Winter in Australia is nearly here, and for some that means less time out on the water. Those in the Northern hemisphere have to remove their boats from the water as it becomes ice, yet herein Australia they are just left at their moorings soaking up the UV's and pollution in the air. As a result our boats will age a lot quicker as we perform less maintenance on them. This need not be the case, call us and we will remove your sails and canvas off your boat, clean and treat them, then put them back on when you are ready to go sailing again.
All sailmakers recommend yearly washing of sails, and canvas manufacturers state as part of the warranty that the canvas must be regularly washed.
Sails that look white and canvas that looks clean are not after a year of use, I'm always amazed at the dirty rinse water that comes out of 'clean' sails and canvas.
All you need to do is call us and the job will be done, one less boat worry and completely hassle free to you.
Sydney weather in March is perfect for turning your sails green. Rain, hot and humid.
You will be amazed at how fast those green lines of mould will appear on your nice white and expensive furled headsail.
Even sailing regularly is no guarantee of a mould free sail, the only thing that works is cleaning, once a year is the maximum time between cleans.
My own sails are used every week, yet even I find black spots of mould appearing, a yearly clean though has stopped it from becoming an issue.
Here is a recent picture of a sail before cleaning, I suspect that there was not much sailing going on here. Luckily this sail was sailkoted from new and has cleaned up looking that way again.
Modern yachts are fitted with a combo deck and steaming light, they look great yet the black plastic they are made from quickly becomes a black crayon in the UV.
You probably don't notice it from the deck, yet I see the damage done to the sail up close. Those black marks don't come off either, as in the first picture, the second pic the marks came off, but look at the damage on the sail.
What to do? put a wear patch on the sail like you do for the spreaders, or put a nice smooth stainless bracket over the light.
Hot in January, hot and wet in February, wet and humid in March. As much as you probably have had enough boating over the summer months, the recent weather we are having on the East coast of Australia will give you the excuse to get back to your boat and dry her out. For many it is already too late, I heard a conversation on the club tender the other day, 'the engine was half underwater as the bilge pump stopped working' there is always something on a boat!
A sail came in last week to be cleaned, and the owner said he had only left it for a month, i'm afraid that that is all it takes in this climate.
If you are not going to be using your sails for any more that a month, then take them off the rig and store them below, and off the floor to just in case the bilge pump stops working.
Sail below, clean to crappy in just one month, and yes the sail is spotless again after Vacuwashing.
Tis the season for SailkotePlus, a day doesn't go by now that we aren't spraying McLube onto some sail. Spinnakers both old and new, from Manly Juniors (2 sqm) to 30 meter maxi yachts (450 sqm), the word is out there on the benefits of sailkotePlus.
If you are buying new sails, then have them sailkoted. If you race a centerboard boat, get the spinnaker sailkoted. If your mainsail furls in the mast, get it sailkoted.
Happy to discuss any application and describe the benefits.
In the meantime, checkout this cool video I just did of a sailkoted spinnaker going back into its sock.
If yes is the answer, then there is a high probability that your boat has been an excellent nesting site.
We have already cleaned numerous sails and canvas that have nurtured some new chicks, the Vacuwash process is excellent at removing most of the evidence.
Pictures of bird stained sails are upsetting, so instead in This post I will give you a cute pic of a seagull chick so that you don't get too mad when the sticks/mud and other crap falls on your head as the main is hoisted.
Last weekend Australia's east coast was smashed by an what is termed an 'East Coast Low' other parts of the world they are Cyclones or Hurricanes, whatever they are called the results are usually similar.
We haven't had that much rain since the last time we had that much rain, and records were broken for the number of stories/news programs talking about records being broken.
So we have all dried out our garages/wet carpet, cleaned out the green swimming pools, grated the fallen trees, most households are back to normal, all except for boat owners!
These guys will be down on their boats this weekend, taking advantage of the 21C winter weather to dryout their boats. Boats leak, even new ones, there are no open windows, so that damp interior will be going moldy as I type.
Any sails stored below will need to be aired, as will bunk cushions and anything/everything else.
Then there are the sails furled around the forestay, or stacked on the boom. These will still be soaking wet even a week after the rain.
Only one thing to do, Go Sailing.
Any boat that doesn't go sailing this weekend will be a Vacuwash customer within the next couple of months, that's all it takes for those green stripes of mold to form on your nice white sails.
If you don't want you sail to look like the one in the picture, get down to your boat and go for a sail.
See you on the water, I'll be out there.
Today I just cleaned what should be a perfectly good jib. When I say 'should' I mean that if the sail is not that old, its cut is an expensive tri radial, the sail material is a top of the range laminate. The sail though has been left on a furler, in the weather and the sail has now gone to crap. I can make the sail look better, yet once the UV strip starts to break down, then the sail it is there to protect also breaks down. All this happens while your unloved boat swings at its mooring as you attend to other pastimes, it also happens a lot quicker than you think.
I'm not going to get into the furler vs put away headsails here, but here are the pointers if you are going to furl your headsail.
Air and dry the sail weekly even if just at the dock in calm conditions.
Dacron is a much better cloth to clean, so furl that please. Exotic laminates are great sails, yet I dont think they should be furled.
Make the UV strip out of 100% acrylic canvas, it lasts better than sticky back and looks better with age, and also furl it the right way so the UV is on the outside!
Make the cut a simple cross panel, tri radial sails cant be cut down to remove any leach that has UV damage.
Lastly, if your sail is small enough and you can handle it by yourself, then take it off the rig and put it below, it will last forever.
Canvas is great on a boat, usually waterproof, UV resistant, strong and long lasting, Sunbrella even guarantee their canvas for 10 years so long as it is looked after.
Looking after it is easy, a fresh water soapy wash, make sure that it is tied down and not flapping in the breeze, and be gentle on the zips. Depending on the stitching thread and the environment it is in, the canvas could need re stitching every now and then.
Once though it is gone, it is gone, don't try and get those extra few years out of it as you will only do more damage to whatever it is supposed to be protecting.
I have just cleaned a mainsail that has been under a canvas cover which should have been replaced years ago. Firstly it leaked so the sail was always wet, thus moldy, and secondly as the canvas broke down the colour rubbed itself all over the sail, a nice tinge of green which does not come off is the result.
The sail now also has wear marks where it was rubbing too.
Your trimmer/sailmaker will tell you if your canvas has more years left in it, or bring into us here at Vacuwash and we check it out for you.
This is what 18 months on a furler will do to your sail. At a rough guess this sail is worth $5000, yet when it came to me it was as you see below. What you can't tell though is the stink, the amount of water in the sail, or see the little critters that ran out as we unrolled it!
A couple of points come to mind here, firstly if you are not going to use your sails for a length of time, then get them off the rig and put them below out of the weather; a length of time would be in my opinion (and remember we all have one) would be a month. Secondly, this sail is a laminated one, the fabric is fantastic in strength and shape, yet sadly sailmakers do not recommend getting them wet, go figure that!
As soon as the laminate is sewn, the needle leaves tiny holes for the water to wick through, thus you see mold appear in the laminate.
So what to do; laminate sails should be sprayed in SailkotePlus when new to help prevent the mold appearing in the first place, and you need to go sailing a lot more often to keep the sails dry.