sailmaking hand sewing

Advice from a Sailmaker to a brand new cruising couple

Repair vs New

Make sure you have a good repair kit handy, and that you know what the stuff is in it and how to use it!  It doesn’t have to be pretty, we’ve seen some doozies that have done the job!  Sometimes though the sail is just too far gone, so sun bleached and rotten, that it will just tear again, right along your awesome repair job!  If you ever find yourself in the farthest corner of the earth with no sail loft of repute around, and your most important sail has just blown apart and there is just no way it can be stitched back together – its best to have a loft (preferably us of course) who has your measurements on file back in Australia – and all the information that is needed to push the go button on.  So while you’re still tied up in a comfortable port before you go, get your sails measured.  Make sure someone has them on file!  Doing this properly can be tricky to get right by yourself, so you need the advice or the expertise of a sailmaker.  Failing that, you can bring in your current sails for the loft to measure for you.  This way help is just an easy phone call away.

sail repairs gold coast

Hand sewing

sailmaking hand sewing

hand sewing 2

New Sail choice?

Cross Cut Dacron represents the best in a sail that is low in stretch whilst the ultimate in shape long term shape retention making it  a great choice for the Cruising Yachtsman.  We use Contenders Fibrecon std AP.  If you’re wanting a tri-radial sail, we have found in tropical conditions, cruising laminate tends to get mould in the laminate and the sail delaminates.  So for cruising in the more tropical areas, which we experience locally here Queensland and the Pacific, we have been using (and recommend) Dimension Polyants’ Pro-Radial.  Pro Radial addresses the want for a tri-radial sail, yet is built from woven Polyester fabrics, as opposed to a Laminate.  It has virtually no crimp, and certainly experiences no delamination.  Hydranet is a more expensive option and will last the longest out of the lot, but it is substantially more expensive, so we tend to stick to Pro Radial as it gives you best bang for your buck.  Also, not all UV strips are created equal.  What they use in the European sun, is not what we use in the tropics.  Consider upgrading to Weathermax to keep your sail protected better for longer.

Cruising Furling Genoa with UV strip

Furling Genoa: Dimension Pro-Radial – 393 9oz with Weathermax UV Strip

Not always Fair Weather Sailing

We can recommend things like slightly reducing your sail area which will hopefully address some weather helm if you’re fighting it, as well as the heaviness of your sail.  We can recommend different downwind sail choices.  Manufacturing a blue water ocean cruiser sail, is very different to how we’d make a Wednesday night round the cans racing sail.  We would upgrade to Dyneema (Spectra) webbing on the clew, head and tack for added strength in these big ocean going sails which will avoid your clew strapping ripping.  Triple sewing and Twin Ply areas between Leach Reefs to handle the high Head and Clew Loading are recommended.  Definitely have your sail checked over before you go to ensure you have enough reefs (or big enough reefs!) and reinforcing when the weather hits hard.  Have you practised reefing?  Have you got a good boombag?

Bad weather sail

Storm Jib


If a new sail has to be ordered, we’re happy to freight directly to your sailmaker in which ever part of the world you find yourself, who can then fit your existing luff hardware and battens to your new sails.  This substantially reduces the cost of the new sail as it does not include any luff hardware or battens, and it makes freighting more affordable as its a smaller parcel measuring under a meter rather than a 5m tube with breakable battens!  Estimated turn around time on a new sail is normally 3 to 4 weeks and a 50% deposit before starting manufacture of the sail is normal.  Remember all prices will exclude GST for exporting.


I hope this info helps give you a bit more insight into what we sailmakers can offer you before your journey even begins.  If nothing else, we’d love to have you come in and can set you up with a sail repair kit, and learn the basics on how to repair before you go!


Good luck and fair winds!

Written by Helen James

Evolution Sails

18th May 2018

evolution sails australia