Sail sun protection

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Sail sun protection

Postby hectoretc » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:22 pm

Season's Greetings to all,

I know that I've read several posts in this forum recommending that for furling jibs to sew on a section of sunbrella or other UV protective material to the leech of the sail, but now that I'm looking for said posts, I'm not finding any.

If this question has been covered already and anyone knows where, you can just give me a linc pointer and I'll be happy.

Otherwise... not-withstanding the actual art of sewing, (I'll come back to that later) how does one go about deciding how much UV "proof" fabric is needed, is it sewn onto the full leech? and if I'm picturing the uTube videos of people demonstrating their home-made jib furlers, I'm thinking you need to sew it to the foot as well?

Is there anything like a pattern for this, or is it only a 3-4" wide piece of fabric that is it sewn fully into the leech and foot. Is this an overlap piece? (starting 3-4 inches into the jib overlapping the jib leech) or sewn as an add on (making the jib 3-4" wider than it was). Is this something one needs to anticipate replacing periodically or is this a one shot for the life of the sail?

I fully have no idea what I'm talking about here, so I may even be asking the questions wrong. If anyone knows how is it done, or where can I read up about it, I'll be forever in your dept (at least for a week)...

Thanks - Scott
DS #6127 - Breakin' Wind - From the land of 10,000 lakes, which spend 80% of the year frozen it seems...
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Postby TIM WEBB » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:06 pm

I believe it's called a "sacrificial strip" or something like that, and yes, Sunbrella or something like it is usually the fabric of choice. Anything that doesn't rot in UV like nylon/dacron/etc. does.

The width of the strip on the leech and foot (yes, both, but only on the side that's the "outside" when the sail is furled) depends on the geometry of the headsail: when it's fully furled, you want at least two layers of the strip covering the rolled up bundle. It is put on over the existing fabric, not added on in such a way that it extends the foot and leech.

As for sewing it on, any double or triple throw 301 lockstitch zig zag machine would do, but you'd also want to use a UV resistant thread. I believe Sailrite has some good info/kits/materials on their website www.sailrite.com (no, I am not affiliated with them in any way - have just gotten a lot of good info, advice, etc. from them over the years!).

When you sew it on, it needs to be as flat as possible, so it doesn't interrupt airflow over the sail, and also be aware that it's a lot of added weight on the foot/leech, and the sail will fly a bit differently than without it. Not such a big deal on bigger sails, but could be an issue on a DS jib?

All the best of the season to you too!
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Postby GreenLake » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:07 am

Just to be sure, you only need it if you keep your boat on the water. Just menitioning it, because the way I use my boat, this wouldn't apply.
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Postby hectoretc » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:56 am

Thanks Tim and GL,

I’m still vacillating on whether to start my sailing experience with a jib furler or do the first year using the jib downhaul ChrisB, jeadstx and others have suggested in the jib furling 101 post. The latter is certainly simple and straightforward, so there is an attraction there, at least until I get some kind of sense as to how all of these parts work (or not) together. I do plan to dock my DSII this year if I can reshuffle the fleet moored to the existing crowded dock, or add on additional dock space (another project).
My suspicion is that it will come down to whether I first run out of winter or projects, but since there is a fair amount of ramp up to this task, not only building/buying a furler but protecting the sail if I go that way. I thought I’d start down the information/learning path first. The knowledge will always be useful even if I don’t end up doing it this season.

Thanks again - Scott
DS #6127 - Breakin' Wind - From the land of 10,000 lakes, which spend 80% of the year frozen it seems...
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Postby TIM WEBB » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:13 am

Correct: it's only necessary on sails that are left out in the elements at a slip or mooring. A good sail cover for the main is a must-have in that case as well ...
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Postby GreenLake » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:59 pm

Scott,

knowledge gathering is good and your winter season longer than some, but I'm troubled by your self-admitted lack of experience sailing this boat. I tend to prefer getting a baseline experience first - otherwise how am I going to tell whether the work actually improved anything.

I guess, I've mentioned that before.

If you leave your sails up, then you need to cover them. Tim's details sound a bout right.
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Postby jdoorly » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:32 pm

Check it out:
http://search.sailrite.com/?freeText=UV%20tape
I think there's a demo on this page too.
Last edited by jdoorly on Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hectoretc » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:38 pm

jdoorly wrote:Sewing shouldn't be necessary, although I haven't done it I assume it's just a matter of applying UV tape:
http://search.sailrite.com/?freeText=UV%20tape
I think there's a demo on this page too.


Thanks - I already know I can tape better than I can sew.
DS #6127 - Breakin' Wind - From the land of 10,000 lakes, which spend 80% of the year frozen it seems...
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Postby TIM WEBB » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:12 pm

You'd *definitely* want to sew it on: with the amount of flexing and flapping and flogging a jib experiences in everyday use, no matter how well handled, the adhesive alone wouldn't hold up for very long. It's on there more just for basting purposes than anything else ...

... same reason we don't use ripstop tape when patching parachutes: eventually, the stuff comes off, and a proper patch has to be sewn on.

I believe the tapes and videos shown on that sailrite page are more for support tapes used in sail construction, and not necessarily meant for use as sacrificial strips, as even Dacron with UV protection is still subject to rapid degradation in sunlight, whereas Sunbrella is a Cordura-based product that is impervious to UV damage ... I think. :roll:
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Postby hectoretc » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:48 am

TIM WEBB wrote:You'd *definitely* want to sew it on:


Thanks Tim, yeah I watch the videos and they support what you're saying, stick it on and then stitch it on. Should have known it would be too easy to work out that way.
And I'd just finished honing my taping skills too on all those Christmas presents.
DS #6127 - Breakin' Wind - From the land of 10,000 lakes, which spend 80% of the year frozen it seems...
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Postby TIM WEBB » Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:38 pm

Don't be intimidated by the sewing ... it's really not as difficult as it may seem (seam?) ... ;-P
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Re: Sail sun protection

Postby Archie » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:00 pm

I used to a sail shades, fabric blocks up to 99% of the sun's harmful UV rays.
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Re: Sail sun protection

Postby Breakin Wind » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:27 pm

When I added (built) a jib furler, I opted this past year for a jib sock (long narrow piece of sunbrella - or equiv) that wraps and snaps loosely around the jib. It is pulled up the forestay (around the jib) by hooking it to a topping lift line. Made from leftover scraps from my Mainsail/boom cover and (IMHO) way easier to fabricate than to try to sew the protective fabric to the jib. Plus, if I change jibs, I can use the same sock for which ever sail is on the boat.

Thanks - Scott
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Re: Sail sun protection

Postby Breakin Wind » Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:50 pm

Greetings all,

Bringing the question of sun (UV) degradation back into the light for a moment (pun intended).
Are there any numbers or rough estimates as to the level of degradation UV plays on sails? It's always struck me as interesting that something designed to be used exclusively outside is sensitive to sunlight, but that's just me.

I have gotten into the habit (good - bad- or indifferent) of setting up my DS for sailing including de-socking my jib when I get to the cabin on Friday and leaving it furled but ready to use in case I get a chance to go out over the weekend on short notice. (I would leave the mainsail cover off too except of that irritating little bird that has made a day home out of my windex and seems to have a very active intestinal tract.

But not-withstandng, what is the real story on how fast sun wreaks havoc on sail material? My current sails were inexpensive 2nd handers already, but that doesn't mean I want to ruin them just because I'm slacking off and trying to shorted my "potential" launch time.

Any thoughts on this would be welcome.

Thanks,
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Re: Sail sun protection

Postby GreenLake » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:17 pm

If you leave your sails up all season you have 150 days (or 200) without protection. If you sail for 15-20 days that would be 10x the sun exposure than required for sailing, more like 20 times, because most people don't sail the entire day.

Now your scheme increases UV exposure by substituting full weekends for only the time sailed otherwise. But that still means only doubling or tripling the UV exposure over what you get in normal use. I'd say, your sails are going to be used up for other reasons. If you were further South that might be a different issue.
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