The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2017.09.26 - Modifying Sails

The modification to the mainsail did not take long. I cut off the excess, folded the sail to form a hem and clamped pieces of wood over the fold to flatten it. Then Tina used her trusty sewing machine to stitch it. Looked nice it did. Still does come to think of it but I must have been having an off day when I did this. I took the modified sail along to the boat on Monday as I had the say off and the wind was light in order to put the sail back on again only to find that it no longer fitted.

I had forgotten that the head of the sail was now longer than before and was now a few inches longer than the gaff to which it needed to be attached.

So, I took the sail off again and modified it, yet again.


I have drapped the part of the sail to be modified over one of the scaffold planks, used two screws through two of the cringles and then stretched a line between two more screws where I want the fold to be.


This is the large end of the piece being cut off, the other end is a fine point. You can see the two screws and string a the end clearly here.


The fold was made about an inch away from the cringle and the seam allowance is two inches. I used a soft pencil to mark the fold line and the cutting line and then a pair of kitchen scissors to cut away the unwanted cloth.


The hem was folded over and tacked down with a hot glue gun and then battens clamped over the fold to crease it. I left that overnight.


The modification will look a little odd as it results in a kink in the leech of the sail as you can see here. I'm not too bothered about this, it is quote common to have a curved leech so this isn't really that different. The reason for doing it this way was to avoid having to cut away the reefing cringles. Me being lazy really.


This afternoon I removed the battens and, as you can see, it has formed a nicely creased fold.


I trimmed the end to give a nice finish. You can see a little of the hot glue holding the seam closed here. This doesn't stick that well but well enough for what I wanted. The sewing needle will probably not go through the cloth and the glue, which is really just plastic, but it can easily be removed.

Now I wait for Tina to have some spare time to run this through her sewing machine again and then I can finish it off with a new cringle in the corner shown above.

Hopefully it will fit once that is all done. Time will tell.