Sail repairs!

As I wrote last night, today is sail repair day. It isn’t anything super bad, but the two top sail slides was broken and I don’t want to take any risks.

As I got all the pieces that I needed yesterday I started after breakfast by removing the remains of the broken sail slides. It is obvious that they were original, since the webbing was sewn in under one seam. So instead of messing up that seam I decided to cut the webbing at the seam and let it be.

At first it went well, attaching the sail slide to the webbing was easy. But as I was trying to attach the webbing to the sail it immediately got complicated. It is about a centimeter of sail cloth to get through, and no matter how much I tried to push it was just impossible. So I pushed a little harder…

Did I break the needle? Yes, the needle broke…

Deep breaths. So, should I ask for a new needle? No, I would probably end up in the same situation again. And it cost me €10 so if I continued to break needles it would become an expensive repair. And I wasn’t striving for the perfect repair, I just wanted something that would survive to Almerimar where I can take it to a sail maker for cleaning and repairs. No, I needed a different process.

First I brought out the angel grinder, as we all know it is a common tool for sail makers. I needed to make a new point on the needle, and grinding one was the easiest way to me. The next step was to break out the power drill and a fine drill to make a pilot hole through the cloth. It actually worked better than expected, I’m not sure how the cloth likes it, since the drill most likely cut, rather than pushed aside, the threads.

After a few hours both sail slides was replaced, and it felt really good! Was it perfect? Absolutely not. But it was done, and most likely good enough to get me to where I need to be.

As a finishing touch I sprayed all the sail slides and carriages with teflon spray to make them slide a little easier in the sail track, and as I tested to hoist the sail I could definitely feel the difference! It won’t stay like that of course, but it is something to have on the preventive maintenance list. I really need to go over all hardware and lube it up. I put that on my to-do list for Almerimar.

Tonight I will prepare the boat and hopefully, if the weather allows, I will sail away from Porto and continue my travels in the morning.

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