this information. Fabulous.
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angelos_007



Joined: 28 May 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great write up.
Is there any trick, so that no wrinkles appear on the new panel at the batten area?
Do you use also your bernina also for top-bottom webbing?
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thombiz



Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 742
Location: Corpus Christi

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "trick" is gently smooth the panel from the middle to the outside as you pull the paper cover off the double stick tape. This will prevent inducing wrinkles as the new material bonds to the old material. I gently smooth the area with one hand, working from the middle of the panel towards the edge, hold it in place and pull the paper cover off for a distance of about 4", then repeat and repeat until done. If you try to pull the paper cover off for long distances like 10 inches long, you will likely induce a wrinkle. If you do induce a wrinkle, no problem pull that seam apart, remove and dispose of the double stick tape, put in a new piece of tape and try it again. Sometimes it won't be necessary to put in new tape, just put the paper cover back in place as you pull the seam apart.

Yes, the Bernina 217N can be used on the webbing on the sail, just use a size 23 needle. I use Groz-Beckert San 6 needles because they are much stiffer than normal needles which reduces deflection in thick materials and thus I have almost no needle breakage. I used to break one or two needles a week, but the San 6 needles reduced that to maybe one a month. The Bernina can't handle needles larger than size 23. I almost never use size 21 needles or smaller, and then only on lighter construction stuff like Kiteboarding kites.
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TheAdmiral



Joined: 27 Dec 2009
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Great tutorial and information . I have done a few repairs on sails with my sailrite zig zag machine. Took your suggestion on needles as I had some problems sewing batten pocket stops near the mast sleeve. I have a retro 8.5 that needs 2 panels and saw how you do both at the same time. My question is when sewing along the batten , when replacing a single panel is one row of zig zag stitching enough to secure. (using 92 thread) Sail repairing is just a hobby as I am retired and it's not easy !!! Also have a mast sleeve tear near the top and can't quite figure how to attempt a repair??? Any help is appreciated and thanks, Mark (surprising how many sailing friends you have when they find out you can repair a sail panel) Love them all.
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thombiz



Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 742
Location: Corpus Christi

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A single row of zigzag stitching at one of the batten pockets when replacing a panel is NOT ENOUGH. When I first started replacing panels I tried it and had a few failures where the panel pulled out right thru the stitches, cutting that part of the new panel to shreds. It takes 2 rows of stitching to keep from pulling thru.

To repair a mast sleeve, take the stitching out where the mast sleeve attaches to the sail body. Use the seam ripper to cut the threads on one side then flip over and pull out the intact thread and straggler threads with the forceps. I usually go about 18" above and below the point where the repair must be made. I pull the mast sleeve loose, open it up and apply the patch from the inside if small, or from the outside if larger. To make such a patch, get the fabric from an old donner sail that is no longer sailable, or buy some from a repair shop. I make the patch such that the edges of the patch is 1/4" larger than the area to be patched, then I cover the patch material on the appropriate side with the same double stick tape used for installing a new panel, then stick the patch to the luff sleeve then sew it down. When getting ready to reattach the sleeve to the mast, I apply the doublestick tape to the inside of each of the two edges of the mastsleeve. Then I pull about 4" of the tape paper cover loose and carefully press/stick the mast sleeve down to the sail body, carefully and exactly aligning the existing needle holes in the luff sleeve with the existing needle holes in the sail body. I do one edge of mast sleeve in this way, then turn the sail over and do the other edge. Then it is easy to do the zigzag stitching.

I have one other tip to share. When you begin or end a row of stitching there is a length of thread to be trimmed. Instead of using scissors to cut those dangling threads, I us a lighter to burn them off. This helps keep the threads for unraveling and helps make your work look more professional. I use a lighter similar to these: https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Clipper-Electronic-Mini-Tube-Utility-Lighter-Adjustable-Soft-Flame-Butane/163484192137?hash=item26106acd89:m:mgMpo7q4iapVe_8IcPYfWVw:rk:32:pf:0

At some point you will probably want to buy a "Hot Knife" to cut fabrics. The hot knife melts the edges as you cut fabric, greatly reducing the possibility of the fabric unraveling under use. Hot Knife similar to this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/110V-100W-Hot-Heating-Knife-Cutter-Tool-for-Fabric-and-Rope-Cutting-US-Stock/162420643609?epid=1880282229&hash=item25d1065719:g:KRwAAOSwCJxaBUJ4
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mamero



Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Posts: 369
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting read. Sail repair is something I would be very interested to learn. Where or how do you learn this skill? Is it as simple as acquiring some tools and materials, old sails, then go at it? Do you apprentice with a sail maker/loft? Is there a sail maker school somewhere? Genuinely curious. North Sails has a sail repair depot just 3 blocks from my home. I wonder if they would apprentice.
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thombiz



Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 742
Location: Corpus Christi

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My techniques for sail repair are entirely self taught. I have only been in one other loft and that was to pick up a sail I left for repair before I opened my own repair service. I really have no idea how others make repairs. For me, it really was a matter of buying a sewing machine and repair materials and giving it a try.
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mamero



Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Posts: 369
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thombiz wrote:
My techniques for sail repair are entirely self taught. I have only been in one other loft and that was to pick up a sail I left for repair before I opened my own repair service. I really have no idea how others make repairs. For me, it really was a matter of buying a sewing machine and repair materials and giving it a try.


Thanks for the direction... and thanks for the detailed how to guide!
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