As a blue water cruiser, you know that preparation is key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable sailing experience. One of the most important systems on your vessel is your sails, and having a comprehensive sail repair kit is essential should an unexpected situation arise. Here are the 12 must-have items to include in your offshore sail repair kit before embarking on your next voyage:
- Sewing Palm – A leather device that covers the palm of your hand, providing protection when pushing the needle through thick sail fabric. Remember to break in your sewing palm before using it by spraying it with water and shaping it while damp.
- Pliers – A versatile tool that can be used for many tasks around the boat, but particularly handy for pushing and pulling needles through tough sections of sail cloth.
- Needles – An array of sizes to suit different sail fabrics and thicknesses is ideal. A standard needle size holds a 138 thread which provides a great all-round stitch for standard 1 ply sail areas. A thicker needle is also advisable for slider repairs or webbing on a clew corner. Include multiple needles in each size as it is likely you may encounter broken needles during your repairs.
- Thread – Both waxed and standard threads are suitable for all standard repairs.
- Scissors – An essential part of your offshore sail repair kit for any repairs.
- Hot Knife – Not essential, but dependent on the power you have onboard, this item can be a useful tool for making sail repairs a lot easier.
- Replacement Sail Sliders for a Mainsail and/or Hanks for Headsail – These can be useful in the situation where you need to add on hardware to attach a spare sail.
- Mainsail Luff Sliders and Spare Cars – These spare parts can be very useful to have on hand in case of any breakages.
- Roll of Webbing – Having an extra roll of webbing gives you a whole lot more options to attach additional rings and shackles if the need arises.
- Rings and Shackles – An assortment of sizes and shapes of stainless-steel attachments, in combination with some creative solutions, can be a lifesaver in getting you out of a sticky situation.
- Sail Cloth – Raw sail cloth materials are always useful to have on hand, as well as adhesive sail cloth also known as ‘sticky back.’
- Duct Tape – A roll of duct tape can work miracles, so don’t underestimate its universal abilities!
While these items are a great start to building your ultimate offshore sail repair kit, it is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list. Before departing for your offshore sailing adventures, review and catalog your repair kit, taking into account the type of sailing and location you plan to sail, and reflect on past experiences. Learn from any mistakes on previous journeys and make a note of what you wished you had, so you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way next.
Building an offshore sail repair kit is a vital aspect of preparation for any blue water cruiser. By including these 12 essential items, you can be confident that you will be able to make any necessary sail repairs using hand stitching techniques, even if you are far away from your sailmaker. With the right tools and preparation, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable offshore sailing experience.
One final tip – It pays to plan ahead. Even if your current sails have a few seasons left in them, it’s never too early to plan for the future expense of new sails. Why not get a quote now and prepare for your next sailing trip? It only takes 2 minutes and there’s no obligation, so click to find out more!