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Old 27th July 2011, 03:32 AM   #1
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Default How long do your sails last ??

my concern now is modern sails
people are telling me your most used sails need replacement every 3 to 4 years
on the islands near the tropics i hear they replace them EVERY year
(they often stay rigged all day, etc)

my "modern" sail has seen about 2 full summer seasons and about 40 outings
the monofilm is starting to look grey and the creases sad
the stitching looks bad on one batten to sleeve joint
some people say ride it to the end with some repairs as needed - others say replace it

what say you ??
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Old 27th July 2011, 08:21 AM   #2
Del Carpenter
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 105

My 2 cents: If safety is an issue, such as wave sailing in front of serious rocks, then replace sails before they break. If safety is not an issue, such as in my flat water sailing, then replace sails only when they no longer do a good enough job (which for me is after several repairs with tape). I do save some racing sails to use only for races or training for races and I use older sails for general windsurfing. The sails in the worst condition get used for land sailing.
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Old 27th July 2011, 11:41 AM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 81

hotsailsmaui superfreaks, standard and ultralight last much longer than monofilm sails. no monofilm creasing either. my 2008 7.0m ultralight has been well used and apart from being a bit grubby, is not even close to wearing out.

they are now doing a line of dacron / xply freerace sails called the speed freak. not an inch of monofilm in sight.
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Old 27th July 2011, 11:10 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 537

Inevitably sails will wear even if you treat them well. I'm often doing small repairs like patches on both sides to stop monofilm creases or stitches on mast sleeve, but I haven't noticed that modern sails are more fragile, to the contrary. It may depend from the brand. I used to keep my North sails for about seven years. In another five years I will tell you about Naish.
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Old 28th July 2011, 12:22 AM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Northern California
Posts: 185

How long do sails last? How long do you leave them lying in the sun when not used or do you put them in the shade or cover them up with a sail tarp? Do you rig them on a sandy beach or on grass? Do you sail in breaking surf where there is a lot of sand being turned up? Do you rinse the sand off before you roll them up? With proper care modern sails should last many years.

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Old 28th July 2011, 03:32 PM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Venezia, Italia
Posts: 142

I agree with rod_r, also my Superfreak looks new after some time of use. But also my older HSM Stealth looks great after many years of use, especially the 8,5 from 1999, that I've used really a lot of time like main sail in Venice from 2003! And still looks great even if monofilm "sounds" loud when rigging.
Yes care matters, but monofilm/sailcloth quality and sail shape can change a lot the things. I've had bad experience in the past with a Neil Pryde Ultralight 7,9, nice "wing shape" but a lot of mast curve (luff 547!) and tension and monofilm started tearing after 2-3 years.
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Old 28th July 2011, 04:17 PM   #7
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 173

I"ve had Neilpryde RS4's for years. I've had a V8 7.2 from 2003, used it very much until 2008, about 4- 5 years is my sails life span, and then I do sell the sails for a small price and some buyers use them for several years after that...
Somewhere between 5-10 years is possible I think.
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Old 6th August 2011, 02:34 AM   #8
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,483

On flat fresh water, sail lifetime or more accurately monofilm lifetime is strictly dependent on UV exposure. After 10 years, my 2 most intensive used sails were a NP RX2 10.6 m2 and a Severne Code Red R2 11 m2. Both lasted 5 years before the monofilm became opaque and so brittle that it literally teared up vertically between battens only after a tack or a sail pump in light wind. More precisely, the NP lasted 308 hours of TOW sailing usage while the Severne lasted 425 hours of TOW sailing usage. When not in use, they were either put under shade inside a rigbag/under trees or fully derigged. Conversely, sails rarely used and rarely exposed to UV last very long : a NP RAF Wave 3.0 m2 sail still looks like brand new after 20 years...

Cheers !


Last edited by Jean-Marc; 6th August 2011 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 6th August 2011, 08:57 PM   #9
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Dallas, Texas USA
Posts: 799

It's simple or complex:

1. Time on the water
2. UV exposure
3. Care (where rigged, grass, rocks, sand, etc)
4. Type of use (freestyle, waves, freeriding, racing, etc)
5. Size of sail (I think that larger sails are prone to more wear/damage than smaller sails given equal TOW and other factors).

A sail can last from a half season to 26 years of more.

I still have my Dacron regatta sail and my 1985 Mistral Superlight and the sail looks almost like new.
Formula 160; iSonic 111; HiFly Move 105; Tiga 263; '85 Mistral Superlight.
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Old 10th August 2011, 04:34 AM   #10
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 459

Sail care helps a sail last but the conditions we use modern sails in is a testament to their strength but inevitably can lead to fast wear.. My Tbird lasted about 20 mins in surf last week !!! (No fault of sail ;its simply not designed for use in waves but I needed a big sail to get out and paid price coming in !!!)

Everybody knocks monofilm with regards to its sometimes quick degredation but I remember ruining dacron regatta sails on almost first usage; they still looked great but dacron stretches quite easily and can do only too quickly when abused. (ie used in winds it simply wasnt designed for) I wouldn`t buy a dacron sail but I know some folk swear by them. I`d rather buy a new monofilm every 3 years than have a dacron sail 5/6 years .

Nowadays if we use sails in their intended environment;dont leave them in sun and store carefully;(not crumpled up and not standing on clew) they can last years. I`ve found Gun sails to be one of best on market for longevity or it could be that they are worth so little second hand I keep them for years.!!
I`ve found NP to be very prone to delamination after 4/5 years but I`ve got a Combat that delaminated so I pulled the thin colour film off and it still seems fine. Rigs/sails great....???

I`ve normally damaged my larger sails beyond repair before they`ve worn out !!!
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