Archive for the 'Sails' Category

Strong Track Repair

I (Jon) finished this job on May 7th .

When starting to sail away from Lady Musgrave Island in heavy winds, I raised the main sail to the 2nd reef and began tightening on the 2nd reef clew line. I then tightened up the vang as the boom seemed unusually high. Somehow something that I did, in combination with the heavy winds, caused about 8 rivets to pop out from the mast. These rivets held in the metal track which holds the plastic sleeve the main sail slides up and down on.

I pulled the plastic sleeve off from the bottom of the mast. In order to do this, I had to remove the boom. There was very little room for it to over the fixture the boom attaches to, and I was skeptical that it would be able to make that bend. It somehow did, and so I pulled all 50 feet of plastic track off. I then drilled out the rivets that had broken but had partly remained in their holes. I also drilled out another 8 rivets that had not separated from the mast but were closest to the separation.

Drilling was miserable, as our bits are getting old and worn down. Also I was hanging in a harness for some of them and didn’t have much leverage.  On a side note, at one point I fell from about 8 feet up while hanging from a tibloc that was attached to a halyard. The failure point was a knot in the amsteel line running from a carabiner to the tibloc. Thank god my feet were only 8 feet off the ground and I wasn’t up much further. As it was, my wrist and back hurt for a few days.

We didn’t have the original size of grommet, which I think was 3/16 inch thick, but I used one size larger that we had about 20 of. We originally used these for the installation of the mast steps. One size up meant that each hole had to be drilled out with a larger bit. Luckily we had the perfect bit for the rivets, an F bit, which is .257 inches. Not .250, not a ¼ inch, but exactly .257 inches.

One size larger didn’t quite fit flush on the outside of the metal track, but once compressed with the rivet gun, they seemed to fit fine.

Once the holes were drilled out and the new rivets installed, I slid the plastic sleeve back on. This involved using attaching a line to the top of the plastic strong track sleeve and winching for the entire length. the friction was pretty large and the winching was not fun, particularly after a exceptionally miserable conversation with people back home.

And that was about it. The job was much easier than I had expected and everything seems fine for now.

In the oddest of coincidences, another Valiant, Gizo, is currently cruising the coast of Queensland, in fact as I write this we are both in Cairns. They just replaced their Strong track within two days of when I was fixing ours. On Gizo’s strong track, one of the slugs that moves up and down the plastic track pulled out. Small world.


Sail Maintenance

I (Jon) finished these jobs variously on Nov. 29th, Dec. 4th, and Dec. 10, and May 15th

On the main sail:

I added a variety of different patches to areas where the sail was wearing through. This would happen where the battons would hit the spreaders.

On some patches, I first added a layer of dacron, covered that with a layer of adhesive sail tape and then hand sewed a leather patch on top of that.

On other patches, I added a layer of leather, then a layer of dacron  and finally a layer of adhesive sail tape and sewed that sewed that.

I’m not sure which is best. I suppose visually, the white adhesive sail tape is the least noticeable. But I think the patch with the leather on top will have the longest resistance to wear before something else needs to be done.

I also added adhesive sail tape patches to chafe points from the strong track attachment points. The rings that keep the pins in place for attachment points had bent and were exposing the ends of the rings. These ends would chafe the leach edge of the sail. I replaced all of the rings that had become bent.

I checked every single stitch in the main sail. Surprisingly, all stitching was still doing fine. I was expecting to have to do some repair stitching in some places.

I added a leather patch at the head of the sail, which was becoming worn through in some areas.

The main was a bitch to work on because it rained in Brisbane non-stop for three months while I was motivated to be doing this. So I had the entire main sail down below, hanging across the salon for three days while I worked on it

On the jib:

I added new leather patches to the jib where it was chaffing through at the tack, head, and clew. At all points, I made a leather piece the same size as the original.  Additionally, at the clew, in the area of largest chaffe, I reinforced that area with two additional smaller pieces of leather. So now instead of one layer of leather there are three layers.  At the head and tack of the jib, the chaffing wasn’t quite as bad, so I only put put one additional piece of leather at the point of highest chaffe.

I sewed a new patch onto the luff edge of the jib where it had chaffed some from hitting the spreaders.

I sewed a 20 foot part of the sunbrella back to the edge of the jib (5/25). In just a short side note of commentary, someone who saw me doing this commented that wow, that seemed like a big job. In perhaps an indication of how far I’ve come, I thought to myself, not really, I’m going to bang this out in about 2 hours and only curse maybe a couple of times doing it. Then someone else saw me doing it and offered to pay me to do theirs. I have to admit to a little bit of pride and esteem because of those two things.

On the drifter:

I sewed a 8 inch by 8 inch patch onto the drifter where a one inch line of tiny pin holes had developed.

I sewed a patch on the bag we hold the drifter in where it had gotten a hole.

There is a pulley at the top of the drifter on which the line for bringing the sock up and down runs. Somehow while sailing in April, it broke, I don’t know how it was even originally attached, though it looked like it might have just been zip tied. So I re-zip tied it up and raised the drifter again to see if it would work. It immediately broke and the sock began to slide down from the top while we were sailing, nearly unfurling the drifter from the top in the process, with no way to sock it. Having the drifter filled with wind with no sock and thus no easy way to get it down would have been a nightmare. Only a quick shout to Justin to immediately drop the drifter, combined with light wind that didn’t catch the sail allowed us to get the sail down with no problems. It took hours to figure out what to fix and how to do it at anchor at a reef miles from land, but eventually I tied the pulley to grommets in the sock with amsteel. It seems to be working fine.

Not exactly about the sail, but there is a block at the top of the mast where the port spinnaker halyard runs. We also use this line to raise the drifter. It broke. I found a double block in our spares.  I put the double block on one of the blocks at the base of the mast, and used the block from the base of the mast at the top.

I re-sewed a bunch of seems on the main sail cover where the stitching was failing.

And because I have no where else to add this to, I’ve added a bunch of patches to the anchor windlass cover where it keeps developing small tears.