Cruising & Sailing Information

Cleaning Sails

Washing Sails

Often you will see a beautiful sail boat with a dirty sail, you say "yuk" and are glad that is not you out there. Sometimes you feel sorry for the gent, knowing that cleaning sails is difficult and can take hours. Have you ever washed your sails? Have you ever paid someone else too? Are you sure they knew what they were doing? How do you know they did not do more damage than good in cleaning it?

It is safest to wash sails by hand. Mix soap in a bucket and lightly brush with a soft bristle 18" brush. If using a hot water pressure washer, put a 45 tip on it and cut pressure to 1100 PSI. Too much pressure wears out threads, often those who own boat washing companies are too hastily in their cleaning and inadvertently cause slight damage each time they clean it. Don't put sails in a washing machine, many people still do this, however many of the newer materials are not conducive to this type of cleaning. This especially kills Dacron fabrics.

It is important to remove all of the salt and grime. Salt can act as an abrasive wearing down life, sealing in dirt and holding in moisture. Never put away a wet sail. Make sure it's dry. Do not over brush or use too much pressure. Mold and mildew spots may need a mild form of bleach. On Kevlar sails, do not use soap. Rinse only and no bleach, please never use any bleach. You may be surprised that you can remove ten pounds or more worth of salt and dirt from a large sail. This will increase performance and you will be able to feel the difference.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance;


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