Yacht sail care
Denis Korablev
  • 24.09.2021
  • 88
  • 0

Yacht sail care

A sailing ship on the blue surface of the sea, like a beautiful butterfly fluttering over the boundless horizon. Sails, as the main propulsion device of the yacht, are designed to create the necessary thrust to use the force of the wind to move the yacht in the direction necessary for the crew.

Canvas, as the main material used for sewing sails for a century, is a thing of the past. Modern technology has allowed yachtsmen to use canvas that is many times stronger than traditional material. The use of special resins, water-repellent compounds for covering the sail made it possible to use sail equipment for years.

But the sea is the sea, and the sea salt, which over time is stuffed between the threads, begins its imperceptible, but destructive work - the threads wear out, the sail becomes unreliable. Invisible particles of dust and sand gradually settle on the wet surface of the canvas. The color of the sail fades, the sail gains excess weight, losing elasticity. The yacht can turn into a "Flying Dutchman" with shabby sails, and the owner of such changes can "fly in" a tidy sum. Periodic cleaning and washing of the sails will eliminate the possibility of such a sad outcome. It is especially important to have a regular sail cleaning procedure for those handed over to yacht charter, which have special reliability requirements.

A natural question arises: "What is the difference between cleaning and washing?"


Sails are washed without the use of active chemicals containing components that can affect the structure of the fabric. At its core, washing the sails is a day-to-day, periodic job, just as common as washing the deck and cleaning the metal elements of the yacht's structure. The simplest wash is to periodically rinse the sails with a stream of fresh water. This dissolves the deposits of sea salt, which is removed along with the flowing water. Before washing, it is necessary to remove the oil stripes (traces of the shrouds) that appear even with the most thorough wiping of the cables of the new standing rigging. Oil stains are impregnated with turpentine, and after it dries, the contaminated areas are smeared with gruel consisting of purified soda mixed with water. The drying gruel must be moistened several times, and when completely dry, gently scrape off. The cleaned area is wiped with a rag soaked in turpentine.

If it is possible to spread the sail on the surface, brush washing should be done using soap-free detergents. Alkaline, which is part of the soap, gradually corrodes the canvas, which will have negative consequences over time. Rubbing with a brush on one area of the canvas is also not recommended, this leads to weakening of the fibers of the fabric. It is allowed to wash the sails in warm fresh water (at a temperature not exceeding 50 °), soaking especially dirty areas with a detergent. You can try to wash the most problematic parts of the sail by soaking them in a solution of caustic soda, strictly observing the proportions (180-200 grams of soda per 200 liters of water), and the temperature regime of the water (no more than 50 °). Failure to comply with these basic rules entails damage and deformation of the tissue, respectively, to unplanned (and impressive!) Costs.

The washed sail is placed in a container filled with a solution of hydrogen peroxide (5 teaspoons of 39% peroxide per 10 liters of water), and bleached for half an hour, constantly turning the sail over. Washing, using caustic soda or detergents, is completed by bleaching and repeatedly rinsing the sails in fresh water.

Cleaning the sails

If you need to clean the sail, you must be prepared for the fact that this procedure will take a lot of time and space. Practice has shown that cleaning the sail with the help of mechanical methods or with the help of laundries, due to the small volume of washing machines and non-compliance with the temperature regime of the water, most often renders the sail unusable. Only manual cleaning and adherence to basic rules guarantee the return of the sail to its original appearance.

To clean the sail, choose a large and clean area that allows the sail to unfold its full length and width. By carefully examining all seams, look for damage or signs of mold. After eliminating the damage, proceed directly to the cleaning process.

Water is being prepared for cleaning. In a large bucket, carefully dilute a mild detergent, strictly following the instructions on the package. The sail is cleaned with the resulting foam. Technical devices and mechanical methods are contraindicated when cleaning the sail, the whole process is carried out by hand using a large sponge.

Cleaning the sail starts from the center to the edges. The applied foam perfectly removes dirt, and you shouldn't vigorously rub the most dirty areas, this will not come off the dirt faster. After cleaning the entire sail surface with a sponge, rinse off the dirty foam thoroughly with fresh water.

Turning the sail over to the other side, and spreading it out completely, without folds, cleaning is carried out in the same sequence: spread it, apply foam, hand cleaning with a sponge, rinsing. An excellent result is guaranteed if the sail flipping and cleaning is repeated at least 5 times.

After cleaning, the most important thing is rinsing and rinsing, to completely clean the sail from alkaline detergents. If possible, the sail can be hung up to dry to speed up drying. Before laying the sail, literally all the seams must be probed - they must be dry. Installing a wet sail will cause mold and rust to deteriorate the sail fabric.

According to the experts 2yachts, sail service life is determined by the degree of its care. Modern sailcloths cost a lot of money, and in order to avoid unnecessary costs, sails must be kept under control, delighting with their cleanliness and original freshness.


To add a comment, please log in