Buying a Boat? Are The Sails Good to Go?


Inspecting Dacron Sails on a Newly Purchased Boat

Purchasing a new boat is always a very exciting time, but it’s important to make adequate checks of the vessel to ensure you know what problems and fixes are required to make your new vessel seaworthy and safe. It can be easy to find excuses to not purchase a new sail. Whether you’re frugal or not, new sails can be an investment. It’s important to know when your sail is beginning to go rather than waiting until it is too late and you have no choice.

On Ask Precision Sails, this week, Darryl answers a common question regarding sails and what it looks like once your sails have reached the end of their life. You can continue reading along or watch the episode on YouTube. The question we have is:

“How do you know when it’s time to replace Dacron sails on a boat?”

A step by step process might include:

  1. Inspecting the overall condition. Has there been any chaffing from the rigging? Are there any wear marks present? Is there any loose stitching?
  2. Pick the stitching with your fingernail to determine how weak the treads are and if there is any strength left in them.
  3. Check the shape of the sail. This involves hoisting the sails and trying to flatten out the sails with every tool you have to see how the sail is sitting. If you look up at the sail and still see a really big bowl in the sail, it’s likely it is past its time. Another sign is if the boat is heeling over and not going too fast. This could also indicate that the sail shape has gone as well.
  4. Walk around the raised sail and inspect the finer details like the webbing and reefing points. How much wear and tear is present?
  5. Be sure to take some pictures of the sail hoisted in this flat position. Pictures from a few different angles will help you and your sail maker determine the problem areas.

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