Our main sail, the main source of power for our sailboat needed some loving. It is original to the boat which puts her at 20 years old. She is made of two layers of dacron which is a heavy-duty material and weighs in at almost 300lbs! She needs to be replaced because she doesn’t really hold her shape very well, but she still is functioning. Matt and I hope to replace her and the jib when we get to New Zealand (next year).
We decided to get her re-stitched in order to get the most use of her and make her last longer. We contacted Tahiti Sails and scheduled an appointment for them to retrieve our beastly sail. First, you have to remove it and that is not easy.
Removing the Main Sail
The main sail lives inside the sail bag which is held up by lines called “lazy jacks.” The sail is hoisted up the mast by 13 “cars” and has 3 reefing lines (in the front and 3 in the back), and 3 boom stromps that have to be removed. Matt positions the boom off to the side (protecting the boom with a fender on the cabin top). This gives him access to the sail bag, lazy jacks, boom stromps, and reefing lines. Photos are of the sail bag as Matt removes the sail.
Next, we document the areas that we want re-stitched and repaired. Mostly it is re-stitching the tack, clew, head, and baton pockets. We are going to have them strengthen all of the key stress points and add a protective fabric over them (head, tack, clew). baton pockets) to block the UV from the sun.
Guillaume met us at our boat to pick up the sail. We walk him through all the “weak” areas or areas of concern (as mentioned above). He tests the thread on the actual material as he thinks it might be compromised as well since it is over 20 years old. But to our surprise it is holding up nicely. Matt and Guillaume fold up the main and off it goes to get repaired.
We also noticed that our small / top baton needs replacing. It is shattered. You can tell because it does not look like the rest. Lucky for us it is the smallest one and the easiest to reach. We will have to hunt to find a replacement.
Guillaume said it should take about 5/6 hours of work which could be done within the week. Not sure how it takes a week to do 5/6 hours of work, but ok. At an estimated cost of 40000xpf ($400). We shall see.
The Beast Returns
Guillaume called us on Tuesday with the quote and a run down of all the repairs after he laid out the canvas on the floor. The work was completed on Wednesday and delivered on Thursday – under budget and on time. He repaired the head, tack, clew, baton pockets. Added tail tales (wind indicators) and patched a few small tears. He did really good work. The top right photo shows where he hand stitched around a high stress point, then covered it with sunbrella.
Installing the Beast
Then the process of reinstalling the 300lb main begins. It is a slow process as the weight makes it difficult to raise above our heads. But Matt powers through it.
The sail is positioned along the side of the boom. First he attaches the clew (bottom rear attachment point to the boom. Then he attaches the head (the attachment point that raises the main up and down) to the main halyard. Next up, he attaches the first of 13 cars. He opens the car, slips the line in, closes the car, and inserts a split ring on the pin so it can’t slip out. Then is raises the main to the next car and repeats the process 13 times. As he approaches each of the 3 reefing lines, he has to tie them on to the appropriate place in the front. He will do the back 3 reefing points last.
After he attaches all 13 cars, he works on the rear reefing lines. Lucky for us it is a quiet, windless day which makes it so much easier to keep the sail up while at anchor! Matt is amazing!
A few days later we go to Tahiti Yacht Accessories and find a baton. It is not really the correct size, but it is better nothing. We needed a 16mm by 165 and he had either a 14 or 18. Since the 18 was too big, we went with the 16. You can clearly see the good vs the bad.
We celebrate with Rachel (from Agape) at a cool Poke Bowl place and it was delicious!
Events from this blog occurred on 21 October 2020. Our blog posts run 8 weeks behind our adventures.