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Spring is here! Time to get the boat ready for a new season – but are your sails up to scratch?

Spring is the time where you should have a good look at your boat and make sure everything is ready for the season. This does also apply to your sails, so here are some quick spring tips from us to you.

Getting ready

Some of the season preparation is actually best done at the end of the season rather than the start of the new one. So if you didn’t already know, now you do.

There are, however, important points to check and look out for now, too.

Storing your sails in a clean and dry state and under the right conditions is essential if you want to keep them up to an ideal standard. The same theories also apply for your sprayhood, sail covers, furl covers, and so on. Make sure they are stored clean and dry in the autumn, and you will have a very easy start in the spring.

Moisture and salt can cause lots of damage over a winter, and so can wrong storage. All three can cause mildew and stains in the sailcloth – it doesn’t look good, and it’s always a pain to clean and remove. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that your sails are stored dry, clean and under the right conditions over the winter period.

And remember: Should you have the need to clean your sails to remove mildew or mold, DO NOT use any chemicals. Check this link for more tips on storage as well as mildew and mold removal.

No matter what, you should start your sailing season by having a good look at the sails. Make sure the batten pockets are still good and see if the seams are fine. If they need work, please consult your local Elvstrøm SailPoint.

When you fold out and inspect your sails, make sure to do it on a large piece of film or a tarpaulin to reduce the risk of making the sail dirty. Avoid folding the sail out directly on the ground or the grass either. So just for peace of mind, it’s good to do it on top of a film, a tarpaulin or similar.

It also makes it easier to find dropped screws or fittings should you be working on headboard cars, batten sliders, fittings and so on. Do also make sure to check that the webbings holding the slides or cars are in good shape.

Speaking of these, do also make sure they run freely and are clean before starting the season. They can pack up if they are left with salt in them for longer periods of time. Clean them with a fine brush and warm water before spraying them with a little bit of lubrication spray – and check if they run as desired. A good clean and thorough inspection is also advisable for mast tracks, grooves and slides.

What should I look for?

In general terms, you should inspect your sails for worn seams, small rips, pin holes in the material and small tears. Rips and tears do especially occur if the sail has been rubbing or even chafing on some of the hardware, Inspect the webbings in the corners of the sail, too. These are working under a high load
Inspect your batten pockets. Velcro can degrade over time, so make sure the pockets close and they are strong enough to lock and keep tension on the batten.

Do also check if your UV protection is still good. Furling sails are usually made with a built-in UV protection in order to protect the part of the sail which is left out when the sail is furled. But the UV is there to be worn, and if you see it’s about to need a replacement, consider getting it done before the season starts.

A UV replacement is way cheaper than replacing an entire sail, so this can quickly save you some money or an untimely replacement of the sail. At any rate, the area with the UV cover is very exposed to sunlight during the season, and this is where the seams are most likely to break down first.
Should you experience wrinkles in your sails, it is worth trying just to set the sail and see if it straightens itself after a little bit of use. Ironing a sail is not something we would advise you to do.


Finally – have you had issues with chafing? Damage is hard to avoid when soft materials rub on metal parts. This is also a good time to find out why - and ensuring it doesn’t continue.

Patches are relatively easy to make and fit if chafing is an issue, but you are even better off if you can manage to fix the cause of it. Have a good look around – common areas that are prone to chafing are the spreaders, stanchion tops, and you can also experience it on the top of full-length batten pockets if they hit the rigging.

Fair winds!