Caring for your Evolution sails

custom white yacht sails

Sail maintenance is easy and takes little time. However, it can make a big difference in the life and overall performance of your sails. Even if your sails are 5 years old, a little maintenance can save you money down the track.

Caring for your Evolution Headsail

The majority of headsail damage can be attributed to using a headsail that is not suited to the conditions. When using a headsail, in particular a no. 1 light (the most susceptible to blowing out), always be aware of sudden gust that or a persistent wind speed change that will exceed the wind limit of that particular headsail. The best way to prevent damaging your headsail is by trimming correctly. If a gust comes through unexpectedly, ease the sheet to stop the sail from loading up too much. If the increase in wind is persistent, change to a heavier sail.

Caring for your Evolution Mainsail

Mainsails are used in all conditions, therefore, it’s essential to treat them carefully to maximize their lifespan. The most important thing to avoid is flogging. Keep the sheets trimmed hard enough to settle the sail and prevent hard flogging of the leech at all times.

Caring for your Evolution Spinnaker

Nylon is able to absorb large loads without breaking due to its elasticity. However, spinnaker material is also quite light, therefore, it can easily fail from catching on objects and use in too much wind. A frequent cause of failure in spinnakers is tearing on sharp objects. This often happens on sets or takedowns and can be minimized by taping up sharp objects. Spinnakers blowing out while refilling after a collapse is possible the most common and hardest cause of failure to prevent.


Mildew is a universal problem that the majority of boat owners have. If the mildew is relatively new it is quite easy to remove, however, if it has spread to the fibers, there is little to no chance. Preventing mildew is the best way to combat it. A few ways to avoid mildew are to:

  • Do not put away damp or salty sails (salt retains moisture)
  • Exposure to sunlight will help but too much causes U.V breakdown.
  • Store in a dry location.
  • Ensure sails are aired regularly, especially after rain. This may mean unrolling the headsail at the mooring for an hour or two.
  • If the boat is to be idle for more than a month, remove the sail from the rig.

Don’t flog it to death

The best way to sustain the cloth integrity and shape of your sails is to reduce the time they are allowed to flap in the breeze. Flogging and leech flutter lead to the rapid degradation of cloth and every measure should be taken to prevent such occurrences. Some ways to avoid flogging and maximize life of your sails are to:

  • Never motor into the wind, especially at full throttle when hoisting your main.
  • If you are powering up with the main up, keep it trimmed.
  • In heavy wind, reduce sail area enough so you don’t need to flog the main.

Keep it in the limits

Arguably the fastest way to ruin a sail is to use it in winds that exceed the recommended wind range. To avoid destroying your sails, always remain within the wind limits recommend by your Evolution sailmaker.

Reduce chaffing  

Chafe is another enemy of sails. The more a sail rubs against any part of the boat or spars, the sooner it will weaken to failure. A few ways to avoid chafe are to:

  • not let running backstays rub against the leeward side of the mainsail
  • Never drag sails over non-skid decks, around shrouds, along the dock or pavement.
  • Use leather to cover any part of your rig that constantly rubs on sails like the tip of spreaders.

Always remember to check the front of the mast, because genoas pull across it every time you tack.

U.V protection

U.V rays are one of the most important things to protect your sail from due to the fact it will cause your cloth to breakdown. The most effective ways to slow the rate of breakdown is to keep your sails out of the sun when they are not in use. Furling headsails should always have U.V stickyback or vinyl on the leech and foot when it is rolled up and if you flake your main on the boom, always cover it up. The best way to void U.V damage is to fold and store your sails in their sailbags out of the sun.