Sails generate huge forces and the rigging that harnesses those forces to drive the hull forward is only as strong as its weakest point. Sheets can chafe and part, a block can seize and fail and the sail itself can split at the seams.

  • Blocks, sheaves and furling gear should be inspected regularly. If there is any sign of sticking, free and grease them. Anything that squeaks under load needs attention.
  • Look after your sails. A sail is actually a shallow bag rather than a flat panel, carefully designed and cut to hold and distribute loads efficiently. It should be folded and bagged sensitively, so that the fabric retains its shape and is not bent in a direction that it is not designed for. Do not just stuff the foresail into the sailbag, but roll it so that the luff wire is not kinked or twisted.
  • If possible, hose sails down after use to remove salt, then let them dry before bagging them. If you have to leave the mainsail on, fold it over the boom and put the cover on.
  • Finally, check the condition of all cordage regularly, especially the sheet.

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