Precision Sails Blog
Black Spreader Patches can be seen on SV Nirvana's ZZP Laminate Headsail
What Are Spreader Patches?
A Spreader Patch is a sacrificial strip of Insignia cloth which is used to protect sections of your sail from chafing caused by spreaders or other sharp objects when pressed up against the sail. To prolong the life of your sails you should install your spreader patches and monitor them to identify when to replace them to prevent damaging the sail underneath.
When Should You Apply Spreader Patches?
Before damage has occurred to the sail. If you are concerned that your spreaders (or other objects) might chafe your sail or our designers have determined that it may be a concern, you will receive spreader patches with your sail. It is highly recommended that spreader patches be applied to your sails if you will be racing.
How to Install Spreader Patches
In light weather hoist your sail and mark the location of your spreaders where they contact the sailcloth. Mark the location using tape, marker, pencil or chalk.
Take your sail down and move it to the flat location. Make sure this area is flat. This is very important as it will ensure that you apply even pressure to the patch to remove all air bubbles. Air bubbles caught between the patch and the sail weaken the strength of the adhesive.
Your sail must be clean and dry before installing the spreader patches. Otherwise mildew and mold can grow in between the sail and the patch causing even worse damage.
Place your spreader patch over the area you marked previously and angle the patch according to your preference. It is recommended that you place the mark slightly lower than the center of the spreader patch as this will compensate for any shrinking or stretch over time.
Let the patch overlap the edge of the sail one or two inches to allow it to wrap around and secure to the opposite side (you can trim if it is too long). With the patch placed in its preferred location mark the edges with a pencil, chalk or pieces of tape. This will be your guide when you are applying the spreader patch.
Peel back a few inches of the backing from the edge furthest from the Leech and place it on your markings. Drag your hand (or other smooth-edged object) along the patch to secure the adhesive to the sail and remove trapped air.
Continue to peel back the paper backing a few inches at a time while applying the patch. Apply pressure to push all of the trapped air out from under the patch. Continue to do this until the entire patch has been applied smoothly.
Once you reach the Leech of the sail flip the edge over and press down on the overhanging section of insignia cloth to finish securing the spreader patch to the sail (trim spreader patch if necessary).
Repeat on the opposite side of the sail to protect the sail when tacking.
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