We hear all the time how U.V is damaging to our skin so why shouldn’t it be damaging to our sails as well? Modern fabrics are designed to be U.V resistant but it is worth taking note of the resistant part. They still suffer under U.V, just not as much as their grandparents. Sails that are kept on furlers need either a U.V sacrificial strip or some form of pull over cover to protect them from the sun. Even in the UK, U.V is the primary reason for people needing new sails. Look carefully at your Genoa and check three things:
That it has a U.V strip on the leech and foot, (easier on those with coloured strips than those with white) and that the strip is wide enough. The sail should be completely covered by the strip when it is furled otherwise it is useless.
The image above shows an example where the U.V. strip does not come to the edge of the sail when furled.
When it comes to the end of the season (or when the sail is down) separate the sail from the U.V strip in your hands and try to tear it as if you are opening a crisp packet. If it tears easily then you will need to get a quote for an new UV strip.
If there is no U.V strip, the strip is not wide enough or the U.V strip tears it might be an idea to phone your local Ullman sails loft.
This image shows U.V. strip wear and tear.
The U.V. strip shown here has been torn but the sail below is in good condition, the strip in this case, has done a good job.
Found a problem, what do you do now?
Most sail lofts can supply an emergency sail repair kit with a little self adhesive patch material and a needle, thread and palm. This will get you to the end of your weeks holiday or maybe even the season but there is really no substitute for getting the sail professionally repaired. Very often the sailmaker may have an idea what caused the damage even if you haven’t and can rectify the problem probably a lot quicker than you can!
It is often easy to think that sails have had an easy season and only sailed a hundred or so miles but don’t forget when you are tucked up safely at home with the central heating on and a hot dinner in front of you, your sails are still out there in the rain, sun and changing temperatures. So have a heart and give them a holiday this winter in your local sail loft.